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Israel Mulling Import of Korean Trainer Jet T-50

Posted August. 04, 2009 08:43,   

Updated January. 01, 1970 09:00

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The Israeli Air Force will dispatch a three-member delegation to Korea this week to discuss importing the advanced Korean supersonic trainer jet T-50 Golden Eagle.

The Israeli daily Haaretz said yesterday that Israel will import 20 to 30 units of the lightweight trainer for use in advanced training for rookie pilots. The Golden Eagle will replace the aging Skyhawk trainer.

“The Israeli Air Force has had keen interest in the T-50 advanced trainer since early 2003, and will dispatch an official delegation for testing the jet’s performance after having closely examined it for several years,” the report said.

For the first time in 40 years, Israel is considering purchasing aircraft not produced at home or in the U.S.

Israel is reportedly considering buying one of several trainer models, including the T-50, T-45 of the U.S., and the M346 trainer produced by Alenia Aermacchi of Italy, to replace the Skyhawk, which it introduced in 1968.

Haaretz said, “The T-50 is considered the strongest contender for now since it is closest to the F-16, Israel’s flagship fighter jet, in performance.”

The T-50 is Korea’s first supersonic jet developed with homegrown technology. The craft was designed to assist training pilots for the F-15A, F-16 and F-22 fighter jets. Armed with a digital flight control system and engine, the T-50 reportedly boasts the highest performance among trainers in its class.

The plane earned high marks from Poland and Indonesia early this year, but has yet to be exported.



raphy@donga.com