Korean F-50 threatens Su-30 in Malaysia after “shooting down” F-22

The South Korean aerospace industry, led by KAI, is moving into the next phase of development with its F-50 light combat aircraft, considered a more combat-ready version of the FA-50, which was originally designed for training . European observers estimate that this model has the potential to take nearly half of Asia’s military aviation market.

Given the current operations of the FA-50 and its interest in replacing its fleet of Russian-made Su-30 aircraft, Malaysia is emerging as a major potential customer. Increasing economic sanctions on Russia and its entities related to the manufacturing and maintenance of airborne equipment complicate the modernization of the Flankers, which represents a significant challenge.

In South Korea, priority has shifted towards the KF-21 Boramae, a fighter with superior capabilities. Therefore, the possibility of large-scale purchase of F-50 by national armed forces seems unlikely. Dutch sources indicate that KAI is likely to focus on international markets, especially Asia, with production of the single-seat F-50 expected to begin at the end of the current decade, around 2028.

F-50 aspires to dominate the skies with sales of 300 units

Malaysia bought 18 FA-50 aircraft from South Korea for 920 millionMalaysia bought 18 FA-50 aircraft from South Korea for 920 million

With the aim of marketing 300 units of the F-50 among the Allies, it was planned to maintain the aesthetics of the FA-50, replace the co-pilot’s seat with an additional fuel tank, and add an in-flight refueling probe. Is.

Confidence in the project is very high among KAI and global analysts. South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and Poland currently operate the FA-50, with the latter country having acquired 50 units, setting a precedent for industrial cooperation with KAI and countries with more modest defense budgets. Is opening up possibilities in the European market.

The performance of the F-50’s predecessor, the FA-50, has been remarkable, most recently in a simulated combat exercise in which a Philippine Air Force FA-50PH achieved a simulated “shootdown” of an F-stealth fighter. .22 USAF Raptor.

The milestone occurred during the US-Philippines exercise “Cope Thunder”, marking the return of the event after 33 years. The Philippine FA-50 managed to “defeat” a USAF F-22 Raptor, an incident that highlights the capabilities of the Korean aircraft.

According to Philippine Air Force (PAF) records, this symbolic victory was celebrated by the pilot with the statement issued: “Fox 2! “Killed a Raptor on the right side”, marking a key moment in evaluating the effectiveness of light combat aircraft in combat scenarios.

FA-50 victory in simulated dogfight: a milestone in military aviation.

Ukraine tried to attack Russian Su-30 aircraft in the Black SeaUkraine tried to attack Russian Su-30 aircraft in the Black Sea
Russian Sukhoi Su-30

The incident described in the report highlights an important milestone in military history, in which the Philippines’ main fighter aircraft, the FA-50, demonstrated its superiority over the fifth-generation fighter aircraft in a simulated exercise. This combat took place over Luzon as part of Exercise Cope Thunder and highlighted the combat capabilities of the FA-50.

The FA-50, the result of a collaboration between Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Lockheed Martin, is a light multirole combat aircraft developed from the T-50 Golden Eagle, a light supersonic fighter training aircraft. Equipped with state-of-the-art avionics, the FA-50 is designed to perform both advanced training and light attack roles.

The technical specifications of the FA-50 highlight its impressive design and engineering. With a length of 13.14 metres, a wingspan of 9.45 metres, and a height of 4.94 metres, the aircraft weighs approximately 6,470 kg and can reach a maximum takeoff weight of 12,300 kg. Its internal fuel capacity is 2,655 litres, expandable with external tanks to increase its range of action.

The General Electric F404-GE-102 turbofan engine, with afterburning, provides the FA-50 with a maximum thrust of 78.7 kN, allowing it to reach speeds of up to Mach 1.5 (about 1,837 km/h). Its basic operational range is 1,851 kilometres, which can be extended to 3,000 kilometers with additional tanks. The aircraft’s service ceiling is 14,630 metres, with a climb capability of 150 meters per second.

FA-50: Advanced armament and better maneuverability in the sky

Philippine and US Air Force in joint exercisePhilippine and US Air Force in joint exercise
Two FA-50PH aircraft of the Philippine Air Force participated in the joint PH-US Maritime Cooperation Activity (MCA). Done on November 21, 2023. (Photo by 353rd Special Operations Wing/U.S. Air Force) Two FA-50PH aircraft of the Philippine Air Force participated in the joint PH-US Maritime Cooperation Activity (MCA). Done on November 21, 2023. (Photo by 353rd Special Operations Wing/U.S. Air Force)

The FA-50’s armament includes the 20 mm M61A1 Vulcan cannon, complemented by seven hardpoints capable of carrying a diverse armament: air-to-air, air-to-surface and anti-ship missiles, as well as conventional to various types of bombs. . Laser guided.

Maneuverability, a critical factor for combat performance, is one of the FA-50’s most notable strengths. Able to withstand +8/-3 g of load, its advanced avionics and flight control systems allow it to execute complex, high-performance maneuvers. The aircraft’s optimal thrust-to-weight ratio is the key to its exceptional agility, cementing its position as a formidable competitor in the field of combat aviation.

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