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South Korea’s KAI teams with LOTN to offer FA-50 trainers to Slovakia

FA-50 jet taking off. Photo: KAI

South Korean military aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Slovakian state-run company Letecke Opravovne Trencin (LOTN) to offer its FA-50 trainer aircraft for the Slovakian Air Force.

The MOU was signed during a South Korea-Visegrad Group business forum in Budapest, KAI said, adding that a Slovakian defense ministry delegation visited KAI on the sidelines of the recent Seoul ADEX defense exhibition to inspect industrial facilities and take a test ride in the FA-50.

Slovakia is currently in the process of finding a successor for its aging L-39 advanced trainer and plans to buy up to ten new aircraft for its training purposes.

The FA-50 is considered a favorite in the program, and Slovakia could become the first EU or NATO country to purchase the type. KAI has so far exported 72 T-50 aircraft to Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Iraq.

KAI has also entered into an agreement with the International Test Pilots School (ITPS) Canada, which is promoting the FA-50 light combat aircraft for tactical and adversary training for the Canadian armed forces. KAI’s attempt to export the trainer to Argentina was previously blocked by the UK, as the FA-50 relies on several major components delivered by UK companies.

“The FA-50 will be able to enter the European market starting with Slovakia.” KAI president Ahn Hyun-ho said said, “We will surely succeed in exporting through friendly relations between the Korean and Slovak governments and close cooperation with LOTN.”

T-50 is an advanced supersonic jet trainer and South Korea’s first homegrown trainer aircraft. Several variants, including the FA-50 LCA (light combat aircraft), and TA-50 LIFT(lead-in fighter trainer) and the T-50B acrobatic demonstrator are in service with the Republic of Korea Air Force.