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Wed, Mar 23, 2005

T-50 Aircraft Completes Aerial Gunfire Testing

The T-50 Golden Eagle advanced jet trainer successfully completed aerial gunfire testing recently. The T-50 Golden Eagle is being developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) with technical support from Lockheed Martin.

The supersonic T-50 Golden Eagle advanced jet trainer has recently completed planned aerial gunfire testing. The T-50 Lead-In Fighter Trainer version has a rapid-fire 20mm cannon for air-to-ground and air-to-air gunnery training.

Ten test flights were conducted between Oct. 26, 2004, and Jan. 6, 2005, with gun firing conducted under a variety of flight conditions, including three supersonic flights. Testing included operation of the gun and ammo handling system, plus measurement of vibration levels and adequacy of the gun bay gas purging capability.

“The gun fire testing went very well,” said Maj. Kang, Chol, one of the ROKAF test pilots for the gun firing missions. “As expected, the acoustic and airframe vibrations were very acceptable and low from the pilot’s perspective in both front and rear cockpits. The flight test instrumentation also confirmed low vibration levels.”

The test aircraft was the third Full Scale Development aircraft, the first in the lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) configuration. The LIFT version bridges the gap between initial pilot training and operational training and differs from the T-50 advanced jet trainer version with the addition of a multimode radar, gun and a full weapons control system to the seven store stations.

The gun is an internally mounted, three-barrel, Gatling-type 20 mm cannon with a rate of fire of 3,000 rounds per minute and is built by General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products. The ammo system holds 205 rounds of ammunition. It is a lighter weight version of the standard six-barrel M61 gun used on many fighters. The gun will be used for both ground strafing and aerial gunnery training.

The T-50 flight test program is approximately 70 percent complete, with more than 800 flights completed since the start of flight testing in August 2002.

The T-50 is the only supersonic trainer in development or production. It has the performance, handling qualities, cockpit and advanced systems necessary to train pilots to fly both today’s advanced fighters and the next generation of combat aircraft.

The T-50 Golden Eagle is being developed by KAI for the ROKAF. Lockheed Martin is providing technical expertise for the FSD program and is responsible for developing the T-50 avionics system, flight control system and wings. KAI and Lockheed Martin have an agreement for joint international marketing of the T-50. The program entered the transition-to-production phase with initial contract from the ROKAF awarded to KAI in December 2003. The first production aircraft is expected to be delivered in late 2005.

FMI: www.lmco.com

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