Polish Air Force to get 48 South Korean KAI FA-50PL fighter jets worth USD 3 billion

Seattle Times echoing Rafal Niedzielski (AP) reports that Poland on Saturday 16 sealed $3 billion in deals with South Korea for the purchase of 48 Korean FA-50PL Golden Eagle fighter planes (PL indicates Polish specifications). The two deals for the purchase of combat and training jets follow contracts signed last month for the acquisition by Poland of $5.8 billion worth of South Korean K2 Black Panther main battle tanks and K9A1 self-propelled howitzers.

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Polish Air Force to get 48 South Korean KAI FA 50PL fighter jets worth USD 3 billion 1 KAI F-50 Golden Eagle  (Picture source: KAI)

Under one agreement, worth $700 million, the first 12 fighter jets are to be delivered in the second half of 2023. The second deal, estimated at $2.3 billion, is for 36 planes to be delivered between 2025 and 2028. According to Duda, the purchase of the FA-50 fighters will “make it possible for us to fully give up the use of the (Soviet-made) MiG-29 and the Su-22 ” that Poland’s armed forces now have, as an inheritance from the times, decades ago, when it belonged to the Moscow-led Warsaw Pact.

The KAI T-50 Golden Eagle is a family of South Korean supersonic advanced jet trainers and light combat aircraft, developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) with Lockheed Martin. Its design is largely derived from the F-16 Fighting Falcon, and they have some similarities. KAI's previous engineering experience in license-producing the KF-16 was a starting point for T-50 development. The T-50 is South Korea's first indigenous supersonic aircraft and one of the world's few supersonic trainers. Development began in the late 1990s, and its maiden flight occurred in 2002. The aircraft entered active service with the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) in 2005.

The T-50 has been further developed into aerobatic and combat variants, namely T-50B, TA-50, and FA-50. An F-50 single-seat multirole fighter variant was considered before being canceled. The T-50B serves with the South Korean air force's aerobatics team. The TA-50 light attack variant has been ordered by Indonesia. The Philippines ordered 12 units of the FA-50 light fighter variant. The T-50A was marketed as a candidate for the United States Air Force's next-generation T-X trainer program but failed to win. Thailand ordered 12 units of the T-50 advanced trainer variant. Poland becomes now the most recent customer for this aircraft.

Polish Air Force to get 48 South Korean KAI FA 50PL fighter jets worth USD 3 billion 2 KAI F-50 Golden Eagle  (Picture source: KAI)