KAI mass producing FA-50 fighters

May 8, 2013 at 12:33 PM

SEOUL, May 8 (UPI) -- South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration has given Korea Aerospace Industries a contract to mass produce FA-50 fighters.

The contract for the jet aircraft is worth about $1 billion.

The FA-50 is a multi-role light fighter developed by KAI and Lockheed Martin. It is based on the on the T-50 supersonic advanced trainer and will replace the South Korean air force's F-5E/Fs and A-37s. It has a maximum speed of 1,100 miles per hour at 10,000 feet.

Weaponry includes air-to-air/air-to-surface missiles and machine guns as well as precision-guided bombs.

"The FA-50 aircraft is excellent in performance compared with the price," an unidentified South Korean military official said. "Through the operation of the home-grown airplane which is high in terms of operation ratio and is low in terms of maintenance cost, the Korean military's self-reliance defense potential will be doubled."

KAI received an initial production contract in 2011 and a logistics contract for the aircraft last year.

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