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South Korea unveils new trainer aircraft

SEOUL, June 10 (UPI) -- The South Korean air force has unveiled its new TA-50 trainer jets designed for training for actual combat operations.

The South Korean air force intends to deploy 200 new TA-50 Golden Eagle trainer jets designed to carry out a lead-in fighter training mission by mid-2012, defpro.com Web site reported Friday.

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The TA-50 trainer jets are a joint venture between by Korea Aerospace Industries, South Korea's sole aircraft maker, and U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin.

South Korea unveiled the first Golden Eagle in 2005, making South Korea the world's 12th supersonic fighter aircraft producer. The new TA-50 is designed for advanced fighter training missions and light attack roles.

The modified Golden Eagle is a full-fledged attack platform, armed with radar and precision-guided weapons, including air-to-air missiles and air-to-ground missiles. The TA-50 variant will allow pilots, who currently complete flight training in supersonic trainer T-50 jets that aren't equipped with weapons system, to train in actual combat skills, with Seoul intending to deploy 20 modified TA-50s by mid-2012.

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