South Korea president calls for export of T-50 advanced trainers

By Elizabeth Shim  |  Oct. 17, 2017 at 11:38 AM
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Oct. 17 (UPI) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in wants Seoul to export the locally developed KAI T-50, a supersonic advanced trainer and light combat aircraft developed by Korea Aerospace Industries.

KAI, which is partly owned by the government, built the aircraft with Lockheed Martin.

It has been developed further into aerobatic and combat variants.

During an international aeronautics exhibition on Tuesday, Moon told KAI's acting chief executive Jeong Seong-seop to work toward making the T-50 exportable, Yonhap reported.

"Please work hard to make this business an export success," Moon said, after Jeong explained how KAI worked closely with Lockheed Martin to develop the advanced trainer.

Yonhap reported Moon sat in the T-50 simulator, or cockpit, and "took off" then "landed" the plane, while using the technology.

The South Korean leader also called for easing market entry for small to medium-size South Korean firms, which have experienced trouble with selling their ideas.

"Small to medium-size companies with good ideas, good products have a hard time entering the foreign market," Moon said, after touring booths of small to midsize firms in a display area.

Moon also offered words of encouragement to KAI executives.

The former chief executive of the firm was indicted last week on charges of accounting fraud, embezzlement and bribery, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

Seoul Central District prosecutors charged Ha Sung-yong of inflating KAI sales by $472.1 million, as well as its net profits, between 2013 and 2017.

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