Korea’s Golden Eagle Driver
Flying the Korean Aerospace International (KAI)/Lockheed Martin T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic jet trainer here at Dubai is Lt. Col. Choong Hwan Lee of the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF). Lee is an experienced fighter pilot with more than 2,000 hours in LM’s signature product, the F-16 Fighting Falcon. He has a long line of experience in the Northrop F-5 and KAI’s previous trainer design, the KT-1. Currently, the ROKAF operates 180 F-16s and is expected to procure a mix of about 100 T-50s, as a lead-in fighter, and A-50s, the attack version of the aircraft. Lee and his fellow test pilots logged seven to eight sorties per day to bring the program through flight test on time and tell AIN they are extremely pleased with the T-50’s performance. Eventually, KAI hopes the A-50 will replace all the F-5s and McDonnell Douglas F-4s in ROKAF inventory.