Poland plans to buy 48 FA-50 light fighter jets from the Republic of Korea (South Korea), according to Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak.
“We are interested in purchasing three squadrons, that is 48 aircraft,” Blaszczak said. “The first aircraft would be delivered to Poland next year.”
Speaking to the Defence24.pl website, Minister Błaszczak said that the decision to buy equipment from South Korea was based on the hardware’s effectiveness, speed of delivery and benefits to the industry.
He went on to stress that the aircraft was based on the F-16 technology, so the infrastructure Poland already has can be adapted seamlessly. He added that the FA-50 is an ideal aircraft to train pilots to fly the F-16 and that they would need just a few hours to adapt to the latter.
The FA-50, known popularly as “Fighting Eagle,” is a two-passenger, single-engine (GE-F404) light fighter based on Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) T-50 trainer. The combat aircraft measures 13.14m in length, 9.45m in width, and 4.82m in height. The empty weight of the aircraft is 6.47t. It can take-off with a maximum gross weight of 12.3t.
FA-50 aircraft can carry a weapons load of up to 4.5t. The aircraft can be armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles, AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground tactical missiles (AGM), GBU-38/B Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), CBU-105 Sensor Fused Weapon (SFW), Mk-82 Low Drag General Purpose (LDGP) bombs and Cluster Bomb Units (CBUs).
The aircraft is also mounted with an internal, three-barrel 20mm Gatling gun and LAU-3/A 19-tube 2.75″ rocket launcher for firing Folding-Fin Aerial Rockets (FFAR). The wide range of weapon systems aboard the FA-50 jet allows it to counter multiple threats in today’s complex battlefield scenario.