AFP

Lockheed flies first T-50A for USAF trainer bid June 3, 2016

Lockheed Martin's upgraded T-50A jet trainer successfully completed its first flight test, a key milestone for the aircraft Lockheed is offering for the Air Force's next-generation trainer fleet.

The flight took place in Sacheon, South Korea, as the T-50A is currently manufactured there jointly by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Lockheed Martin.

The single-engine, two-seat trainer was modified for the T-X competition with a spine-mounted receptacle that is compatible with an USAF aerial refuelling boom, glass cockpit displays, embedded training software and an open architecture mission system.

The USAF plans to replace hundreds of aging T-38 trainers under the T-X programme. The T-X is a crucial piece of the Air Force's plan to eventually replace all of its fighter jets with the fifth-generation F-35s and F-22s, as the service needs an upgraded trainer fleet to properly train its rising pilots to fly single-seat F-22 and F-35 fighters.

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