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Under the deal, valued at about 400 billion won ($305 million), KAI will develop four prototypes of the T-50 trainer into advanced light attack  jets by 2012; the new jet will be designated the FA-50. A separate deal  on production will be sealed after that, according to DAPA and KAI  officials.

Developed in 2006, the $21 million Mach 1.4 T-50 is South Korea's first indigenous supersonic aircraft and the world's only high-performance supersonic trainer in production. KAI is the prime contractor and  Lockheed Martin is the principal subcontractor, assisting with  development and  international marketing 

With the modifications, the FA-50 will have advanced tactical data link  systems and
precision missile guidance equipment, the officials said.For example, the jet will be outfitted with the Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD) kit, incorporating an internal navigation system and  flip-out control fins to guide bombs. The WCMD corrects launch errors,  determines atmospheric conditions and computes optimum flight paths and cluster bomb release points.

The Air Force wants to introduce up to 150 FA-50s to replace the A-37  attack aircraft and F-4/F-5 fighters currently serving as a low-tier  backup to its higher-class KF-16 and F-15K fighters, the source said. According to DAPA officials, the FA-50 will be equipped with the  EL/M-2032 radar from Elta Systems, which is credited with a  look-up tracking range of 65 to 100 kilometers.

The FA-50 program had been stalled for years over the selection of a  radar system. DAPA originally wanted to equip the plane with the lightweight Vixen-500E active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, developed by U.K. firm Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems, and to  launch the project. But co-developer Lockheed Martin opposed the move, citing protection of its technology




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