T-50 Program Milestones

By Eric Hehs Posted 14 February 2010

The T-50 program began as a joint development between Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries to meet the advanced jet training needs of the Republic of Korea Air Force. More than 100 aircraft have been built and delivered to the RoKAF. The latest version currently in production is the FA-50 light combat aircraft.

April 1989

The development of an indigenous jet trainer was proposed by ROKAF to the Republic of Korea Ministry of Defense.

November 1991

A concept development plan for the trainer was approved by the Republic of Korea Ministry of Defense.

October 1992

Concept development phase began for the new trainer.

December 1995

Concept development phase was completed.

July 1997

Republic of Korea designates the KTX-2 a National Program.

September 1997

Contract for the T-50 is officially signed.

October 1997

Full-scale development program began. 

November 1997

Workshare and technical assistance program with Lockheed Martin began.

16 July 1999

PDR completed

31 August 1999

Outer mold lines of the design are finalized. 

22 February 2000

KTX-2 is officially renamed the T-50 in recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of the Republic of Korea Air Force.

4 August 2000

CDR completed

10 November 2000

T-50 Joint Marketing Agreement between KAI and Lockheed Martin is signed forming T-50 International

15 January 2001

Major sections of T-50 No. 1 are mated for the first time.

14 September 2001

T-50 No. 1 rolls out 100 days ahead of schedule

31 October 2001

Official rollout ceremony for T-50 No. 1 at Sachon. The ceremony is attended by Korea President Kim

2 January 2002

Static loads testing begins.

17 April 2002

First Flight Readiness Review is completed on schedule.

22 July 2002

Durability testing begins.

20 August 2002

First flight of T-50 No. 1

28 October 2002

Rollout of T-50 No. 3, the first T-50 LIFT version

30 October 2002

Official First Flight Event Ceremony

8 November 2002

First flight of T-50 No. 2

22 November 2002

Aircraft reached 40,000-ft operational ceiling

19 February 2003

First supersonic flight

25 April 2003

Durability testing representing one lifetime for a T-50 airframe is completed.

28 April 2003

100th test flight is completed; the T-50 reaches Mach 1.2 for the first time

28 July 2003

Initial Operational Assessment flights begin

12 August 2003

Second lifetime durability testing begins

14 August 2003

Initial Operational Assessment flying successfully completed

20 August 2003

Ultimate static loads testing completed on schedule

29 August 2003

First flight of lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) version

September 2003

Last of four FSD aircraft (second LIFT version) enter flight test program

September 2003

First flight of A-50

December 2003

T-50 production contract signed

November 2004

First gun firing and external fuel tank drop of A-50

May 2005

1,000th test flight of the full-scale development program

August 2005

T-50 flight test program concludes after completing 1,146 flights.

August 2005

Roll out of first production T-50

October 2005

Public debut of T-50 at Seoul Air Show

November 2005

First AIM-9 air-to-air missile firing from A-50

December 2005

First and second production T-50s delivered to ROKAF

January 2006

Conclusion of A-50 flight test program after completing 1,411 flights

October 2006

A-50 renamed TA-50 and FA-50

January 2007

T-50 is selected as aircraft for ROKAF aerial demonstration team, the Black Eagles.

April 2007

First group of ROKAF student pilots inducted into T-50 training course.

October 2007

First group of ROKAF student pilots graduate from T-50 training course.

November 2007

2,000th test flight for full-scale development program.

October 2008

FA-50 development program approved.

June 2009

FA-50 preliminary design review

October 2009

Public debut of Black Eagles flying T-50 at Seoul Air Show.

March 2010

First T-50B delivery (to Black Eagles)

May 2010

Last T-50 delivered to ROKAF


Introduction of TA-50 LIFT course to ROKAF


First FA-50 deployment

Eric Hehs is the editor of Code One.
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