Lockheed carries out first test flight of second T-50A aircraft


Lockheed Martin has conducted the test flight of its second T-50A aircraft, which is the company's offering for the US Air Force's (USAF) advanced pilot training (APT) competition.

The second production-ready T-50A performed its inaugural flight in Greenville, South Carolina, on 20 February.

Developed jointly by Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), T-50A will replace the T-38, and train the next-generation of pilots to fly fifth-generation aircraft, including F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.

The aircraft can also be used to train pilots for frontline fourth-generation aircraft.

The T-50A is claimed to deliver the fighter-like performance and capabilities needed to eliminate fifth-generation training gaps and inefficiencies.

The company's T-50A ground-based training system features technologies that deliver an immersive, synchronised ground-based training platform.

The aircraft was manufactured at the company's final assembly and checkout (FACO) facility in Greenville, South Carolina, US.

The T-50A FACO and operations centre was opened in August 2016.

"More than 1,800 pilots have been trained in over 150 T-50s that are currently in service."

The T-50A aircraft configuration is based on South Korea’s FA-50, which is equipped with air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, along with an avionics suite that contains an electronic warfare suite, a multi-mode radar and an advanced data-link.

To date, more than 1,800 pilots have been trained in over 150 T-50s that are currently in service.

The aircraft has recorded 200,000 flight hours so far, Lockheed stated.


Image: The T-50A aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.