Lockheed Martin has conducted the first test flight of the upgraded T-50A aircraft, which is the company’s offering for the US Air Force’s (USAF) advanced pilot training (APT) competition.
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.
The maiden flight was carried out in Sacheon, South Korea, for more than 50 minutes.
The aircraft is equipped with fifth-generation cockpit and other upgrades, meets all APT requirements and can deliver those capabilities on schedule at the lowest risk to the customer, the company said.
Lockheed Martin T-50A lead test pilot Mark Ward said: "The aircraft in its new configuration with the 5th Gen cockpit and other upgrades performed flawlessly.
"I have no doubt this aircraft will close the gap which currently exists between the trainer fleet and fifth-generation fighters."
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 Greenville Operations facility in South Carolina, US.
Lockheed and KAI are developing the aircraft in order to win the US government’s T-X project.
Under the T-X project, the US aims to replace USAF’s aging trainer replacement by procuring 1,000 airplanes.
Image: The T-50A aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.