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KAI Delivers 12 FA-50GF (Gap Filler) to Poland, 15 Months After Contract Signing

In September 2022, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and the Polish government signed a US$3 billion (RM13.5 billion) contract for the acquisition of 48 FA-50 light fighter aircraft, developed by the South Korean aircraft manufacturer.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has announced the completion of the first delivery of 12 FA-50GF (Gap Filler) fighter jets to Poland, approximately 15 months after signing a $3 billion (RM13.5 billion) contract with the European nation.

In September 2022, KAI and the Polish government signed the contract for the acquisition of 48 FA-50 light fighter aircraft, developed by the South Korean aircraft  manufacturer.

“Starting with the delivery of the first and second units of FA-50GF aircraft to the country at the Minsk airbase in July of last year, the company has fulfilled the contract without any issues, supplying all 12 units to the Polish Air Force,” stated KAI.

The company is scheduled to deliver the remaining 36 FA-50PL aircraft, a variant with additional configurations as per the Polish Air Force’s requirements, from 2025 to 2028, incorporating upgrades in avionics and weaponry.

KAI’s CEO, Kang Goo-young, emphasized the successful collaboration between the company and Poland as a key factor in delivering the 12 FA-50GF aircraft to Poland on schedule.

He expressed intentions to further enhance defense cooperation with Poland, contributing to the improvement of its air force through KAI’s technology and production capabilities.

FA-50
Polish FA-50GF

 

Poland aims to retire its entire fleet of Russian-made MiG-29 and Su-22 aircraft, replacing them with FA-50GF and FA-50PL fighter jets manufactured by KAI.

The country is set to receive 36 FA-50PL, a variant based on the FA-50 Block 20, similar to those ordered by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).

In June last year, a roll-out ceremony for the Polish Air Force’s FA-50GF fighter jets took place in Sacheon, approximately 300 km from Seoul, at KAI’s headquarters.

South Korean media described the event as “remarkable” due to its swift execution, just eight months after the contract signing in September 2022 for the first FA-50GF aircraft’s roll-out.

In August of the same year, the United States Department of Defense announced its agreement to sell 34 units of the latest targeting pods, the “Sniper” Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP), valued at $124.7 million (RM561 million), to be integrated into South Korean-made FA-50 fighter aircraft for Poland.

FA-50

The 200 kg Sniper ATP targeting pod is a proven electro-optical tracking system responsible for high-precision target tracking and reconnaissance, supporting air-to-air and air-to-ground missions over land and sea.

Lockheed Martin is reportedly in the final stages of integrating the Sniper ATP targeting pod onto the U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber.

At the LIMA ’23 event, Malaysia’s Ministry of Defence signed an agreement with KAI to acquire 18 FA-50 Block 20 aircraft, with the RMAF expected to receive the first four aircraft in October 2026.

Following this initial delivery, the RMAF anticipates receiving the remaining 14 FA-50 Block 20 or FA-50M fighter jets in subsequent phases.

Malaysia and Poland are the only nations utilizing the FA-50 Block 20 variant, recognized as the most advanced among the FA-50 light fighter aircraft variants.

The FA-50 Block 20 variant for Malaysia and Poland will undergo upgrades, including the installation of Raytheon’s PhantomStrike AESA radar, Chobham air-to-air refueling pods, and the capability to launch Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air and air-to-ground guided missiles, along with smart bombs. — DSA

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