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Six RMAF Pilots To Commence FA-50M Training in South Korea Early 2026

The intensive training for RMAF pilots will span between three to six months, contingent upon the performance of the involved pilots and is slated to take place at an airbase of the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) in Gwangju, East Asia.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Six Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) pilots are set to embark on intensive training to operate the FA-50M light fighter aircraft at the onset of 2026, according to a report from the national news agency, BERNAMA, citing an industry source.

The report indicates that the intensive training for RMAF pilots will span between three to six months, contingent upon the performance of the involved pilots.

This training initiative is slated to take place at an airbase of the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) in Gwangju, East Asia.

“The intensive training will utilize the advanced trainer aircraft T-50 ‘Golden Eagle,‘ developed jointly by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Lockheed Martin from the United States.

“Only after training with the T-50 ‘Golden Eagle’ advanced trainer aircraft, will they (RMAF pilots) transition to operating the actual FA-50M light fighter aircraft acquired by the country,” stated the source to BERNAMA today.

FA-50

During the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) in May last year, the Ministry of Defense and South Korea’s leading aerospace company, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), inked a contract worth RM4 billion for the acquisition of 18 FA-50M light fighter aircraft.

Meanwhile, the involved industry source also informed BERNAMA that the initial batch of four FA-50M light fighter aircraft will commence delivery to RMAF in October 2026, followed by the remaining 14 aircraft in stages.

“The final delivery of FA-50M aircraft to RMAF is anticipated to occur in 2028,” they added.

The FA-50M light fighter aircraft to be acquired by RMAF is the most modern and capable variant of the FA-50 Block 20, compared to other variants procured by other countries including South Korea and several Southeast Asian nations.

The FA-50/T-50 light fighter aircraft manufactured by South Korea are also utilized by the air forces of Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines in Southeast Asia.

FA-50

Speaking to BERNAMA in Langkawi last May, KAI Chief Executive Officer Kang Goo-Young stated that Malaysia’s acquisition of the FA-50 Block 20 variant (FA-50M) is more advanced and capable compared to the FA-50 variant operated by ROKAF.

One of the key differences between Malaysia’s FA-50M variant and others is that the RMAF’s light fighter aircraft will be equipped with an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and various state-of-the-art electronic components and aerial refuelling equipment.

The FA-50M variant to be owned by RMAF will also feature the capability to launch missiles and highly-precision bombs.

Additionally, Malaysia’s FA-50M aircraft will be equipped with the “Sniper” Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) targeting pod developed by the US defense firm, Lockheed Martin.

Weighing approximately 200kg, the Sniper ATP targeting pod provides its users with upgraded capabilities for target detection and identification, as well as continuous surveillance for all missions executed, including close support for ground forces.

The Sniper ATP system is a proven targeting pod in combat theaters utilized by the United States and international customers, including F-15E, F-16 (all Blocks), B-1, A-10C, Harrier GR7/9, and F/A-18 aircraft. — DSA

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