Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has entered the final stage of bidding for the 17-trillion-won (US$15 billion) Advanced Trainer Replacement Program (APT) of the US Air Force.
KAI announced on August 16 that its consortium partner Lockheed Martin submitted the final proposal for the program to the US Air Force on August 15 (local time).
The advanced trainer project is designed to replace the US Air Force's T-38 trainer. The first batch of the project will amount to 350 units worth 17 trillion won.
KAI forged a consortium with Lockheed Martin to propose the T-50A model to the US Air Force. The T-50A is an improvement on the Korean Air Force's advanced trainer T-50.
KAI's competitor is the consortium between Boeing of the United States and Saab of Sweden. As final proposals have been submitted, the bidders are waiting for a decision by the US Air Force. The aviation industry expects the US Air Force to finally select the winner later this month or next month.
Whether or not KAI will land the ATP contact will determine KAI's position in the global defense industry. This is because in terms of size, the ATP project has been one of the largest projects that have been carried out by KAI so far and the client is the United States. Since developing the T-50 in 2006, KAI has exported about 200 units to Thailand and the Philippines to date. If KAI successfully lands the contract, KAI will be able to export 350 units to the US Air Force over the next 16 years. In addition, winning the ATP project will earn KAI an advantageous position in the US Navy's replacement of an advanced trainer (the second-phase project) around 2030.