16 T-50 supersonic trainer jets built by the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and delivered to Indonesia, have completed their deployment in the Southeast Asian country.
The KAI unveiled on February 14 that a ceremony celebrating their force integration was held at Halim Perdanakusumah Airport in Jakarta with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the South Korean Air Force chief, and senior military officials of the two nations in attendance.
After signing a US$400 million deal in 2011, KAI delivered 16 T-50i planes between September and January using ferry flights via Taiwan and the Philippines.
The export of T-50s to Indonesia has made South Korea the world’s sixth exporter of supersonic aircraft. The KAI expects that the export will induce production worth US$650 million, a value-added inducement effect of US$170 million jets, and new jobs for 7,700 people.
KAI President Ha Sung-yong vowed to provide maintenance and other support for the Indonesian Air Force in the following decades, giving thanks to Indonesia for holding such a grand celebration of the T-50i deployment.
Indonesia is the biggest buyer in Southeast Asia for South Korea’s defense industry, buying Korean-made submarines and trainer jets. The country is also participating in Seoul’s indigenous fighter development program, codenamed KFX, investing about 20 percent of the initial development cost. The KFX project aims to build F-16 class fighter jets to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of F-4 and F-5 fighter planes, while eying the overseas market with homegrown aircraft.