London-based International Test Pilot School (ITPS) says it’s reached a deal with Korea Aerospace Industries that will eventually lead to the school acquiring up to 12 FA-50 Fighting Eagle light combat and training aircraft. Initially, ITPS has agreed to “promote the FA-50 for tactical and adversary training” but plans to replace its fleet of L-39 Albatrosses with the modern platform. “The aircraft’s performance, flying qualities, and mission capabilities make it the ideal platform for tactical and adversary training missions and a great fit for ITPS to replace our L-39 fleet,” said ITPS CEO Giorgio Clementi.
ITPS has five L-39s along with three L-29s and two Hawker Hunters and teaches test pilot and tactical training courses. It has several military contracts. The FA-50 is the latest version of the T-50, which was Korea’s first homegrown military aircraft and the first supersonic trainer. It’s been ordered by the Philippine and Thai air forces and was considered for the U.S. Air Force’s trainer replacement program but was not selected. Each aircraft costs more than $30 million.