According to Defense24, Poland has decided to order 48 KAI FA-50 light fighters from South Korea.
These fighters will be used to train the country’s air force pilots, as well as support F-16 fighters if necessary. In addition, if the FA-50 proves capable, Poland can order other Korean fighters such as the KF-21 Boramea.
In the effort to turn Poland into a military power of Europe, air power is indispensable. The addition of a large number of fighters is necessary to increase the ability to fight in the sky, and even if Korea is not a long-standing aircraft manufacturer like the US or Europe, its fighters proved to be the best fit for Poland’s needs.
“We carefully considered factors such as combat ability, delivery schedule, defense interests before choosing Korean-made fighters. Long-standing manufacturers such as the US and Europe do not can make delivery commitments in a short time like Korea, in addition, the price of the West is not as reasonable. It is expected that the first FA-50 fighter will be delivered in early 2023,” said Mariusz Błaszczak, Polish Defense Minister.
According to Błaszczak, another special advantage that made the FA-50 chosen is because it is quite similar to the country’s main fighter, the F-16. For that reason, the FA-50 is an aircraft more suitable for training young pilots. In addition, the operating and maintenance costs of the fighter from Korea are also very comfortable.
“A pilot trained with FA-50 only needs a few hours to operate an F-16. Compared to the M-346, the Korean fighter brings outstanding efficiency, as well as shortens the training time and cost,” said Minister Błaszczak.
FA-50 is a light multirole fighter, with a maximum speed of 1,770 km/h, capable of carrying 3.7 tons of weapons on 7 hardpoints. To deal with adversaries in the air, the fighter uses AIM-9 infrared air-to-air missiles and AIM-120 radar-guided long-range missiles. In ground operations, the FA-50 uses short-range AGM-65 Maverick missiles and a variety of bombs, including American or Israeli-made smart bombs.