Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) announced the beginning of final assembly for the first T-50 prototype aircraft. A formal ceremony celebrating this important milestone for the T-50/A-50 Advanced Trainer/Light Combat Aircraft program took place on January 15, 2001 at KAI's aircraft plant in Sachon, South Korea, with guests from the Korean government and program partners.
The forward, center and aft fuselages, along with the tails, were mated together for the first time, earmarking the start of Mate-Through-Delivery (MTD). MTD was originally scheduled to take place on April 20, 2001, but was successfully started three months early and only 17 months after the freeze of the outer mold line design. The schedule was reduced by implementing a disciplined design, development and fabrication approach that decreased the typical drawing release time by eight months and parts fabrication and subassembly time by five months.
"This truly is a remarkable feat," said Charles W. Smith, the T-50 program director of the major program partner, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. "The T-50 team was able to successfully achieve this milestone by taking advantage of the modern design tools and methods we've developed on our other programs and applying them to this program. Our success can also be attributed to the hard work, dedication and cooperation of the entire T-50 team."
The beginning of MTD signifies that the program is entering a period of new and greater challenges. With almost 50 percent of the development objectives already achieved, the verification and validation of the design will be performed through rigorous ground and flight test phases. The rollout of the first prototype aircraft is schedule for September 28 this year, three months ahead of schedule, with first flight scheduled for mid 2002.
"This represents a tremendous achievement," said In-Taik Lim, president of KAI, in his speech during the ceremony. "But we cannot dwell on this success as the world's major air forces are watching us very carefully, showing great interest in the future program milestones, such as flight test."
The interest of the international marketplace in T-50 is quite positive, with detail product information requested by several air forces around the world. KAI and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company signed a Joint Marketing Agreement and established "T-50 International" (TFI) in November 2000 to conduct international marketing activities. The T-50 is now a part of the product portfolio of Lockheed Martin Aeronautic Company and is subject to the full support of the company's international market development organization and capabilities.
"As the world's only new supersonic advanced trainer and light combat aircraft, the T-50/A-50 has a great potential to fill the requirements of most air forces as older generation aircraft, like the T-38 and F-5, begin to retire," said Alex Jun, TFI Marketing Director from KAI. "We anticipate a market for up to 800 T-50/A-50 trainers and attack aircraft."
Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd. is the Republic of Korea's national aerospace company established in 1999 with the consolidation of Samsung Aerospace, Daewoo Heavy Industries, and Hyundai Space and Aircraft Company. KAI lines of business include fixed-wing aircraft, helicopter aircraft and satellites. Its major products are KF-16, KT-1 basic trainer, T-50/A-50, SB427 helicopters, aerostructures and KOMPSAT satellite.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company is a leader in the design, development, systems integration, production and support of advanced military aircraft and related technologies. Its customers include the military services of the United States and allied countries throughout the world. Products include the F-22, F-16, F-117, C-5, C-27J, C-130, P-3, U-2 and X-33. The company is leading a team proposing for the development and production of the Joint Strike Fighter. LM Aeronautics is a unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation
For information on Lockheed Martin Corporation, visit: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/.
For information on Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, visit: http://www.lmaeronautics.com/.
For information on Korea Aerospace Industries, visit: http://www.koreaaero.com/.
SOURCE: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company; Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd.
Contact: Mike Nipper of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company,
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