Thailand commissions trainer jets imported from Korea

SEOUL, The Thai Air Force has completed the deployment of the first four T-50TH supersonic trainer jets imported from South Korea, the manufacturer of the aircraft said Thursday.

The Korea Aerospace Industries Co. (KAI) said a related ceremony was held at the Takhli Air Force Base, some 240 kilometers northwest of Bangkok. It was attended by the country's Air Force chief Johm Rungswang, Seoul's Ambassador to Thailand Noh Kwang-il, KAI President Kim Jo-won and dozens of other officials.

"I appreciate the Thai air force's active support for the deployment of T-50TH," Kim said during the event. "We will continue to make contributions to follow-up programs for the modernization of its air power."

KAI, South Korea's sole aircraft maker, signed a 110-million-dollar contract with Thailand in 2015 for the sale of the four planes. They were delivered to the Southeast Asian nation earlier this year.

The T-50THs will begin to replace the nation's existing L-39 trainer aircraft.

KAI clinched another deal, worth US$260 million, to supply Thailand with eight additional T-50THs. Their delivery is scheduled to take place by 2020.

KAI said the successful debut of the T-50 Golden Eagle in Thailand is expected to have a positive effect on efforts to export more KT-1 and FA-50 light attack aircraft.

KAI said it has exported 145 T-50 and KT-1 basic trainer planes to seven countries, including Indonesia, Turkey, Peru, the Philippines and Senegal.

It's also trying to sell T-50s to the United States, Argentina and Botswana.

Meanwhile, KAI announced a plan to help the construction and remodeling of schools in the vicinity of Takhli in a corporate social responsibility program designed to promote friendly ties between the two nations.

Source: Yonhap News Agency