South Korea seeks to build T-50 jet training center in Portugal


South Korea is seeking to build a pilot training center in Portugal that will be equipped with Korean Aerospace Industries’ T-50 supersonic military jet trainers. a government source in Seoul said Saturday. Portugal was tapped as the primary negotiation partner for the International Military Flight Training Center Consortium (IMFACC) last year. Negotiations about the US$267 million Korean venture are currently underway, and expected to lead to the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in March.

Seoul plans to invest over quarter billion dollars in the project over 30 years, to set up this jet pilot training facility. The center will be manned by South Korean military instructors who will be tasked with training foreign pilots on the T-50 Golden Eagle. Since 2009 Seoul has been looking for sites for the IMFACC in the United States, the Philippines and Spain.

The plan is part of Seoul’s campaign to promote attract international interest in the T-50. The supersonic Golden Eagle trainer is already in service with the South Korean Air Force and was selected last year as the future trainer for the Indonesian Air Force. It is currently being evaluated by a number of air forces, including Israel and Poland.