Iraq has reportedly received its 24th and final Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) T-50IQ Fighting Eagle light fighter and trainer aircraft, which is the Iraqi Air Force variant of the T-50 Golden Eagle/FA-50 Fighting Eagle.
According to Janes, the delivery of the final batch of aircraft marks an end to the six-year procurement process that was launched in December 2013.
The President of Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has said that Iraq has proposed building a new airfield in the southern part of the country.
“Iraqi authorities suggested the need for a military airbase for the new jets, and although no deal has been signed, KAI expressed a desire to pursue talks on this matter,” Ha Sung-yong (pictured) said.
He added that the new airfield would be used as a base for the 24 FA-50 light attack fighters that it has agreed to sell Iraq last December in a deal worth US$1.1 billion (1.3 trillion Iraqi dinars).
The aircraft have already been paid for and will be delivered from 2015 through 2016.
The KAI’s chief said that more detailed negotiations on the airfield will take place in August.
According to a report from Yonhap, the KAI would likely go into Iraq in cooperation with a builder to construct the airfield, which may be worth $600-700 million.
“Building the airfield is not hard, although setting up related facilities and systems to control aircraft requires know-how that KAI can share,” the CEO said.
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has signed a $1.1 billion contract with Iraq to export T-50 supersonic advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft.
The deal for the 24 aircraft, which includes the training of Iraqi pilots, was signed today in Baghdad by KAI’s President and CEO, Ha Sung-yong, Defense Acquisition Program Administration’s Administrator, Lee Young-geol and the ROKAF deputy chief of staff, Kim Hyung-chol as well as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Following the contract, KAI will be entitled to supply its follow-on support to the Iraq Air Force for over two decades, bringing the total value to more than $2 billion.
The company says that it faced strong competition from the UK, Russia and the Czech Republic, with the BAE‘s Hawk-128, Yakovlev‘s Yak-130, and Aero‘s L-159 respectively.
(Sources: KAI, Office of the Iraqi Prime Minister)