The Iraqi Air Force (IqAF) received a new batch of six KAI T-50IQ Golden Eagle light combat aircraft from South Korea, the air force announced.
According to the IqAF statement released on Monday, six T-50 jets had arrived in a military airbase in Baghdad.
This is reportedly the fourth batch of aircraft delivered to the air force. IqAF commander Lieutenant General Anwar Hamad Amin had announced last year that the IqAF received its first batch of KAI T-50IQ jets on 16 March, 2017.
Iraq was negotiating the acquisition of T-50 jets, having first publicly expressed official interest during the Korea-Iraq summit in Seoul on 24 February 2009. In April 2010, Iraq reopened the jet lead-in fighter-trainer (LIFT) competition for 24 aircraft, in which TA-50 competed.
In December 2013, Iraq signed a contract for 24 South Korean T-50IQ fighter jets, plus additional equipment and pilot training over the next 20 years. The contract was initially estimated at $1.1 billion, but the manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) later put the figure beyond $2 billion as it would be supporting the jets for 20 years.
T-50IQ is an Iraqi Air Force version of the FA-50 light attack variant of the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced trainer jet.
The T-50 is South Korea’s first indigenous supersonic aircraft and one of the world’s few supersonic trainers. It was developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) with Lockheed Martin.
Development began in the late 1990s, and its maiden flight occurred in 2002. The aircraft entered active service with the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) in 2005.