After conducting an airworthiness assessment of Textron AirLand’s Scorpion light attack aircraft, the US Air Force is moving toward with a second co-operative research and development agreement (CRADA) with Lockheed Martin. Under the CRADA, the USAF will evaluate the contractor’s FA-50 fighter, which was developed jointly with Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI). The aircraft is an advanced, light combat version of KAI’s T-50 Golden Eagle.
The CRADAs allow the USAF to certify an aircraft’s airworthiness without the existence of a formal program of record and could pave the way for sales to foreign customers. The completion of a USAF airworthiness assessment is seen as a reduction in risk to potential foreign customers.
The assessment could also help Lockheed Martin’s bid to win the USAF’s T-X trainer competition. The contractor’s T-50A entry shares the same airframe and General Electric F404 engine as the FA-50.