NEWTOWN, Conn. --- Indonesia signed a contract with South Korea's Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) worth $89.4 million on November 8 at the Indo Defense 2018 Expo in Jakarta. The contract involves the sale of three KT-1B Woongbi aircraft used in the basic trainer role by the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU), as well as upgrade work involving the installation of radars and guns on the existing TNI-AU stock of T-50i Golden Eagle trainers.
Initially purchased in 2001, the KT-1B Woongbi serves as a long-term replacement for the TNI-AU's legacy fleet of Beech T-34C Turbo Mentor basic trainers acquired in the late 1970s and early 1980s. To date the aircraft type has been ordered in three batches between 2001 and 2008, resulting in the service currently fielding ten such aircraft. The three additional units ordered on November 8 will be delivered no later than early 2021.
The fleet of T-50i Golden Eagles represents the most modern trainer variant in the TNI-AU inventory. The type was ordered in May 2011 at a cost of $400 million to replace the legacy fleet of Hawk Mk 53s in the advanced training role. Deliveries of the 16 T-50s to Indonesia ran from September 2013 through February 2014, though one crashed on December 20, 2015 reducing the total to 15 in the fleet. Upgrade work on these 15 remaining units will run through 2021.