It would appear that Korea Aerospace Industries (“KAI”) has notched another major export sale of the T-50 series jet trainer. This time to Iraq and specifically the F/A-50 variant, which will be called the T-50IQ. I am guessing that “IQ” is for “Iraq.” According to Yonhap late last week KAI and the Iraqi Air Force signed a deal worth $1.1 billion for the planes and another $900 million for training and support equipment over 20 years. The total deal is expected to be a little over $2 billion.
This would be Korea’s largest single defense related export order. According to Aviation Week, although the planes will be called the T-50IQ, Iraq will essentially be getting an F/A-50, which is the radar and weapons equipped variant of the T-50 trainer. One thing influencing this order is the fact that the Iraqis do have Lockheed F-16C Block 52s on order and the T-50 class jets share many design similarities with the F-16, thus this would make training much simpler.