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Iraq to buy 24 F/A-50s

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.

photo credit: Airwolfhound – Over 1 million views, thanks :-) via photopin cc

  • Duke of Qin

    Looks like some major kickbacks/corruption going on in this deal. 45 million for an aircraft that Korea and Indonesia are paying 30 million a pop.

  • BSDetector

    Brings back memories of all the protesting here in Korea about the evil occupation in Iraq by America. Several fat utility and now military contracts later it seems to have quieted down. Funny how money does that. Wonder what the comparison of ROI’s per nation involved in the MNF-I effort would look like, I’m betting the US would be dead last.

  • kaizenmx

    Implying ‘murica’s invasion of Iraq was not based off some total BS made up by some power hungry, corrupted to the bone old geezer called cheney?

    Thanks to ‘murica, Iraq is now worse than it was under Hussein.

    them bringing freedom fries turned iraq into a country now run by tribal muslim war lords.

  • BSDetector

    I can see how you thought I was implying that based off of how I said absolutely nothing about that. You eat Retarded-O’s for breakfast or something?

  • bumfromkorea

    Funny how money does that.

    Along with, you know, passage of time.

  • BSDetector

    Because we know time heals all wounds. Like remember when racism used to be an issue in America because of the ghosts of slavery’s past? Or how about way back in the days of yore when the RoK was mad at Japan about the Comfort Women issue? Ancient history!

  • bumfromkorea

    Not all wounds, and I wouldn’t describe Korean protesters’ disagreement w/ the Iraq War as “wounds” in the first place. Now, if we were talking about the Iraqis being happy with something America because they got money, then your attempt to link this issue with slavery or comfort women wouldn’t be problematic.

    Also, I didn’t note this before, but my guess is that the good folks at KAI and those protesters are different people. I mean, possibly those protesters then worked their way up to the decision-making positions in KAI… but probably not.

  • BSDetector

    It’s entirely possible that those who lead that particular protest charge cared nothing about the actual issue are were DPRK agents. You never know.
    I just felt like pointing out how people who once wagged the finger of shame at America are now profitting from the shameful act. RoK’s not #1 btw, Russia, China, and France went hardcore after those oil fields when they were auctioned by Iraq.

    Additionaly: No attempt to link this with slavery or comfort women. Twas a comedic parallel but I suspect you knew that. :P

  • bumfromkorea

    I just felt like pointing out how people who once wagged the finger of
    shame at America are now profitting from the shameful act.

    Therein lies the problem. Try to see them as individuals, or failing that, at least distinguish between the protesters and Korean equivalent of Lockheed Martin/Boeing. In the words of the late Patrice O’Neal, “They’re people, not jellies.”

  • BSDetector

    What context was that said in? Tried to find a reference but failed.

  • wangkon936

    Iraq’s T-50s will have significantly more bells & whistles than Indonesia’s. Iraq’s T-50s are at the full F/A-50 standard whereas Indonesia’s is only at T/A-50 standard. Iraq’s planes will have better radar, avionics and weapons capability and serve triple roles as trainers, air-to-air fighters and ground attack. Indonesia’s planes will only be optimized for trainer and ground attack roles.

    The remainder of the cost difference is probably prepaid spare parts, with the Iraqis having likely paid more for spare parts to lock in cost increases.

  • wangkon936

    Different wounds heal at different rates and leave different types of scars depending on the severity, length and depth of the injury.

  • wangkon936

    The issue here is that you are seeing the Koreans as one big giant monolith and that is not what they are. There was a segment of the population that was against American deployment into Iraq and then there was a segment of the Korean population that didn’t mind being a part of the “coalition of the willing” and even sending troops and providing diplomatic and material support to America’s war in Iraq.

    I think what you are forgetting is that the segment of the Korean population that fulfilled its alliance commitments to the U.S. was larger than the portion of the Korean population that was against the 2003 war.

    Korea was only able to send troops to Iraq via parliamentary vote. I remember watching the vote on CSPAN.

  • Duke of Qin

    Have you ever been a car salesman? You sure sound like one. Impact resistant child safe rear cargo netting? 5 million extra? Sold!

    Iraq’s aircraft and Korea/Indonesia’s aren’t any different. They are in fact, apples to apples comparisons. All the spares and training are covered under the separate contract. In fact, the Iraqi aircraft should probably be cheaper since they will be forgoing the Israeli EL/M 2032 for the US ANPG-67 (no Jewish gear in my halal aircraft). The engines are still going to be GE F-404′s. There is really nothing that Korea can add to the aircraft that’s worth an extra 15 million.

    Your bringing up the example of the Philippines isn’t exactly helping your case any in trying to claim that there isn’t a nice stash of kickbacks involved.

  • seouldout

    And how often you pick at it.

  • BSDetector

    Wow there sure is no shortage of people drunk off their own cool aid here. How are you going to tell me what my issue is? I stated what my issue was and require no interpretation on your part to augment (read twist) it.

    You remember the vote on CSPAN eh? Well I remember standing there, in Iraq, with Koreans; so I don’t need your bow-tie explanation of whether or not the RoK’s commitments were fulfilled because I saw what they did (read or more to the point what they didn’t do) with my own eyes.

  • wangkon936

    Well, okay, then what did you see in Iraq?

  • wangkon936

    Or how often the Japanese remind you you got a scar there by pretending like they didn’t contribute to it at all.

  • Wedge1

    Good win for Lockheed.

  • wangkon936

    Nope. I was never a salesman, but I was interviewed by the CIA for their military imagery analyst position. Not BSing. True story.

    Look. On the surface of it $45M for a F/A-50 looks like a lot when per unit retail is ~$35M. I get it. And this deal can have so-called “kick-backs.” I get that too and I’m not refuting the possibility that such exist in this deal. However, let’s think about this logically. It’s like laundering money. You have to be discrete to get away with it. You tend to hid “kick-backs” in softer expenses like “training” or “consulting.” You don’t hid them in hard expenses like assets that have a defined market value. That’s just insane. If you believe that then you just got an “F” in Money Laundering and Corruption 101.

    I honestly do think that once a formal breakdown of what the Iraqis are getting for their $45M average unit cost it will make sense. If it was just for the stock airframe then this deal doesn’t have a chance of passing Iraqi parliament and everyone’s time is being wasted. I think at the very least the Koreans are smart enough to realize that. Also, if there are “kick-backs” going on then I would also think that both the Koreans and the Iraqis know enough about corruption to know how to make it a lot less conspicuous.

  • wangkon936

    They probably helped with the negotiations. The fact that F-16C Block 52s are already on order didn’t hurt either.

  • wangkon936

    Here’s something from Defense Industry Daily on the deal:

    “Iraq signs a $1.1 billion deal to buy 24 FA-50 light fighters.The price works out to about $46 million per plane, but it necessarily includes added costs like initial training infrastructure. If the Iraqis have learned anything from their other programs, it will also include a solid initial supply of spare parts.”


  • Duke of Qin

    What part of “another $900 million for training and support equipment over 20 years” is too hard to understand?

    I never claimed any of the Iraqi or Korean parties involved were genius master criminals. Look how blatantly Lockheed Martin has been able to milk their F-35 trillion dollar cash cow.

  • kaizenmx

    So you are bitching about the fact that Korea participated in another america’s bullshit illegal war?

    i don’t get you, soldier boy.

  • wangkon936

    Yeah. If there were “kick-backs” they would have to be hidden in the softer expenses which would more likely be in the $900M training deal rather than the $1.1B hardware deal. I would tend to agree with that… but that’s not what you had originally said.

  • wangkon936

    Poland just got the 8 (with the option for four more)
    Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master, the T-50′s arch rival.

  • adeptitus

    Military aircraft pricing can vary widely depending on what’s included and how it’s calculated. Please see wiki article “Understanding aircraft unit costs” for more information. Iraq is not only paying “above market” for the FA-50, they’re also paying above market for the F-16IQ. There are numerous reasons for this and, yes, there will be kickbacks and grease payments in military sales. But understand that the security situation in Iraq is worse than Indonesia, An American trucker on contract working in Iraq, for example, is paid well over 6 figures for the danger and risks. The trucker’s housing compound will require additional armed security and staff which will incur additional costs. Foreign labor, supplies, parts, etc. are all going to be more expensive.

  • blue01

    These kind of military purchases are usually package deals and includes logistics, training, initial spare parts, ground equipments/infrastructre, may or may not include simulators, ground-based training systems, etc..

    Iraq may have opted for a more comprehensive package deal as compared to what Indonesia got and what Philippines is currently negotiating.

    Then there is the question of payment schemes. From earlier talks I know Korea is willing to accept Oil as payment rather than Cash. Philippines is paying cold Cash. No counter-trades and for what I know no offsets either. Straight-up purchase plus 52% outright downpayment in Cash.

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