Bring It On Home

One of the two T-50TH at Kuantan airport. Internet.

SHAH ALAM: Bring it on Home. It appears that there is more to the RTAF T-50TH arrival at Kuantan airport on Jan. 10. Initially I was told that the two T-50THs made a brief stop-over at Kuantan as part of its ferry flight from South Korea to Thailand.

News reports from Thailand however had indicated that it was more of an emergency diversion than a planned stop over. The two jet trainers had suffered severe weather while flying over the South China Sea and the pilots had decided to divert to Kuantan to check the aircraft.

One of the two RTAF T-50 at Kuantan airbase today. via @KaptRahmat

Visual inspections confirmed their fears and Korean Aerospace had already told RTAF that the delivery had been delayed indefinitely until thorough checks could be done. What is not clear is whether one or both had suffered the damage.

One of the two T-50s photographed in Taiwan, the other day. Internet.

Further reports from Thailand suggested that the aircraft had suffered FOD (foreign object damage) on the engine, prompting the RTAF chief to demand KAI replaced it with a new one. This indicate one suffered damage to its engine though it does not meant the other one had not suffered any damage as well.

One of the two T-50TH at Kuantan airport. Internet.

The T-50 uses a single General Electric F404-102 turbofan engine license-produced by Samsung Techwin, upgraded with a FADEC system jointly developed by General Electric and KAI. The engine consists of three-stage fans, seven axial stage arrangement, and an afterburner

RTAF T-5OTH 40101 at Kuantan airport.

If they need to replace the engine, it is likely the T-50THs will be in Kuantan much longer. KAI probably need about 10 hours to fly out an F404-102 engine to Kuantan though it depends whether it has one in stock or it is willing to do so.

GR F404-102 engine.

An engine change will also meant that KAI need to get a hangar to do the work. Perhaps they will rent out some hangar space at Kuantan airbase or even the ATSC hangar also located there.

It is unlikely that we will be able to see the T-50THs in the flesh. My guess KAI will not allow the media to cover these episode though no fault of its own.

I had surmised that the aircraft suffered damage to the airframe by hailstones and the latest reports seemed to suggest that my assumption could be wrong. I stand to be corrected of course.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam


  1. Back in the 1990’s Mirage 111s [I forgot from which country] made a stopover at Crete. One of the Greek Air Force ground support guys by mistake managed to bend the pitot tube on one of the planes and later tried to straighten it to avoid it being noticed. They had to fly one in to enable the plane to fly.

  2. By no means, this episode shall affect it credibility for our LCA programme. The same FOD damage has happen previously on our SU30MKM (stones from tarmac) as I recalled. The things that shall affected its selection would be the Israeli avionics. I wonder if the Indonesian birds also use the Elbit equipments on board.

  3. OEMs know well enough that having ‘Made In Israel’ is not ‘kosher’ when it comes to selling to us. As such, I very much doubt the T-50 will have anything Israeli made. Eurocopter found out the hard way, with Algeria, when helicopters it delivered were rejected. The country’s Su-30s are also reported to have some Israeli gear. Indonesia is reported to have bought Israeli made UAS and of course its Skyhawks were ex Israeli, bought via a 3rd party. In the past Indonesia even had Mossad instructors to train Indonesian military intelligence on counter espionage.

    Back when we were looking at Super Hornets in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, there were plans to offer us Litening pods made under license by Zeiss. Anyway, it’s a well known fact that engineering stuff and other gear made in Israel finds find their way here; after being rerouted somewhere else and being ”rebranded”. No big deal. Like many other countries who do not officially recognise or have official ties with Israel; it will not be surprising if we have ”unofficial” channels of communications on matters of mutual importance/interest.

  4. how is kuantan nearer compared to their own AB?

    It’s nearer to South Korea via the Philippines. It is likely they were trying to avoid the need to divert to a more less friendly country.

  5. The no israel thing is hurting us and nothing more than symbolic act of stupidity. The last 40 year, everything that we bought on our own without the big boys guidance were mess of junks and worst of all unique to only us in the global scale. Like the MKM, even though they tailored to their liking, 2nd year they got their hands to it they already hate it so much that they poured 10 of millions via CTRM to try to modify the PFDs.

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