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S. Korea seeks export of new-generation fighter-trainer
Major Orders Expected to Dominate Dubai Air Show
Workers at the Airport Expo. There are more than 140 aircraft on display, and demonstrations of commercial and military aircraft are scheduled daily.

DUBAI (WAM) —The 10th Dubai Airshow began on Nov.11 with up to 40,000 visitors attending. The air show is slated to become the largest yet for the biannual event.

The $21 billion in plane orders at the last show in 2005 could be shattered as airlines and leasing firms have said they will announce big order at the event.

The five-day show at Dubai Airport Expo kicked off with an opening ceremony and royal tour at 10am, led by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Local, regional and international dignitaries joining him.

The event, which showcases 850 exhibitors from 50 countries including Korea covering commercial, private and military aviation, is for industry professionals only.

South Korea will seek a breakthrough in its drive to export its new-generation lead-in fighter-trainer in Dubai Air Show..

The UAE is on the top of the shortlist of potential buyers of the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer jet, priced at US$25 million per plane.

The Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) developed the aircraft in partnership with Lockheed Martin and began mass production in 2005. The T-50 is the first trainer to use electronic fly-by-wire and digital flight controls for precision maneuvering. It can be modified into a light-combat plane.

The UAE is expected to select the winning bidder later this year or early next. The contract will involve dozens of jets. Some defense sources put the number at 60.

"Lee Sun-hi, commissioner of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), is in Dubai to support the KAI's last-ditch efforts to clinch the deal," a DAPA spokesman said.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Kim Eun-gi is also in Dubai to support the arms sales at the biennial air show.

The KAI's T-50 is competing with Alenia Aermacchi's M-346 for the contract.

Foreign media reported that the decision on the winning aircraft may be made at the end of the Dubai air show that runs from Nov. 11 to 15. The show brings together more than 800 defense firms from about 50 nations.

If the KAI wins the contract, South Korea will become the world's sixth country to sell supersonic trainer jets.

The KAI expects that a deal with the UAE will enhance the international reputation of the T-50.

It hopes to sell the aircraft to Greece, Singapore, the U.S. and some other countries in the Middle East.

The show is expected to put an end to months of speculation over multi-billion dollar orders from Emirates, Qatar Airways, Air Arabia and Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE).

Emirates has said it is considering an order between 50 to 100 mid-sized aircraft, and it is thought the airline will order either the Airbus A350XWB or Boeing 787 Dreamliner in a deal that could be valued at between $15 to $20 billion.
Emirates has also said it would like to double its order of A380 aircraft, which currently stands at 55.

Qatar Airways will reveal whether it is the buyer of a 30-plane order for 787 Dreamliners that has been on Boeing's order list for an "undisclosed" client.

Air Arabia said it may order as many as 50 aircraft and is expected to choose between the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 in a deal worth potentially $4 billion.

DAE also may use the airshow to announce the start of its aircraft leasing business.

The extravaganza began at 10am the first day and at 9am each of the following days. There are more than 140 aircraft on display.




 

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