Korean Air Force aerobatic team performs above the pyramids
T-50B jets from the Korean Air Force flew over the pyramids in Giza, Egypt, the first such performance by foreign planes in the skies above the historic site.
The joint performance by the Black Eagles aerobatic team and the Egyptian Air Force’s Silver Stars team during a Pyramids Air Show on Wednesday was organized by the Korean Air Force and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) to promote Korea’s bid to export FA-50 light attack fighter jets to the Middle Eastern country.
The FA-50 is the armed variant of the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer jet, which was developed jointly by KAI and Lockheed Martin.
Defense industry observers believe that Cairo’s unprecedented decision to allow a foreign aerobatic team to fly over such an historical site signals its desire to strengthen arms industry cooperation with Seoul.
The airshow was attended by around 1,000 people, including Korea’s Ambassador to Egypt Hong Jin-wook, senior Egyptian officials, and some 100 Korean residents of Egypt.
The aerobatic maneuvers performed by the Black Eagles included drawing the taegeuk symbol — the red-and-blue, yin-and-yang motif that features prominently in Korean culture and on the national flag — with smoke trails emanating.
Another maneuver, commonly known as the “rainfall,” featured the jets flying out in different directions as smoke trails fanned out behind them.
“I am honored to be here to see the historic scene,” Ambassador Hong said. “We have shared the view that the air show this time reflects the deep relationship of trust between the two countries.”
The Air Force aerobatic team has featured prominently in air shows abroad as Seoul ramps up its efforts to promote South Korean-made defense products and enhance defense cooperation.
The Black Eagles’ participation at the Pyramids Air Show follows their appearance at the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough International Airshow in Britain on July 19.
Defense officials from Korea and Britain met on the sidelines of the Farnborough air show to discuss ways to boost bilateral cooperation in arms technology through their state defense research institutes, the South Korean Agency for Defense Development (ADD) and Britain's Defense Science & Technology Laboratory.
The Black Eagles also performed at an air show in Deblin, Poland, about 120 kilometers southeast of Warsaw, on July 27.
The next day, KAI announced that it signed a $3 billion deal with Poland to export 48 FA-50 light attack fighters.
The agreement — the largest FA-50 export deal to date — was one of several contracts signed between the Korean and Polish governments the previous day to provide Warsaw with 980 K2 battle tanks and 648 K9 howitzers, in addition to the FA-50 aircraft.
Variants of the T-50 have already been sold to or selected by the air forces of Indonesia, Iraq, the Philippines and Colombia as trainers or fighters.
BY MICHAEL LEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]