A new level of military cooperation between the East and West is set to be reached this summer with the first-time involvement of an Asian jet display team in a European airshow.
The Royal International Air Tattoo - held every year in the UK - has announced the involvement of the Republic of Korea Air Force's Black Eagles team of eight indigenous T-50 Golden Eagle aircraft.
These T-50s, along with two back-up aircraft, will be taken apart and transported to the UK in at least one large military transporter, prior to being pieced back together and reflown. They'll then go on to appear at RIAT - one of the largest military airshows in the world.
RoKAF Black Eagles
The RoKAF Black Eagles were formed in 1994 and were initially equipped with a much older aircraft design - the venerable Cessna A-37B Dragonfly - before re-equipping with the T-50s in 2010.
A trainer, the T-50's nonetheless capable of supersonic flight and was designed to give student pilots an aircraft that handles more like a combat jet, preparing them for a future in which they might fly the likes of the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Joint Strike Fighter. Manufactured by KAI, it'll join a number of similar trainer designs on show at RIAT 2012, including Russia's Yakovlev Yak-130 and Italy's Alenia Aermacchi M-346.
Fast and extremely agile, the T-50 Golden Eagles can hit speeds of up to Mach 1.5, is stressed to +8G (eight-times gravity) and boasts an extremely advanced fly-by-wire system.
Black Eagles RIAT Debut
"It is a great honour for us to host their visit - and we're pleased for the UK aircraft enthusiast community who will, I'm sure, be relishing the thought of seeing such rare visitors", Tim Prince - Chief Executive of the Air Tattoo - commented in the official Black Eagles RIAT debut press release.
"The Black Eagles are extremely proud to be representing the Republic of Korea Air Force", the Republic of Korea's UK-based Defence Attaché, Captain Chong-Ho Choi, added. "Their aim will be to perform the best flying display possible not only for the People of the Republic of Korea but also for the rest of the world.
"It is a privilege to be taking part in this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo and I hope everyone will enjoy our magnificent display."
Image copyright åè«å ±å¡ - courtesy Wikimedia Commons