Two of the 12 FA-50 fighters of the PHP18.9 billion contract signed by President Benigno C. Aquino III in South Korea on March 28, 2014 has been received by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) ahead of schedule in December 2015.
“FA-50PH’s maiden flight took place on 19 June after the Philippines has signed a contract for 12 KAI FA-50 fighter aircraft in March last year,” South Korea’s Korean Aerospace Industry said
High timer PAF pilots were selected to train using the FA-50 fighters in South Korea. These pilots will then become the instructor pilots to train the other pilots in army.
The new FA-50s have a more advanced weaponry system than what the country has in present, which are ‘ancient’ planes like Nomad which can do only 8-9 hour round trips, as Pres. Aquino told reporters in Busan, South Korea.
It could load up to 4.5 tons of weapons and has a wide-range of mobilization system. FA-50 has also, 20 mm three-barrel gun that can fire at extremely high rate internally installed.
FA-50 can be fitted with AIM-9 Sidewinder, a short-range air-to-air missile; AGM-65, an air-to-surface missile designed for close-air support missions; cluster bombs and rocket launchers.
KAI assured that by 2017 the procurement will be complete.
Walter Marc C. Cantero
Leyte Normal University