At least two more South Korean-made supersonic advanced trainers and light combat aircraft, FA-50PH “Fighting Eagle”, will be joining the Philippine Air Force (PAF) inventory on March 27.
FA-50PHs with tail numbers 007 and 008 will be delivered at Clark Airbase in Angeles City, Pampanga.
With the pending arrival of these aircraft, the number of Mach 1.5 capable jets in PAF inventory will climb to eight, Air Force spokesperson Col. Antonio Francisco said.
The first two FA-50PH units were delivered last Nov. 28, 2015 while the second batch was handed over last December 8.
While the third batch was turned over to the PAF last Feb. 22.
Francisco said they expect Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the aircraft manufacturer, to deliver the remaining four FA-50PHs within the year.
The PAF’s 12-plane order from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is worth PHP18.9 billion.
The FA-50PHs has a top speed of Mach 1.5 or one and a half times the speed of sound and is capable of being fitted air-to-air missiles, including the AIM-9 “Sidewinder” air-to-air and heat-seeking missiles aside from light automatic cannons.
The FA-50PHs will act as the country’s interim fighter until the Philippines get enough experience of operating fast jet assets and money to fund the acquisition of more capable fighter aircraft.
The FA-50PH design is largely derived from the F-16 “Fighting Falcon”, and they have many similarities: use of a single engine, speed, size, cost, and the range of weapons.