Philippine News Agency – Another milestone has been reached in the Philippine government efforts to acquire the South Korean made F/A-50 “Fighting Eagle” jet aircraft.
After lot of pre bid conferences and planning the Department of defense Philippines has reached an important milestone to acquire new FA-50 and replace, complement Air forces turboprop attacks planes the DND requested the recommendation from PAF for awarding the project to the bidders like Embraer , HB Swiss which are part of the huge modernization exercise undertaken by the president to make the country military ready at any given point of time.
This was after Department of National Defense (DND) Undersecretary for Finance, Modernization, Installation and Munitions Fernando Manalo disclosed on Monday that the Letter of Credit (LOC) for the aircraft has been finally opened by the supplier.
“The LOC has been finally opened. We have also given the 15 percent payment requested by the contractor,” he said in Filipino.
The LOC is a document issued by a financial institution, or a similar party, assuring payment to a seller of goods and/or services provided certain documents have been presented to the bank.
The contract for the 12 F/A-50s being acquired for the Philippine Air Force (PAF) is worth P18.9 billion. It was signed last March 28.
The F/A-50 is manufactured by the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI).
Manalo did not give the specific date when the LOC was opened but he earlier said that it would be opened seven days starting July 8.
Upon opening of the LOC, two F/A-50 jet aircraft are expected to be delivered 18 months after.
The next two aircraft will be delivered 12 months later and the remaining eight jet planes on staggered basis within eight months.
The F/A-50 has a top speed of Mach 1.5 or one-and-a-half times the speed of sound and is capable of being fitted with air-to-air missiles, including the AIM-9 “Sidewinder” air-to-air and heat-seeking missiles aside from light automatic cannons.
The F/A-50 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 F/A-50 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.
KAI’s previous engineering experience in license-producing the KF-16 was a starting point for the development of the F/A-50.
The aircraft can carry two pilots in tandem seating. The high-mounted canopy developed by Hankuk Fiber is applied with stretched acrylic, providing the pilots with good visibility, and has been tested to offer the canopy with ballistic protection against four-pound objects impacting at 400 knots.
The altitude limit is 14,600 meters (48,000 feet) and the airframe is designed to last 8,000 hours of service.
There are seven internal fuel tanks with capacity of 2,655 liters (701 U.S. gallons) — five in the fuselage and two in the wings.
An additional 1,710 liters (452 U.S. gallons) of fuel can be carried in the three external fuel tanks.
Trainer variants have a paint scheme of white and red, and aerobatic variants white, black, and yellow.
The F/A-50 “Fighting Eagle” uses a single General Electric F404-102 turbofan engine license-produced by Samsung Techwin, upgraded with a full authority digital engine control system jointly developed by General Electric and KAI.
The engine consists of three-staged fans, seven axial stage arrangement, and an afterburner.
The aircraft has a maximum speed of Mach 1.4-1.5. Its engine produces a maximum of 78.7 kN (17,700 lbf) of thrust with afterburner.