Philippine Air Force will start receiving FA-50 “Fighting Eagle” from Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) next year, President Benigno S. Aquino III confirms upon returning from South Korea Friday, December 12.
Aquino said that while in South Korea, Korea Aerospace Industries showed one FA-50 to him, the same model PAF will have.
“Sa harap nga po ng modernong mga pasilidad at kagamitan na ito ng ibang bansa, lalo pa tayong ginaganahang magpursige sa pagtupad ng ating hangarin: ang itaguyod ang maaasahang kasundaluhan, tungo sa mas epektibong serbisyo sa sambayanang Pilipino,” Aquino said in his arrival statement.
Department of National Defense said earlier that in 2016 six out of twelve ordered Fighting Eagles will be commissioned. These jets will act as Philippines’ interim fighter until PAF pilots get enough experience of operating fast jet assets and the government allocates money to fund the acquisition of more capable fighter aircraft.
FA-50 can load up to 4.5 tons of weapons and has a wide-range of armament system. It has a 20 mm three-barrel gun that can fire at extremely high rate internally installed. It 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.