Deliveries of the two South Korean-made F/A-50 “Fighting Eagle” jet aircraft will proceed as scheduled in December, this year. This was confirmed by Defense Undersecretary for Finance, Modernization and Materiel Fernando Manalo in an interview with the PNA on Tuesday.
“It is on schedule for December,” he said.
The DND official added that it is very probable that the F/A-50s will be put on aerial display on the 80th anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) this coming December.
Manalo also disclosed that a team from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) will be flying to the Philippines by September to discuss delivery details for the two F/A-50s.
The Philippines has signed a P18.9-billion contract with KAI for 12 F/A-50s.
The Philippines’ F/A-50 took its maiden flight in South Korea last June 19.
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 both 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.