MANILA—The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is currently looking for suppliers of spares and components for the maintenance of the hydraulics, egress and engine systems of its brand-new Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 “Fighting Eagle” jet fighters.
The budget for this project is PHP39.8 million and bid opening is scheduled at 9 a.m., Feb. 8 at the PAF Procurement Center Conference Room, Villamor Air Base, Pasay City, PAF Bids and Awards Committee chair, Brig. Gen. Nicolas Parilla, said in the bid bulletin posted at the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System.
The PAF has four FA-50PHs in its inventory. Another eight are scheduled to be delivered this year.
The 12-plane order from KAI is worth PHP18.9 billion.
The FA-50PH 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.
It will act as the country’s interim fighter until the Philippines gets enough experience in 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, among them the 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 FA-50PHs.
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 ft.), and airframe is designed to last 8,000 hours of service.
There are seven internal fuel tanks with capacity of 2,655 liters (701 US gallons), five in the fuselage and two in the wings.
An additional 1,710 liters (452 US 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 FA-50PH 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.
Its engine produces a maximum of 78.7 kN (17,700 lbf) of thrust with afterburner.