MANILA—Two of the Philippine Air Force (PAF)’s brand-new South Korean-made Mach 1.5 capable FA-50PH “Fighting Eagle” jet fighters have conducted overflight missions over Mactan, Catbalogan and Calbayog Thursday morning.
The two jet planes took-off from Benito Ebuen Air Base around 10 a.m., PAF spokesperson Col. Antonio Francisco said.
This is the second overflight mission of the FA-50s over the Visayas, the first being undertaken Wednesday when the planes flew over Mactan, Kalibo, Iloilo, Bacolod and San Carlos City.
“The overflight missions will also serve as a great avenue to train pilots and allow them to be acquainted with various aspect of flight missions such as the country’s different terrains, weather and possible areas of interests,” Francisco earlier said.
Overflights will also demonstrate the PAF’s air power capability to the public.
“This is to show the general public that these new air assets are vital in strengthening the country’s territorial borders, and that the PAF has already reentered the supersonic era,” the PAF spokesperson said.
Around six are now in service with another six awaiting delivery. The PAF’s 12-plane order from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is worth PHP18.9 billion.
After the Visayas’ over-flight, the FA-50s will do the same in Mindanao airspace.
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.
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 feet), 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-50PHs 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.