MANILA—After their successful Visayan familiarization over-flight and tour, the Philippine Air Force (PAF)’s brand-new FA-50PH “Fighting Eagle” jet fighters started the Mindanao leg of their over-flight in Mindanao Wednesday morning.
The over-flights took place 10 a.m. over the airspace of Cagayan De Oro, Butuan City and Surigao, PAF spokesperson Col. Antonio Francisco said in a message to the Philippine News Agency.
The FA-50PHs earlier undertook over-flight missions over Mactan, Catbalogan, Calbayog, Kalibo, Iloilo, Bacolod and San Carlos, all of the Visayas, last week.
“The over-flight 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.
Over-flights will also demonstrate the PAF’s air power capability to the public.
Around six FA-50PHs 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.
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.