MANILA–All 12 units of the brand-new South Korean-made FA-50PH “Fighting Eagle” jet aircraft will be delivered and under Philippine Air Force (PAF) control in May.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Resituto Padilla made this announcement during an interview late Wednesday.
“By April, FA-50PHs with tail numbers 009 and 010 will be delivered while 011 and 012 be handed over this May. By that time, the PAF’s FA-50PH fleet will be completed,” he said in Filipino
Earlier, the PAF said that FA-50PHs with tail numbers 007 and 008 will be delivered to Clark Airbase in Angeles City, Pampanga on March 29.
And due to the initial good performance impressions given by the aircraft, Padilla said that there is a possibility, provided that they are given funding and authority by the civilian leadership, to acquire six more units of the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) made jet fighter.
“We are constantly evaluating the jet and so far, it’s performance has been good. If we will be given additional funding and authority, we might acquire six more units,” the AFP spokesperson stressed.
As of this posting, the jets have conducted over-flights in Visayas and Mindanao airspace and a bombing run against Maute Group lawless elements in Lanao Del Sur last February.
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.