Philippine will be receiving the first two FA-50 lead-in-fighter trainer jets Friday from Korea Aerospace Industries.
The aircraft will land for the first time on Philippine soil at Clark Air Base in the country, Philippine Daily Inquirer reported Tuesday.
Philippine has ordered US$401.6 million worth 12 newly fighter jets from the Korea Aerospace Industries. All the fighters are expected to be delivered by 2017.
“This is the first time that we will have supersonic capability since 2005 when our jets were decommissioned. This is the revival of the supersonic jet age,” said the Air Force spokesperson, Col. Enrico Canaya. The acquisition is considered as the biggest military upgrade so far undertaken by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The FA-50 has a top speed of Mach 1.5, or one and a half times the speed of sound. It can be fitted with air-to-air missiles, heat-seeking missiles, and light automatic cannons. It can carry two pilots in tandem seating while its airframe can withstand 8,000 hours of service. The canopy has ballistic protection against four-pound objects impacting at 400 knots.
Early this year, the PAF sent three of its pilots to South Korea to undergo training in operating the FA-50 fighter trainer jet.
Two Korean pilots will be bringing the jets in from South Korea, after which there will be an acceptance flight. Later on, these will be turned over to the PAF. The additional pilots would be trained to use the FA-50 jets in the coming months, Canaya added.