By Philippine News Agency
At least two more South Korean-made FA-50PH “Fighting Eagle” jet fighters will be joining the Philippine Air Force (PAF) inventory on March 27.
FA-50PHs with tail numbers 007 and 008 will be delivered at Clark Airbase in Angeles City, Pampanga.
With the pending arrival of these aircraft, the number of Mach 1.5 capable jets in PAF inventory will climb to eight, Air Force spokesperson Col. Antonio Francisco said.
The first two FA-50PH units were delivered last Nov. 28, 2015 while the second batch was handed over last December 8.
While the third batch was turned over to the PAF last Feb. 22.
Francisco said they expect Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the aircraft manufacturer, to deliver the remaining four FA-50PHs within the year.
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.