by Francis Wakefield
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) yesterday said the fifth batch of two FA-50PH training aircraft from South Korea arrived Wednesday at Clark Airbase, Pampanga.
Air Force spokesman Col. Antonio Francisco said the second-to-the-last batch of FA-PH Fighter/Surface Attack/Lead-in Fighters Training Aircraft with tail numbers 009 and 010 from South Korea arrived before noon at the Haribon Hangar, Air Force City, Clark Air Base, Pampanga.
Francisco said the two FA-50PH aircraft were welcomed by 1st Division commander Maj. Gen. Enrique Reyes and Air Logistics Command chief Maj. Gen. Arnold Mancita.
The two aircraft were brought into the country by pilots of the Korean Aerospace Industries, Ltd. (KAI). The 009 touch down at about 11:20 a.m., followed by the 010 a minute later.
The first batch of jets arrived in the country from South Korea on November 28, 2015, while the remaining batch is expected by next month. “We still don’t know the exact delivery date but this will be within the year. We hope it will be delivered before the PAF anniversary in July,” he said.
Francisco said the planes will further strengthen the PAF’s air capabilities. “They will also help boost the training capabilities of our pilots, so that our pilots will acquire more skills in flying fighter jets or supersonic jets,” he said.
This arrival of the planes is part of the PAF’s purchase from Korea Aerospace Industries of 12 fighter jets for a total of P18.9 billion.
The FA-50 PH has a top speed of Mach 1.5 – one and a half times the speed of sound – and is capable of being fitted with air-to-air missiles. The missiles include the AIM-9 “Sidewinder” air-to-air and heat-seeking missiles.