The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has received the first two FA-50 Golden Eagle fighter jets from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).
The aircraft are part of the 12 FA-50s that South Korea’s KAI will deliver under a Php18.9bn ($400m) government-to-government contract signed in 2013.
The fighter jets will enhance the air force’s capabilities in patrolling the country’s airspace, especially in the disputed waters of the West Philippine Sea.
The Philippines has been an opponent to China’s increasing presence in the South China Sea.
Earlier this week, the US increased its military aid to the Philippines this year to $79m, to support the country in its claims over the disputed waters.
A light combat derivative of the T-50 supersonic advanced jet trainer, the FA-50 is capable of carrying up to 4.5t of weapons including air-to-air/air-to-surface missiles, machine guns, precision guided bombers such as the Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), and the CBUs.
The fighter jet is equipped with night vision imaging system and provides improved self-protection with the radar warning receiver and the counter measure dispenser system.
The two aircraft will be delivered at Clark Air Base, formerly used by the US.
PAF spokesperson Colonel Enrico Canaya was quoted by the local media as saying that the two fighter jets will be piloted by Korean airmen, while three PAF pilots are undergoing training in Korea.
The jets will undergo a technical inspection, including an acceptance flight, before being integrated into the air force.
Image: A FA-50 aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Korea Aerospace Industries.