KAI Makes First Delivery of Fighter Jets to the Philippines
(Source: The Korea Herald; issued Nov 26, 2015)
The first two FA-50 fighters take off from Korea Aerospace Industries’ Sacheon facility on their ferry flight to the Philippines. The FA-50 is a combat variant of the T-50 jet trainer, and will be followed by another ten. (KAI photo)
Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd., South Korea's sole aircraft manufacturer, said Friday that it has made the first delivery of its multi-mission jets to the Philippines, further solidifying its status as an aircraft exporter.

The two FA-50PH took off from Sacheon, 437 kilometers south of Seoul, to make the 2,482 kilometer "ferry flight" to the Philippines. The pair are expected to arrive at Clark Air Base on Saturday, KAI said.

The ferry flight involves the planes being directly flown to their destination and could involve making stops to refuel.

KAI said such delivery methods require careful planning because it has to take into consideration weather conditions and transit through airspace regulated by other countries.

The two planes are part of a $420 million government-to-government deal inked between Seoul and Manila that calls for the export of 12 FA-50PHs.

The two-seat supersonic jets are variants of the FA-50 light attack fighters in service with the South Korean Air Force. The planes that are derived from the T-50 advanced trainer can be armed with air-to-air heat seeking missiles, bombs and rockets, and have an automatic cannon.

KAI said that the first transfer adheres to pre-arranged delivery scheduled with the remaining 10 aircraft to be delivered by 2017. The 12 FA-50PHs will be the first supersonic jets used by the Philippines Air Force since they retired their fleet of F-5s.

"Meeting the delivery time will enhance the trust and confidence of customers," the aerospace company said. KAI was able to meet the delivery schedule when it sold 16 T-16 jets to Indonesia.

The company then said it is working to meet the delivery schedules for orders secured from Iraq and Thailand.

KAI has so far received 133 plane orders from Indonesia, Turkey, Peru, Iraq and Thailand for both the T-50 series jets and the KT-1 tandem, prop-driven basic trainers. These orders are worth some $3.3 billion.

The company said it is negotiating with Peru and Botswana to sell the T-50 jets, as well as seeking new customers in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America for the KT-1.

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Philippines Plans to Arm Its FA-50PH with Israeli Weapons
(Source: InterAksyon.com; posted November 26, 2015
By Jaime Sinapit
MANILA --- The Philippine Air Force (PAF) intends to station all 12 brand new FA-50 "Golden Eagle" lead-in trainer jets in three air bases fronting the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

The first batch of two aircraft is expected to arrive on Friday on a touch-down basis at Clark Airbase, home of PAF's 1st Air Division in Clark Field, Pampanga.

Although not yet combat-ready, the mission of these aircraft is to patrol the country's airspace, especially in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) where China has been aggressively intruding since unilaterally imposing its "9-Dash line" claim, which runs counter to the 1992 Code of Conduct of Parties of claimant countries in the disputed Spratly group of islands.

The international tribunal at The Hague has been deliberating the arbitration case filed by Manila against Beijing, even as China continues to ignore the international legal processes being pursued to peacefully resolve the dispute.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the new jets will find their home at Basa Air Base in Pampanga, Subic Airbase in Zambales and the headquarters of the Western Command (Westcom) based in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

The airbase in Subic was the former base of jet fighters of the United States Navy, which was abandoned after the Philippine Senate abrogated the Philippines-US bases treaty in 1992.

Included in the list of the Defense Acquisition System (DAS) of the Department of National Defense (DND), the aircraft acquired from Korean Aerospace Inc. (KAI) are worth an estimated P18.9 billion.

The FA50 is described as a Fighter Attack Aircraft/LIFT (Surface Attack Aircraft/LIFT). This type of trainer jet is capable of delivering short range air-to-air missile, air-to-surface missile, together with countermeasures such as chaff and Infra-Red Flares, and are also armed with 20mm machine guns.

Upon delivery, the jets' munitions will still undergo another procurement process. It takes two to three years more before the jets can be completely armed, Defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin disclosed.

The government is eyeing an Israeli firm to supply the jets' munitions requirements.

The procurement of these armaments could come during the "Second Horizon Project" scheduled from 2018 to 2022. The First Horizon is from 2013 to 2017.

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