A Korean light attack aircraft, the FA-50, has begun its export deliveries in the manner of direct flight.
The Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) said on November 27 that two FA-50PH aircrafts produced for export to the Philippines departed from Sacheon, Gyeongsangnam-do, to Clark, the Philippines, a 2,482km-long flight.
These first FA-50PHs are two out of 12 resulting from a 420 million-dollar contract made with the Department of National Defense-Armed Forces of the Philippines in March of last year. KAI has made the first flight of a FA-50PH last June and will deliver 12 of them to the Philippines by 2017. The FA-50PH is a customized version of the FA-50 in operation by the Air Force, which is designed and produced for the Philippines.
The export of the FA-50PH is the first G-to-G the Armed Forces of the Philippines has ever made, and it is receiving much attention as its biggest defense program. There were many problems to overcome in reaching the conclusion of the export contract for the FA-50PH due to fierce competition with other advanced countries, natural disasters in the Philippines, etc. However, all these problems were finally overcome thanks to the sales diplomacy of our government, and KOTRA, DAPA and the Air Force all joining forces.
President Park Geun-hye invited Benigno Noynoy Aquino, the president of the Philippines, and entered into an MOU on cooperation in defense field. Discussion about the FA-50 export during his visit was crucial.
The KAI has been strengthening its status as it has exported 133 Korean aircrafts (reaching approximately 3.3 billion dollars), a series of KT-1 basic jet trainers and T-50 supersonic advanced trainers to Indonesia, Turkey, Peru, Iraq and Thailand so far.