SEOUL --- Korea Aerospace Industries Co. (KAI), the country's sole aircraft manufacturer, said Tuesday it has completed the delivery of light attack aircraft to the Philippines.
The aerospace company said it delivered the 12 FA-50PH light attack aircraft three months earlier than scheduled and expressed hope the Southeast Asian country will place an additional order for the same jets down the road.
At an event held in the Philippines to celebrate the deployment of the attack aircraft to its air force Tuesday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said his government will consider purchasing another 12 FA-50PH aircraft during his six-year term that began June 30 last year.
In 2014, KAI received a US$420 million order to build the planes that can perform light attack and aerial combat roles from the Philippine Air Force. The planes are designed to take over the role of the F-5 fighters that were retired in the mid 2000s.
Manila recently analyzed the FA-50 trainer jets as being "excellent and precise" for national defense and security purposes, KAI said in a statement.
The FA-50PH light attack aircraft shares the platform with the T-50 advanced trainer jet. If the T-50 is equipped with weapons, it turns into an attack aircraft.
The Philippine government which seeks to modernize its military has expressed interest in purchasing the KUH-1 Surion transport helicopter, it said.
KAI has exported a total of 137 KT-1 basic trainers and the T-50 advanced trainer jets valued at $3.4 billion to seven countries such as Indonesia, Turkey, Peru and the Philippines.
It is in talks with Thailand, Botswana and the United States to export the trainer jets. Later this year, the U.S. plans to select an aircraft company to supply it with 350 trainer jets worth some 17 trillion won ($15 billion), the aircraft manufacturer said.
In the following 50 years, KAI predicts the world's advanced trainer jet market will grow to 100 trillion won.