On Tuesday, Philippine’s President Benigno Aquino III announced that two FA-50 fighter jets will be delivered to the Philippines from a manufacturer in South Korea. The announcement was made at the Philippine Air Force’s 67th anniversary with the theme “Soaring High for Peace.”
The country is scrambling to look for ways to increase their defenses against the brewing territorial disputes with China regarding the South China Sea.
The purchase of the fighter jets comes with the Philippine government’s attempt to strengthen its Air Force defenses. The two aircrafts are expected to arrive next year and the remaining 10 will follow after three years. Reports indicate that the Department of Budget and Management set aside the sum of $420 million to purchase the jets from Korea Aerospace Industries, which is the supplier of the jets.
A look at the FA-50
In addition to the fighter jets, the government is also looking to purchase other combat utilities such as range patrol aircrafts and radar systems. The government is also expecting 17 UHI helicopters to arrive this year.
Aquino also took the time to thank the Air Force for their service during the Yolanda typhoon and the Zamboanga siege. “This is what we are celebrating today: professionalism, bravery, and stability in serving the country. These are the principles that we recognize in every unit, pilot, and personnel of the Philippine Air Force,” he said.
With the acquisition of the fighter jets, Aquino said that the Air Force “can again defend our territory in a more effective way.” In addition, the Philippine Air Force will also be enhancing their pilots’ skills.
The FA-50 fighter jet consists of an EL/M-2032 pulse-doppler radar, a longer radome, a bigger fuel capacity, tactical data link, and advanced avionics. Aside from being used in combat, the fighter jets will also be used in times of catastrophe, and for survey operations and training.
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