There is a great chance that the F/A-50 “Fighting Eagle” from South Korea will be making an appearance during the 80th founding anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in December.
Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Dr. Peter Paul Galvez during an interview Thursday, said, “ninety percent the (first two) F/A-50s will play a role in the coming 80th AFP founding anniversary.”
Galvez said that it is very likely that the F/A-50s will play the centerpiece of this year’s celebration.
“I don’t know whether the planes will perform a high-speed pass or not but I know the aircraft will be the centerpiece of the celebration,” the DND spokesperson disclosed.
The Philippines contract with Korea Aerospace Industries is worth Php18.9-billion.
The 12 aircraft deal was signed last February 2014.
An initial two units is expected to be delivered by December this year.
The F/A-50 has a top speed of Mach 1.5 or one and a half times the speed of sound and is capable of being fitted air-to-air missiles, including the AIM-9 “Sidewinder” air-to-air and heat-seeking missiles aside from light automatic cannons.
The F/A-50 will act as the country’s interim fighter until the Philippines gets enough experience of operating fast jet assets and money to fund the acquisition of more capable fighter aircraft.
The F/A-50 design is largely derived from the F-16 “Fighting Falcon”, and they have many similarities such as the use of a single engine, speed, size, cost, and the range of weapons.
KAI’s previous engineering experience in license-producing the KF-16 was a starting point for the development of the F/A-50.
The aircraft can carry two pilots in tandem seating. The high-mounted canopy developed by Hankuk Fiber is applied with stretched acrylic, providing the pilots with good visibility, and has been tested to offer the canopy with ballistic protection against four-pound objects impacting at 400 knots.
The altitude limit is 14,600 meters (48,000 feet), and airframe is designed to last 8,000 hours of service.
There are seven internal fuel tanks with capacity of 2,655 liters (701 US gallons), five in the fuselage and two in the wings.
An additional 1,710 liters (452 US gallons) of fuel can be carried in the three external fuel tanks.
Trainer variants have a paint scheme of white and red, and aerobatic variants white, black, and yellow.
The F/A-50 uses a single General Electric F404-102 turbofan engine license-produced by Samsung Techwin, upgraded with a full authority digital engine control system jointly developed by General Electric and Korean Aerospace Industries.
The engine consists of three-staged fans, seven axial stage arrangement, and an afterburner.
Its engine produces a maximum of 78.7 kN (17,700 lbf) of thrust with afterburner. -Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, MLD, Gov.PH