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Military Capabilities

South Korea's KAI completes deliveries of FA-50PH aircraft to Philippines

01 June 2017

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has received all 12 Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50PH advanced jet trainer/light attack aircraft it ordered from South Korea in 2014.

The final two of 12 KAI FA-50PH aircraft (seen here) ordered by the PAF in 2014 arrived at Clark Air Base north of Manila on 31 May. (PAF)The final two of 12 KAI FA-50PH aircraft (seen here) ordered by the PAF in 2014 arrived at Clark Air Base north of Manila on 31 May. (PAF)

The PAF said in a statement on its Facebook page that the final two FA-50PHs arrived at Clark Air Base north of Manila on 31 May. They were formally accepted in a ceremony presided over by Major General Arnold Mancita, the commander of Air Logistics Command.

The PAF's acquisition of the 12 FA-50PHs is part of a programme to enhance the southeast Asian country's defence capabilities.

The maiden flight of the first FA-50PH took place at Sacheon, South Korea, on 19 June 2015 and the first two aircraft arrived at Clark Air Base on 28 November 2015.

According to Jane's Security Sentinel Assessment - southeast Asia, the PAF had been without a dedicated air defence platform since it retired the F-5A Freedom Fighter in 2005.

A procurement programme was under development for some time, with the PAF looking to equip one squadron with 12 fighters.

Initially, it appeared that the PAF would acquire surplus US Air Force F-16C/D fighters to meet this requirement, but concerns about cost eventually eliminated this option. Instead, in August 2012 Manila indicated to South Korea that it intended to acquire the KAI FA-50 light attack aircraft.

Subsequently, in March 2014 the PAF signed contracts that included the purchase of the 12 FA-50PHs.

In addition, a requirement to install advanced radar systems and accompanying medium-range air-to-air missiles on three or four aircraft was revealed. This will bestow beyond-visual-range capability and enable the PAF to undertake 'long-range interceptions'.

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