– by Inquirer.net
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has increased its fleet of FA-50PH “Fighting Eagle” jet fighters to 10 with the arrival on Wednesday of two more planes at Clark Air Base in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Col. Antonio Francisco, PAF spokesman, said the planes with tail ends 009 and 010 touched down just a minute apart.
The aircraft, flown by South Korean pilots, were welcomed by Maj. Gen. Enrique Reyes, 1st Air Division commander, and the Council of Elder Commanders of Clark Air Base.
“Our FA50 is very functional,” Francisco said. “Right now, besides the territorial defense, it is a multi-role fighter, lead-in surface attack, and trainer aircraft. So what we are really focusing on right now is the training of our pilots.”
“If there will be a posibility that we are going to acquire some more fighters in the future, then at least we have already generated more pilots who have skills,” he stressed.
The first two FA-50PH units were delivered on Nov. 28, 2015, and the second two arrived here in December 2016.
The FA-50 has a top speed of Mach 1.5, or one and a half times the speed of sound. It is capable of being fitted with air-to-air missiles, including the AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air and heat-seeking missiles, aside from light automatic cannons.
At first, President Rodrigo Duterte thought the aircraft came from the United States and berated these for being just for “display.”
Military sources said the President became interested in the aircraft after learning of its features as a multi-role fighter. /atm