09 Juli 2014
Two F/A-50 jet aircraft are expected to be delivered within 18 months (photo : KAI)
MANILA (PNA) --- The letter of credit (LOC) for the purchase of the South Korean F/A-50 "Fighting Eagle" will be opened within seven days, Defense Undersecretary for Finance, Modernization, Installation and Munitions Fernando Manalo said Tuesday.
"The LOC will be opened within seven days starting today (Tuesday)," Manalo added, without giving further details.
An LOC is a document issued by a financial institution, or a similar party, assuring payment to a seller of goods and/or services provided certain documents have been presented to the bank.
Contract for the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) jet aircraft, of which the Philippines has ordered 12 units for P18 billion, was signed last March 28.
Upon opening of the LOC, two F/A-50 jet aircraft are expected to be delivered within 18 months.
The next two units will be delivered 12 months later and the remaining eight jet planes in staggered basis within eight months.
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 with 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 aircraft until the Philippines get enough experience of operating fast jet assets and money to fund the acquisition of more capable fighter planes.
The F/A-50 design is largely derived from the F-16 "Fighting Falcon" and they have many similarities: 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 "Fighting Eagle" 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 KAI.
The engine consists of three-staged fans, seven axial stage arrangement, and an afterburner.
The aircraft has a maximum speed of Mach 1.4-1.5. Its engine produces a maximum of 78.7 kN (17,700 lbf) of thrust with afterburner.