14 Desember 2014
President Benigno S. Aquino III inspects an FA-50 of the KoreaAerospace Industries, the South Korean company that was contracted to deliver 12 of the same aircraft to the Philippines by 2017. The first batch of two jets will be delivered next year. (photo : Manila StandardToday)
AFTER 10 years without a fighter jet in its arsenal, President Benigno Aquino III said the country will take delivery of two FA-50 jets from Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd., the first batch of 12 multi-role light fighters the country acquired from South Korea.
“Next year, the first two units of these moderns jets will land in the country for the Armed Forces,” the President said in his arrival speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.
“The last time we had fighters in the inventory was in 2005 so by next year an entire decade has already passed,” Aquino said, adding that the delivery of the 10 remaining units will be completed in 2017. The entire squadron costs P18.9 billion.
Aquino inspected one of the FA-50 fighter jets at the Gimhae Airbase in Busan, South Korea where he met with Korea Aerospace Industries president Sung Yong-ha and several Korean Air Force officials.
He was in Busan for the commemorative summit between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Republic of Korea on its 25th anniversary.
Talking to reporters before returning to Manila, Aquino said he was informed that China had tried to pressure South Korea not to sell the 12 jets to the Philippines.
“I might be paraphrasing, but [the Koreans] didn’t agree to the request to stop the sale,” Aquino said.
The purchase of the jets is part of a five-year, P75-billion ($1.68 billion) modernization program, but Philippine officials have insisted that the acquisition had nothing to do with Manila’s maritime dispute with Beijing.
The FA-50 is the most advanced version of the T-50, South Korea’s first indigenous supersonic aircraft used to train pilots in the more advanced F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, but it can be fitted with advanced medium-range air-to-air or beyond-visual range missiles.
(Manila Standard Today)