Sunday, July 16, 2017

KAI complete FA-50PH combat jet delivery to Philippines

Korean Aerospace Industries has completed delivery of the 12 FA-50PH light combat aircraft to Philippines Air Force.

The last two FA-50PH aircraft arrived at the Clark Air Force Base, Philippines in May, completing the 2,482 km ferry flight from Sacheon, South Korea, equipped with three external fuel tanks.

The FA-50PH is the light attack variant of the T-50 Supersonic trainer jet KAI developed jointly with Lockheed Martin.

The fleet forms the only multi-role combat jets operated by PAF, and is currently the sole export customer for the attack variant.

The deal worth $420 million was signed in March 2014 with first batch of two aircraft delivered in December 2015. The remaining 10 aircraft were delivered between December 2016 and May 2017.

The twin seat FA-50 is powered by a single GE F404 after-burning turbofan engine. It is equipped with a glass cockpit, onboard oxygen generating system, a multi-mode radar and zero-zero ejection seats.

It can carry a wide range of weapons weighing up to 3,500 kg including MK-82 unguided bombs, JDAM, AIM-9 air to air missile and AGM-65 Maverick air to ground missile.

Philippines is currently employing the FA-50PH for close air support missions along with OV-10 Broncos and SF260 turboprops against militants in the Marawi city.

The FA-50PH has carried out more than 70 sorties in support of the military operation. On July 13, the PAF FA-50PH attack sorties were suspended, after one of the four bombs dropped during a mission resulted in a friendly fire killing two Philippines Army soldiers.

The bomb, possibly the unguided MK82,  missed its target by 250 m causing the second friendly fire  incident during the operation. On May 31, a bomb dropped by a PAF SF260 hit a flank of soldiers and caused death of eleven.