Two (2) of the remaining ten (10) units of the FA-50PH “Fighting Eagle” Fighter/Surface Attack/Lead-in Fighters Trainer Aircraft (F/SA/LIFTA) with tail numbers 003 and 004 that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) acquired from South Korea have finally landed on Philippine soil on December 1, 2016 at the Haribon Hangar, Air Force City, Clark Air Base in Pampanga.
The FA-50PH with tail number 003 landed at exactly 11:41 a.m. while the FA-50PH with tail number 004 touched down at about 11:42 a.m.
The second batch of FA-50PH platforms were ferried in the country by the pilots of Korean Aerospace Industries, Ltd (KAI) where an arrival ceremony was conducted with the Secretary of National Defense, Delfin N Lorenzana, as Guest of Honor.
Before the FA-50PHs touched down, a Bulldog Flight composed of FA-50PH with tail numbers 001 and 002 departed Clark international Airport (CIA) and proceeded approximately 200kms of San Fernando to hold at 1,000 to 2,000 feet lower than the cruising level of the FA-50PH with tail numbers 003 and 004. After intercepting the second batch of FA-50PHs, a Bulldog Flight was again established, now composed of the four (4) FA-50PHs. A diamond formation was then made en route to CIA. Upon approaching its destination, the Bulldog Flight made a low pass from North to South over CIA in diamond formation and then maneuvered to execute another pass from Southeast to Northwest before landing. Immediately after, the Bulldog Flight proceeded to the runway and established an echelon formation for pitch out landing.
The FA-50PH with tail number 003 and 004 taxied ahead to the Haribon Ramp. While entering the ramp, the arrival of the two aircraft was even highlighted with the water canon salute that was by the two (2) fire trucks from CIA. The water canon salute is an airport tradition to give honor to new aircraft. It is also a sign of respect, honor, and gratitude.
After positioning the aircraft, the FA-50PH pilots from KIA and PAF marched off to the reception line. The SND together with the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, General Ricardo R Visaya AFP; Commanding General of the PAF, Lieutenant General Edgar R Fallorina AFP; and other guests proceeded to the reception line to welcome the KAI pilots, which was followed by a photo session.
In November 2015, the first two (2) units of the FA-50PH with tail numbers 001 and 002 landed at Clark Air Base, Pampanga.
The FA-50 is a multirole fighter variant of KAI's T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced jet trainer. It is capable of carrying short range air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles with countermeasures such as chaffs and Infrared Flares.
The PAF’s acquisition of the 12 FA-50PH F/SA/LIFTA is under the AFP Modernization Program contracted with the KAI to enhance the country’s territorial defense capabilities. The acquisition of these jets also signals the symbolic return of the PAF to its supersonic age after the PAF's F-5 Freedom Fighter jets were retired in 2005.
Meanwhile, the rest of the jets will be delivered sometime in 2017.