The Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) has authorized the Dept. of National Defense to start negotiations with South Korea regarding the acquisition of 12 KAI F/A-50 “Golden Eagle” fighter jets for the Philippine Air Force.
KAI is short for Korea Aerospace Industries. The F/A-50 is also known as the TA-50.
The PAF decommissioned its last fighter jets, the Northrop F-5 “Freedom Fighter” last 2005, leaving the country with no supersonic interceptor capability.
This was revealed by Patrick Velez, DND assistant secretary for acquisitions, installations and logistics, Wednesday.
The GPPB is chaired by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.
“The GPPB has already approved the KAI (F/A)-50 (for pre-negotiations) last December. Remember that KAI (fighter manufacturer) was designated as the number one in a certain list of proponents or possible suppliers (of the Air Force’s next generation of fighter jets),” he added.
Velez said the pre-negotiations will determine whether the aircraft is acceptable for Philippines service.
“And if everything pushes through, we might be able to finish the contract by February,” Velez stressed.
The country is expected to spend P18 billion if this aircraft will be selected as the PAF’s next supersonic fighter plane.
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, and airframe is designed to last 8,000 hours of service.