PH Air Force receives 2 more fighter jets from South Korea

Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 29 2017 05:34 PM

Two more FA-50 jets arrived in the Philippines from South Korea. Photos courtesy of Defense Press Corps.

The Philippine Air Force on Wednesday received another pair of FA-50 lead-in fighter trainer jets from South Korea, bringing the total of FA-50 jets to 8.

The jets with tail numbers 007 and 008 arrived in Clark Air Base, acquired to bolster Philippines' territorial defense. The first pair was delivered in 2013, at the height of the Philippines' maritime dispute with China.

Philippines has so far purchased 12 FA-50s, the next two pairs expected to arrive in the next few months.

The jets are the most sophisticated aircraft in the Philippine Air Force, with their arrival ushering the Philippines' return to the supersonic age.

They were often showcased in events of the Armed Forces through high-speed passes overhead that was meant to impress the crowds.

Two more FA-50 jets arrived in the Philippines from South Korea. Photos courtesy of Defense Press Corps.

However, they were removed from the spotlight during the start of the Duterte administration, after Duterte said he found the jets to be a waste of money, and only good for parades. 

They were not flown even during the Air Force's own anniversary in 2016, where it was President Duterte's first time as guest of honor.

The FA-50s, however, soon found its use under the Duterte government, which has chosen to reshift the nation's focus from territorial defense back to insurgency and internal security. 

The FA-50s have recently joined other air assets in conducting airstrikes against terror groups like the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu, and the Maute Group in Lanao del Sur.

In recent weeks, the Air Force has announced a return of the high-speed passes. The FA-50s flew over the Visayas and Mindanao.