UPDATED 28 November | The first two FA-50 Golden Hawks for the the Philippine Air Force left South Korea on Friday 27 November according to Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The jets are expected to arrive in the Philippines later today, marking the end of a period that left the Philippine Air Force without any credible combat assets.
Update | The two Golden Hawks arrived in the Philippines on Saturday 28 November at 10.23 am local time. Pics are here.
The two Golden Hawks left the KAI factory airfield in Sacheon early on Friday and headed south. They are expected at Clark airbase near Manila on Saturday. The delivery comes 18 months after a contract for 12 aircraft was signed at an estimated worth of 420 million USD. The first Phillipine aircraft took flight in June this year.
— Alert 5 (@alert5) 28 november 2015
Until 2005, the Philippines operated F-5A/B Freedom Fighters to protect its skies. Afterwards, Aermacchi S-211 trainer jets were modified for that role, but in reality these were insufficient to provide a credible air-to-air and air-to-ground capability.
The Philippine Air Force joins the air forces of South Korea and Indonesia in operating the type. Iraq has 24 Golden Hawks on order for F-16 pilot training. The first of those are now performing test flights from Sacheon.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The first two Philippine Air Force T-50s take off from Sacheon in South Korea. (Image © KAI/Facebook)