(Feature) South Korean-made jets as PAF's next fighter aircraft?
July 16, 2012 11:38 am
By Priam F. Nepomuceno
MANILA, July 14 – South Korea's KAI T-50 Golden Eagle, a Mach 1.5 capable jet aircraft, has a very good chance of being the Philippine Air Force's next-generation fighter aircraft, according to a ranking security official.
"That plane offers us the most in terms of capability and cost," the official said on condition of anonymity.
The aircraft can also be fitted with heat-seeking missiles, 20mm to 25mm automatic cannon, various surveillance equipment and is very capable of undertaking the air-superiority role due to its sleek design.
"The other good thing about the TA-50 is that we will be buying it straight from the manufacturers. We will be its first-time users and not the second or third as in previous PAF aircraft acquisition," the security official added.
He also said getting replacement parts for the aircraft is easier as the TA-50 is still on initial production run for the South Korean Air Force.
Projected acquisition cost for the plane is between US$ 15 million and US$ 21 million per unit.
However, this could further be reduced due to close relations between the Philippines and South Korea.
"Once our senior defense officials give the green light for the TA-50, we are looking at the possibility of acquiring 12 to 18 units, which is enough for our minimum credible deterrent program," the official added.