Korean jets put on a show in Pampanga
FLORIDABLANCA, Pampanga, Philippines — Residents living near the Cesar Basa Air Base in this town, home to the Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) mainstay fighters, were treated for the first time in decades to aerial stunts and maneuvers by a foreign military.
The aerobatic flight team Black Eagles, from the Republic of Korea’s Air Force, (Rokaf) put on an air show on Monday to support their country’s bid to export additional FA-50 light combat aircraft and its future KF-21 multi-role fighter jet to the PAF. The Philippines bought 12 FA-50 light attack fighters from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) in 2015 for P18.9 billion.
Eight black and yellow-colored T-50B supersonic jet trainers flown by Rokaf’s 53rd Air Demonstration Group led the flying demonstration attended by Jose Faustino Jr., officer in charge and undersecretary of the Department of Defense, and other top PAF and defense officials.
But overcast skies and rainy weather allowed the Black Eagles to perform only limited formations, said Lt. Col. Kyu Yong-shim, their squadron commander.
Part of the show included a “friendship pass” with T-50Bs flying in formation with four of PAF Fifth Fighter Wing’s FA-50s, both built by KAI, to demonstrate the strong military cooperation between the two military forces.
The Black Eagles’ performance was the first foreign air show seen in 33 years in Manila after the United Kingdom’s Red Arrows performed at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City. “It’s about time that we can see the capabilities of other countries …,” said Col. Maynard Mariano, spokesperson for the PAF
The Philippines is the last leg of the Black Eagles’ monthlong tour in 13 countries after attending air shows in the United Kingdom.
South Korea, the world’s eighth largest arms exporter, has been a major source of defense equipment for the Philippines.