Philippine Air Force welcomes 2 new fighter jets
Video by RYAN LEAGOGO
CLARK AIR BASE— The first two of the most awaited brand new fighter jets for the Philippine Air Force in 10 years, the military’s biggest capability upgrade, touched down on Philippine soil on Saturday.
The delivery of the first two of the 12 fighter jets is a symbolic return of the Philippine Air Force to its supersonic age.
Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin, Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado, senior military officials and Korean Aerospace Inc. (KAI) officials were present at the welcome ceremony here.
The jets touched down at Clark Air Base at 10:23 and 10:24a.m. It took off from Korea Airspace Industries at 8:07a.m. on Friday, then landed in Jeju at 8:40a.m. It stopped over Kaohsiung in Taiwan for refuel. It
flew to Manila at 9a.m.
“We’re glad we’re finally back to supersonic age,” Gazmin said after the ceremonies.
The Philippines has acquired a squadron or 12 FA-50 Golden Eagle jet fighters from KAI under the military’s modernization program, and is the biggest military upgrade at P18.9 billion.
In 2005, the Air Force retired its Northrop F-5s.
The Philippine military, one of the weakest in Asia, is building a minimum credible defense, or the ability to defend the country when the need arises, amid China’s sweeping expansion in the South China
The two-seater fighter jets were flown by Korean pilots. Two of the Air Force S-211 jets met the new fighter jets at 6,000 ft. as they approached Clark Air Base.
The were later given a traditional water cannon salute.
The fighter jets would still have to undergo technical inspection and acceptance flights before it would be turned over to the Air Force.
The Air Force sent three of its pilots to South Korea early this year to undergo training in operating the fighter jets. CDG
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