Thursday, November 26, 2015

DND plans to base FA-50PHs in Pampanga, Zambales, Palawan

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 26): DND plans to base FA-50PHs in Pampanga, Zambales, Palawan

The Department of National Defense (DND) is planning to base its brand-new South Korean-made FA-50PHs jet aircraft in air facilities in Pampanga, Zambales and Palawan.

This was revealed by DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin Thursday.

He added that this is possible due to the proximity of existing airbases in Subic Bay, Zambales and Pampanga.

Another possible base is Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Gazmin did not give the reasons why these locations were being looked into as possible FA-50PH staging areas but military sources said this is due to provinces' proximity to the West Philippine Sea where the country is now engaged in a territorial dispute with China

Two FA-50PHs are scheduled to be delivered at Clark Air Base, Angeles City, Pampanga this coming Saturday.

The DND signed a Php18.9 billion contract deal with Korea Aerospace Industries last March 2014.

The contract is for 12 FA-50PH jet aircraft.

Gazmin said the maintenance of the planes is covered within the contract.

He added that three Philippine Air Force pilots have already completed FA-50PH training with KAI and will be helping to train new pilots to man the brand-new jet.

And upon arrival of the two jets Saturday, the DND chief said the aircraft will undergo a series of flight and acceptance tests before being commissioned into service.

Gazmin added that the FA-50PH is dual-capable meaning it can be utilized for training and fighter missions.

Another procurement program is now underway to equip the planes with weapons.

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