The FA-50 Golden Eagle versus the SU-30MKK/MK2 Flanker-G

Revised November 25, 2013. See bottom of the page for the complete revision history


FA-50 in flight. Photo courtesy of the Malaysia Flying Herald website
FA-50 in flight. Photo courtesy of the Malaysia Flying Herald website

It now looks like the Philippine Air Force’s (PhAF) acquisition of the FA-50 Golden Eagle is a GO, and all that is missing now is the formal announcement, which is likely to be done during PNoy’s State Visit to South Korea on Oct. 17-18, 2013.[1] A critical clue to this is thru the PhAF Air Defense Wing’s Journal announcing that, “… the initial delivery of 2 new fighter aircraft in 2014 …”, and they then go on to show this training plan, citing the FA-50 SPECIFICALLY:[2]

Philippine Air Force 2013-2014 Training Schedule with FA-50
Philippine Air Force 2013-2014 Training Schedule with FA-50

Of course a lot could still happen between now and the formal announcement, but as of now I think the FA-50 deal is 99% sure already barring any major catastrophe or event that will affect the announcement. Hence, let’s take a close look at how the FA-50 compares with major threats it could be facing, like China’s SU-30MKK/MK2 Flanker-G fighter aircraft, for example.

‘Aircraft Backgrounds’
The SU-30MKK is made by the Russian Federation’s “Sukhoi Company”, and is the export version of the SU-30 aircraft in service with the Russian Air Force, as indicated by the “K” on its “SU-30MKK” designation. It is an improved version of the SU-27 Flanker, and is China’s most capable combat aircraft right now. It is described as a heavy, long-range, all-weather strike fighter. China ordered 76 aircraft which were delivered between 2000-2003, and in case of any war, it will be China’s main frontline aircraft.[3]

The SU-30MK2 is the maritime version of the SU-30MKK intended for use by China on its carrier fleet if ever they do get to finally field them. It differs from the SU-30MKK mainly in terms of the avionics used. China has 24 of these, first delivered in 2004.[3]

In contrast, the FA-50 Golden Eagle (or “Geagle”) is just a “light” Multi-Role Fighter (MRF) which the PhAF will task as its main combat aircraft against all threats, at least until a better MRF comes along (like possibly South Korea’s KF-X MRF programme, for example). The Geagle will still be a major improvement over the AS-211 which the PhAF has tasked as the country’s main combat aircraft during the last 8 years since 2005. Once the FA-50 arrives, the AS-211 will likely be slowly pulled out from combat duty to focus more on its designed role as a Basic Jet Trainer.

‘Evaluation Notes’
For the “Maneuverability” and “Payload and Range” sections, the following considerations were made:
– Weights with 100% internal fuel was used to try to simulate the aircraft going into combat with full internal fuel after dropping their External Fuel Tanks.
– The weights of the armaments were not included as the RATIOS and DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BOTH aircraft will remain the same if they will be armed with the same type and same number of armaments.
– Fuel density of 0.81 kg/l was used to convert fuel capacity to kilograms
– Data for each aircraft was derived from various websites at [4][5][6][7][8].

For both aircraft’s maneuvering capability, I am looking at their WING LOADING* and THRUST TO WEIGHT RATIO*. I would’ve wanted to take a look at more aspects like Stalling Speed, Maximum Alpha, etc., but those data are hard to come by for both aircraft. Hence, these should suffice for now. Remember that a lower Wing Loading means the aircraft can turn tighter and vice-versa, and a higher Thrust-to-Weight Ratio means the aircraft can go faster going straight up or straight down and vice-versa.

– Wing Loading: Favors the Geagle with its 17% lower wing loading
– Thrust to Weight Ratio: Even for both aircraft at around .93-.94

+++ A very surprising result with Geagle being more maneuverable overall than the Flanker-G. The problem is that while the Flanker-G has much bigger wings and engines, it also is a much heavier aircraft, hence all that advantage is lost. The higher weight of the Flanker-G will be an advantage in other areas (as we shall see later), but not in terms of maneuverability.

A Chinese SU-30MKK Flanker-G. Photo courtesy of the Defence Forum India website
A Chinese SU-30MKK Flanker-G. Photo courtesy of the Defence Forum India website

‘Payload and Range’
Payload and Range doesn’t really mean much as we are comparing each aircraft against each other with no plans of acquiring the Flanker-G, but since the data is there, might as well do it. And also so we can see where all of the Flanker-G’s advantage goes. For Range, I am using INTERNAL FUEL FRACTION (INTFF)* as a rough indicator how far each aircraft can go based on the internal fuel available to them.

– INTFF difference: Favors the Flanker-G by 56%, indicating it can travel 56% farther than the Geagle for the same engine fuel efficiency.
– Payload difference: Favors the Flanker-G as it can carry 117% (4,320 kg) more load.

+++ Here we can see where the Flanker-G’s size advantage goes. It can travel much further as it carries more internal fuel (9,400 kg versus 2,150 kg), and its heavier but more powerful engines allow it to carry much more equipment and arms (8,000 kg versus 3,680 kg). Hence, the Flanker-G is a much better OFFENSIVE weapon than the Geagle will ever be. However, for DEFENSIVE purposes, which the Geagle will be tasked for, the Geagle will suffice with its modest range and payload.

‘Air Combat-related Avionics and Weapons’
Here I am comparing the capability of both aircraft in terms of Within Visual Range (WVR) and Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air combat thru their Avionics and Weapons available to them. Just some notes, though:
– The Geagle’s Radar Cross-Section (RCS) is only ASSUMED to be 80% that of the F-16 as no reliable data is available for it, and that the Geagle is about 80% the size of the F-16.
– RCS data are for “clean” aircraft, with no armaments or fuel tanks
– Other data were taken from these websites:[9][10][11][12]

– WVR COMBAT: Here the Geagle is at an extreme disadvantage as it does not have the default mandatory avionics nowadays to be competitive in close-range air combat like a Helmet Mounted Sight and High Off-Boresight missiles
– BVR COMBAT: Favors the Flanker-G as the Geagle does not have the capability to use medium range air to air missiles yet. A huge radar advantage for the Flanker-G also as it can detect the Geagle 130% or 71 km farther than the Geagle can detect the Flanker-G, which is only at 55 km. The Flanker-G also has the advantage of an IRST sensor which will be useful in certain tactical situations

+++ Here we can see that despite the fact that the Flanker-G has a much larger RCS than the Geagle, it also has a much, much more powerful Zhuk-MSE/Sokol radar. The Geagle might have a small RCS, but its EL/M-2032 radar is not as powerful, hence giving a huge advantage to the Flanker-G in detecting the Geagle first.

+++ The Flanker-G’s IRST is useful in a limited number of situations as it will enable the Flanker-G to sneak up on its opponents without using its radar (whose emissions can be detected) and fire the first shot if necessary. However it does have limitations, it has a much shorter range than the Flanker-G’s radar at only around 35 km for head on targets,[13] which can be further reduced under certain atmospheric conditions

‘Parting Shot’
The data shows that the Geagle can be competitive with the Flanker-G in a maneuvering combat, but this advantage is lost because of its lack of a Helmet Mounted Sight and inability to carry High Off Boresight missiles, enabling the Flanker-G to have a lot more opportunities to fire its weapons first. It also is no match against the Flanker-G in BVR combat as it is not yet certified to carry medium range air to air missiles as of this writing. It would be nothing short of SUICIDE to ask our Geagle pilots to try to engage the Flanker-G in any sort of air combat given its deficiencies against that aircraft.

This just highlights the need for a better fighter aircraft like perhaps the JAS-39C Gripen to defend our territorial airspace against advanced Chinese aircraft like the Flanker-G. We will still be needing the Geagle as it would serve as an effective Lead In Fighter Trainer (LIFT) or INTERMEDIATE Trainer so our pilots can SAFELY transition from flying our Basic Jet Trainer, the AS-211 to more advanced aircraft like the Gripen C.

Aside from that, the Geagle also has excellent ground/surface attack capability even during night or adverse weather, something we have not had before with our previous aircraft like the F-5A Freedom Fighter or the OV-10 Broncos.

If the FA-50 is, indeed, in the bag, could the KF-X be far behind?

The KFX-201 Stealth Fighter program. Photo courtesy of the Garuda Militer website
The KFX-201 Stealth Fighter program. Photo courtesy of the Garuda Militer website


[1] PNoy to visit South Korea,

[2] Philippine Air Force Air Defense Wing “Jet 14-16” September 2013 Journal No. 7, page 24,

[3] SU-30MKK,

[4] Su-30MKK Specifications,

[5] FA-50 Specifications and Features,

[6] Army and Weapons – Deadly KAI T-50 Golden Eagle,

[7] KAI FA-50,

[8] Su-30MK2,

[9] Which Fighter Plane is the No:1 in the Indian Subcontinent in the BVR(Beyond Visual Range) arena?,

[10] Zhuk-MSE,

[11] Fighter Mig-21 Fishbed,

[12] KAI contracts for serial production of the FA-50,

[13] OLS-35 IRST option for Su-30 family,


–> WING LOADING = is the amount of weight the wing supports during flight, and is expressed in weight per area, or in the metric system, kg/m^2. This is computed by: (Wing Area divided by Weight).

–> THRUST TO WEIGHT RATIO = means how much power the aircraft has compared to its weight, and is expressed by a simple number. This is computed by: (The maximum thrust of the aircraft’s engine divided by weight).

–> INTERNAL FUEL FRACTION = is the weight of the internal fuel the aircraft compared to its maximum take-off weight, and is expressed by a simple number. Formula used is: (Maximum internal fuel capacity divided by maximum take off weight).

Revision History:
* October 6, 2013: Originally posted
* November 9, 2013: Changed references and data for the FA-50 Golden Eagle as better data from the manufacturer has finally become available. Some computations based on these data has also changed.
* November 25, 2013: Revised data for Avionics and weapons for the Geagle as a more accurate reference was found.


61 thoughts on “The FA-50 Golden Eagle versus the SU-30MKK/MK2 Flanker-G”

  1. At the end of the day, what missiles the Golden Eagles carry will be the most important factor if they find themselves in air combat situation. I would say that buying 12 F/A 50 is only the start, the PAF will need to get them the appropriate missiles and precision guided munition and targeting pods to make them effective. If The F/A-50 is integrated with the DASH helmet, Python 5 and Derby missiles, they do stand a good chance against the Sukhois.

    1. Agree. The Python 5 is pretty good, and probably cheaper too than the AIM-9X. But there is a big diference in range between the Derby and AMRAAM, hence I think the AMRAAM is essential in to be able to match up with China’s Adders …

  2. why did you compare two not apple to apple fighters? as we know fa-50 is a light fighter and su-30 is a heavy fighter..light fighter used to be a patrol aircraft..because it is light and the cost of operational is cheaper than the heavy fighter..otherwise, the heavy fighter used to be as the main weapon if there’s a threat in their teritorial…so does the main task of fa-50 and su-30..

    my point is they are not comparable..

    1. I compared them because even if the FA-50 is a Light Combat Aircraft, it will be the MAIN combat aircraft of the Philippines. It will be our best and most capable aircraft … at least for now. Because of this, it will be used to defend the Philippines against all threats like the SU-30MKK/MK2.

      You might not be aware, but the Philippines and China are under a lot of tension because China is slowly stealing away our territory …

  3. If the reason you comparing this aircraft is china(mainland),than its still not apple to apple…
    You can compare T50-GE with their J-10 or JF-17/ FC-1or maybe F-7. If its true that this T50-GE will become phillipine main air asset,than china(mainland) wont need to send their SU-27 /30 fleet, because It will be overkill against T50-GE, just like sending heavy fregat to hunt pirate with sampan.

    1. I’m just being realistic here. If war breaks out, China isn’t going to send their J-10s against us just because we only have an FA-50. Of course they are going to send their best fighters available.

      It won’t be necessary an “overkill”, as I showed in the blog the FA-50 has enough maneuverability, avionics and weapons to be competitive in WVR combat.

      As for BVR combat, sure, one on one the SU-30MKK/MK2 has a large radar advantage over the FA-50, but there are ways to go around that. The FA-50 already has a data link capability, so it can use other radars like ground based radars or AEW aircraft with the same data link capability to get targeting information.

      1. Does Philliphines Air Force buy complete packages of FA-50 (including Datalink)? Does Philliphines Air Force has updated CGI radar to cover the blankspot and AEW Aircraft now?

      2. The FA-50 is advertised a having Data Link capability, and I think the PhAF will buy these either with the option already installed, or at least will have that option to fit later. As for AEW aircraft, no not yet, but hopefully in the future. As for ground-base radars, the PhAF is buying new radars (, these will likely have data link capability.

        As for current ground based radars in use, the PhAF are a bit mum on these right now, probably because of their semi-fixed locations. I remember seeing an article about radars in use now a couple of months ago, I think they were the AN/TPS-70 radars, but I can’t find the link now. If so, not sure if these have data link capability, or upgradeable to include data link capability, but the PhAF is slowly building a decent air defense network …

  4. Well… as far as i know, JF17/FC1 were very advance jet(but not like gripen).
    T50(F/A-50 original design were to replaced the old F5-Tiger, not an air superiority but more as a ground attack. Of course it can handle enemy hostile aircraft,but not as good as F16(also a light fighter class)
    On the other hand.. JF-17 which was china-pakistan joint venture were created to replace F16,and that mean, it was created for air superiority asset from the begining.
    So…to mention an overkill… even a full pack F/A-50 will have a fierce bloody fight against a full pack china JF17/ FC-1 in WVR combat(without AEW support for both sides)
    Not to mention that china J-10B will become their workhorse for air superiority, so no… its not an easy job for our upcoming F/A-50.. that is actually the reason about an overkill..
    And remember, china did not plan to export/sell the J10B to foreign market,and that my friend… can only have one meaning, the J10B have a big technological advantage compared to other jet.

    Against china SU-30 ???
    Im sorry to say this but our pilot are not that well trained… their avarage trained pilot behind J10B can whipe our air asset instantly.

    And in the end,china doesnt have to send their Su30 fleet to wipe our air asset.
    They just need to swarm our bases and ground radar with conventional warhead icbm and than flies sorties of J10B/JF17 to maintain their air superiority on our sky.

    1. Let’s not try to make too much assumption, and try to work with facts. The J10B having specific technological advantage? Why, what advantages are these then specifically. Our pilots are not that well-trained? Why would you say such a thing, what’s the basis?

      The J10 has to come all the way from China, and the distance from China’s nearest province, Hainan, is well over a thousand kilometers to the nearest point in Luzon. Even with air to air refueling, you still need to consider fuel for loiter time and fuel for air combat plus there’s the load you have to carry … I don’t think the J10s will be very effective in covering anything. China will need long range fighters to reach our shores, that means their SU-27s, SU-30s and J-11s …

  5. First of all… i must agree with you to make assumption by fact.

    So here’s the fact…
    Until now,the US are still not willing to sell F22 to their NATO friends, instead..they created this F35 which is far inferior especially in terms of stealthy for their NATO Friends, why? Its the technology..
    F22 holds several technology key.

    Same thing goes to J10B..okei its not the most advance fighter in the world, but the fact is… until now, china refused to sell it to their pakistan friend,a friend that works together to build JF17 from nothing…why? Not enough money from pakistan? I dont think so…but there’s got to be a reason.

    J10B combat radius is 1600km with single air refueling.. and for me, if it can reach luzon than its enough to kick our airforce ass.
    Next fact..
    Why not using long range heavy fighter?

    And simple question is… why did the US MOSTLY use their F16 and f18 when kicking sadam hussein ass ? Why not using ONLY the F15-E strike eagle?? Longer range,more paylod, and no need to refuel..and US have plenty of that toys.
    it simply because sadam does not have significant threat in their arsenal in terms of fighter..
    Am i wrong? Maybe,but if i know my enemy have only a spoon to fight back why should i use MLRs? An mp-5 or even a hand gun coupled with chainsaw can finish the job well.. yes… i may get hurt with that spoon,but less money i need to throw to kill that naked spoon man

    Next fact
    Im must apologized for this, i dont mean to underestimating our airforce but can you tell me when was the last time PAF conducting live training using real fighter jet?(not chopper,simulator,training jet and bronco)..
    When was the last time they flies for air patrol using real fighter jet?
    When was the last time they fired live missile for training purpose using real fighter jet?
    How may hours/month that our pilot spent flying real fighter jet?
    Compare all the answer with our ASEAN friend and than compare it to china, you will get the fact and you’ll be surprised to know how our pilot are trained… and that is the basis for my assumption
    My friend… im proud with our country,but the fact is… we have the weakest airforce and navy in ASEAN… my basis for that… you can ask google…

    Btw,according fact from google,especially from our indonesian friend, the cost for conducting air patrol using heavy fighter such as SU30 are between UsD.50-70000/hours, While air patrol using F16 were no more than half of it. Thats a lot of number, and since the JF17 and J10b falls in light fighter category same like the F18 and rafale, it will be more cost effective for china or even US and French( they were reeaally rich you know)…

    1. (Snort) How the hell do you know specifically which “technological secret” the Chinese are trying to hide, aber? It could be a lot of things, how do you know which ones is it? LOL

      The J10 has a combat radius of 1600 km on a single refueling? And from which fantasy of yours did this come from? LMAO.

      And finally, the US only using F-16s and F-18s in Iraq? Oh, really? The F-15 did not play a significant role in those wars? LOL.

      Thank you for the entertainment, Mr. tommy p … LMAO.

    1. rengab, actually my next blog is about the Kfir Block 60, and I am comparing it with the FA-50, it will be out in a couple of days. I might do a blog comparing the Kfir with Chinese fighters later …

  6. depende yan sa diskarte at experience ng piloto.bobo sa diskarte ang mga intsik, just n case mangyari na magkaroon ng dog fight between chinese su and pilipino pilot using fa50′, sigurado bagsak ysn ang russian made plane na yan kasi mas madiskarte ang mga pilipino

  7. Israeli made Elta 2032 radar is a good fire control radar with the performance comparable with those fitted to the most recent version of F-16s like APG-68v9. If F/A-50 is fitted with EL-2032, it should detect the huge object like SU-27 far much away than you wrote in the table. Modern air-fight is determined not by the size of the aircraft but by the reliability of the guided missiles.

      1. Your references looks outdated because the maximum detection and targeting range of ELM-2032 is already 81nm(150km).
        If your radar can detect an average bomber of 100m^2 rcs at 150km, then it can detect 10m^2 rcs object from 84km, and it is the sufficient enough distance because the kill probability of missiles dramatically fall as the distance increases.

        Besides that I doubt if Russian missile is as reliable as US or European made ones because the seeker technologies are highly dependent on the advanced electronic and SW engineering, in which Russia is not the powerhouse.

        SU-30 may be agile, carry more armaments, fly more distance, detect things a bit earlier in the air, but that doesn’t mean it can kill a fighter with a battery of a good radar and a reliable missile. The outcome will be easily the other way round.

      2. My next blog to be published in a couple of days deals with offsetting the SU-30MKK’s radar advantage, I think you will find it interesting …

  8. FA-50’s EL/M-2032 radar has a maximum range of 150 km for 5m2 RCS. It’s range has been further enhanced from the original data of the radar. Also FA-50 has tactical data link which can help locate enemy positions without the detection of its own radar.

      1. KAI said radar antenna has been modified/changed for better range. What you stated in here is comparing TA-50, not FA-50.

      2. Sorry, James, but the source you mentioned only said the maximum detection range of the EL/M-2032 is 150 km, but it didn’t say for what radar cross section. If you can help me out get the correct or updated detection range of the EL/M-2032, I would highly appreciate it.

  9. This is bad comparison, first of all T/A-50 is just armed version of trainer jet and it wasn’t even designed to be used as fighter. Secondly Su-30 should be better compare with F-15 or F-18, and lastly China can still able to beat Philippine even if Manila acquired F-15, coz 12 airplanes = approx 5 F-15, five F-15 vs 80 Su-30 isn’t even match.

    1. Well, that is your opinion, Kochi. I’ve already stated in the blog why I made the comparison, if you didn’t get that the first time I suggest you read it again, slowly this time.

      And I’m not talking about winning a war against China, I am just comparing planes here.

  10. i think there is no need comparing with other fighter jets from other countries. the fa-50 is an interim fighter and for training, while we are waiting for our decision makers and top brass to decide for the budget and selection of a real MRF. while still no MRF, fa-50 is all we got for our deterrent and minimum defense requirement. just armed the fa-50 with the AIM-9 sidewinder, AIM-120 AMRAAM, PYTHON. AGM-65 maverick and rafael or harpoon anti-ship missiles.
    since our program is to order at least 12 fa-50s, only two (2) will be assigned for trainer, the rest will be assigned as light fighters. the purpose for this is to lengthen the flying hours of the fa-50. but when the MRFs will come, then five (5) will be assigned for trainers. but if we have additional budget govt must order at least five (5) t-50 pure trainers. we must have at least 2 fighter squadrons, one squadron of fa-50s as light fighters and one squadron of MRFs.
    again, the govt must make a program that if any of our fighters are no longer flyable, immediately govt must order replacement not just to cannibalized parts. and not to wait the whole squadron will no longer flyable.

  11. main strategy for external defense is deterrence. although an fa-50 is not comparable to other MRFs or superiority fighters in size, speed and range, it does’nt mean it does not have a punch. although only a light fighter it cannot be underestimated since its weapon system can carry the same missiles carried by present MRFs and superiority fighters and also has WVR and BVR capability.
    with the following specifications mentioned above the fa-50 has enough deterrent that any foreign aircrafts or ships will think twice in violating our territorial integrity.
    if it is difficult for our budget to acquire MRFs, it is even more appropriate we can have 2 squadrons of fa-50 much cheaper and its just enough for our defense requirements.

  12. you have a nice blog here rhk111 and i like to read it.. im hoping you will still have a lot of updates with the Armed Forces of the Philippines modernazation.. Good luck!

    1. Thanks. The only reason why I have suddenly been inspired to blog about our AFP is because of the many developments in the AFP Modernization recently. As the pace of our modernization slows down, I expect to slow down writing blogs about it, until it picks up pace again …

  13. i would like to add that AWACS will play a big role in modern dogfights. its powerful radar has longer range and can track and guide missiles ang planes. there are missiles capable of being guided by AWACS or other planes(some Russian sukhois do based on what ive read).
    aside from that, it can jam enemy radars/communications to give their side a better advantage.
    at the end of the day, it all boils down to training, determination and luck of the pilot.

  14. As a Filipino military enthusiast, I very much appreciated the informative comprehensive analysis on the SU-30MKK/MK-2 and our upcoming FA-50 LCA. Due to the grim bureaucratic situation in our government, it is unlikely that we will have a dedicated full-pledged multirole fighter anytime soon, so it will be the Geagle which will be doing sovereignty flights in the West Phl sea. I just hope that the Geagle will eventually be certified soon for BVR missiles and that our government will be serious enough to upgrade our FA-50s for such a loadout. Thanks again for sharing your analysis.

    1. Glad you liked my blog. But don’t give up hope, who knows, maybe the Philippines will elect another good President in 2016, and we may be able to afford a Multi Role Fighter within the decade …

  15. Just a little reminder. The basic formula used to calculate for the wing loading of an aircraft which is to divide the aircrafts weight by its wing area is no longer entirely accurate especially with todays advanced aerodynamic designs.

    Blended wing and body designs applied on most modern fighters create body lifting characteristics that take some of the load away from the wings.

    We can see this with the F-16 and F-4, at first glance an F-16 has a higher wing loading than an F-4. But the F-16 is considered to be the most maneuverable of all the teen series fighters in terms of sustained turn rate. The F-4 on the other hand will be suicidal if it tried to turn against any of the teens.

    But good post. I like it

    1. Yes, blended wing and body designs, Leading Edge Extensions, etc. do contribute to an aircraft’s lift, but how do you quantify that? What data do you need from the aircraft, and what formula are you going to use to show how it contributes to an aircraft’s maneuverability? That is the tricky part …

  16. Hey, it has a Head’s Up Display and the AIM-120 is now being integrated on the FA-50 so it can already fire Medium range missiles… The only problem is its radar,.. But it can be up gradable..

    1. I’m not sure about the AIM-120 capability of FA-50, but the rader hasn’t 46km 5m^2 detection range like rhk111 posted. I found some artilces about it, and they said, it depends on the size of antena & the weight (of mechanical component). that’s why WIKI said 150km is the maximum detection range of EL/M-2032. And EL/M-2032 for FA-50 is made in korea, not Israel, which is produced by LIG Nex 1 which is one of the korean military industry company, not ELTA. and following this article, (KF-16 part of this article) DAPA is considering to apply EL/M-2032 to their old F-16 models to reach higher ROC. If EL/M-2032 has only 46km detection range, it doesn’t make sense. Diba?

      1. Maybe, maybe not. Sorry, but I’m still on the fence as far as changing the posted detection range for a 5 m^2 of the ELM-2032 as of now.

      2. Should I change the FA-50’s detection range? Let’s see:
        – 1 General interviewed in a South Korean article confirmed that the detection range of the FA-50 is similar to the KF-16;
        – A graphic from KAI showed the FA-50 to have a 100 km detection range for the MIG-23, which has an estimated RCS of 6 m^2.

        But that still doesn’t address the fact that the FA-50 is not qualified for any BVR missiles as of now, Michael. It may be in the future, but bottomline that its not yet up to now.

        Actually, our Filipino pilots will have a good idea of the FA-50s detection range once they start training with them, but I doubt if that information will be revealed as it will be “Opsec” already. But you are right, there may be enough basis to change the FA-50s detection range after all …

      3. It’s ok. sa tingin ko, kailangan mo ng offiicial source, which is announced by KAI or PhAF. But unfortunately, I can’t give you that kind of source. But I’m doubtful that KBS (which is national broadcasting studio) reported unreliable specifics of FA-50 ? (And you also saw the image capture of it.) Anyway did u find something more interesting source about the FA-50 contract? I failed to find any useful source about it..

      4. No, most sources of radar detection ranges (with some exceptions) are “unofficial” or just estimates, for obvious reasons. But some sources are better than others as some might have inside information. As for the FA-50s radar, the information you provided looks decent enough, but I haven’t done anything like this before and just relied on the information from others, hence I am a bit hesitant.

        The only useful information from the contract is the delivery schedule of 38 months for all 12 aircraft upon the contract going into effect, whatever that means. I think more information about the deal will come out in the coming weeks or months …

      5. Just to let you know, if we assume that the detection range of the ELM-2032(LG Nex 1) radar is really 100 km for a 6 m^2 target, that means its detection range for a 5 m^2 target would be at 95 km. This means it will be BETTER than the Gripen C’s PS-05A radar (90 km for 5 m^2 target) or the F-16A’s AN/APG-66 radar (70 km for a 5 m^2 target).

        That is a pretty big claim to make, especially if LG does not want to release official figures about how much improvement they really made on the basic ELM-2032 radar. Also, I am not sure if even they can really improve the ELM-2032 radar from 46 km to 95 km, or an improvement of 106%, which is a really, really big improvement for radars.

        Hence for now, I think I will stay with the 46 km of a 5m^2 target range for the ELM-2032 radar, unless LG publishes some data otherwise. Note that some manufacturers are bold enough to specify the actual detection ranges of their radars, like the Russians for example with their Zhuk radars, they always publish the detection range versus target RCS size. The TPS-77 ground radar also officially published their detection range versus target RCS.

      6. And, yes, It isn’t known yet to operate BVR weapons. I am totally agree about it. There are some news that they might integrate BVR weapons into their FA-50, but it isn’t completed, So for now, FA-50 may not operate AIM-120, or any other BVR misille, so it looks like that the detection range of the rader isn’t a matter… unless FA-50 has BVR capability in the future.

      7. It seems that the defense strategy planned out by the AFP is to rely on the FA-50’s tactical datalink to get radar information from both naval and ground based emitters. The jets will patrol the EEZ at low elevation and in silent mode (radars off) to conceal its location then sneak up on the intruding aircraft from the blind side. Wonderful gripen tactics. But of course radars and satellites are the first ones prioritized to be taken out during a war.

      8. The 3 ground-based radar that the Philippines is buying, probably the TPS-77, will be okay for peacetime or heightened alert conditions, but during times of war, I agree they will be less survivable, even if they are semi-mobile. They just won’t be able to spot aircraft and/or cruise missiles flying low and hiding behind terrain from the ground radar’s line of sight.

        Hence in times of war, no choice but to use Airborne Surveillance aircraft which will be more expensive to use. But no choice, war is expensive …

  17. now it is final we will have the 12 fa-50s. however, after the fa-50s we can do limited purchase about 6 gripens of f16 block 50s. just what thailand, indonesia and malaysia. they dont buy immediately a whole squadron but they do it in a limited acquisitions until they can form a whole squadron. it is the most effective way in a low defence budget but what is important you dont have to wait long at least you have something to use when emergency is needed. i think this is the wise thing to do rather wait for a long time.

    1. P 800 million to P 1 Billion is around USD 17.8 to 22.2 million PER AIRCRAFT for AIM-7 Sparrow Missiles, and that would boost the costs of the converted FA-50s to USD 52.8 to 57.2 million each, which is really quite expensive. But remember that the costs already involves the aircraft, logistical support and the BVR missiles themselves, so I think overall this would still be cheaper than a brand new F-16 purchase, but the gap will not be that large. When Greece bought their F-16s last year, it was worth USD 77.5 million per aircraft (

      Blame CORPORATE GREED for the high cost of the BVR conversion, most of the cost will PROBABLY go to licensing rights to Lockheed Martin (LM), who are discouraging countries from buying other aircraft than their F-16s. The FA-50 is a smaller, licensed built version of LM’s F-16, so they have a lot of say on what the FA-50 should be armed with.

      No, the upgrades only covers the AIM-7 Sparrows, so no HMDs, High Off-Boresight missiles, etc.

  18. if this is true, since contract with fa-50 is already final any BVR upgrade is already unwise. next time, buy immediately 12 f-16s block 50’s. rather we will upgrade the 12 fa-50s to BVR.

  19. any upgrade of the fa-50 will further delay its delivery or its used by our air force. an every delay will cost us our security specially we have already officially filed our protest to the U.N. tribunal. this will make the chinese more aggressive. the worse here even we will win the case..but the areas which we want to recover are already fortified and inhabited by the chinese it will be difficult already to drive them out. unless we declare war on them.

    1. No, I don’t think the BVR upgrades will delay the delivery of the FA-50s. My guess is that it can be done when the aircraft is in service already, and that it will be a relatively easy and straight forward conversion. Most of the cost will to Lockheed Martin’s greed …

  20. ok that settles..but now i prefer the basic fa-50 that can carry the sidewinder, maverick and cannon. for me lets go forward and get a real MRF. lets not add cost something we can use for the acquisition of MRF.

  21. Over any other reasons for discussion it all boils down to the fact that this FA-50 acquisition was overpriced. It is like buying a Corolla with the price of Land Cruiser. Our govt. was so corrupt they give little relevance of the a/c’ s use, if they have bought the SU-30 Flanker then there is no need to buy again or at least in the near future another batch of MRF’s.
    I mean what the heck are they thinking about using a trainer to possible fight a fighter or a heavy fighter for that matter if we could by already that same fighter for the same price tag?
    I mean could we just even the odds out by using same jet as our opponent anyway our pilots are already battle hungry since the 70’s.
    Light Attack Bomber and Trainer purpose don’t count much if we’ll just be shot down first before we could even have the time to fly.

    1. That bullsh@% argument by some mor@% who has been trying to derail the FA-50PH transaction since 2013. Look at ALL the T-50 sales, those of Iraq is even more expensive than ours, while Thailand just bought eight for about the same price.

      I might tackle this bullsh@% overpricing issue somewhere down the line, the stup@%ity keeps spreading.

      1. i agree with you rhk111 they are just wasting peoples money in a stupid inquiry. as of this time we cannot afford to buy MRFs. the most important thing we have the fa-50s. the fa-50s is just a preparation for the future MRFs so our pilots can easily adjust to a more sophisticated weapon system. but even without the MRFs we already have a good use for the FA-50s in our insurgency and ISIS problem.

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