Revised June 09, 2016. See bottom of the page for the complete revision history
Below is the approximate timeline of the acquisition of the FA-50 Fighting Eagle by the Philippines arranged from the latest to the previous news. It’s not meant to be comprehensive, just the major developments during the acquisition of the aircraft.
I will be updating this post every time an important, new development occurs regarding the FA-50 Acquisition. For quick reference, just look for it on the “Timelines” category on the “Categories” section on the Side Bar.
* April 17, 2016
The first two FA-50PHs of the Philippine Air Force joined its first major Military Exercise in the “Exercise Balikatan 2016” where it performed a simulated interception on two Hawker Hunters asking as aggressors while being supported by an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft of the United States Air Force (USAF).
(Source: FA-50PHs gave impressive showing during ‘Balikatan’ exercises — PAF spokesperson)
* February 19, 2016
The first two FA-50PHs of the Philippine Air Force conducted its first official escort mission of the Presidential aircraft when it escorted the Philipine Air Lines Flight number PR001 carrying President Benigno Aquino III and his delegation on its way back to the Philippines from the United States. It was the first time in ten years that such a mission had been performed after the Air Force retired its F-5 Freedom Fighter aircraft in 2005.
(Source: Air Force FA-50s escort Aquino, delegation upon arrival from US)
* December 22, 2015
The first two FA-50PH of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) conducted its first official fly by during the 80th Anniversary of the PAF at Clark Air Base as Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Hernando Iriberri was concluding his speech.
(Source: WATCH: Historic high-speed pass of FA-50PH jets)
* November 28, 2015
The first two FA-50PH bought by the Philippines finally arrived at Clark Air Base. They were met with a Welcoming Ceremony headed by Department of Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Philippine Air Force (PAF) Chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado, Senior Military Officials and Korean Aerospace Inc. (KAI) officials.
(Source: Air Force’s 2 FA-50 fighter jets arrive)
* November 7, 2015
The current Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado flew a brand new FA-50PH at the Sancheon Air Base, South Korea. During the flight, Gen. Delgado reached the speed of Mach 1.2 or 1,482 kph which earned him a “Mach Buster” Plaque for breaking the Sound Barrier.
(Source: Post by the official Philippine Air Force page on Facebook on November 7, 2015 )
* August 25, 2015
Maintenance personnel of the Philippine Air Force’s 16th Figther Wing confirmed to be in South Korea for training on the maintenance of the FA-50PH.
(Source: South Korean Webpage on the Ycehn Website)
* June 19, 2015
The first FA-50PH for scheduled for delivery to the Philippines took its maiden flight in South Korea. The manufacturer on their official Facebook page also promised to try to make the delivery at the end of the year. They also noted down the official designation of “FA-50PH” for the FA-50s bought by the Philippines.
(Source: Post by the official KAI page on Facebook on June 19, 2015 )
* March 3, 2015
– Department of National Defense (DND) Undersecretary Fernando Manalo confirmed to IHS Jane’s 360 that the first two FA-50s will be delivered in December 2015 and that they will be “mission-ready”.
(Source: Philippines to get first two FA-50s early)
* December 14, 2014
– President Noynoy Aquino went on a side trip to inspect an actual FA-50 Fighting Eagle aircraft at the Gimhae Air Base in Busan during his visit to South Korea to attend the Asean-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit. Here is the official video of the visit:
(Source: Viewing of the FA 50 Aircraft and Departure for Manila 12/12/2014)
* July 28, 2014
– Defense Undersecretary for Finance, Modernization, Installation and Munitions Fernando Manalo confirmed that the 15% downpayment was released and that the Letter of Credit (LoC) was also opened for the purchase of the FA-50 Fighting Eagles within July 2014, firming up the delivery dates of the aircraft, which will be as follows:
+ First 2 should be delivered no later than January 2016;
+ Next 2 should be delivered no later than January 2017;
+ Last 8 should be delivered no later than September 2017.
(Source: Another milestone for F/A-50 program reached –DND)
– President Benigno Aquino Jr. in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) mentioned in his speech that the first 2 FA-50 Fighting Eagle aircraft will be delivered within 2015, indicating an earlier delivery date for these first 2 aircraft than the no-later-than-January 2016 delivery indicated in the contract after the opening of the Letter of Credit (LoC).
(Source: READ: 5th SONA of President Aquino)
* July 8, 2014
– Defense Undersecretary for Finance, Modernization, Installation and Munitions Fernando Manalo said that the Letter of Credit (LoC) for the purchase of the FA-50 Fighting Eagles will be opened within the week starting from July 8, 2014. The release of the LoC will finalize the exact delivery dates and delivery schedule of the FA-50 aircraft.
(Source: Letter of Credit for F/A-50 to be opened within 7 days – DND)
* June 30, 2014
– Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo confirmed that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) for the purchase of the FA-50 Fighting Eagles. This will pave the way for the release of the Notice to Proceed (NtP) and Letter of Credit (LoC) for the purchase of the aircraft.
(Source: DBM releases SARO for purchase of 12 fighter jets)
* May 20, 2014
– Philippine Air Force (PhAF) Col. Miguel Okol said that the field for the PIONEER Philippine FA-50 Pilots has been narrowed down to 4 candidates with the ranks of Majors and Captains, all with high number of flying hours in the S-211 jets and have long expected remaining service times with the air force. All will be sent to South Korea probably starting at the end of 2014. An undisclosed number of pilots also will undergo simulator training, these will then be trained by the 4 pilots once they get back from their South Korean training.
(Source: Four PAF pilots to train in Korea for new jets)
* April 4, 2014
– Philippine Air Force (PhAF) Spokesman Col. Miguel Ernest Okol said that 6 pilots (2 Instructors, 2 Operations Pilots and 2 Test Pilots) have been identified and included in the pool of Pilots for the FA-50 Fighting Eagle. All of them have considerable flight time on the S-211 Jet Trainers and are junior in rank so their employment with the PhAF will be maximized. The pilots will start training in South Korea at a future date.
(Source: Only pilots with high jet time to fly F/A-50s)
* March 29, 2014
– Department of National Defense (DND) Assistant Secretary Patrick Velez said that plans are in place to upgrade the FA-50s the Philippines are buying to have Beyond Visual Range (BVR) capability thru the use of missiles like the AIM-7 Sparrow. But due to the expensive cost of the upgrade, costing between P 800 million to P 1 billion (USD 17.8 to 22.2 million) per aircraft, only 3-4 aircraft will be upgraded.
(Source: DND eyes BVR upgrades for F/A-50s)
* March 28, 2014
– The contract for the 12 FA-50 Fighting Eagle worth USD 420 million (USD 35 million per aircraft at the exchange rate of USD 1 = P 45) was finally officially signed by both the Philippines and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). All 12 aircraft are scheduled for delivery within 38 months after the deal goes into effect.
(Source: KAI won a contract to export 12 FA-50s to the Phil)
* March 21, 2014
– Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo said the signing of the contract for the purchase of the T-50PH aircraft will be moved from this week to March 28, 2014 to accommodate the schedule of the President of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA). KOTRA is the agency in charge of the South Korean government’s commercial transactions.
(Source: Phl to sign P24B jet, helicopter deals with SKorea, Canada)
* March 18, 2014
– Philippine Air Force (PhAF) Spokesperson Col. Ernesto Miguel Okol said that PhAF Pilots for the T-50PH will be trained in South Korea once the contract signing is completed this month. He also said that the aircraft will prepare the pilots for the acquisition of Multi-Role Fighter aircraft in the future.
(Source: PAF pilots to be trained in South Korea)
* March 17, 2014
– The Department of National Defense (DND) announced that it expects the contract for the 12 T-50PH aircraft to be signed within the 3rd week of March (Mar. 17-22) 2014.
(Source: Phl, SoKor to sign P18.9-B jet deal this week)
* February 21, 2014
– Korea Aerospace Industry (KAI) dropped its demand for a 52% downpayment and agreed instead to the 15% downpayment plus a new progressive payment scheme based on agreed “milestones” related to the construction of the aircraft.
(Source: Palace OKs payment scheme for S. Korean fighter jets)
– The Department of National Defense (DND) and Korea Aerospace Industry (KAI) completed negotiations for the acquisition of the 12 T-50PH in a meeting at Camp Aguinaldo. Official signing of the contract is expected to be in March 2014.
(Source: PH completes negotiations for 12 fighter jets)
* February 14, 2014
– Korea Aerospace Industry (KAI) revealed that the negotiations for the sale of T-50PH to the Philippines was delayed due to the rehabilitation of damaged areas done by Typhoon Haiyan. They said they are just waiting for the Philippine government’s final decision, and they expect a favorable decision within the first half of 2014.
(Source: KAI eyes final FA-50 deal with Philippines in H1)
* February 12, 2014
– Korea Aerospace Industry (KAI) announced it is in the final stages of negotiations for the sale of FA-50 Fighting Eagles to the Philippines. They also announced that the aircraft for the Philippines will be designated “T-50PH” if the sale pushes thru.
(Source: Korea Pushing Helos, Mini-F-16, and Devil Killer at Singapore Airshow)
* December 26, 2013
– The Department of National Defense (DND) and Korea Aerospace Industry (KAI) agree to a 60-day Turn Around Time for the spare parts of the FA-50 Fighting Eagle during the warranty period. The DND also submits to President Aquino the recommendation to approve the 52% down payment to KAI for the 12 FA-50s.
(Source: DND seeks release of funds to buy Korean fighter jets)
* December 2, 2013
– Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo outlined some issues delaying the negotiations for the FA-50 Fighting Eagles, which are the demand by Korea Aerospace Industry (KAI) for a 52% downpayment and a 180-day turnaround time for spare parts during the 2 year warranty period. The Department of National Defense (DND) can only agree to a 15% downpayment and 45 days turnaround time. Manalo also said they will decide by end of December whether to push thru with the deal or not.
(Source: DND: No consensus yet on P18.9-B fighter jets’ purchase)
* November 7, 2013
– Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo in a telephone interview with the Manila Standard said that the FA-50s would be used to patrol Philippine airspace especially the West Philippine Sea where China had been intruding. Manalo also said he expects the negotiations to be completed by January 2014.
(Source: Korean jets eyed to patrol WPH Sea)
* November 4, 2013
– Korea Aerospace Industry (KAI) releases a new video on Youtube of the FA-50 giving it the nickname, “Fighting Eagle”.
(Source: [Korea Aerospace Industries: KAI] FA-50 Fighting Eagle Video Clip )
* October 17, 2013
– A Spokesman for South Korean President Park Geun-Hye released a statement during President Noynoy Aquino’s State Visit to South Korea that said that the South Korean President, “… expressed gratitude for Manila’s selection of the FA-50 as the candidate for the Philippine jet acquisition program, and she hoped that a final contract would be signed at an early date …”
(Source: S. Korea To Export Light Attack Jets to Philippines)
* September 4, 2013
– Department of National Defense (DND) Spokesman Peter Galvez said that the DND is still pushing thru with the plan to acquire FA-50s despite a recent crash in South Korea involving a similar aircraft.
(Source: Despite crash, acquisition process for fighter jets continues)
* September 1, 2013
– The Air Defense Wing Journal showed a Pilot Qualification Training Plan for the FA-50. The plan anticipated the arrival of the FA-50 by the 3rd Quarter of 2014.
(Source: Jet 14-16 Air Defense Wing Journal, September 2013)
* August 28, 2013
– In a speech at the Manila Overseas Press Club Forum, Philippine Air Force (PhAF) Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino Dela Cruz announced that formal negotiations for the acquisition of 12 FA-50 Golden Eagle from the manufacturer Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) formally started the previous month, July of 2013.
(Source: Air Force chief: 12 fighter jets by 2016)
(1) March 1, 2014: Originally posted
(2) March 17, 2014: Updated post to reflect announcement by DND that the T-50PH contract will be signed within Mar. 17-22, 2014.
(3) March 22, 2014: Updated post to reflect news on rescheduling of the contract signing to March 28, 2014 and news on training of PhAF T-50PH pilots in South Korea.
(4) April 1, 2014: Updated post with news on the official signing of the FA-50 contract.
(5) April 6, 2014: Added information on pool of pilots and possible BVR upgrade for the FA-50; Uploaded new photo for the blog with Gen. Bautista looking at the FA-50 scale model.
(6) May 24, 2014: Added information on narrowed down pool of pilots for the FA-50s.
(7) July 29, 2014: Added information on the release of the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) and Letter of Credit (LoC) for the FA-50s, the no later than delivery dates and PNoy’s announcement.
(8) December 14, 2014: Added video and picture of PNoy’s inspection of an FA-50.
(9) May 6, 2015: Added report on the Dec. 2015 delivery of the first two FA-50s.
(10) November 9, 2015: Added reports on the first flight of the FA-50PH, training of Air Force Maintenance Personnel and Mach 1.2 flight of Gen. Delgado; Added a picture of FA-50PH with Tail Number 002 and revised the numbering system for the revision summary.
(11) June 9, 2016: Added news about the FA-50PH’s arrival, first official fly by, first escort mission of the Presidential plane, and first major military exercise; Started using “The Wayback Machine” to archive the links.