Category Archives: Air to Air Missiles

AIM-7 Sparrow Missiles for the FA-50?

(Revised September 24, 2015. See bottom of the page for the complete revision history)

An AIM-7 Sparrow Missile. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.
An AIM-7 Sparrow Missile. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Shortly after the contract signing for the purchase of twelve FA-50 Fighting Eagles by the Philippines from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) last March (2014), the Department of National Defense (DND) thru its Assistant Secretary Patrick Velez announced plans to “upgrade” the FA-50s so these will have the capability to carry and fire Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles.1 This came as a pleasant surprise to me as it means more capability for the FA-50s we are buying.

BVR missiles are Air-to-Air missiles that have ranges of at least 36 km.2 Note that the FA-50s have NOT been qualified yet for the use of any BVR missiles, in fact the only air to air missiles the plane is currently qualified for are the AIM-9 Sidewinder Short Range Air to Air Missile (SRAAM) versions up to the AIM-9M version.3 South Korea, Indonesia and Iraq have also bought FA-50s, but if this plan pushes thru then we will have the most capable FA-50s in the world so far.
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2013 AIM-9L Sidewinder Procurement for the FA-50 Golden Eagle

Revised January 3, 2014. See bottom of the page for the complete revision history

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The AIM-9L Sidewinder. Photo courtesy of halfmind thru Flickr
The AIM-9L Sidewinder. Photo courtesy of halfmind thru Flickr

The Philippine Air Force (PhAF) posted an update on the status of their modernization program on their website recently, and there are a lot of “goodies” there, among them are the procurement of Short Range Air to Air Missiles (SRAAM) for a “Fighter/Surface Attack Aircraft/Lead-in Fighter Trainer (F/SAA/LIFT) Aircraft”, which we can safely assume to be for the FA-50 Fighting Eagle (no, I’m not going to call it the “Feagle”) as it is the only such aircraft we are procuring as of now, and the fact that the status specifically mentioned that they have consulted with the manufacturer Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) with regards to the official certification of weapons of the aircraft, and KAI also just happens to be the manufacturer of the FA-50.[1]

‘Bidding Details and Significance’
The procurement called for 312 SRAAMs for a total cost of P 2,636,637,612 which at the exchange rate of USD 1 = P 45 (used in the FA-50 transaction) would be equivalent to USD 58,591,947. Unit price will be at P 8,450,761 or USD 187,795. The transaction will be made thru direct contracting, and a note for October 2013 read, “… reviewed lot one (1) (Aim 9L/I-1) that focused on conditions of the contract …”. So it seems that the procured SRAAM will be for the AIM-9L/I-1 Sidewinder.
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