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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Korea to export TA-50 jets to Philippines


TA-50 trainer jet. (Defense Acquisition Program Administration)
The Philippine air force has decided to purchase 12 TA-50 trainer jets from South Korea in a project worth nearly $360 million, a Philippines broadcaster reported Wednesday.

The aircraft produced by Korea Aerospace Industries will be delivered within next year, ABS-CBN reported citing air force officials.

The trainer jets are priced at 1.25 billion pesos ($29.8 million) each, it added.

Seoul’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration, however, said that although it was working on exporting the TA-50 to the Philippines it has yet to receive any confirmation on the issue.

According to reports, the Philippine government is conducting a 70 billion peso program to update its military’s equipment, and a significant proportion of the budget is to be directed into bolstering the air force. 

The TA-50 is a weaponry-equipped trainer jet with attack and operational capabilities matching those of the KF-16 fighter jets operated by the Korean Air Force. 

The TA-50 is fitted with the F404-GE102 engine used in the F-18 fighter jet, and is equipped with digital flight control systems and radar. 

Seoul’s Air Force currently operates 21 TA-50 trainer fighter jets, and the first batch of Air Force pilots trained in the aircraft will go into active service at the end of the year. 

By Choi He-suk  (cheesuk@heraldm.com)

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