MANILA – As the Philippines is now making headway in its efforts to modernize its Armed Forces, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin said that fighter jets manufactured by South Korea is one of the interceptor aircraft being evaluated as the possible replacement for the Northrop F-5 “Tiger.”
The “Tiger” was retired in September 2005 due to airframe aging and lack of spare parts.
“We’re looking at several countries (to supply our fighter aircraft needs) and number one is South Korea’s TA-50 ‘Golden Eagle’ jet aircraft,” he added.
The DND is planning to acquire 12 such aircraft to boost the PAF fleet.
The TA-50 design is largely derived from the F-16 “Fighting Falcon,” and they have many similarities such as the use of a single engine, speed, size, cost, and the range of weapons.
Korean Air Industry’s previous engineering experience in license-producing the KF-16 was a starting point for the development of the T-50.
The aircraft can carry two pilots in tandem seating. The high-mounted canopy developed by Hankuk Fiber is applied with stretched acrylic, providing the pilots with good visibility, and has been tested to offer the canopy with ballistic protection against four-pound objects impacting at 400 knots.
The altitude limit is 14,600 meters (48,000 feet), and airframe is designed to last 8,000 hours of service.
There are seven internal fuel tanks with capacity of 2,655 liters (701 US gallons), five in the fuselage, and two in the wings.
An additional 1,710 liters (452 US gallons) of fuel can be carried in the three external fuel tanks.
T-50 trainer variants have a paint scheme of white and red, and aerobatic variants white, black, and yellow.
The T-50 “Golden Eagle” uses a single General Electric F404-102 turbofan engine license-produced by Samsung Techwin, upgraded with a full authority digital engine control system jointly developed by General Electric and Korea Aerospace Industries.
The engine consists of three-staged fans, seven axial stage arrangement, and an afterburner.
The aircraft has a maximum speed of Mach 1.4-1.5.
Its engine produces a maximum of 78.7 kN (17,700 lbf) of thrust with afterburner.
If acquired, the TA-50 will be the first fighter jets acquired by the Philippines straight from the manufacturers.
Gazmin also took this opportunity to thank President Benigno S. Aquino III for his support in making the modernization of the Armed Forces a reality.
He also assured the public that the P75 billion allotted for the military’s modernization will be carefully used. Source: InterAksyon.com
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