The Philippine Air Force (PhilAF) will buy 12 KAI TA-50 Golden Hawk fighter to boost its aerial defence capabilities. Deliveries of the jet aircraft will begin starting from 2013. PhilAF is the second export customer of the South Korean fighter after Indonesia’s TNI-AU which sealed a deal with KAI in 2011 for 16 T-50 to replace its ageing BAe Hawk Mk 53.
The TA-50 is a tactical and light attack version of the T-50. It mounts a three-barrel cannon version of the M61 Vulcan internally behind the cockpit, which fires linkless 20 mm ammunition.
Wingtip rails can accomodate the AIM-9 Sidewinders missile, a variety of additional weapons can be mounted to underwing hardpoints. Compatible air to surface weapons include the AGM-65 Maverick missile, Hydra 70 and LOGIR rocket launchers, CBU-58 and Mk-20 cluster bombs, and Mk-82, −83, and −84 general purpose bombs.
PhilAF is in need of new capable fighter jet aircraft as it needs to counter aerial threats coming from the outside especially at the hotly disputed South China Sea region. Previously, after the retirement of elderly F-5 in 2005, PhilAF’s OV-10 Bronco and S-211 were pressed into the maritime border even though both type were not optimised to conduct such operation.
Last week, it has been reported that a suspected Chinese jet flew over the disputed Scarborough Shoal.
PhilAF has also plans to acquire 10 AS-550/555 Fennec helicopter in armed version. Last year, 18 SF.260 trainers were obtained from Italy to boost its basic training needs. The Air Force has also received 4 out of 8 PZL W-3 Sokol helicopters ordered from Poland.