Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Basa Airbase to house the FA-50PH "Fighting Eagles" of Philippine Air Force in 2017

Philippine Air Force (PAF) chief-of-air staff Major Gen. Galileo Gerard Kintanar envisioned Basa Air Base to be ready for fighters operations by 2017.

But for the meantime, all available FA-50PH light interim fighter aircraft of the Philippine Air Force will be based at Clark Air Base in Pampanga by next year.

"Definitely, for next year, the two FA-50PHs) are going to be in Clark Air Base," Kintanar said in an interview by PNA on Saturday.

Two FA-50PHs arrived at Clark last Nov. 28 (Saturday) with the historic touchdown of Nr 001 at exactly 10:23 am, while the remaining 10 out of the 12-plane order from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) will arrive in batches by 2016 and 2017.

See: Two F/A-50 "Fighting Eagles" from South Korea have arrived in the Philippines

According to Kintanar, the decision to base the FA-50PHs at Clark Air Base is based on the fact that the nearby Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga and airfields in Subic Bay are not ready to handle nor accommodate the new fighter aircraft.

But he added that the latter facilities will be fixed and upgraded simultaneously so that they will be able to accommodate modern fighter jets.

There are also plans to transfer some of the functions being handled by Basa Air Base to Subic Bay while its aerodrome facilities, including the runways and hangars are modernized.

He also said that Antonio Bautista Air Base in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan will undergo upgrading as well.

Meanwhile, Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesperson Col. Enrico Canaya said in an interview by the state run online news agency, that the brand-new South Korean-made FA-50PHs must be equipped with modern air-to-air missiles at the soonest possible time to further enhance its capability.

He said that the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) made jet planes must be armed with at least heat-seeking missiles to be effective in its proposed interception role. 

"(Aside from 20mm cannons), the FA-50PHs must be armed with at least heat-seeking missiles," he said in Filipino on his interview.

See also: Philippine Airforce F/A-50 "Fighting Eagle" will be capable of conducting maritime strike missions

In other related news, President Aquino has approved the request of DND for SND to be authorized to enter into Multi-Year-Contract.

The approval will pave the way for the acquisition of two frigates for the Philippine Navy; anti-submarine helicopters and amphibious assault vehicle for PN; long-range patrol aircraft, close-air support aircraft, munitions for FA-50 and air surveillance for the Philippine Air Force.

This was disclosed by Department of National Defense undersecretary for finance, munitions, materiel and modernization Fernando Manalo.

Payment from the seven projects will run from 2015 to 2018 with a total value of approximately Php44 billion.

With the MYC in place, AFP Modernization will likely to pursue even beyond President Aquino's term.

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