PAF Chief of Air Staff Maj. Gen. Rozzano D Briguez led a ceremony on April 6 formally accepting the new aircraft, which will join the service’s existing fleet of six FA-50PHs. By the end of the year another four of the aircraft are expected to be delivered as well.
Thanking Seoul for its aid in procuring the aircraft, the statement quoted Maj. Gen. Briguez saying, "Bringing back the prestige of the PAF has been a challenge to the organisation…with the arrival of these jets, the PAF will continue to grow and progress with high hopes of providing peace and security in the entire nation," according to Janes.
Military spokesperson Brigadier Gen. Restituto Padilla said a complete delivery of twelve FA-50s should arrive by late May, telling Rappler that, "It was a goodwill gesture of the manufacturer because their assembly line seems to have freed up for some orders. And they prioritized the Philippines."
As part of the country’s effort to modernize its military, the dozen aircraft were acquired under former President Benigno Aquino III for 18 billion Philippine pesos. Two South Korean frigates were acquired as well.
The Aquino administration acquired the FA-50s in order to beef up Manila’s presence in the South China Sea.
Though no deployments to the South China Sea have been reported, the aircraft has been used in Mindanao for air strikes against Daesh-affiliated local extremist group Abu Sayyaf.
Padilla said that "The aircraft have been tested and employed against some armed groups and some evil elements. We have found it to be an efficient platform for close air support."
On Tuesday 9 people were killed in Bohol, including police and soldiers in a gunfight with "heavily armed lawless elements" believed to be Abu Sayyaf.