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2 South Korean fighter jets refuel in Cebu airport en route to Indonesia

File photo of a T-50 Golden Eagle of the Republic of Korea Air Force. (Photo: Wikimedia)
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines - A pair of fighter jets of the Republic of Korea Air Force landed at the airport in Cebu City on Wednesday for refueling en route to Indonesia, an officer of the Philippine Air Force said.

“I’m not authorized to give details about that but all I know is that they had to land there to refuel. This pair of aircrafts was in transit to Indonesia, I think for delivery because Indonesia has ordered such aircraft from South Korea,” the source said.

He said he has no idea when the two T-50 Golden Eagle aircrafts landed and when they will take off to continue their journey to Indonesia.

But according to a “Philippine Defense Forum” post dated February 3, 2014, the aircrafts arrived at the airport at “04:55.47 PM.”

Two T-50 aircrafts had been involved in air crash incidents killing at least three Korean pilots - one unit in December 2012 and another during the first quarter of 2013.

The T-50 is an advanced jet trainer of the South Korea Air Force which is of similar platform as the FA-50 “Golden Eagle” that the Philippines’ Department of National Defense has been negotiating to procure for the Philippine Air Force.

The FA-50 is being touted as a lead-in fighter trainer and a light fighter aircraft. It is manufactured by the Korean Aerospace Incorporated (KAI).

The government is planning to buy 12 units of FA-50 but President Benigno Aquino III has yet to approve the project which is estimated to cost some P18.9 billion.

One of the main issues holding back the procurement is the 52 percent down payment being asked by KAI, which is way too high from the 15 percent allowable amount set by the Procurement Law.

The project is seen to boost the air patrol capability of the PAF especially in the West Philippine Sea where China is using its aerial and naval might to claim territories which are obviously within the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone such as the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) in Palawan which are located at the heart of the Spratly Islands.