The Philippine Air Force bolstering its fleet of jet fighters amid continuing tensions with China over disputed territory has been confirmed.
According to Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd., it has been granted a contract to export 12 FA-50 multi-purpose aircraft to the country under a government-to-government way agreement.
The deal, which includes a provision for training, is worth $420 million, the company said.
The T-50 Golden Eagle is a supersonic trainer and light fighter developed by KAI and Lockheed Martin. It has a maximum speed of 1,100 miles per hour at an altitude of 10,000 feet and a range of more than 1,000 miles. Armament includes a 20mm cannon and a variety of rockets and bombs.
The jet was introduced into service in 2005. Iraq and Indonesia have both ordered the aircraft, which is used by Korea.
The Philippines is in an ongoing dispute with China over sovereignty of small islands in the South China Sea, also known as the West Philippine sea, with China reportedly intruding into the waters and harassing fishing boats and blocking supplies from reaching small military detachments in the disputed area.