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Is LCA Tejas Better Than The Rest? Philippines Orders Grounding Of Korean FA-50 Fighters; Both Jets Fight For Contracts In Malaysia And Egypt

Story Highlights
  • The LCA Tejas and the FA-50 from KAI are also examples of this type of plane, and each has its own set of benefits.
  • Even while the LCA Tejas has the South East Asian market in its sights, it will face stiff competition from the Korean aircraft, which is already in use with several countries

Poland’s Ministry of National Defense has inked two contracts with South Korea to purchase 48 FA-50 light attack aircraft. Delivery of the first 12 planes is expected in 2020, with the remaining 36 planes coming in between 2025 and 2028.

As the FA-50 fighter jet continues to garner fans and contracts around the world, a current client has come up with some shocking information regarding the plane.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the Philippines Air Force is struggling to maintain its fleet of South Korean-supplied FA-50 fighter jets due to a lack of replacement components.

In light of these rumours, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) said the week before last that the FA-50PH light jet fighters it no longer uses were in fact receiving necessary planned repair. They’ve been “grounded,” to put it more simply.

Due to this, the PAF now has a significantly smaller fleet, with only three FA-50PH aircraft in active service.

Air Force spokesperson Col. Ma Consuelo Castillo told the Philippine News Agency, “While it is true that we have FA-50 aircraft that are currently on non-operational status, most of them are just ongoing scheduled maintenance which is mandatory precautionary checks, and they will be back in the air soon.”

Chinese media have stated that South Korea is about to sign an export contract for 18 FA-50s for $1 billion to provide Malaysia with fighter planes, which contradicts earlier reports by EurAsian Times that Russia was the frontrunner in the race to supply Malaysia with fighter jets.

Despite claims to the contrary from experts, this plane is quickly becoming a formidable rival to India’s LCA Tejas. Only the Indian LCA Tejas the Korean FA-50 remain in the running to supply the Malaysian Air Force with 18 Light Combat Aircraft.

The winds were blowing in favour of Tejas, with India giving a bundle to Malaysia; the sudden ascension of the FA-50 as the preferred worldwide choice has surprised Indian authorities. It has not been decided which fighter plane will be heard over the skies of Malaysia.

Egypt is another potential market for the LCA Tejas that India has been trying to sell, and the FA-50 aircraft has been presented to the country. Indian aerospace firm Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has volunteered to build assembly lines in Egypt to help with this.

Fighter aircraft of the FA-50 type have been sold to a number of countries, including Poland and possibly Malaysia. A thorough analysis of the South Korean fighter jet is warranted by the rapid ascent of the FA-50 light combat aircraft, which has given competitors like Tejas a run for their money

About FA-50 Fighter Fighter Jet

In collaboration with Lockheed Martin, KAI created the FA-50 Fighting Eagle, a light attack plane capable of Mach 0.90+ flight. The T-50 family of aircraft includes supersonic trainers, light combat aircraft, and multirole fighters like this one.

The aircraft can carry up to 4.5 tonnes of weaponry, therefore it can be armed with things like the AIM-9 Sidewinder, AGM-65 Maverick, GBU-38/B, CBU-105 Sensor Fused Weapon, Mk-82 LDGP bombs, and Cluster Bomb Units.

The fighter plane is equipped with a LAU-3/A 19-tube 2.75′′ rocket launcher and a 20mm Gatling gun with three barrels that can fire folding-fin aerial rockets (FFAR). The FA-50 is powered by a 17,700 lbf GE F404 turbofan engine with an afterburner.

In December of 2013, Iraq inked a contract with Korean Aerospace Industries for the delivery of 24 FA-50 derivative T-50IQ aircraft over a 20 year period, along with supplementary equipment and pilot training.

Twelve FA-50 light attack planes were sold to the Philippines by South Korea for $420 million in 2014. The fighter saw its first use in 2017 during the beginning of the Battle of Marawi in the Philippines, where it was utilised against terrorists affiliated with the terrorist group ISIS.

Just recently, in April of 2022, the Colombian Air Force selected a total of 20 TA-50 and FA-50 Golden Eagles as its newest jet fighters and trainers, while Poland has just signed a contract for its own set of 50 aircraft.

The Indian Tejas will face stiff competition as both Egypt and Malaysia are considering purchasing the FA-50.

Due to their small size and consequently low radar signature, light attack fighters have been all the rage recently. The inability to detect these fighter jets with radars is a significant obstacle to target acquisition. This improves their odds of detecting the massive plane and getting off the first shot.

The LCA Tejas and the FA-50 from KAI are also examples of this type of plane, and each has its own set of benefits.

Even while the LCA Tejas has the South East Asian market in its sights, it will face stiff competition from the Korean aircraft, which is already in use with several countries, making regional integration a promising prospect for the FA-50.

However, the HAL Tejas, an Indian-made light fighter, has an advantage in markets that buy from both Russia and the West since its open architecture computer systems can accommodate weapons from both.

The United Arab Emirates had already shown interest in the Tejas LCA in 2018. However, the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Defense said in February that it will be purchasing Chinese L-15 training and combat aircraft. The TA-5O aircraft made in South Korea has apparently also drawn interest from the United Arab Emirates.

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