The tiny Philippine airforce has had a bit of luck. The former regime purchased the FA-50 from South Korea, twelve planes in total, four delivered to date, two of them today. Duterte criticised this purchase last year saying that against Chinese MIGs the FA-50 was a complete waste of money, as the plane had little range, flying abilities or armaments capable of challenging the MIG.
But after the outbreak of urban warfare in Mindanao in the city of Marawi on May 23rd 2017, the AF-50 is proving to be an ideal purchase.
The FA-50’s air-to-ground capabilities are far more satisfactory out of the box.
It can employ deadly GPS-guided JDAM bombs, Maverick anti-tank missiles, and unguided cluster and conventional bombs and rockets. The Golden Eagle’s targeting computer and radar allow it to deliver even ‘dumb’ bombs with a high degree of accuracy. The FA-50 can haul up to 8,500 pounds of external stores on 7 hardpoints.
A triple-barreled A-50 20mm cannon rounds out the armament.
The remaining terrorists holding out in Marawi City Centre can expect pin point accuracy from the bombers once the Scout Rangers have identified their positions. With infra red detectors, night sights and laser targeted rifles to add to the list of equipment, the AFP will be good and ready for any further incursions by ISIS. Russian deliveries of these items tested in battle against ISIS in Syria and elsewhere should follow.
The Supreme Court in Manila agreed today that Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao was reasonable and constitutional, despite opposition from the professional and wealthier sectors in Manila, who fear Presidents passing Martial Law remembering the times under President Ferdinand Marcos. Strangely after so long, legal processes against Imelda Marcos accusing her of corruption have begun this week. There’s never a dull moment in that country. And even more so since Duterte started his Presidency almost exactly a year ago. The son of Imelda still hopes to overturn the election result for the Vice Presidency and turf out Robredo, who quite clearly benefited from electoral shenanigans. A Marcos could be back in the limelight within another few months, this time as Vice President, this time his name is Bong Bong. Duterte at 72 seems healthy enough, and should keep going a while yet, but you never know.