Philippine Air Force FA-50 Golden Eagles to dogfight against U.S. A-10 Warthog and Hunter combat planes during Exercise Balikatan 2016

FA-50 of the Philippines Air Force. (Image credit: PAF)

First dissimilar air combat training exercise for Philippine FA-50PH supersonic jets.

Philippine Air Force (PAF) KAI FA-50PH (a lightweight fighter derivatives of the T-50 Golden Eagle jet trainer) fighter jets along with the service SIAI-Marchetti S-211 trainers will take part in several dissimilar air combat training (DACT) sessions against U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs next month at this year’s edition of Exercise Balikatan.

As reported by, Exercise Balikatan 2016 will mark the first appearance for PAF FA-50s in an international drill. During the exercise the PAF aircrews will learn air combat maneuvers, air intercept and close air support (CAS) techniques from U.S. military pilots.

“This is definitely a good opportunity for us to increase and enhance our training, especially with our counterparts. This will further increase our training experience. This is a good development on our side,” PAF spokesman Colonel Enrico Canaya said.

Furthermore, to make the training more realistic the U.S. will lease two Hawker Hunters from ATAC (Airborne Tactical Advantage Company) private contractor: these aircraft will play the aggressor role to provide a credible adversary training to the Philippine Golden Eagles drivers.

Noteworthy, the arrival of the FA-50 Golden Eagles provides the Philippine Air Force the opportunity to field supersonic aircraft, a capability that the service had lost with the retirement of its F-5 fighter jets in 2005. In fact, before the delivery on Nov. 28, 2015 of the first two of twelve FA-50PHs ordered, the PAF had an all-subsonic fleet which consisted in several S-211 and SF-260 trainers (both with secondary attack capabilities) and several Rockwell OV-10 Bronco attack aircraft, along with various types of cargo planes and helicopters.

Balikatan is an annual Philippines-U.S. military bilateral training exercise and humanitarian assistance engagement. During Balikatan, Philippine and U.S. service members will conduct tactical-level combat training and humanitarian civic assistance projects throughout the Philippines.