The Philippines Armed Forces has temporarily suspended FA-50 fighter jets following a friendly fire incident that killed two and injured 11 in Marawi city.
“The Armed Forces is suspending the use of that particular aircraft for any further airstrike until such time that the cause of the accident has been determined, or the failure of the equipment has been determined. Until such time we are sure of the cause of one of those bombs falling short of target will we then resume the use of that aircraft,” AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said in a press briefing on Thursday.
The incident happened after a bomb that was dropped by one of the FA-50s missed the target. The bomb impact caused the structures to collapse hitting two soldiers with large debris.
But Padilla said that despite the friendly fire, the aircraft has a “high success rate” in its airstrikes against the terrorists holed up in concrete structures.
“Almost 70 missions that were performed by the aircraft except for this incident, all of their missions were dead on target. They hit their targets (with) specific precision,” he said.
Airstrikes using other air assets will continue however, despite the grounding of the FA-50s. “The incident yesterday however will not cancel out or prevent the use of any other aircraft, other than this one,” he added.
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) completed the delivery of 12 FA-50PH light attack aircraft to the Philippines earlier this month.
The 12 FA-50PH light attack aircraft were delivered three months earlier than scheduled. Further, the company hopes that the Southeast Asian country will place an additional order in the future, Yonhap News Agency reported.
Philippine will consider purchasing another 12 FA-50PH aircraft during his six-year term that began June 30 last year, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said at an event held in the Philippines. The event was held to celebrate the deployment of the attack aircraft to its air force Tuesday.
In 2014, KAI received a US$420 million order to build the planes that can perform light attack and aerial combat roles from the Philippine Air Force. The planes are designed to take over the role of the F-5 fighters that were retired in the mid 2000s.