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Philippines takes delivery of new fighter jets

Published 28/11/2015

Philippine defence secretary Voltaire Gazmin, left, and armed forces chief General Hernando Iriberri wave from a newly-acquired FA-50 fighter jet (AP)
Philippine defence secretary Voltaire Gazmin, left, and armed forces chief General Hernando Iriberri wave from a newly-acquired FA-50 fighter jet (AP)
The two jets are the first of 12 purchased by the Philippines (AP)
The arrival of the jets sparked applause from soldiers and officials gathered at Clark Air Base, north of the capital Manila (AP)

The Philippines has taken delivery of the first two Korean-made fighter jets, the country's first supersonic combat aircraft in a decade, as it strengthens its military amid a territorial conflict with China.

The country's military said the FA-50 jets touched down on Saturday at Clark Freeport, a former US Air Force base north of the capital Manila, to applause from security officials led by defence secretary Voltaire Gazmin. It has bought a total of 12 jets.

Mr Gazmin said: "We're glad we're finally back to supersonic age."

The Philippine military, one of Asia's least equipped, has been building up its air force and navy at a time of an escalating territorial feud with Beijing in the South China Sea.

Its last fleet of supersonic combat aircraft, the F-5, was decommissioned in 2005.

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