Despite the inclement weather, the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) successfully performed an aerobatic show at the Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pmapanga on Monday, August 15, to highlight the 73-year-long diplomatic relations between the Philippines and South Korea.
Considered as one of the world’s best flight display teams, eight pilots from the ROKAF’s 53rd Air Demonstration Group – also called as the Black Eagles – showcased aerial stunts during their performance that had to be psotponed for at least an hour due to light rain. Ahead of the actual performance, the Black Eagles conducted a final rehearsal at the Basa Air Base last Saturday which was witnessed by dozens of spectators.
When the show resumed, the ROKAF pilots used eight KAI T-50B Golden Eagle aircraft, a supersonic advanced fighter jet which is a variant of the Philippine Air Force’s FA-50 light combat aircraft, to perform a fly past which was an application of their real-time warfare formations.
Department of National Defense (DND) Officer in Charge Jose Faustino Jr. described the air show as a “heart-pounding and multisensory experience” which “gave us a feel of how advance jet technology is, inspiring us more to aspire the same for our Philippine Air Force.”
“On this day and age where every aspect of our lives is connected and intertwined with others, our country’s historied friendship, rooted in the Korean War, allows us a deeper understanding of each other’s struggles and dreams,” Faustino said during his speech.
“Beyond friendship, the emerging security challenges require us also to cooperate, anticipate threats and risks, and be proactive in addressing them by fostering interoperability of capabilities between and among allies,” he added.
The Philippines became the first ASEAN nation to establish diplomatic relations with the South Korea in 1949.
When the Korean War broke out in the 1950s, the Philippine government deployed 7,420 service members to South Korea to help them fend off invaders from the communist North Korea.
It was during the Battle of Yultong in 1951 that the relations between the Philippines and South Korea was fortified as Filipino forces from the 10th Battalion Combat Team defended Yultong, now part of Yeoncheon, from elements of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army 34th Division.
Lt. Gen. Connor Anthony Canlas Sr., PAF commanding general, shared that the ROKAF’s Black Eagles and its Philippine counterpart, the PAF’s Blue Diamonds, flew the same fleet of aircraft in the 1950s such as the P-51 Mustang fighter bomber aircraft, F-86 Sabre transonic jets, and F-5 Freedom Fighter supersonic aircraft.
This continued up to this day as the PAF operates South Korea’s home-grown F-50 fighter jets which were acquired from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) in 2015, and heavily relied upon during the Battle of Marawi in 2017.
“Beyond the display of air power, what truly marks this event today is the mutual commitment, trust, and confidence that the Philippine Air Force and the Republic of Korea Air Force have for each other. This cooperation remains a foundation of peace and development for both countries and the region,” Canlas said.
The event was the last leg of the Black Eagles’ world tour which also included performances in United Kingdom, Poland, and Egypt.
It was also attended by Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and other delegates from the ROKAF, DND, and AFP.