Military historian and defense analyst Jose Antonio Custodio said in his social networking account today, May 21 that Philippine Air Force (PAF) FA-50s are capable of shooting down Chinese bombers if China uses them within the territory of Philippines.
He also said that the operation of Chinese strategic bomber in an unspecified airfield in West Philippine Sea/South China Sea is a “symbolic flight”.
Custodio said the operation is “symbolic flight by the Chinese to intimidate neighbors and provide the Duterte administration the necessary excuse to rationalize its capitulation to China.”
He also noted that the said Chinese bomber “is a copy of the very old Tupolev Tu-16 NATO code name (Badger) that was used by the old Soviet Air Force and retired by the 1980s.”
“In other words, despite an extensive upgrade done by the Chinese, it still is an old and slow platform that would need extensive fighter escort protection for it to survive in a combat situation,” Custodio said. “In fact, the FA-50s of the Philippine Air Force have the capability to shoot it down should the Chinese use it within PH territory.”
“The Philippines has that capability thanks mainly to the efforts of the previous administration which worked on the proposals of PAF officers to proceed with the procurement of 12 units,” he added. “Now we know why Duterte said that it was a waste of money. This is because he and his administration have no coherent plans of defending the Philippine Republic from Chinese aggression.”