A ranking military spokeswoman said Saturday, Sept. 4, that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) chased away an unidentified aircraft detected entering the country’s airspace without permission.
Lt. Col. Maynard Mariano, a PAF spokesperson, said two FA-50 fighter jets were ordered to intercept the unknown aircraft, which was detected 120 nautical miles north west of Bolinao, Pangasinan, at 9:36 a.m. on Sept. 2.
Mariano stated that the Philippine Air Defense Control Center (PADCC) identified the aircraft using its radars, forcing them to liaise with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to establish if it had approval to fly through the country’s airspace.
“The unidentified aircarft was heading towards the Philippine airspace. Coordination with the CAAP classified it to be an unknown track of interest,”PAF spokesperson said.
The PADCC then sent the two FA-50s stationed at the Air Defense Alert Center a “scramble” order to intercept and identify the mystery aircraft. A scramble order in the air force refers to the act of rapidly mobilizing military aircraft in response to an immediate threat, most commonly a hostile aircraft.
Mariano reported that the mysterious aircraft was at 21,000 feet and traveling at 265 knots north-east.
The FA-50s flew at their highest permitted speed towards the unknown aircraft. He stated that four minutes into the intercept mission, the aircraft “turned direction to the north,” “raised its speed to 400 knots,” and “departed from Philippine airspace.”
The intercept mission was called off around 9:45 a.m. The identity of the aircraft, however, has yet to be determined by the PAF.