In reference to the many interesting back-and-forth's here through the years about whether PH should get LIFTs first or if MRFs should be taken immediately; I think the Iraqi decision to go "MRF-first" is now starting to show why going for lesser-sophisticated (and lesser capable) LIFT aircraft first was always the best way to go after all.
Iraqi military pilot found dead at F-16 crash site in Arizona <click here for link>
Loss of aircraft must be expected going MRF-first. There's no way around the fact that putting pilots used to a more forgiving aircraft into a high-performance 'beast' is bound to result in accidents. But at least aircraft can easily be replaced. But what if the pilot also dies (like in this case)? Good pilots require years - and millions - to train and are not as easily replaced as equipment.
Iraq still waiting on F-16 fighter jets, U.S.-trained pilots for Islamic State battle <click here for link>
Granted, our situation differs from Iraq's in that they're fighting a large scale insurgency while we're trying to face down China. But we also still face an insurgency in Mindanao where the MILF, MNLF, ASG, and other armed groups run rampant. Had we gone the MRF-first route and Mindanao blew another gasket, we could have been faced with the same situation where billions that otherwise could have gone to combat operations are sent stateside instead for pilot training and for MRF acquisition, maintenance, and operation - not unlike what the Iraqis are facing now.
Don't get me wrong, folks. Our need for MRF's is dire in light of what China is doing in the WPS. But even then, rushing the MRF acquisition now is bound to derail funding for other things we need just as badly, like long-range patrol aircraft, more patrol ships, more transport aircraft and helicopters, SAA's, SAMs, AShM's, radars, coast-watch outposts, etc.
These equally important systems would necessarily take a backseat if we rush towards MRFs now. The FA-50 is a good interim fighter for the PAF, with its relatively good capability (like we've never had before, actually) that gives us something to respond with credibly in case of an all-out shooting battle in the WPS.
But barring that (unlikely) event, Golden Eagles are the better options to help tide our pilots over towards the higher-ends of the performance envelope that future MRFs are sure to require of them - but in a safer and surer manner.