Philippines may acquire six fighter jets within five years-A A +A
Friday, July 1, 2011
THE PHILIPPINES may soon acquire six fighter jets within the next five years, high-ranking defense and military officials said on Friday.
The acquisition will take place within the term of President Benigno Aquino III, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.
"Fighter planes are important for interdiction…Within the term of the President, we’ll have (fighter jets)," said Gazmin at a press conference in Villamor Air Base where he graced the celebration of the Air Force’s 64th anniversary.
Multi-role aircraft are also equally important for the Air Force, Gazmin added, noting that these can be utilized in war and as part of disaster response.
While he did not say whether the jets to be acquired will be new or second-hand, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Eduardo Oban said that the military are looking to buy six units.
The Philippine Air Force has lacked such air assets after it retired a number of ageing F-5 jets due to growing maintenance costs.
About two weeks ago, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad announced that the Palace will be increasing funds for the five-year AFP Modernization Program.
The Air Force stands to get at least P14 billion of the P40 billion allotted for the five-year program, Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Oscar Rabena said.
A brand new fighter jet at present is about $23 million to $40 million, Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol said.
“That is definitely a very welcome development not only for the Air Force but for everybody as well, we will be able to address a lot of issues,” said Okol.
The Air Force earlier said it is helpless against intrusion of the country’s airspace without such aircraft and radars.
Last May, two unidentified foreign fighter jets intruded the Philippine territory.
Two OV-10 bomber planes conducting reconnaissance patrol off the disputed Spratlys Islands in the South China Sea saw the two planes. (VR/Sunnex)