SEOUL – The Philippine and South Korean governments have agreed to fast-track Manila’s procurement of 12 lead-in fighter jets aimed at upgrading the defense capabilities of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
President Aquino yesterday said the acquisition of the FA-50s for P18.9 billion had the approval of President Park Geun-hye.
“Both sides have agreed to expedite the purchase and the delivery of these planes,” Aquino told Manila-based reporters at the Grand Hyatt Hotel here.
“This is a government-to-government procurement, which came about after South Korea offered several models of fighter jets,” he added.
The PAF had been the butt of jokes after it acquired old F-5 fighter planes in 2005.
Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, who was present during the signing of the memorandum of understanding, said the acquisition of the Korean fighter jets is part of the Armed Forces modernization program.
“President Aquino said the agreement creates opportunities for expanding and strengthening the long-standing partnership between the two countries,” Coloma said.
He said the Philippines would procure more aircraft as well as armored vehicles and command-and-control equipment to boost the defense capabilities of the military and protect the country’s maritime territory.