PAF to bid out acquisition of fighter jets
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - October 28, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Air Force (PAF)’s planned acquisition of lead-in fighter jets from South Korea or any friendly state may take longer than expected after it was decided that the multi-billion peso defense procurement will be bid out instead of the government entering into a government-to-government deal.

“It’s no longer government-to-government purchase scheme as it was decided that it must go through the bidding processes,” a senior Air Force official told The STAR, adding that it has been decided by “higher ups” that the planned acquisition should go through the circuitous route of bidding procedures.

Because of this, he said the PAF would have to wait a little longer before its pilots can fly brand-new fighter jets.

“What is important here is that we already have the money as approved by President Aquino to fund this particular procurement project,” he said.

A top defense official has also confirmed that the acquisition of T-50 LIFT aircraft from South Korea is still undergoing review.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin announced last June that the defense department is expecting delivery of 12 brand new lead-in fighter trainers (LIFT) from South Korea.

Valued at $500 million funded mostly by Korean grants, the delivery of these TA-50 lead-in fighters is expected in 2013.

It was earlier reported that the South Korean government has offered a soft loan of $560 million to President Aquino to fund the purchase of T-50 LIFT, a smaller version of US F16 fighters, as the Philippines is short of funds to bankroll the acquisition.

The concessional loan would come from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund and disbursed through the Export-Import Bank of Korea starting in 2011 until 2013.

This offer from the South Korean government came after President Aquino and President Lee Myung Bak met in Malacañang in November last year.

Lee was reported to have relayed to President Aquino his country’s desire to help the Philippines establish a credible territorial defense.

“I expressed to President Lee the interest of the Philippines to gain more specific defense articles such as military-grade helicopters, boats and aircraft,” Aquino said at a joint news conference with Lee after their meeting last year.

 

AIR FORCE DEFENSE SECRETARY VOLTAIRE GAZMIN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION FUND EXPORT-IMPORT BANK OF KOREA GOVERNMENT PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE PRESIDENT AQUINO PRESIDENT AQUINO AND PRESIDENT LEE MYUNG BAK PRESIDENT LEE SOUTH KOREA SOUTH KOREAN
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