Air Force chief: 12 fighter jets by 2016
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - August 28, 2013 - 4:50pm

MANILA, Philippines - If everything goes as planned, the Air Force may be able to receive two lead in fighter trainer jets as early as next year, a ranking military official said Wednesday.

Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino dela Cruz said the first two air assets to be acquired from South Korea would be used to train their pilots.

“Our target date is [to] have at least two [jets delivered] initially by the end of fourth quarter of 2014 and then the rest would be (delivered in the next) six months,” dela Cruz said during a forum organized by the Manila Overseas Press Club last Monday.

The government plans to acquire 12 FA-50 jets for P18.9 billion to enhance the territorial defense capabilities of the Air Force.

Dela Cruz said the negotiations with the Korea Aerospace Industries started about a month ago. He said the two jets could be delivered by the end of 2014 if all the contracts and other necessary documents are signed this year.

“(Once the jets are delivered), we now have aircraft that could deter any intruder. If there are unidentified (intruders), we can pursue them,” dela Cruz told The STAR in a separate interview.

After the initial delivery, two jets are expected to arrive every two months. The delivery of all the 12 air assets may be completed before the Aquino administration steps down in 2016.

Earlier, The STAR reported that the Defense department’s Bids and Awards Committee had approved the terms of reference for the acquisition of the jets.

The Air Force also plans to acquire 21 UH-1 or Huey helicopters for P1.26 billion. The third bidding for the helicopters has been slated for this month.

The Defense department conducted two biddings for the project last December and February, but both of them failed.

The bidding is open to both local and foreign firms subject to eligibility conditions prescribed by the law.

Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo previously told The STAR that at least 14 firms have expressed interest to supply the Huey helicopters.

The government is also in the process of buying two Navy frigates, two strategic sealift vessels and six units of 155 mm Howitzer artilleries. 

AIR FORCE BIDS AND AWARDS COMMITTEE CRUZ DECEMBER AND FEBRUARY DEFENSE UNDERSECRETARY FERNANDO MANALO DELA CRUZ HUEY JETS KOREA AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES LAURO CATALINO TWO
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