PNoy: Air Force to get new fighter jets, combat helicopters
Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - April 25, 2014 - 3:27pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III vowed on Friday to strengthen the Philippine Air Force (PAF) by acquiring new and modern equipment.

Speaking at the PAF change-of-command ceremony at the Fernando Airbase in Batangas, the President said the government will get the new FA-50 fighter jets from South Korea starting next year.

The President also announced that the government plans to buy eight combat utility helicopters, six close air support aircraft and two long-range patrol aircraft.

The PAF will also try to acquire radar systems and full motion flight simulator to improve the skills of Filipino pilots, Aquino added.

"Kompiyansa naman po tayong higit pang titibay at lalakas ang hanay ng ating mga kawal lalo pa’t may gobyerno na kayong tunay na kumakalinga sa inyo," Aquino said.

In his speech, Aquino lamented the lack of equipment in the PAF during the start of his term. He said the country only used to have a single C-130 aircraft and its F-5 Freedom Fighter had been retired nine years ago.

But under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino dela Cruz, the outgoing PAF commander general, the country now has C-130 cargo planes, eight Sokol combat utility helicopters and 18 basic trainer aircraft.

"Mas matayog ang naging tagumpay, at mas lumakas ang puwersa ng ating Air Force mula nang siya ay manungkulan. Maigting niyang itinaguyod ang propesyunalismo sa Hukbong Himpapawid, at sinigurong nasasagad ang kakayahan at serbisyo ng inyo pong hanay," Aquino said of Dela Cruz.

Cory's PSG man is new PAF chief

Dela Cruz will be replaced by Major Gen. Jeffrey Delgado, who was once a member of the Presidential Security Group during the term of the President's late mother, Corazon Aquino.

Aquino praised the skills of Delgado, who is capable of piloting a combination of fixed and rotary wing aircraft. The President also commended the incoming PAF chief for continuing his government service after surviving two plane crashes.

"Bilib po talaga tayo sa kanya: Sa kabila ng mga peligrong hinarap niya bilang piloto at bilang kasapi ng Hukbong Himpapawid, hindi siya bumitiw sa paglilingkod-bayan," Aquino said.

The President said Delgado will be his primary adviser for the continuing modernization of the PAF.

AIR FORCE AQUINO CORAZON AQUINO DELA CRUZ DELGADO FERNANDO AIRBASE FREEDOM FIGHTER HUKBONG HIMPAPAWID JEFFREY DELGADO LAURO CATALINO PAF
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