AFP eyes more multi-role combat aircraft
Bebot Sison Jr., Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - After acquiring new FA-50 fighter jets from South Korea, the Philippine Air Force is now planning to procure more multi-role combat aircraft to boost its capability.

Spokesperson Col. Enrico Canaya said the air service is looking for a specific model of multirole fighters that would best suit PAF’s needs.

“The Air Force will still determine which model will be best. It depends on the budget in our modernization fund,” said Canaya. He said the PAF would be forming a technical working group to study the acquisition of additional aircraft.

Two of the 12 FA-50 lead-in fighters from the Korea Aerospace Industries arrived over the weekend. The 12 FA-50 cost P18.9 billion.

The rest of the aircraft will be delivered in batches until 2017.

Canaya said the AFP’s modernization will be completed by 2028 based on the PAF’s Flight Plan 2028, which aims to build up the Air Force’s capability to detect, identify, intercept and neutralize intrusions in the Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone and the West Philippine Sea by 2022 and the entire Philippines by 2028.

The two Korean-made jets, the country’s first supersonic combat aircraft in a decade, were delivered last Saturday to strengthen the military amid an escalating territorial dispute with China.

The FA-50 jets touched down at Clark Freeport, a former US Air Force base in Pampanga, where fire trucks sprayed water as a traditional welcome salute for the aircraft. Bad weather delayed the delivery of the two jets last Friday.

The Philippines bought 12 FA-50s, which are primarily trainer jets that the military converted to also serve as multirole combat aircraft.

The weapons that include bombs and rockets for the FA-50s will be purchased later.

“We’re glad we’re finally back to the supersonic age,“ Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.

The Philippine military decommissioned its last fleet of F-5 supersonic combat jets in 2005.

President Aquino had approved the purchase of P44 billion worth of military equipment to help boost maritime security capability of the country as tensions simmer in the South China Sea, a senior defense official said on Saturday.

 

ACIRC AIR FORCE CANAYA CLARK FREEPORT DEFENSE SECRETARY VOLTAIRE GAZMIN ENRICO CANAYA FLIGHT PLAN KOREA AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES PHILIPPINE AIR DEFENSE IDENTIFICATION ZONE AND THE WEST PHILIPPINE SEA PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE PRESIDENT AQUINO
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