The official, who asked not to be named, said that while F16 jets are highly-capable aircraft that could make the Air Force more capable of guarding the Philippine skies, they are costly to operate and maintain.
AP/File
‘F16 jets are expensive to maintain’
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - August 26, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A senior military official was claiming that F16 fighter jets the US had offered to supply the Philippines would require huge operational and maintenance cost for the already-cash strapped Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The official, who asked not to be named, said that while F16 jets are highly-capable aircraft that could make the Air Force more capable of guarding the Philippine skies, they are costly to operate and maintain.

Based on available data, the cost ranges from $7,000 to $24,000 per hour for each F16 jet.

Under the current peso to dollar rate, the Air Force would spend P371,000 per hour to fly one F16.

“This is on top of the cost of the procurement, transfer and the weapons systems. It’s very highly-capable fighter jet but it’s also a highly-maintenance aircraft. Why not if there’s money,” he said.

In 1998, the market value of  F16C/D was around $18.8 million or P996.4 billion apiece, apparently excluding upgrades and the weapon systems.

It was gathered that the US government had offered the Philippines this type of jet a long time ago but the previous administrations declined them due to lack of procurement, operational maintenance funds.

“This US F16s offer is not new, only that we don’t procure them due to financial constraints. It’s costly to operate,” he said.

Three US officials have written President Duterte offering the F16s but the President declined the offer saying that what the Philippines needs for now are trainer planes, close-air support aircraft, combat helicopters, to fight the insurgents.

Defense observers described the offer as another effort by the US government to dissuade the Philippines from procuring big ticket military platforms from Russia.

Visiting US Assistant Defense Secretary for Asian and Pacific security, Randall Schriver, earlier cautioned the Philippine government from procuring key military platforms from Russia saying doing so would be unhealthy to the US-Philippine alliance.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana spent almost a week in Moscow shopping for big ticket defense equipment including submarines, warships, attack helicopters, trainer planes, grenade launchers, sniper and assault rifles.

Russia is offering a soft loan to help the Philippines bankroll the modernization program of the AFP.

Lorenzana said nothing is final yet.

He said any government deal with any state for that matter, must go and pass through the tedious defense procurement processes.

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES F16 FIGHTER JETS
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