PAF determined to upgrade resources - spokesman
- Michael Punongbayan, Alexis Romero () - September 11, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is undertaking efforts to upgrade its capabilities and beef up its inventory, its spokesman said the other day.  

This, as the Commission on Audit (COA), in a 2010 report, said the PAF, with only 31 aging airplanes and 54 helicopters to boast of, “virtually has a non-existent air deterrent capability,” which means that the “vulnerability of the Philippines to any conflict, whether it be internal or external, cannot be overemphasized.”

PAF spokesman Lt. Col. Miguel Okol said the PAF looks at the COA report “as a tool to improve the organization.”

“The Air Force leadership will look at the findings to address the issue appropriately,” Okol told The STAR in a phone interview.

“The Air Force is determined to modernize and to upgrade its capability in consonance with the existing guideline of the national leadership,” he added.

Okol said the PAF is trying its best to perform its mandate using its available resources. “We do not deal with the issue (on modernization) emotionally. We take it constructively so we can come up with the appropriate measures,” he said.

Okol said the PAF is planning to acquire a lead-in fighter trainer aircraft, surface attack aircraft, light lift transport, a C-130 cargo plane and attack helicopters to beef up its inventory.

In its report, COA emphasized the need to modernize the PAF considering that its last fighter fleet in the F5 Freedom fighters retired in 2005.

“A modern and well-equipped Philippine Air Force is needed now more than ever if we are to protect our sovereign and territorial integrity,” it said.

Out of PAF’s total inventory of 393 aircraft, COA said only 91 or 23.66 percent are full mission-capable, while 81 are inactive and the rest are for disposal.

“Considering this abject state of its air assets, which are mostly aging, the Philippine Air Force is ill equipped to be operationally responsive to national security and development and is hard pressed to efficiently and effectively serve the economic interest and welfare of the nation,” it added.

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