The online news portal of TV5
MANILA - In a bid to strengthen the country's territorial defense, the Philippine Air Force is set to acquire 12 brand-new jet fighters over two years.
Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol, PAF spokesman, told Interaksyon.com that these Surface Attack Aircraft/Lead in Fighter Trainers (SAA/LIFT) will cost P1.5 billion each, for a total of P14 billion to P15 billion.
The Air Force is waiting for the approval of President Benigno Aquino III before it can start the bidding process for the jets. Once approved, delivery can start either late 2013 or early 2014.
Okol said the brand new jets will be used to train Filipino pilots and can also "double as our surface attack and fighter aircraft," he said.
"It can be a trainer jet but at the same time it can also be used for surface attack to address our territorial defense," he added.
Okol said the jets can be used to monitor the country's air space, including intrusions from foreign aircraft. This will be a great complement to the radars that will also be purchased soon.
The country's air assets are sorely lacking in capability as compared to other Asian neighbors.
Okol said that to date, the Air Force has only three ageing S-211 trainer aircraft and one radar for territorial defense.
Aside from the jets, the PAF eyes more acquisition under the defense acquisition system. These include of three medium lift transports, eight light lift transports, 10 attack helicopters, three air defense radars and two long-range patrol aircraft.