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The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is already scouting for at least two Mig-29 Fulcrum Fighter Jets or F-18 Hornets while the Philippine Navy (PN) is window shopping for state-of-the-art frigates as part of the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), an AFP official said Monday.
The Mikoyan MiG-29 (Fulcrum) is a fourth-generation jet fighter aircraft designed in the former Soviet Union. Developed in the 1970s by the Mikoyan design bureau, it entered service with the Soviet Air Force in 1983, and remains in use by the Russian Air Force as well as by many other nations.
The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18 Hornet is a supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole fighter jet, designed for dogfights and air-to-ground missions.
AFP Modernization Program Management Office head Brig. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, said the Philippine air force and navy are getting a huge part of the modernization budget, with Malacanang increasing AFP's annual modernization allocation from P5 billion to P8 billion.
Deveraturda said the acquisitions are already on the priority list of the Aquino Administration for the next five years. He added the procurement and bidding are also underway for the acquisition of weaponry and logistics.
AFP’s priorities are for fighter jets, patrol helicopters with sensors, search-and-rescue helicopters, transport aircraft, and strategic sea-lift vessels, Deveraturda said.
“We also plan to acquire a brand-new Hamilton class cutter for our Coast Guard,” he said.
The government has pledged to accelerate the AFP's modernization program, in the face of tensions with China over the Spratly Islands and the South China Sea. Chinese incursions in Philippine-claimed waters have raised anxieties in the region, and have exposed the severe handicap of the AFP. The Philippine Air Force, among other things that have been underscored in recent weeks, has not had fighter jets to protect the Philippines' territories since 2005, when it decommissioned the last of its F-5s.