An FA-50 fighter jet. (photo grabbed from KAI website http://www.koreaaero.com/)

An FA-50 fighter jet. (photo grabbed from KAI website http://www.koreaaero.com/)

The Philippines and South Korean aircraft maker Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI) have disagreements over plans to buy fighter jets, hindering the acquisition, a defense official said.

The two sides are still “trying to hurdle major issues” in the P18.9-billion project, Undersecretary for acquisition Fernando Manalo said in a briefing.

KAI is asking for a 52 percent initial payment but the defense department can only pay 15 percent under the law, Manalo said.

The department will ask President Benigno Aquino III if it can accept KAI’s terms, he said.

Another key issue is the “turnaround time,” or the period required for the supplier to deliver spare parts under warranty, Manalo said.

The department requires the supplier to deliver spare parts within 30 to 45 days, while KAI wants a 180-day period, he said.

Manalo said the DND aims to determine by yearend if it will push through with the acquisition from KAI.

“We are already preparing our firm position and then we are going to submit it to KAI for them to determine whether that is acceptable,” he said.

The country has long been in need of fighter jet capability, which takes at least five years to develop, Manalo said.

The Philippines and KAI began negotiations early this year on the plan to buy 12 FA-50 fighter jets.

The government aims to have some of the jets delivered before President Aquino’s term ends in 2016. (John Roson)

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