Fort del Pilar, Baguio City – The Philippines will buy two anti-submarine helicopters for the Navy as part efforts to modernize the Armed Forces, President Benigno Aquino III said.

Acquisition of the helicopters will start soon, Aquino said in his speech at the graduation ceremony of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) here.

It will be the first time for the country’s military to have such aircraft, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told reporters later.

The country where the helicopters will be bought from has yet to be determined, he said.

Fighter jet deal signed this week

Aquino also announced that the government is set to sign contracts for the purchase of eight new combat utility helicopters and 12 units of FA-50 lead-in fighter trainer jets.

“Within next week magkakaroon tayo ng pirmahan ng contract, ‘yung FA-50 with the South Korean government at saka ‘yung sa Canada ‘yun combat utility helicopters,” Gazmin told reporters.

The fighter jets will be sourced from Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. for P18.9 billion.

The government aims to have the combat utility helicopters patrolling the country’s skies by 2016, Aquino said.

Meanwhile, the President said the military will receive 63,000 brand new rifles in the next few months to replace its ageing guns.

“Ang mga ripleng ginagamit ng ating kasundaluhan, panahon pa raw ng Vietnam War ang marami sa mga ito,” he said. (John Roson)

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