Tag Archive: fighter jet

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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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 may start getting fighter jets in 2015 under a deal being negotiated with South Korean aircraft maker Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI), Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Thursday.

Deliveries of the FA-50 lead-in fighter jets are expected to start “June 2015,” Gazmin said in a text message.

Gazmin made the remark after saying that the defense department has already recommended measures on how to resolve issues on the P18.9-billion project.

“We recommended the approval of the downpayment and progress billing,” Gazmin said.

Earlier this month, Undersecretary for modernization Fernando Manalo said KAI is asking for a 52 percent downpayment but the department can only pay 15 percent under the law.

Another key issue is the “turnaround time,” or the period required for the supplier to deliver spare parts under warranty. The department requires the supplier to deliver spare parts within 30 to 45 days, while KAI wants a 180-day period.

The DND recommended that KAI be allowed a period of 60 days, Gazmin said.

Recommendations on the project have been sent to the Office of the President, he added.

“The FA-50 project is ongoing. There are just terms that require prior approval of the President,” Manalo said in a separate text message.

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

The country retired its last seven F5 fighter jets in 2005, after being in service for 40 years.

The absence of fighter jets and other modern equipment for almost a decade now has left the country’s far-flung territories – like the Spratly Islands off Palawan and Scarborough Shoal off Zambales – virtually “open” to intrusions by other countries, especially muscle-flexing China. (John Roson)

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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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The Philippines will hold “pre-negotiations” with South Korean firm Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) to buy supersonic fighter jets for the Air Force, a defense official said Wednesday.

The Government Procurement Policy Board approved the talks for FA-50 jets from KAI last December, defense assistant secretary for acquisition, installations, and logistics Patrick Velez said in a press briefing.

“We are going to proceed with the pre-negotiation with them… if everything pushes through in the timeframe, we may be able to finish the contract by the end of February,” Velez said.

Some P18 billion will be spent to buy 12 fighter jets, two of which may arrive after six months, Velez told reporters.

The purchase will be done through a government-to-government deal, he said.

The Air Force currently has no fighter jets since it retired its last seven F5 fighters in 2005, after being in service for 40 years.

The only jets in the PAF inventory are S-211 trainer jets, which are also being used for reconnaissance missions.

S-211 trainer jets are sub-sonic. KAI’s FA-50 fighter jets fly as fast as MACH 1.5. (John Roson)

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A Maestrale-class frigate (photo grabbed from Marina Militare [Italian Navy] website http://www.marina.difesa.it)

The Philippines is looking at buying frigates from Italy, jet fighters from South Korea, and attack helicopters from Eurocopter, defense officials said today.

Two Maestrale-class frigates used by the Italian Navy have been proposed for acquisition to President Benigno Aquino, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said in a press forum.

The two ships, which cost a total of P11.7 billion, will come armed with anti-air, anti-submarine, and surface-to-surface missiles, Gazmin said.

“They will be our most potent naval assets. They will help a lot in giving us a good defense posture,” he said, adding the ships may be delivered by November next year if the project is approved soon.

T-50 jets conducting maneuvers (photo grabbed from Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. website: http://www.koreaaero.com)

The department has also proposed to the President to consider acquiring 12 T-50 lead-in fighter jets from South Korea, Fernando Manalo, defense undersecretary for finance, munitions, installations and materiel, said in the same press forum.

“The T-50 is the most advantageous considering the situation in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

Once the project is completed, the country will immediately get two jets to train pilots, Gazmin said.

Meanwhile, Manalo said negotiation is ongoing to acquire 10 attack helicopters worth P3.2 billion from Eurocopter in France.

Two to four of these helicopters can be delivered within the year if the contract is signed before the end of the month, he said. (John Roson)

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Lipa City, Batangas – Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin vowed to give the military a boost within the next two years, citing an “extreme necessity” in upgrading its defense capability, amid a territorial dispute with China.

Speaking at the Air Force’s 65th anniversary rites in Fernando Air Base here Friday, Gazmin said his office is “speedily” working on the approval of contracts for 138 modernization projects for the military.

The projects, which the defense department aims to approve by July 31, will be implemented over the next five years and includes big-ticket items for Navy and Air Force.

“These include among others the acquisition of surface attack lead-in fighter trainers, attack helicopters, light transport aircraft, and medium transport aircraft, all of which are expected to be delivered within two years from now,” Gazmin said.

The Philippines is presently fighting for ownership of the Scarborough Shoal and several territories in the Spratly Island Group, all of which China claims as its territories.

Armed only with turbo-prop planes, helicopters, and a handful of aging warships, Manila has been resorting to filing diplomatic protests against Beijing.

The latest protest was prompted by the China’s formation of a city that encompasses almost all of the South China Sea, including a Spratly island where a Philippine town has dozens of residents and a municipal hall.

In Scarborough Shoal, at least three armed Chinese law enforcement ships were spotted Monday along with six fishing vessels and 16 dinghies, said a security official who requested anonymity.

“Our extreme necessity to modernize is meant to address the primordial constitutional duty of our Armed Forces, to secure the sovereignty of the state and the integrity of the national territory,” Gazmin said.

“We are now very determined in our intention to modernize,” the defense chief said.

“The availability of these aircraft will erase, once and for all, the ironic and naughty commentary that our present air force is ‘all air, devoid of force,'” he added.

At the anniversary ceremony, more than 40 airplanes and helicopters conducted a flyby and some stunts “to set things right for the organization,” Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino dela Cruz said.

It has been 15 years since the force last staged such activities for its birthday, due budget cuts which eventually led to a lack of equipment. Fighter jets were retired in 2005.

The lack of fighter planes had also prompted the Air Force to send some of its units to land operations such as fighting communist rebels.

“To set things right, we need to show that we are not expanding to become a ground force,” Dela Cruz said. (John Roson)

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The Philippines has approved plans to buy fighter jets and other military aircraft and may sign contracts for the projects this year, Air Force spokesman Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol said.

Senior officials of the Department of National Defense approved plans for the Air Force to buy 12 units, or a squadron, of lead-in fighter trainer jets, eight light transport planes, three medium transport planes, and attack helicopters, Okol said in a phone interview.

“They have been approved by the senior leadership and we expect their contracts to be signed within the year. It will take about two years for that to be delivered,” he said.

Last Tuesday, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Philippines is looking at several countries, including South Korea, France, and Italy for its fighter jet acquisition.

The Air Force retired its last seven F5 fighter jets in 2005, after being in service for 40 years.

Meanwhile, Okol said the Air Force expects two C-130 carrier planes and four Sokol combat utility helicopters to be delivered to in the coming months.

One C-130 plane will arrive in the first week of June after having undergone depot maintenance in the US while the other, which was repaired locally, may be released in November, he said.

The four Sokol helicopters, expected to arrive also in November, are among the eight which the Philippines bought from Italian-Polish firm Augusta PZL Swidnik for P2.8 billion. The other four were turned over to the Air Force last March. (John Roson)

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