PAF eyes 12 multi-role fighters in current stage of AFP modernization

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) may be getting 12 units of multi-role fighter (MRF) jets under the second horizon (2018-2022) of Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program.

“‘Tig anim bawat group, tapos isang squadron, dose, so pwede na tayong kumuha ng isang squadron,” according to a military source of Manila Bulletin.

“Approved na ‘yung list tapos dahil na-approve ‘yung list, pwede nang maghanda para makuha natin,” the military source added.

However, the source noted that there is no specific platform yet. “Walang specific platform. Inapprove yung program, yung pamimili ng platform dadaan yan sa proseso,” he said. “And we are working on it quickly.”

Earlier this week, National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Philippines may acquire 12 more FA-50PH jets from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).

“Pagusapan pa namin dito sa ano – dito sa senior leaders’ [meeting], pero ‘yun ang gusto ng ano, natin, pati si Presidente [Rodrigo Duterte], nung makita niyang effective, baka dagdagan pa,” Lorenzana said as quoted by GMA News Online. “Baka daw dagdagan pa ng another 12 pero it depends on kung ano ‘yung ating iniisip na build-up ng ating [Philippine Air Force].”

The FA-50PHs were acquired as Fighter/Surface Attack/Lead-in Fighter Trainer Aircraft (F/SA/LIFTA) to beef up Philippines’ defense capabilities and also to prepare PAF in operating more capable fighter aircraft.

According to MaxDefense Philippines, acquisition of additional 12 FA-50PHs, which is not included in PAF’s Horizon 2 list, may affect the acquisition of MRFs. “What the PAF has in mind is the acquisition of 12 Multi-Role Fighters (MRF) worth Php61.2 billion. Currently the Php61.2 billion may not be even enough for 12 top of the line MRF. So if the Senior Leaders decide to get more FA-50s, then MaxDefense is definitely certain that it would be charged to the MRF, being the most similar to the FA-50,” it explained.

MaxDefense said the military and defense senior leaders’ meeting will be held on June 18.