PH to buy P18.976B jets from SoKor
The Philippines is aiming to complete the acquisition of 12 fighter jets worth P18.976 billion from South Korea this year.
President Benigno S. Aquino III has announced that both governments agreed to hasten the acquisition of a dozen FA-50 lead-in jets during his meeting with President Park Geun-hye at Blue House last Thursday.
“We are just finalizing the procurement (of the jets) both in their laws and our laws. The details are long but bottom line, both sides agreed to try and expedite the arm purchase and the delivery of these planes,” the president said in a media interview late Thursday night.
Aquino said acquiring the brand new military planes would enhance the capability of the Philippine Air Forces in guarding the country’s skies.
“Your expertise to fly jets are slowly fading away so the purpose of this lead-in fighter is to maintain our ability to fly jets, at least for the Air Force to fly jets,” Aquino said.
Last Thursday, the Philippines and Korea forged a defense cooperation agreement that would allow the exchange of military information, personnel, and training between the two nations.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin confirmed that they hope to complete the military purchase from Korea before the end of the year.
Negotiations for the military purchase started last year as the Philippines remained embroiled in a territorial row with China over the West Philippine Sea.
Gazmin, in a chance interview, said the new planes, which will cost P1.5 billion each, will come from Korean Aerospace Industries in South Korea. He assured that Korea offered the reasonable cost for the each military plane, compared to other foreign suppliers.
“We are building a pool of jet pilots. This is our interim solution. After this, we will upgrade and buy jets,” Gazmin said.
Gazmin was among the cabinet members who accompanied President Aquino in his two-day state visit to Korea.