MANILA - Four pilots of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) are set to undergo training in South Korea to learn how to fly FA-50 fighter jets, a military official said yesterday.
Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol of the Air Defense Wing said the 4 pilots would likely go to South Korea before the end of the year. He said the 4 will be trained how to fly the planes as well as how to troubleshoot.
After the training, the 4 pilots will be required to train other PAF pilots.
The Philippines earlier signed agreements to buy US$528 million worth of military aircraft from South Korea and Canada amid ongoing territorial disputes with China.
"After more than four decades of stagnancy in its dream of improving its capability, our air force has found a promise of new life with the realization of our (military) modernization program," Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.
Korea Aerospace Industries will deliver 12 FA-50 jets worth P18.9 billion (USD 421.12 million) in just over three years under a contract agreed by Philippine defense officials and South Korean government representatives.
The Southeast Asian country also completed a P4.8 billion contract with Canadian Commercial Corp. and Canada's Bell Helicopters to build eight helicopters for the military.
The twin deals are part of the Philippines' P75-billion effort to upgrade its armed forces, particularly units tasked with patrolling disputed territory in the South China Sea.
These units are dwarfed by those of neighboring China, which claims most of the area, including waters and islets much closer to the Philippines. With Agence France-Presse