PH Air Force also wants Russian, Italian, UK fighter jets

By Alexis Romero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 21 2012 02:02 AM | Updated as of Jun 21 2012 10:02 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Air Force will acquire 12 fighter jets and six other fixed-wing aircraft by next year.

Defense Assistant Secretary Patrick Velez told The STAR the jet fighters would be acquired from suppliers based in South Korea, Italy, United Kingdom and Russia.

Each jet costs about P1.2 billion, he added.

Velez said the six fixed-wing aircraft will be used to boost the military’s counter-insurgency operations.

“These (six air assets) will replace the aging OV-10 Broncos (of the Air Force),” he said.

Officials are still finalizing details of the six air assets, which may be acquired from the United States, South Korea and Brazil.

Meanwhile, the Air Force expects the delivery of six surface attack aircraft and lead-in fighter trainers, long-range patrol aircraft, one air defense radar, and a special mission aircraft within the term of the Aquino administration.

Earlier, the Air Force said two of its cargo planes undergoing repairs are expected to be ready for operation by October.

Previously, Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Lauro de la Cruz said the repair of a C-130 plane would be completed by July, while the other aircraft would be rolled out in October.

The two cargo planes would complement the lone C-130 aircraft of the military – a C-130 Hercules aircraft – which is being used to carry supplies and troops.

Four brand-new combat utility helicopters are also expected to arrive in November.

The four constitute the second batch of Sokol combat utility helicopters acquired from Polish company PZL Swidnik SA.

The first four Sokol helicopters arrived last February. The acquisition of the eight helicopters cost P2.8 billion, including support equipment, spare parts and training.

A 2010 report by the Commission on Audit (COA) said the Air Force “virtually has a non-existent air deterrent capability” due to aging air assets.

As of 2010, only 91 of the 339 aircraft in the Air Force inventory are full mission-capable, 81 are inactive and the rest are for disposal, COA added.