MANILA, Philippines – An Air Force technical team is evaluating whether 12 FA-50 fighter jets that a South Korean firm is offering can deliver medium range missiles.
Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo told The STAR a private company, Korean Aerospace, has offered to provide the fighter jets at about P18 billion, not including the munitions.
“What we are looking for is an aircraft that can be considered a fighter aircraft that can deliver missiles and other types of ammunition,” he said.
Manalo, a retired Air Force general, said the success of air defense operations does not depend solely on an aircraft’s capability.
“The capability of the pilot and the radar system are also important,” he said. “If a pilot is good, he can maneuver the plane if he engages in a dogfight.”
Manalo said the technical team is expected to submit its recommendations to defense and military officials early next month.
“The question now is when is it (FA-50) going to be certified as capable of delivering medium range missile,” he said.
“We are doing due diligence to see to it that what we are going to acquire is what we need.”
Manalo said issues need to be threshed out regarding the South Korean fighter jets.
“There are issues that we are trying to resolve, and one of the issues is the capability of the FA-50 of South Korea,” he said.
Other countries including Italy and Russia are also offering defense equipment, Manalo said.
The government is upgrading the military’s capabilities to enhance territorial defense and internal security.
On Saturday, The STAR reported that the Air Force plan to acquire fighter jets from other countries may take longer after it was decided that the procurement would be subjected to bidding instead of a government-to-government deal.
Subjecting the defense procurement to bidding would mean that Air Force pilots would have to wait longer before they can fly brand-new jets, a source said. Source: Philstar.com
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