Philippine Air Force (PAF) acquires Jets, Attack Helicopters, and Radars to improve territorial defense
The Philippine Air Force modernization program is now in action. It expects the delivery of several jets and radar to increase its territorial defense.
The modernization program is divided into three phases. The first phase included the acquisition of defense equipment that would improve the Armed Forces’ capability to conduct internal security operations.
Okol said the PAF also expects the delivery of eight combat utility helicopters, a C-130 cargo plane, seven attack helicopters, three multi-purpose attack aircraft, a long-range patrol aircraft, equipment for coast watch stations, and 33 multi-purpose rocket launchers for the Presidential Security Group and basic trainer jets. The 18 basic trainer planes have been delivered while others are in various stages of procurement.
Four brand new combat utility helicopters (Sokol) from two foreign firms arrived at the former Clark Air Base in Pampanga last month. The “Sokol” helicopters were purchased from Augusta PZL Swidnik of Italy and Poland. The Sokol helicopters have night-vision capability and could accommodate 10 passengers. For combat missions, the Sokol can be fitted with gun mounts for M60D machine guns on both sides, and when used for search and rescue over water operations, it can be equipped with pilot-controlled emergency flotation gear attached to the lowest portion of the aircraft. Four more combat utility helicopters from Augusta PZL Swidnik are expected to arrive in the fourth quarter. The acquisition of the eight helicopters costs P2.8 billion.
Philippine Air Force personnel stand next to newly-acquired Sokol helicopters, during a turn-over ceremony at Clark airbase in Angeles City on Friday. Swidnik SA formally turned-over four of the eight Sokol combat utility helicopters acquired by the Philippine government.
The Air Force now has 50 helicopters of which 40 are operational at any given time. The military expects the completion of the delivery of P3.4 billion worth of military hardware this year.
The third phase of the modernization program to be implemented after 2016 would involve the acquisition of advanced multi-role fighter jets and long-range patrol aircraft and radars, Okol said.
Sources: PhilStar, Manilatoday, Wikipedia
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