Thursday, March 27, 2014

F/A-50 jet plane to further strengthen PHL territorial defense initiatives

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 27): F/A-50 jet plane to further strengthen PHL territorial defense initiatives

With the Department of National Defense (DND) and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) poised to sign the Php 18.9 billion contract for the 12-F/A "Golden Eagle" jet aircraft Friday, Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesperson Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol said that this is the start of territorial defense initiatives aside from enhancing the country's external defense capabilities.

"(Signing of the F/A-50 contract) will bring us closer on what we wish to attain on our external defense capabilities so this is definitely a good start," he added.

Okol said the South Korean jet aircraft will be part of a territorial defense system for the Philippines' minimum credible deterrent capabilities.

"It's part of a system, territorial defense that we're coming up with. It's a systematic approach to form part of the shooters (F/A-50s and ground base air defense units), the sensors which are the radars and will be part of the situational awareness of the ground base air defense and point defense (interception capability)," the PAF spokesperson stressed.

This system will allow the country to detect and deal with intruders violating the Philippines' vast maritime and aerial domains and if needed, to expel them.

The F/A-50 is armed with 20mm automatic cannons and can be fitted with modern air-to-air missiles and surface attack weapons.

In attendance for Friday's signing is DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista and Air Force and other major service commanders, KAI president and the head of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) and Ambassador of South Korea to the Philippines.

As this develops, the DND will also sign the contract for the eight combat utility helicopters with Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) on Friday.

The project is worth Php 4.8 billion.

Like the F/A-50, this is also a government-to-government contract.

CCC is the designated Canadian agency for the government-to-government procurement of equipment

"Three of these eight helicopters will be configured as a VIP helicopter and the delivery we are able to negotiate (is) that if the contract will be signed within the March, first quarter of 2014, then they’ll be able to deliver at least three of the helicopters in September in time for the hosting of the Philippines of the APEC," DND undersecretary Fernando Manalo earlier said.

He added that these new helicopters are intended to replace the five aging Bell 412 helicopters of the Office of President which were acquired during the time of President Fidel V. Ramos.

Manalo said that these new helicopters are also variants of the Bell 412 but more modern and capable.

Okol said the contract signing for the Bell 412 helicopters is a positive development as this shows that the country is getting new equipment instead of old ones.

"These are brand new ones so again this is a positive sign that we're going towards the right direction," he added.

The PAF spokesperson stated that these new Bell 412 helicopters are more capable than the additional 21 UH-1H "Hueys" they will be getting as these aircraft are twin-engine and night vision capable.

"This (Bell 412) will complement the legacy systems (being used in the 'Hueys') and we will modernizing in the truest sense the PAF," he added.

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