Purchase of new jet fighter eyed

Posted on May 17, 2012

THE GOVERNMENT is eyeing the purchase of a new jet fighter to beef up the country’s military arsenal, President Benigno S. C. Aquino III said yesterday.

"We seem to have the capacity to buy a brand new [fighter jet], but not necessarily from America," he said in a radio interview aired yesterday.

Philippine military equipment are usually sourced from the US, but Mr. Aquino said it may be more "economical" to buy from Europe or other countries that offer cheaper prices for brand new jets. "We do not have any fighter jets right now -- zero. We only have two trainer jets. But it seems we now have the capability to buy brand new. There is what we call a lead-in jet trainer and its airframe can be converted into a fighter jet," he said.

"It may be more expensive to buy secondhand jets because it has a shorter life-span. I think the minimum we can get is a lead-in trainer that is also a fighter aircraft," Mr. Aquino added.

Air Force spokesman Col. Miguel Okol said minimum requirements for the jet include supersonic ability, multifunction displays and On Board Oxygen Generation System. -- Noemi M. Gonzales