President Benigno Aquino III says the government remains on track in acquiring modern military hardware to beef up the capability of the Philippine Air Force.
Aquino, during the PAF’s 67th anniversary on Tuesday, said the country will receive the first two of 12 FA-50 lead-in fighter trainer jets from South Korea. He said the government expects the full delivery of the 12 fighter jets by 2017.
He said the government is targeting to acquire eight combat utility helicopters, two long range patrol aircraft, six close air support aircraft, radar systems and other equipment for the PAF next year.
This year, he said, the government expects the arrival of the remaining 17 UHI helicopters.
He said the PAF has already three C-130, 18 basic training aircraft, eight Sokor combat utility helicopters, 20 upgraded MD-520 MG helicopters and four UH1 helicopters.
By next year, he also said the Philippines will finally get two of the 12 new FA-50 fighter jets acquired from South Korea.
The President said the delivery of the remaining fighter jets will be completed by 2017.
The President thanked the Air Force for its swift response during times of calamities such as the Zamboanga siege and super typhoon Yolanda last year.
“This is what we are celebrating today: professionalism, bravery, and stability in serving the country,” he said.
“These are the principles that we recognize in every unit, pilot, and personnel of the Philippine Air Force,” the President said.
The President also said that other initiatives for the PAF include the enhancement of the airforce pilot’s skills, the expansion of the airlift capabilities and the putting up of additional fix wings and rotary axis.
Likewise, the President cited the leadership of the military officials and the support of the other men and women uniform for the modernization of the PAF.
With the theme of “Soaring High for Peace, Freedom and Development, the event was highlighted with the conferment of awards to outstanding military and civilian personnel and units that contributed to the overall accomplishments of the command.