Defense wants Air Force that isn’t ‘all air and devoid of force’ in 5 yearsBy Frances Mangosing
MANILA, Philippines – In the next few years, the Philippine Air Force will no longer be “all air and devoid of force” as the Department of National Defense is working “speedily” for the approval of 138 contracts that will upgrade and modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said Secretary Voltaire Gazmin Friday.
“The placement of these assets in our Air Force inventory shall surely boost its air operations capability. The availability of these aircraft shall, once and for all, erase the ironic and naughty commentary that our present Air Force is “all air and devoid of force,” Gazmin said in his speech at the Air Power Symposium at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
Gzamin said provided in one of the contracts is the acquisition for the Air Force of surface attack aircraft lead-in trainer, attack hellicopters, light transport aircraft and medium transport aircraft— all of which are expected to be delivered within two years.
Meanwhile, four more multi-purpose combat utility helicopters, the Sokol, will be delivered within the year. The first four were delivered in March.
“These projects would surely provide the Philippine Air Force with brand new and reliable air assets for its air operations, along with other operational requirements of the Philippine Navy and Philippine Army,” he said.
Interviewed on the sidelines by reporters, Gazmin said that the modernization projects were not directed towards any country.
“It is for our own protection kasi hindi basta-basta yung ating mga services eh [because our services aren’t run of the mill], para magawa mo yun kailangan mo ng mga sariling gamit [for you to do those, you have to have your own equioment],” he said.
The deadline the DND has set for the approval of the contracts is on July 31.