Acquisition of fighter jets may be moved to 2023—Lorenzana
The Department of National Defense (DND) is considering deferring the acquisition of multirole fighter (MRF) jets to give way to the procurement of urgent military equipment under the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization program (RAFPMP).
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana raised the possibility of moving the MRF acquisition from the second horizon, which covers the years 2018-2022, to the third horizon (2023-2028) of the RAFPMP.
“We are closely looking if we can move it (MRF acquisition) to the third (horizon) in favor of other more pressing capabilities,” he said in a message to reporters.
Lorenzana clarified that the plan was not intended to pave the way for the acquisition of other more expensive items but for the procurement of more medium- or heavy-lift aircraft and naval vessels.
On Monday, he said President Rodrigo Duterte had declined Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets being offered by the United States because “we have no enemies here.”
The military, he said, needs aircraft which can be used for both combat operations, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
Meanwhile, Lorenzana said the acquisition of submarines might be undertaken through government-to-government procurement.
“The submarines, if we finally decide to buy them, will be on a government-to-government procurement and under a loan so that we do not need a large upfront capital outlay,” he said.
Russia has offered a soft loan package to the Philippines for Kilo-class submarines, which costs from $300 million to $350 million each, excluding expenses for the fitting of armaments and the construction of infrastructure.
Apart from Russia, the defense department is also looking at South Korea, France and Germany as possible sources of submarines.
The Kilo-class is a diesel-electric fast-attack submarine, said to be the quietest of its kind in the world.