After flying PAF jet, AFP chief vows more modern aircraft for PH defense

MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana vowed to bring new and advanced combat and other aircraft to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) after flying a PAF trainer jet, which he said was an eye-opener for him on the key role that combat planes play in national security.

Sobejana said he would make a strong push for the acquisition of modern hardware for the PAF, like multi-role jet fighters, to boost the Philippines’ air defense.

Sobejana on Monday (June 21) flew one of the PAF’s FA-50 lead-in trainer jets for tactical capability demonstration, as part of his visit to the 5th Fighter Wing headquarters at Basa Air Base, Pampanga province.

“The experience that I have for the past 45 minutes up in the air on our Philippine Air Force’ FA-50PH made me feel the significance of our air assets in our campaign against the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters and other terrorists groups that we are fighting against,” he said.

The 12 units of FA-50s from South Korea are currently the most expensive and most capable combat aircraft of the PAF which were acquired for P18.9 billion. These played a crucial role in the government campaign to flush out local Islamic State fighters from Marawi City in 2017.

The Department of National Defense has yet to make public its choice of multi-role jet fighters for acquisition although the program has already been approved.

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