Aquino unveils plan to buy more aircraft
Presiding over the Philippine Air Force change of command in Lipa City, the President said the Armed Forces would purchase eight combat utility helicopters, six close air support aircraft, two-long range patrol aircraft and radar systems.
“We also intend to buy full motion flight simulator to improve the training of our pilots,” the President said in a speech aired on the state-run dzRB.
These are on top of the new FA50 from South Korea that will be delivered to the Air Force next year, Mr. Aquino said.
“In 2005, we retired our last F5 freedom fighter. It’s our wish to enhance the capability of our pilots to fly this type of aircraft for military operations,” he said.
Last month, the military signed contracts for the acquisition of 12 lead-in fighter trainer jets worth P18.9-billion from South Korea and eight combat utility helicopters worth P4.8-billion from Canada.
Under the watch of Air Force Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino de la Cruz, who retired yesterday, the Air Force has acquired more assets. It now boasts of three C-130s, eight combat utility helicopters and 18 basic trainer aircraft, the President said.
De la Cruz turned over his post to Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado, AFP deputy chief of staff for plans and programs. Delgado is a former senior military aide of Mr. Aquino and a longtime security aide of the President’s youngest sister, Kris Aquino.
The President did not make any reference to a defense agreement allowing increased US military presence that is widely believed to be signed during President Obama’s visit on Monday. TJ A. Burgonio
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