• PAF gets biggest chunk of revised modernization fund

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    Realizing the value of a credible military air service, the Department of National Defense (DND) announced that P43.3 billion out of the P85.3 billion Revised AFP Modernization Fund was allocated to Philippine Air Force (PAF).

    The fund is spread out for 2013 to 2017.

    From 2013-2017, P8.6-billion will be allocated to the Army, P43.3-billion to the Air Force, P28.2-billion to the Navy and P5.2 billion to AFP general headquarters.

    DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said this includes the 12 South Korean made F/A-50 “Fighting Eagle” jets contract which is worth P18.9 billion.

    He said two F/A-50s are expected to be delivered by 2015.

    Also in the pipeline for the PAF are the eight attack versions of the AW-109s which are worth P3.4 billion, 21 refurbished UH-1H “Huey” helicopters, of which four are already in the country, worth P1.26 billion, and eight Bell 412EP combat utility helicopters worth P4.8 billion.

    Now under bidding and negotiations are additional close-air support aircraft, cargo and patrol planes and brand-new surveillance radars.

    Aside from this, Gazmin said 14 big-ticket defense items, worth P6.2 billion, will be completely delivered by the end of 2014.

    These include the delivery of assault rifles for the Army and Marines, close combat optics, and explosive ordnance disposal equipment.

    “We are getting closer to our desired state in terms of capability and readiness with our recent acquisitions, and those we are expecting to be delivered in the next few months,” Gazmin said.

    A total of 37 projects have already been completed under the Aquino administration, amounting to P9.2 billion.

    As of July 8, 10 projects worth another P17.3 billion are expected to be delivered in 2015.

    The major equipment to be delivered include armored vehicles for the Army, attack helicopters, combat utility helicopters, light lift and medium lift aircraft for the Air Force, and naval helicopters for the Navy.

    The term “minimum credible defense posture” pertains to the establishment of an effective force presence inside the Philippines and its exclusive economic zone with exhibited competence to defend the country and protect its national interests if and when the need arises.

    “This includes the ability to conduct wide surveillance and monitoring of developments within the country’s territory, and have an extensive command and control as well as the capacity to provide an expedient and efficient response to untoward incidents,” Gazmin said.

    He emphasized that most of the equipment and assets acquired can be used in humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

    The remaining projects in the modernization program are also in the advanced stages of procurement or are nearing completion.

    These include the additional rifles for the Army, frigates and amphibious assault vehicle for the Navy. PNA

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