Friday, June 01, 2012

Upgrade of AFP hardware long overdue: PAF official

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) requires P75 billion in the next five years for its modernization program.

Upgrading the country’s military hardware is long overdue and has nothing to do with the recent run-in with China over the Scarborough Shoal, said Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino G. dela Cruz, Philippine Air Force (PAF) commanding general.

He said they learned from Sen. Panfilo Lacson that the Senate just passed the revised law modernizing the military that was enacted during the time of then president Fidel Ramos and authored by then senator Rodolfo Biazon.

Dela Cruz was at the Benito Ebuen Air Base (formerly Mactan Air Base) yesterday for the 65th PAF pre-anniversary visit.

Recommended buys

He said the AFP has recommended to the Aquino administration to buy 21 UH1H helicopters, 10 attack helicopters, three medium-lift aircrafts to augment the three heavy-lift C130 and 18 trainer aircrafts.

Just recently, dela Cruz said, the PAF received four new helicopters. He said four more will be delivered in November. These will be used for search and rescue operations.

Dela Cruz admitted that the PAF is not capable of waging war with other countries. But he said they have asked for 12 surface attack aircrafts for territorial defense.

“This is the capability that we have lost in the past years and we want to revive it to upgrade our military strength,” dela Cruz said.

He said they will also acquire three radars that will be installed in strategic sites in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

An uneven fight

With these radars, enemy aircraft that enter Philippine air space can be detected and intercepted, he said.

He said they’ve also recommended purchasing 8 new Nomads, light-lift aircrafts that are used to move troops.

Last May 7, newspapers in Hong Kong reported that a China-Philippines War will be a mismatch. China has 150 fighter planes to the Philippines’ zero. China has 65 submarines, including six nuclear-powered ones, while the Philippines has none.

But dela Cruz said the AFP believes the matter should be settled through diplomacy.

“Let’s give peace a chance,” he said.

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Elias O. Baquero | SunStar.Com.Ph | June 1, 2012 | Article Link

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