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Military finalizing plan to acquire 1 squadron of F-16 fighter jets


A RANKING military officer said the Armed Forces high command is already discussing the details on the procurement of one squadron of F-16 “Fighting Falcon” jet fighters from the US.
Maj. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, Armed Forces deputy chief of staff for plans and programs (J-5) said although the acquisition of jet fighters was not included in the first batch of approved big-ticket items the project is now being discussed thoroughly.
“Since we decommissioned our [fighter] jets in 1995 there had been a long gap. So we need [jet] fighter capability. We’re proposing the procurement of at least one squadron. We are talking here of 14 to 24 F-16s,” Deveraturda said.
Earlier, reports said the Department of the Foreign Affairs (DFA) had already started negotiations with the US government for the acquisition of F-16.
But Deveraturda said the Armed Forces has no update yet about the ongoing process of negotiations. 
Earlier, the military announced that four of the eight utility helicopters, that were bought by the previous administration under the Armed Forces Modernization Program, are already in the country.     Deveraturda said four of the eight Sokol (Falcon) helicopters from Polish-Italian defense supplier Augusta PZL Swidnik have arrived at Clark Field in Pampanga and are now being assembled.
“The four utility helicopters will soon be inspected by the Air Force. These are a great addition to our capability, and we hope to use them soon,” Deveraturda said.
He said the remaining four are being expected to be delivered at the third quarter of this year.
Deveraturda said the delivery of the four helicopters set into concrete action the eight-year modernization program that Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin charted for the Armed Forces.
Gazmin wants to acquire armored vehicles, radar systems, missile-guided and multi-role vessels and aircraft that include fighter jets under the program with a projected total cost of at least P70 billion.
Since the amount needed is too large, he said the acquisition will be pursued through a Congress-approved Multi-Year Obligation Agreement (MYOA), with a government to government as the procurement mode.
Deveraturda said the military is also hoping to sign the contract for the delivery of another Hamilton class cutter from the United States until March this year.
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ZAFF SOLMERIN / CORRESPONDENT
THURSDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 2012 20:28
Bussiness Mirror

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