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Philippine Air Force buying new trainer jets

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is ordering this year a number of brand new aircraft.

These include 12 lead-in fighter trainer jets, eight light transports, three medium transports and attack helicopters.

The PAF said the order is among 38 contracts that the air branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines will sign this year. Delivery of the aircraft is expected in two years.

“Within the year we expect to sign contracts. We have 38 projects lined up, foremost of which is the FAA lead-in fighter trainer or LIFT. We have attack helicopters coming, light transports and medium transports that are slightly smaller than the C-130 cargo plane” currently in use, PAF spokesperson Col. Miguel Okol said.

“They have been approved by the senior leadership (of the Department of National Defense),” he added.

He said the rest of the 38 contracts were still being finalized.

From being one of the best in Southeast Asia during the 1960s, the Air Force fleet gradually deteriorated and became obsolete without being replaced, leaving the country with no external defense capability.

To upgrade the entire military’s capabilities, the DND and AFP are working to fast-track the approval by July this year of a total of 138 contracts.

The contracts, mostly aimed at boosting badly depleted air and naval assets, would be implemented for the duration of the Aquino administration.

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