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Gazmin tells PAF: Defense Department doing its best to upgrade air assets

Noting that the military's modernization program is in full swing, Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Friday assured the Philippine Air Force the Defense Department is doing its best to replace its “old and unreliable” aircraft.

“As ever, we have been relentless in our goal of acquiring new and potent replacements for our old and unreliable air assets... and we are now very determined in our intention to modernize,” Gazmin said during the PAF's 65th foundation anniversary rites at the Fernando Air Base in Lipa City.

He also praised PAF pesonnel for “performing their duties without question” despite the lack of air assets.

“Some of them are in distant islands and islets of our archipelago, be it in West Philippine Sea, or in Sulu and Tawi-tawi, they do not cease to perform their duties in utter oblivion and anonymity,” Gazmin said.

He also stressed that the PAF needs reliable aircraft in the performance its constitutional mandate of protecting the people and securing the sovereignty of the state and national territory.

He said dozens of aircraft that are mostly aging, including S-211 planes, Huey helicopters and a C-130 plane, which were featured in fly-by at the anniversary rites.

He also stressed the government is serious in modernizing the Air Force and the Armed Forces.

According to him, upgrade and modernization of the Armed Forces are in “full swing,”  and that the Defense Department is working for the approval of 138 projects for implementation in the next five years.

“These projects would surely provide the Philippine Air Force with brand new and reliable air assets for its air operations, along with the operational requirements of the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Army,” he said.

Due for delivery in a span of two years are surface attack aircraft, lead-in fighter trainer, attack helicopters, light and medium lift transport aircraft, he added.

These deliveries are on top of four Sokol multi-purpose combat utility helicopters – in addition to the four that were  delivered last March, he said.

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GMA News Online | July 6, 2012 | Article Link

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