MANILA, Philippines—The defense department is eyeing to purchase six fighter planes for the Philippine Air Force, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Friday.
In a press conference held during the 64th anniversary of the PAF, Gazmin said the procurement is part of the Department of National Defense’s medium term capability upgrade plan.
The fighter jets have the capability to conduct maritime patrol, said Air Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Miguel Ernesto Okol.
The announcement came as the Philippines and China exchange diplomati protests and verbal jabs over disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The Philippines accuses Chinese forces of at least nine incursions in the Manila-claimed areas in the Spratly Islands since February.
Okol said a baseline fighter jet costs between $23 to $40 million.
Seven units of F-5 were the last fighter jets the Air Force had and they were decommissioned in 2005 after being in service for 40 years.