Defense chief confirms European ‘shopping’ trip
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana plans to go “window shopping” for military equipment in Europe in September to further upgrade the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ capability.
In a short message to reporters on Wednesday, Lorenzana said that he planned to travel to France, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal.
“For the time being, I would just window shop if they have equipment that we want that are within our budget,” he said after French Ambassador Nicolas Galey said Paris was open to defense cooperation.
France eyes defense pact
“We are obviously 100 percent available to have the same kind of cooperation with the Philippines like the one we have with … Malaysia and Australia,” Galey said during the Bastille Day celebration in Makati City on Sunday.
Galey said France was motivated to improve its military cooperation with the Philippines because of their territorial interests in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
“This gives us a particular reason and motivation to have good cooperation with the Philippines,” the envoy said.
Lorenzana, who also attended the Bastille Day celebration, said he would be meeting with French Defense Minister Florence Parly on the best way forward.
Deal with Czech
The defense chief said the military was interested in France’s submarines or warplanes.
He said that the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and Portugal have been offering several of their defense products, “but we will look [at] and evaluate them first.”
According to Lorenzana, the defense department is looking to acquire one more C295 twin-turboprop tactical military transport aircraft from Spain.
Another Spanish plane
“We bought three already and we are buying one more,” he pointed out. The three C295 aircraft were acquired by the Philippine Air Force in 2015 and 2016.
Lorenzana also confirmed his visit to the Czech Republic, which will coincide with the celebration of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Air Force Day in Ostrava.
He said the Czech had been offering firearms, but Lorenzana said he may also look into drones and body protection equipment.
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