Lorenzana: Pricey F-16s prompted look at fighter jet options
MANILA, Philippines—Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the F-16 fighter jets that were being offered by the United States were “expensive”, prompting the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to look at other options.
“The US wants us to buy their F-16s. It’s very expensive so the PAF is evaluating others,” he told INQUIRER.net on Friday (June 25).
The Pentagon on Thursday (June 24) announced that the US State Department has approved the possible sale of F-16 fighter jets, along with Sidewinder and Harpoon missiles, to the Philippines.
The Philippine government had requested to buy 10 F-16C Block 70/72 aircraft and two F-16D Block 70/72 aircraft produced by Lockheed Martin Co., with an estimated cost of $2.43 billion (around P120 billion). The arms package included parts and training, according to the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
The proposed sale will improve the Philippines’ capability to meet current and future threats by enabling the deployment of fighter aircraft for its operations, it said.
Lorenzana said the PAF has narrowed the choice for multi-role fighters between Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and SAAB’s Gripen and a decision would be revealed “soon.”
He said the PAF hopes a deal could be signed before President Rodrigo Duterte steps down from office next year.
Last month, Lorenzana renewed a call to acquire multi-role fighters as it is “a critical capability for the defense of our country’s territorial airspace” against external threats.
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