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Air Force keeps eyes on Swedish Grippen jets

/ 05:30 AM September 17, 2021

The Saab JAS 39 Gripen —PHOTO FROM ROYAL SWEDISH AIR FORCE

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana may have been impressed with the Lockheed Martin F-16 multirole fighter aircraft of the United States, but practical reasons may prompt the Philippines to acquire equally impressive supersonic jets made in Sweden.

The Saab JAS 39 Gripen is a light single-engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab AB.

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Back from his trip to Washington, Lorenzana marveled at how the F-16 was easy to fly after having flown the aircraft on a flight simulator while he was in the United States.

Easy to land

“The F-16 is very good. Even if you’re new to flying it, after being taught the basics you can easily land the aircraft. Just like what I did on the simulator. I was able to land it safely,” said Lorenzana, an Army general before his retirement in 2004.

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But, Lorenzana said at on online press conference on Thursday, the DND only had P60 billion set aside for new jets to beef up the fleet of FA-50 jets the Philippines acquired from South Korea.

“For now, if we buy F-16s with the money we have, we can only buy two. Whereas if we buy the Swedish-made [Saab JAS-39 Gripen], we can acquire six,” he said.

The F-16V jets, costing from $12 million to $35 million depending on its equipment, has a top speed of Mach 2.0 and can be equipped with sensors, assorted bombs and missiles and armed with a 20-mm cannon.

Looking around

“(The US) knows we’re looking around for platforms we can afford,” he pointed out.

But according to Lorenzana, “If (the US) offers us a financing scheme or (a payment scheme) favorable to us maybe we can (buy F-16 aircraft). If not, we won’t buy from them. We’ll buy Gripen from the Swedish.”

The Gripen is also capable of speeds of up to Mach 2.0, also armed with a 20-mm cannon and can also be equipped with various missiles, rockets and bombs as well as surveillance equipment.

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TAGS: Lockheed Martin F-16, Lorenzana, Philippine Air Force, Saab JAS-39 Gripen
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