It is reported that the US F-16 fighter is also facing competition from Sweden’s JAS 39C/D Gripen fighter jets
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency on June 24 approved the sale of weapons to the Philippines, including F-16 fighter jets and associated weapons, for $ 2.9 billion. However, Philippine Defense Secretary Delphine Lorenzana called the US F-16 fighter jet “too expensive”, which prompted the Philippine Air Force to consider other options.
According to Defense Secretary Lorenzana, the F-16 is not the only option for the Philippine Air Force; Sweden’s JAS 39C/D Gripen fighter is also an appropriate choice and the Philippine Department of Defense will announce its decision soon. Earlier in 2018, Philippine President Duterte considered the idea of buying fighter jets to be futile. However, in December 2019, Philippine Defense Secretary Delphine Lorenzana announced that the F-16 is one of two potential fighter types being considered by the Philippines for purchase.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced that the sale of the F-16 will allow the Philippines to deploy precision weapons to support counterterrorism operations in the South, and enhance the combat power of the Philippine Army to deal with current and future threats in the South China Sea region.
As a country with an important geostrategic position in the Asia-Pacific region, over the years, the Philippines has faced many security threats and challenges. In such a context, but the armed forces of the Philippines are equipped with very outdated weapons; Even before acquiring a squadron of FA-50 light fighters from South Korea, the Philippines had never had a jet fighter.
The Philippines’ defense procurement has always been entangled in constant controversies. The opposing views of the country’s leaders and corruption have undermined the Philippine Army’s equipment strategy. According to information, the F-16C/D Block 70/72 fighters will be equipped with AN/APG-83 active phased array radar, and can use advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles AIM-120. In addition, the version of F-16 that the US sold to the Philippines can use GPS / laser guided bombs. Thus, this is the most advanced version of the F-16 series, currently equipped by many Western countries.
Under the process, the sale of US weapons to any partner would require approval from the US Congress. The fighters are part of the Philippines’ military modernization plan. Currently, the Philippine Air Force is only in service with the Korean FA-50PH light fighters.