The government could conclude a deal for fourth- or 4.5-generation fighter jets before President Rodrigo Duterte will end his term in 2022.
“Soon, before our President steps down, we will finally have multi-role fighters in the likes of the F-16 in our Air Force inventory,” said
Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay at a Laging Handa press briefing held online on Monday.
The F-16, although known as a fourth-generation jet fighter, has been given numerous upgrades since its introduction in August 1978. Another candidate the Department of National Defense is looking at is the Swedish-made Saab JAS 39 Gripen, known as the 4.5-generation fighter jet. The F-16 is manufactured by US-based Lockheed Martin.
At present, the Philippine Air Force’s most advanced combat aircraft
is the South Korean KAI FA-50 light fighter jets. The PAF has 12 of such jets.
During the Marcos administration, the PAF was among the most respected in Asia since it had F-8 Crusaders and F-5 Freedom fighters in its inventory. However, the PAF deteriorated after the Marcos administration, which saw its F-5 inventory dwindle in number due to lack of maintenance and spare parts.
The F-5 was officially retired by the PAF in 2005. SOVEREIGNPH