Military Aviation

Philippines cleared to buy 12 F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft

The package includes three spare AN/APG-83 Advanced Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars, but there is no mention of the specific type of Electronic Warfare system of the F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft.

Alert5 has noted that the US government has given the green light for the Foreign Military Sale of 10 F-16C and two F-16D aircraft to Philippines.

According to Transmittal No: 21-14 “The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the Philippines of F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $2.43 billion.

“The proposed sale will improve the Philippines’ capability to meet current and future threats by enabling the Philippines to deploy fighter aircraft with precision munitions in support of counterterrorism operations in the southern Philippines, increasing effectiveness and minimizing collateral damage. The Philippines is committed to modernizing its military forces and will have no difficulty absorbing this aircraft and services into its armed forces.”

As highlighted by Alert5 the package includes three spare AN/APG-83 Advanced Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars, but there is no mention of the specific type of Electronic Warfare system though.

The news of the possible sale of F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft comes as a surprise: as we have previously reported in fact Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that a possible F-16 purchase from Washington was “utterly useless.”

Duterte was quoted as saying that the Philippines doesn’t need the F-16 “It would be utterly useless to buy it. But I need attack helicopters and small planes for the counterinsurgency.”

In response to regional strategic challenges and perceived internal weaknesses, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has embarked on a transformation process to enhance its capabilities under Flight Plan 2028 program. Flight Plan 2028 is administered by the Air Force Strategy Management Office (AFSMO), and aims to:

  • Build the PAF capability to detect, identify, intercept and neutralize intrusions in the Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone (PADIZ) and the South China Sea (to the North and West of the archipelago) from Area Readiness 4 to Area Readiness 3 by 2022.
  • Build the PAF capability to detect, identify, intercept and neutralize intrusions into the entire Philippine territory from Area Readiness 3 to Area Readiness 1 by 2028;

The plan calls for a reorienting of the PAF from a primarily internal security role to a territorial defence force. It will require substantial organisational, doctrinal, training, strategic and equipment transformation.

Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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