05 Oktober 2011
C-295 Spanih Air Force (photo : NAF 001)
Spain ready to help AFP modernization
MANILA, Philippines - Spain is ready to support the modernization efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and is willing to provide equipment to boost the military’s capabilities.
Constantino Mendez Martinez, Spain’s Vice-Minister of Defense, said yesterday they are willing to give second-hand defense articles if requested by the Philippine government.
“A government-to-government transaction is possible subject to existing laws. I must stress that it is the Philippine government that should enumerate its needs,” Martinez told The STAR.
“It is every country’s right to state its needs and our role is to facilitate the (acquisition) process so we could hasten it,” he added.
Martinez is in the country to meet with officials of the military and the defense department. He arrived in the Philippines last Sunday and is scheduled to return to Spain tomorrow.
He was accompanied by Spanish military officials and officials of Spain-based suppliers of defense equipment.
The suppliers are ISDEFE, a state-run firm engaged in defense systems engineering consultancy; Indra, a firm that specializes in information systems and electronic radars; EADS, which specializes in aircraft; EXPAL, which develops ammunition and mortars; and UME, a Spanish military unit that deals with disasters and emergency situations.
Martinez said Spain has naval and air assets that may be offered to the Philippines upon the request of the AFP.
“It is our understanding that there is a need for maritime watch ship vessel and air assets to be used to protect the country’s sovereignty and its boundaries,” Martinez said.
He said they have one unit of C-295 aircraft, vessels and radar systems that may suit the needs of the AFP.
He said Spanish firms are also willing to participate in the Philippine government’s bidding for the acquisition of military assets.
“We are open to agreements involving Spanish companies in terms of modernizing the armed forces. They (companies) are introducing themselves and are showing what they can offer based on the needs of the Philippines,” Martinez said.
The Aquino administration has vowed to support the AFP’s capability upgrade program to boost its territorial defense capabilities.
The government aims to acquire lead-in jet trainers, surface attack aircraft, air defense radars, long-range patrol aircraft and closed air support aircraft for the Air Force.
It seeks to buy new assault rifles, armor assets, tanks, armored personnel carriers, force protection equipment like helmets and bulletproof vests, night-fighting equipment and radios for the Army.
Meanwhile, the Navy will be e provided with strategic sea-lift vessels with amphibious capability, off-shore patrol vessels, naval helicopters, coast watch stations, and weather-heavy endurance cutters.