01 Oktober 2012

Philippine Congress Approves Ambitious Defence Procurement Budget

01 Oktober 2012

Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano (photo : Defense Industry Daily)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines' modernisation programme budget for 2013 approved by both houses of the Philippine Congress on 22 September includes funding for a wide-ranging list of items, including 50 new aircraft.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino described the procurement plan as "the largest and most comprehensive upgrade programme [in the history of] the AFP and a needed one for its largely mid-20th century Korean and Vietnam War-era systems".

Stressing that it would provide Manila with a "deterrent force with an effective but minimal defence capability", Aquino also cautioned that the procurements would be spread over a five-year period. "It won't come overnight," he said on the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Vladivostok.

Among the major items to be procured are 12 KAI T/A-50 lead-in fighter trainer/light-attack aircraft, 6 Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucanos, 6 light lift transport aircraft, 25 transport and 12 attack helicopters, 4 search-and-rescue and 4 anti-submarine multirole naval helicopters, and 3 special-mission long-range helicopters.

The navy has funding to buy two Maestrale-class frigates from the Italian Navy and upgrade its 2 former US Coast Guard Hamilton-class cutters to bring them up to light frigate status.

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