Friday, 5 October 2012

Philippine Congress Approves Ambitious Defence Procurement Budget

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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