The Department of National Defense (DND) announced that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) is evaluating 2 aircraft types for its multi-role fighter (MRF) project. One of the aircraft types is the Saab JAS 39 Gripen from Sweden. It is a light single-engine MRF with speeds of up to Mach 2.0, armed with a 20 mm automatic cannon and can carry a variety of rockets, bombs, missiles and surveillance equipment. The other aircraft that will be evaluated is the American F-16V, a US made jet with a top speed of Mach 2.0, which is armed with 20mm canon and can also carry bombs and missiles and sensors.
Whichever aircraft will be selected should be able to integrate with the existing radar systems that will help PAF identify whether the aircraft flying in Philippine airspace are friendly or hostile.
DND also disclosed that the contract signing for BrahMos cruise missiles will be in the early part of 2020. BrahMos is a medium-range ramjet supersonic for coastal defense missions of the Philippine Army (PA).
The MRF and BrahMos are part of the Horizon Two of the revised Modernization Program for Armed forces of the Philippines (AFP) covering the period 2018 to 2022 with a budget of PHP 300 billion (USD 5.9 billion).
(Sources: Philippine News Agency; Manila Bulletin; Philippine Daily Inquirer)