PAF Assured Of New Assets

MANILA, Philippines - Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin yesterday assured the Philippine Air Force (PAF) of the delivery of brand new and reliable air assets within the next two years, saying the job of the air force cannot be done by determination and enthusiasm of its personnel alone.

This, as he announced that the Armed Forces modernization is now in full swing, with the defense department working speedily on the approval by the end of the month of the contracts for all 138 military upgrade and modernization projects worth P70 billion.

Speaking at the PAF's 65th anniversary celebration at the Fernando Airbase in Lipa City, Batangas, Gazmin said the air assets to be acquired will replace the Air Force's "old and unreliable" aircrafts.

Among the aircrafts which the PAF is expected to acquire by 2014 are attack aircraft lead-in fighter trainer, attack helicopters, light transport aircraft, and medium transport aircraft.

Aside from these, the second batch of four multi-purpose combat utility helicopters (Sokol) is also scheduled to be delivered within the year. The first batch of four Sokol helicopters was delivered to the PAF in March.

"We need to have potent and reliable air platforms for our air skippers and crew to operate and fly. As ever, we have been relentless in our goal to acquiring new and potent replacements for our old and unreliable air assets. And we are now very determined in our intention to modernize," said the defense chief.

"The vital and expeditious goal of modernizing our Air Force and our armed forces, for that matter, has been the serious consideration of our national leadership," he added.

According to Gazmin, upgrading and modernizing the AFP has become a must in the government's pursuit of many operational plans and endeavors for internal peace, security and stability.

He added the extreme necessity to modernize the armed forces is meant to address the primordial constitutional duty of the AFP, which is "to secure the sovereignty of the state and the integrity of the national territory".

As he announced that the AFP modernization is now in full swing, Gazmin also said that the defense department is now working to have the contracts for all 138 AFP upgrade and modernization projects approved by July 31. The said projects will be implemented over the next five years.

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