The Philippines military is anticipating the arrival of 12 FA-50 jets from Korea this year to bolster its meager fighter fleet.
The FA-50S were mere "transition aircraft" toward more advanced fighters jets, Philippine Air Force chief Lieutenant-General Jeffrey Delgado was quoted in the local media today.
Even though the defence budget has risen 25 per cent next yeart, the country is not able to afford the cost of massive modernization. Moreover, the government still has to divide resources between external defense and internal threats like insurgencies and natural disasters, Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and other security officials added.
"That means we have to be frugal and acquire reliable platforms at very reasonable costs as allowed by our meagre financial resources." Gazmin added.
"The modernization of armed forces is a long and painstaking process," Gazmin said in a ceremony for commissioning of 10 more newly-acquired air force helicopters which will be used to address internal security problems.
US ambassador Philip Goldberg said the United States, the Philippines' closest defence ally, was ready to provide surplus military equipment and budgeted $50 million in foreign military aid to the Philippines last year.
The FA-50 is a new light combat aircraft manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). It is a light combat version of the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft.