12:00 AM, July 18, 2012
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The Philippines announced today that it will acquire 10 attack helicopters in 2013 to improve its poorly equipped military. The government has also agreed to purchase 12 service attack aircraft–lead-in, fighter-trainer (SAA/LIFT) to form part of the P75-billion modernization program of the Armed Forces. The attack helicopters will replace the ageing OV-10 “Bronco” armed reconnaissance planes and MG-520 attack helicopters currently in the Air Force inventory. According to Lieutenant Colonel Miguel Okol, Italy, Britain, France, Russia and South Africa are all being eyed to supply the helicopters. He, however, refused to specify which models were being considered and cost of the acquisition. “What we are going to get are armed attack helicopters that can carry more payload than the MG-520,” Okol was quoted as saying. The new aircraft will be used for “internal security operations, border security and support operations,” he said. The country has recently been stepping up its modernization efforts and plans to acquire new fighter-trainer jets and attack and transport planes by 2014, the defense secretary said earlier.
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