The Department of National Defense (DND) is reportedly planning to acquire the Swedish-built Gripen fighter jet for the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
During an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said: “The acquisition of multi-role jetfighters is badly needed to protect the country’s airspace.”
Lorenzana also noted that the Gripen aircraft is cheaper and has less expensive maintenance costs.
Powered by the Volvo RM12 turbofan jet engine, the supersonic fighter jet features a delta wing and canard configuration and has the capability to travel at a top speed of 1,236km/h.
The Gripen jet would replace the US-built F5A/B jet interceptors that were retired in 2005 due to old age and lack of spare parts, according to PNA.
PAF currently operates F-50 jets that were purchased from South Korea.
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The airforce intended to buy the F-16 fighter aircraft from the US Government. However, Lorenzana said that the F-16 supersonic jet fighter interceptors are more expensive in comparison to the Gripens.
The Gripen fighter jet is currently being used by various countries across Europe and the Middle East.
Earlier this month, the Swedish Defence Material Administration submitted the proposal for the delivery of eight fully Nato-interoperable Gripen C/D fighter aircraft for use by the Bulgarian Air Force.