The Philippine Air Force is planning to acquire six advanced jet trainers for conducting interdiction missions against intruders into its waters and air space, Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin has said.

The Korea Aerospace Industries / Lockheed Martin T/A-50 Golden Eagle and the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 were the potential candidate aircraft, Gazmin added.

The new aircraft with ground attack and basic air-interception capability will be operational within the next six years.

The air force retired its last seven Northrop-built F5 fighter jets in 2005, and the procurement of new advanced aircraft types was delayed due to non-availability of funding for new equipment.

Currently, the air force is largely equipped with turboprop aircraft and helicopters, which are incapable of air-to-air interception or the suppression of enemy air defence missions.