The Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the F-16 Block 70/72 fighter jets that were being offered by the United States were “expensive”, prompting the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to look at other options, he told INQUIRER.net on Friday (June 25). Lorenzana also said the PAF has narrowed the choice for multi-role fighters between Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and SAAB’s Gripen and a decision would be revealed “soon.” The Philippine Air Force hopes a deal could be signed before President Rodrigo Duterte steps down from office next year. The Philippine Department of National Defense renewed a call to acquire multi-role fighters as it is “a critical capability for the defense of our country’s territorial airspace” against external threats.
The The U.S. Department of Defense on June 24 announced that the U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the Philippines of F-16 Block 70/72 jet fighter, along with related equipment, amunition, Sidewinder and Harpoon missiles for an estimated cost of $2.43 billion. The F-16V will feature enhancements including an AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, an upgraded mission computer and architecture, and improvements to the cockpit â€“ all capabilities identified by the U.S. Air Force and several international customers for future improvements. The new variant is dubbed the “Viper”, which is intended to better operate with fifth-generation fighters.