New Plans for the Philippines Air Force

The Philippines may replace cancelled Mi-17s with CH-47 Chinooks. (David Oliver)
The Philippines may replace cancelled Mi-17s with CH-47 Chinooks. (David Oliver)

In July, Philippine Air Force (PAF) chief Lt. Gen. Connor Anthony Canlas Sr. said that the PAF reduced the options for its Multi-Role Fighter (MRF) programme to two aircraft, the Lockheed Martin F-16V Viper and the Saab JAS-39C/D+ Gripen.

A decision by the new government of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is due by year-end, but no funds have yet been allocated for the programme.

Meanwhile the PAF said that the parts and components needed for the repairs of the damaged PAF Embraer A-29B Super Tucano attack aircraft are now being manufactured and will be shipped to the country to expedite its repair.

On 10 August, the Philippines cancelled an order for 16 Russian helicopters due to US sanctions on Moscow following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It had agreed to pay $228 million for the Mi-17 helicopters as it sought to modernise its military hardware.

Philippine Defense department spokesman Arsenio Andolong said that “changes in priorities necessitated by global political developments resulted in the cancellation of the project by the previous administration.”

After President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. took power on 30 June, the new government reviewed the Russian contract and arrived at the same decision as the previous president.

At the same time it was announced that the Philippines was looking to buy heavy-lift Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters from the United States, Manila’s ambassador to Washington said on 15 August.

by David Oliver