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The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is prioritizing the Saab Gripen E and the American F-16 V Viper in its selection process to acquire up to 12 new fighter jets. This comes with a total budget of 61.2 billion pesos (US$1.04 billion) allocated for the modernization program expected to run from 2023 to 2027.

The shortlisted options are the Gripen E from Saab and the F-16 V offered by Lockheed Martin. The fate of the offer made by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for its Tejas MkIA remains unclear. HAL has not yet provided an official comment on this development.

This modernization program, known as the Multi-Role Fighter (MRF) project, was initially planned for Horizon 2 of the AFP Modernization Program between 2018 and 2022. However, the project was delayed due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tejas MkIA offered by HAL was touted as being optimizable for a naval role. It was also proposed to be equipped with the BrahMos-NG air-launched cruise missile, currently under development for the Indian Air Force and Navy.

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