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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

The Philippine air force is looking to procure light multirole fighters that can be used primarily to fight insurgents. The Philippine air force operates FA-50 from South Korea which is classified as light combat aircraft but Manila wants light jets that are much more capable than their recent acquisition and are far more capable fighter aircraft.

The Philippine air force had evaluated Saab Gripen and Lockheed Martin F/16V but then-President Rodrigo Duterte had called F-16 fighter jets “utterly useless” because his Air force needs lighter combat aircraft to fight insurgents which F-16 is not capable of.

Light multirole fighters are seen as a vital capability for the Philippine military’s efforts to fight an ongoing communist insurgency throughout the country as well as separatist movements in the south. The Philippine air force wants to supplement its recent acquisition of Turkish Aerospace Industries T129B, Bell AH-1S Huey Cobra attack helicopters with a Light multirole fighter that can be used for bombing missions.

Miguel Miranda, a Philippines-based South Asian defense industry analyst recently said that it will help if the Indian government had a list of all-weather friends who have unlimited access to the best Indian military technology. Many Philippines-based analysts have advocated evaluating India’s LCA-Tejas Mk1A light combat jets for the Philippine air force requirements since it is nearly half the price that of Gripen-E on offer and the recent sale of BrahMos cruise missile system by India to the Philippines has opened up the future export possibility for Air launched BrahMos-NG and Astra Mk1 AAMs to be equipped on the Tejas Mk1A.

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