SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG
The Philippines Air Force (PAF) is currently evaluating its options for acquiring a fleet of fighter jets to enhance its defence capabilities. While the Indian-made HAL Tejas was initially considered a potential choice, recent developments indicate that the PAF is leaning towards the procurement of second-hand Gripen C/D aircraft from Sweden.
One of the primary factors influencing the Philippine Air Force’s decision-making process is the cost-effectiveness of the options available. Saab’s offer of used Gripen C/D aircraft presents an attractive opportunity due to its lower price tag compared to the HAL Tejas. The budgetary constraints faced by the PAF make the Gripen C/D a more financially feasible option, allowing the Philippines to acquire a larger fleet of fighter jets within their allocated resources.
Another advantage of the Gripen C/D is its use of the F-404 engine, which is also employed in the PAF’s existing KAI FA-50PH fighter jets. This commonality simplifies maintenance, training, and logistical support, as the PAF is already well-acquainted with the engine’s performance and specifications. The compatibility of the Gripen C/D’s engine with the PAF’s current fleet makes it an attractive option, as it reduces the need for additional training and infrastructure adjustments.
While the Philippine Air Force is currently considering the Gripen C/D offer, negotiations between HAL and the Philippines are still underway regarding the procurement of the Tejas. HAL officials remain optimistic and continue their efforts to secure a deal for the indigenous fighter jet. However, with the Saab offer to align more closely with the PAF’s budgetary constraints, the outlook for the Tejas may become less favorable.
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