Outgoing Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire Gazmin expressed confidence that the incoming Duterte administration will continue with the AFP Modernization Program.
In regards to claims that money is wasted in the acquisition of South Korean-made FA-50PH light-interim fighter aircraft when the pressing need for the AFP is more helicopters with night-vision capability to counter the insurgency and terrorist threats, the outgoing DND chief said that ample provision has been made for these equipment as exemplified by the acquisition of eight brand-new AW-109 “Power” helicopters for the Air Force.
As of this posting, these helicopters are now being used for close-support missions in Mindanao, augmenting the firepower of the older MG-520 gunships.
He made this statement after noting that most of Horizon 1 items of the project has already been delivered or in the process of being delivered.
Some of the equipment acquired in this period include the Hamilton-class cutters, multi-purpose assault craft, armored personnel carriers, brand-new C-295 medium lift aircraft, C-130 heavy transports, FA-50PH light-interim fighter aircraft, utility and attack versions of the AgustaWestland AW-109 helicopters, landing craft heavies, multi-purpose attack craft, and strategic sealift vessels to name a few.
While Horizon 2, which is the phase where the AFP will begin the acquisition of multi-role fighters, missile batteries and other advanced weaponry, could still be realized once the Duterte administration starts looking into the Defense System of Management (DSOM) or guidelines in the procurement of military equipment.
“Once they look into the DSOM, they will see the need for the continuation of the program and priorities needed to be address by the acquisition,” Gazmin said in Filipino.
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