by Staff Writers
Manila (AFP) March 28, 2014
The Philippines on Friday signed agreements to buy $528 million worth of military aircraft from South Korea and Canada amid ongoing territorial disputes with China.
"After more than four decades of stagnancy in its dream of improving its capability, our air force has found a promise of new life with the realisation of our (military) modernisation programme," Philippine Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.
Korea Aerospace Industries will deliver 12 FA-50 jets worth 18.9 billion pesos ($421.12 million) in just over three years under a contract agreed by Philippine defence officials and South Korean government representatives.
The Southeast Asian country also completed a 4.8 billion-peso contract with Canadian Commercial Corp. and Canada's Bell Helicopters to build eight helicopters for the military.
The twin deals are part of the Philippines' 75-billion-peso effort to upgrade its armed forces, particularly units tasked with patrolling disputed territory in the South China Sea.
These units are dwarfed by those of neighbouring China, which claims most of the area, including waters and islets much closer to the Philippines.
China said its coastguard on March 9 blocked two Philippine-flagged vessels approaching Second Thomas Shoal, which is guarded by a small group of Filipino marines but is also claimed by Beijing, the latest in a string of such confrontations.
Under the military upgrade programme, President Benigno Aquino's government has also acquired two refurbished frigates from the US coastguard.
Saab, Pilatus agree to collaborate on trainer aircraft
The companies -- Saab of Sweden and Switzerland's Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. -- signed their memorandum of understanding on Friday in Bern, Switzerland.
"We are very pleased to be working closer with Pilatus and look forward to exploring other business opportunities in Switzerland," said Saab President and Chief Executive Officer Hakan Buskhe. "This is a result of a long dialogue that began with the selection of the Gripen E (fighter) in Switzerland. It truly shows that there are extended business opportunities that can result from the Gripen decision."
The SK 60 is the Swedish Air Force designation for Saab's 105 jet trainer aircraft, which was developed in the early 1960s. Saab has a full turnkey contract with Swedish Defense Materiel Administration for the air force's SK 60s.
"Saab's SK 60 has helped train generations of Swedish Air Force pilots and we are pleased to enter into a MoU with Pilatus, to proactively explore its replacement with the PC-21, a highly capable and affordable training platform for pilots," said Lennart Sindahl, executive vice president and head of Aeronautics at Saab.
Pilatus' PC-21 is a single-engine turboprop trainer in service with five countries.
Additional details on the possible collaboration between the two companies were not disclosed.
Aerospace News at SpaceMart.com
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