Philippines re-evaluates Multi-Role Fighter selection, proposes JAS-39C Gripen


The JAS-39C Gripen, these examples with the South African Air Force. Photo c/o Saab.

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) was reported to have made a re-evaluation of their fighter aircraft competition selection, with the Saab JAS-39C/D Gripen said to now edging  out its only competitor, the Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70 Viper.

According to Philippine defense page MaxDefense Philippines, the PAF has shifted its preference from the F-16 Viper to the JAS-39 Gripen due to procurement and sustainment cost. and delivery schedule considerations.

The offer from Lockheed Martin for 12 new F-16C/D Block 70 Viper fighter aircraft was said to be valued more than the PAF’s budget for the project, and was also higher than Saab’s offer for 12 new JAS-39C/D Gripen fighters.

Also, Lockheed Martin could only commit to deliver the first batch of 3 or 4 aircraft beyond 3 years, which is around 2025-2026, compared to Saab’s commitment to start delivery in less than 2 years from release of Notice to Proceed.

Both companies have made extra offers on top of the requirement for 12 new fighter aircraft.

MaxDefense Philippines believes that the PAF could be chasing the contract to be signed with the selected aircraft supplier before the end of 2021, as its chances of moving forward may be hampered by the country’s national elections in May 2022.

The PAF has officially raised a requirement for new fighter aircraft in 2018, but has been planning and evaluating offers from American, European, and Russian companies years before. Prior to this current fighter aircraft competition, the PAF has previous failed attempts to procure new fighters due to successive financial issues since the early 1990s.

The PAF only re-started conducting fighter and air defense operations in 2015 with the introduction of 12 new FA-50PH Fighting Eagle light combat aircraft from Korea Aerospace Industries, after losing fighter capability for 10 years starting in 2005 with the retirement of the last Northrop F-5A/B Freedom Fighter aircraft.

This fighter requirement is part of the PAF’s modernization program covering years 2018 to 2022, while additional fighter aircraft are planned for acquisition during the 2023 to 2028 phase of the program.

[1] MaxDefense Philippines

[2] Philippine Defense Resource


Philippines re-evaluates Multi-Role Fighter selection, proposes JAS-39C Gripen Philippines re-evaluates Multi-Role Fighter selection, proposes JAS-39C Gripen Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on June 07, 2021 Rating: 5

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