Philippines receives approval for potential sale of F-16 Block 70/72 Viper, Sidewinder and Harpoon missiles


The F-16C Block 70/72 Viper, which was approved for sale to the Philippines by the US State Department. Photo c/o Lockheed Martin.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has confirmed on 24 June 2021 that the US State Department has approved the potential sale of 12 F-16C/D Block 70/72 Viper fighter aircraft to the Philippines, in a package potentially worth US$2.43 billion. 

Among those included in the package are 10 F-16C Block 70/72 Viper single-seat fighters and 2 F-16D Block 70/72 Viper twin-seat fighters, Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-22EEP or General Electric F110-GE-129D turbofan engines, AN/APG-83 AESA Scalable Agile Beam Radars (SABR), Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System II (JHMCS II) or Scorpion Hybrid Optical-Based Inertial Tracker (HObIT), and several other avionics, communications, computers, spare parts, services, training, and logistics support.

Also included are 24 AIM-120C AMRAAM medium-range air-to-air missiles, 6 Litening or Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP), Mk 82 bombs, LJDAM kits, M61A1 Vulcan 20mm aircraft cannons, and several other equipment and munitions.

Separate approvals were also made by the US State Department on the sale of AIM-9X Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles worth  US$42.4 million, and AGM-84L-1 Harpoon air-launched anti-ship missiles worth US$120 million.

24 AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II tactical missiles, 24 AIM-9X Block II Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM), 12 AGM-84L-1 Harpoon Block II missiles, and 2 AGM-94L-1 Harpoon Block II Exercise Missiles, plus spare parts, associated equipment, logistics support, and training are among those included in the approval for the Philippines.

Lockheed Martin will be the primary contractor for the F-16 Viper fighters, Boeing for the Harpoon missiles, and Raytheon for the Sidewinder missiles.

The sale of the fighter aircraft and missiles are expected to improve the defense capabilities and interoperability of the Philippines with the United States, considered as a strategic partner and an important force for political stability, peace and economic progress in Southeast Asia.

The F-16 fighters are being eyed by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) as one of the possible options for their Multi-Role Fighter Acquisition Project, competing against Saab's JAS-39C/D Gripen fighter.

The PAF is also looking at acquiring associated munitions including short and medium range air-to-air missiles, anti-ship and air-to-ground missiles, and smart bomb kits for the new fighters, under a separate acquisition project.

Filipino defense page MaxDefense Philippines reported that Saab's JAS-39C/D Gripen, upgraded to MS20 standards, is currently leading due to its affordability and better delivery commitments to the PAF.

But the chances of the F-16 would be dependent on the US Government's ability to assist the Philippines in procurement through US Foreign Military Financing (US FMF) grants, and commitment to assist the Philippines in sustaining its new fighter fleet.

Philippine press outlet reported that the Philippines' Department of National Defense (DND) is expected to make an announcement on the fighter selection soon, as confirmed Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, after mentioning to local press that the F-16 Viper is "pricey", and that they are hoping for a contract with a fighter aircraft supplier to be signed before Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte steps down from office in 2022.

[1] US Defense Security Cooperation Agency
[2] MaxDefense Philippines
[3] Flight Global

Philippines receives approval for potential sale of F-16 Block 70/72 Viper, Sidewinder and Harpoon missiles Philippines receives approval for potential sale of F-16 Block 70/72 Viper, Sidewinder and Harpoon missiles Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on June 26, 2021 Rating: 5

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