Philippines pays $2,6B for highly sophisticated F-16 fighters

MANILA, BM, ($1=48.55 Ph.peso) – Three deals with the government of the Philippines were approved by Defense Security Operation Agency (DSOA) to the US government on the last working day of this week. The United States sells to the Philippines AGM-84L-1 Harpoon Air-Launched Block II anti-ship missiles, AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II Tactical infrared missiles, and twelve F-16 Block fighters, of which ten F-16 Block 70/72 and two F-16D Block Block 70/72.

The total value of the deal is nearly $ 2.6 billion. The Philippines will receive twelve (12) AGM-84L-1 Harpoon Block II air-launched missiles; and two (2) ATM-84L-1 Harpoon Block II Exercise missiles, as well as twenty-four (24) AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II tactical missiles; twenty-four (24) AIM-9X Block II Captive Air Training Missiles (CATMs); six (6) Tactical Guidance Units; and ten (10) Captive Air Training Missile (CATM) Guidance Units.

Lockheed Martin, Boeing Company, and Raytheon Missile Systems Company will be the contractors for the three contracts for the Philippine government.

The F-16 Block 70/72 fighters are the latest modification of the legendary American F-16 fighter, designed to oppose the Russian MiG-29. However, the F-16 Block 70/72 is a completely new model. Many of the fighter’s characteristics correspond to the modern technologies integrated into the F-35 stealth fighters.

The F-16 unit 70/72 has an improved radar with an active electronic scanning grid, new avionics, and extended service life of at least 50%. The avionics and software, as well as GPS navigation, are state-of-the-art, including an advanced data connection.

The new APG-83 radar, for example, will allow F-16 Block 70/72 display digital map pilots to integrate with the already functioning zoom. Experts compare this radar with the already integrated radars in the F-22 and F-35.

F-16 Block 70/72 also has better information awareness during combat missions. The new 6×8-inch display in the cockpit has color-moving maps, easier control in an “air-to-air” situation, and compatibility with the night optical and visual system of the fighter.

The F-16 unit 70/72 also has a ground collision avoidance system, which according to official information from the Pentagon has already saved six lives, preserving the six machines, respectively. The United States began integrating this system in 2014 and is currently integrating it into all F-16s globally. Interestingly, it was first developed for the F-16 and later began to develop a similar system for the F-35 and F-22.

According to Defense Security Operation Agency (DSOA), the sale of the 12 F-16 Block 70/72 fighters will improve the air capabilities of the Philippine Air Force and ensure peacekeeping in the Asian region, while being able to respond to future threats. The Philippines and the United States are partners, and this is not the first purchase of the Asian country by the Americans.

In 2019, the Philippines purchased ScanEagle UAVs from the United States. However, the Asian country is not engaged in the purchase of American equipment. At the end of last year, the Filipinos bought 28 Guarani 6 × 6 armored vehicles from Brazil, and Israel is the country that has been interested in selling its tanks there for years.

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