Saab JAS-39 Gripen is the favorite to become the future multirole fighter of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
Philippines is about to buy an undisclosed number of JAS-39 Gripen multirole fighters as its Multi-Role Fighter (MRF) programme is about to reach an outcome.
According to government-owned Philippine News Agency, Major General Delfin Negrillo Lorenzana, Secretary of National Defense of the Philippines, stated that the swedish fighter is the best choice for the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
In the interview, the Filipino official praised Gripen as a very capable multirole fighter, and being cheaper to buy and mantained than it's american competitor, the F-16.
Recently, Philippines has received an offer for american F-16s, through the United States Secretary of Defense, the former USMC general, James Norman Mattis.
But it seems that the Filipino decision-makers consider the US fighters too expensive.
Currently, the Philippines has 12 KAI FA-50PH light-attack aircrafts, and is looking to purchase a multirole fighter, because the south korean T-50 Golden Eagle does not have the capabilities of such aircrafts like the Gripen or F-16.
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) operated for 40 years a number of 37 Northrop F-5A and F-5B fighter jets, from 1965 to 2005.
Since their withdrawal from service, 13 years ago, the PAF has no dedicated fighter jets in their inventory.
Today, JAS-39 is in the service of six nations: Brazil, Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa, Sweden and Thailand. If it chooses Gripen, the Philippines will become the second country in Southeast Asia, after Thailand, which will be equiped with the swedish fighter.
Although there have not been any official statements regardind the number of jets it will aquire, the Philippines will most likely want two squadrons received in two tranches.
Thus, in the near future, the Philippine Air Force could operate between 24 and 32 JAS-39C/D fighters.
JAS-39 Gripen is a single-engine multirole fighter, with a delta wing and canard configuration. It is manufactured by the swedish company Saab AB.
Philippine Armed Forces launched an US$5.6 billion modernization program under the Horizon 2 designation, which will be implemented between 2018 and 2022. All three branches, including the Army, Air Force and Navy will receive new equipment.
See how JAS-39C/D Gripen compares against similar F-16 variants and against the former fighter of the Philippine Air Force, the Northrop F-5A/B:
Janes 360 - www.janes.com
- Saab’s Gripen positioned for Philippines fighter requirement / Author: Jon Grevatt, Bangkok - IHS Jane's Defence Industry