US approves possible sale of F-16s, missiles to Philippines


Militarymedia.net - The United States (US) Department of State has approved the sale of 12 F-16 fighter jets, 12 AGM-84 Harpoon missiles, and 24 AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles, along with other equipment, to the Philippines. The total sales of these weapons reached nearly $2.9 billion (Rp41.8 trillion).

The approval for the sale of combat equipment was announced by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on Thursday, June 24, 2021.

Of the 12 F-16s to be sold to the Philippines, two of them are two-seat F-16D fighter jets and 10 F-16Cs. The main contractor for these fighter jets is Lockheed Martin.

Meanwhile, the Harpoon missiles will be handled by Boeing, and the Sidewinder missiles will be handled by Raytheon.

"Foreign arms sales will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to enhance the security of a strategic partner who continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in Southeast Asia."

"The sale of the F-16s in particular will enhance the Philippines' ability to deal with current and future threats by enabling the Philippines to deploy fighter aircraft with precision munitions to support counterterrorism operations in the southern Philippines," the agency continued.

However, the sale of this combat equipment still requires congressional approval.

The F-16 potentially entering Philippine Air Force service has been mentioned for years. In 2018, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte rejected the idea, declaring it "totally useless."

However, in December 2019, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana named the F-16 as one of two potential aircraft being considered for purchase.

In December 2020, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines General Gilbert Gapay told reporters at a press conference that he plans to add multi-role fighters to the fleet before Duterte's term ends in 2022.

The F-16 will be the Philippines' first multi-role fighter. Lockheed Martin has a stockpile of more than 100 F-16s for foreign military sales to five countries, including Bahrain, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Taiwan as well as an unnamed fifth party Lockheed Martin.

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