SHAH ALAM: Vipers and Chinooks for Philippines. The Philippines may well be getting a dozen or so F-16 fighters and Chinook heavy lift helicopters soon, based on recent statements coming out from Washington.
The statement (edited for brevity):
US Secretary of State Blinken, US Secretary of Defense Austin, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Manalo, and Senior Undersecretary and Officer in Charge (OIC) of National Defense Galvez (referred to collectively as “the Secretaries”) convened the third U.S. Philippines 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in Washington, D.C., on April 11, 2023.
Recognizing the importance of the U.S.-Philippines alliance to regional peace and stability, the Secretaries put forth a shared vision that supports the international rules-based order, deepens our economic ties, provides for our peoples’ broad-based prosperity, and addresses evolving regional and global security challenges.
Strengthen bilateral planning and interoperability to ensure readiness to respond to a range of crises and scenarios, through the conduct of high impact and high value joint exercises, trainings, and other activities as well as by fast tracking ongoing discussions on a new U.S.-Philippines Bilateral Defense Guidelines;
Prioritize the modernization of shared defense capabilities, particularly in the maritime domain, through various modalities, including U.S. Foreign Military Financing and Excess Defense Articles. The adoption of a Security Sector Assistance Roadmap in the coming months will guide shared defense modernization investments and inform the delivery of priority platforms over the next 5 to 10 years. In addition, the Security Sector Assistance Roadmap will identify areas for capacity-building to enhance the Philippines’ core institutions and support security sector governance. Meanwhile, both sides underscored the importance of fast-tracking discussions on an acquisition plan for a fleet of multi-role fighter aircraft for the Philippine Air Force, as well as of leveraging the additional $100 million in Foreign Military Financing that the United States announced last fall to acquire medium lift helicopters;
Accelerate the implementation of EDCA projects and increase investments in EDCA Agreed Locations to further support combined training, exercises, and interoperability between the U.S. and Philippine Armed Forces, as well as the Philippines’ civilian-led disaster preparedness and response capacities. The United States expects to have allocated over $100 million by the end of fiscal year 2023 toward infrastructure investments at the existing five EDCA sites and to support swift operationalization of the four new sites;
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The statement above of course did not mention F-16s and Chinooks but we know that the Philippines are looking at least a dozen multi-role fighters. The air force has down selected the F-16 and JAS-39 Gripen for the project but with the statement above it is likely that if the US is funding the fighter deal, the Viper will be selected.
The Chinooks have been in the works since the US was instrumental in pushing Philippines to drop a deal to buy a dozen or Mi-17 helicopters from Russia during the last two years. Even by reimbursing the deposit paid by the Philippines. The US recently donated two Cyclone patrol boats to the Philippines Navy to add the sole one already operational.
— Malaysian Defence