The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will be joining the ranks of nations operating ultra-modern multi-role fighters (MRFs) by 2021.
This was highlighted by "Flight Plan 2028," a document released by the PAF early this June.
This is the Air Force's strategic acquisition and tactical plan.
Under Flight Plan 2028, the PAF intends to acquire and commission 12 MRFs by 2021 to augment the then existing fleet of South Koren-made F/A-50 jet fighters.
An MRF is a combat aircraft which is capable of conducting strike, surveillance and air-to-air superiority missions.
An example of an MRF is the McDonnell Douglas F-18 "Hornet" strike fighter which is being operated by the US and its allies.
By 2028, as stated in "Flight Plans 2028," the PAF will be able to build up its capability to detect, identify, intercept and neutralize incursions from "Area Readiness 3 to Area Readiness 1."
"Area Readiness 3" refers to 51 to 74 percent of Philippine territory while "Area Readiness 1" means 100 percent of the country's territory which is estimated to be 40,000 square nautical miles.
The PAF will do it once its modern radar systems, long-range patrol aircraft (LRPAs), airborne early warning and control system (AEWCS), surface-attack aircraft (SAA) , light interim fighter trainers (LIFTs), multi-role fighters (MRFs) and missile defense systems (MDS) get online by 2028.
Detection capability will be provided by modern radar systems, and the LRPAs, identification of the threat will be done by the AEWCS, while interception capabilities will given by the SAA, LIFTs, and MRFs.
While neutralization will be done by the MDS should intruding aircraft intrude over land.
PAF spokesperson Col. Enrico Canaya said that this is the breakthrough goal of the Air Force.
The decision to made public "Flight Plan is aimed at informing the public of efforts to modernize the PAF and make it more relevant.
"And by 2022, (the PAF) will (have) already build up its capability to detect, identify, intercept and neutralize incursions in the PADIZ and the West Philippine Sea from 'Area Readiness 4' to 'Area Readiness 3'," Flight Plan 2028 stressed.
PADIZ is short for the "Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone and Area Readiness" which was established in 1953.
It covers the entire Luzon region, parts of Visayas, and locations north of Palawan.
"Area Readiness 4" refers to 50 percent of known Philippine territory while "Area Readiness 3" means 51 to 74 percent of Philippine territories (including PADIZ and the West Philippine Sea).
And by 2022, the PAF hopes to have in service 24 SAA and LIFTs, four LRPAs, six ADSRS (air-defense system radar systems) platforms, six ground based air defense systems, two AEWCS units, 12 MRFs, one C2C center, four electronic countermeasure aircraft, one AA (airborne aircraft) refueler, and four medium-to-heavy lift helicopters. (PNA)