The US state department has approved a possible sale of F-16 Block 70/72 fighters, AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II and AGM-84L-1 Harpoon air launched missile to the government of the Philippines.
The total estimated cost of the planned purchase, which is not yet completed, is close to $2.6 billion.
While the US approved the sale, it is far from a done deal, as the Philippines has already indicated that the fighter jets were “expensive” for the country and that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) may be forced to look at other options.
The Philippines defense minister Delfin Lorenzana told local media that the air force would eventually choose between Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and SAAB’s Gripen, adding that a decision could be made in the near future.
The total price tag listed by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) includes $2.43 billion for ten F-16C aircraft, two F-16D Block 70/72 aircraft, and related engines, radars, AMRAAM missiles and bombs.
The purchase of 12 AGM-84L-1 Harpoon air launched Block II missiles and related equipment would cost the Philippines $120 million, while 24 AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II tactical missiles would come at a cost of $42.4 million.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner that continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in South East Asia,” the DSCA said in a statement.
“The proposed sale will improve the Philippines’ capability to meet current and future threats by enabling the Philippines to deploy fighter aircraft with precision munitions in support of counterterrorism operations in the southern Philippines, increasing effectiveness and minimizing collateral damage. The Philippines is committed to modernizing its military forces and will have no difficulty absorbing this aircraft and services into its armed forces.”