After a thorough study and research, the Department of National Defense is planning to buy the Swedish-made Gripen multi-role supersonic jet fighter for the Philippine Air Force.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana disclosed this during the sidelines of the book launching of former President Fidel Ramos at the Manila Hotel on Sunday.
Lorenzana said aside from being cheaper and less expensive in maintenance cost, the Gripen has been proven to be an excellent supersonic fighter aircraft with a top speed of Mach 2 or 1,236 kilometers per hour, or twice the speed of sound.
The Gripen has a delta wing and canard configuration and is powered by the Volvo RM12. It is being used by various countries in Europe and the Middle East.
The Air Force has been scouting for over a decade for the aircraft to replace the US-made F5A/B jet interceptors that were retired in 2005 due to old age and lack of spare parts.
Since the F-5s were pulled out from service, the Air Force tried to acquire advanced jetfighters such as the supersonic F-16 from the United States, but no progress was made.
While the government bought from South Korea a dozen of F-50 jets, these have limited compared to the Gripen or F-16.