Aquino outlines spending drive to rebuild Philippine armed forces
By Michael Cohen
Philippine President Benigno Aquino used his annual State of the Nation address on 23 July to commit his administration to modernising the armed forces.
Saying his government had already spent over PHP28 billion (USD512 million), Aquino said it would spend a further PHP75 billion pending the passing of more legislation. Deliveries to be completed by October include a second ex-US Coast Guard Hamilton-class cutter; two refurbished Lockheed Martin C-130H aircraft; an upgrade to the Philippines' Coast Watch System; and new 81 mm mortars for the Philippine marines and army.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Air Force will receive a second batch of 4 PZL W-3 Sokól combat utility helicopters in November. By December 21 UH-1H helicopters that have been refurbished and upgraded for night-mission use will also be delivered, Aquino said.
Aquino also announced that in 2013, "10 attack helicopters, two naval helicopters, two light aircraft, one frigate and air force protection equipment will also be arriving. At this moment, the armed forces are canvassing equipment such as cannons, personnel carriers and [additional] frigates."
Communications and digital systems upgrades include a centralised geographic information system for command and control, as well as digitally capable radios and new assault rifles.196 of 329 words
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