The US State Department has approved the possible sale of $2.43 billion or P118 billion worth of military equipment and fighter jets to the Philippines, a United States agency has said.
The possible sale could include 10 F-16C Block 70/72 aircraft, 24 air-to-air missiles, modular mission computers, missile launchers, tactical radio system, and ammunition, among others, said the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
The State Department “has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the Philippines of F-16 Block 70/72 Aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $2.43 billion,” the DSCA said in a statement released on Thursday (Friday in Manila).
“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 agency said.
Earlier this week, the Philippine military received P183 million worth of weapons and equipment from the Joint US Military Assistance Group-Philippines (JUSMAG), the United States Embassy in the Philippines said.
The defense assistance came amid reports that more than 100 new vessels — likely Chinese — were detected this month in the West Philippine Sea.
According to US-based geospatial imagery and data analysis firm Simularity, the number of vessels rose from 129 to 238.
JUSMAG officials delivered the equipment Monday, which included nine M3P .50 caliber heavy machine guns and 10 mortar tubes, among others, at the Clark Air Base.
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 proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”
American aerospace, defense, and technology firm Lockheed Martin Corporation will be the principal contractor for the potential sale, the DSCA said.