Marcos eyeing for stronger PH Air Force amid continuing security threats

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 1) – In his first full day as the nation’s new Commander-in-Chief, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assured that the modernization of the country’s defense assets will be among the top priorities of his administration.

“Our PAF (Philippine Air Force) airmen are our heroes in the air. They shall be equipped with more state-of-the-art fighter planes and armed with more firepower,” Marcos said in a statement on the occasion of the PAF’s 75th anniversary.

In a separate speech before the airmen at Clark Air Base on Friday, Marcos vowed to push for a “stronger, bigger, and effective” national air force under his watch as the nation’s 17th president.

He also underscored the need for more advanced aerial and surveillance capabilities for the PAF amid the country’s ongoing territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea and external threats from local communist and extremist groups.

“The ongoing defense modernization effort is in coordination with the basic prerequisites that would complement this administration's vision for a stronger, bigger and effective air force capable of defending our sovereign state and assisting our people in times of dire consequences,” Marcos said in his speech.

The new President also emphasized that PAF needs to upgrade assets not only for national defense purposes, but also for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

Earlier this year, the Philippines received two of its six ordered T129 "ATAK" helicopters from Turkey. The new helicopters joined the fleet of MG-520, AW-109, and AH-1 attack helicopters of the PAF's Cavite City-based 15th Strike Wing.

In 2018 the Jordanian government donated two Bell AH-1S Cobra helicopters. One unit was delivered in November last year.