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Philippines to buy 12 S. Korean fighter jets, not targeting China

Philippines to buy 12 S. Korean fighter jets, not targeting China

The Philippines will buy 12 South Korean FA-50 fighter jets to strengthen its poorly-armed military, government spokesmen Lacierda said Wednesday, stressed that the planned purchase was "not aimed at China".

"We don't have any existing jets right now that are in use, therefore it is necessary for us to upgrade. This is part of the ongoing process of modernizing our military hardware," he told reporters.

Lacierda said the jets would be used for "training, interdiction and disaster response" and would use their aerial cameras to survey areas.

Despite the new tensions with China over conflicting maritime territorial claims in the South China Sea, he stressed that the armaments update has already begun before the tension, so China is not the reason of the equipment upgrade.

Defense department spokesman Peter Galvez said the FA-50 was chosen because it fitted all the country's requirements and because of its cost, adding that 18.9 billion pesos ($464 million) had been budgeted for their acquisition and contract will be signed in late February.

FA-50 is developed from T-50 Golden Eagle family, fitted with a 20mm cannon and is configured to carry air-to-air missiles.

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