For the Philippines, the JAS-39 could be a better option than the Gripen or the F-16.

It is known that the Philippines is looking for a new fighter plane. Since 2019, the government in Manila has been trying to make its choice. The main reason for the delay is finance. But immediately from the start, the Philippine Department of Defense made it obvious that two fighters would be competing against each other — the American Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70/72 Viper and the Swedish SAAB JAS-39 Gripen.

The Philippines is struggling with its own issues. There is ongoing jihadist influence across the Asian peninsula. Manila has opted to use South Korean FA-50PH light attack aircraft in its war against terrorists. They make up the bulk of the Philippine Air Force (PAF). However, there is an external danger to the Philippine islands and reefs in the South China Sea. That they are Chinese territory is a claim made by China.

In contrast to the Chinese J-10, J-16, and JF-17, the FA-50PH is unable to defend against them. Even more so now that the “South Korean birds” are proving difficult for the Philippine Air Force to operate. The failure to timely acquire FA-50PH replacement parts appears to be the result of poor planning on the part of Seoul. The issue persists despite the possibility that Poland’s purchase of the FA-50PH will impact regional supply.

Manilla wants a cutting-edge, fourth-generation fighter. Examples are the two warplanes we discussed earlier. The United States took the initiative a year ago. The United States then revealed that the Philippines would need to pay US$2.4 billion in order to purchase 12 F-16 Vipers before Manila had even made a choice. To be clear, the cost does not include the shipment of AGM-84-L-1 Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles. They need an additional USD$120 million minimum.

On the other hand, Sweden was keeping a careful eye on its American rival. The approach in Stockholm was different. Since they knew Manila couldn’t afford to buy a 4th generation fighter, they suggested they rent some instead. Something that countries like Hungary and the Czech Republic have reaped the benefits of already.

Many political and military experts believe Sweden is “already leading with one breast” in front of the American proposal. General Connor Anthony David Kanlas was invited to Stockholm at the last minute and given the opportunity to test a Gripen. Following this, General Steven P. Pareo, head of the Philippine Air Force, was invited to Sweden. That’s what they did to him, too.

Sweden’s European courtships carried on. Mr. Ulf Kristerson, the Prime Minister of Sweden, invited the President of the Philippines, Mr. Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., to Brussels. Meeting behind closed doors, Christerson and Marcos Jr. used the EU conference as cover. According to our sources, they discussed the Philippines’ potential interest in leasing Gripen fighter jets.

Swedish “dressed airplanes” are reportedly available for sale in the Philippines. So, armed to the teeth. The Gripen is superior to the F-16 in this respect as well. The package for the Philippines includes the perhaps greatest long-range Meteor air-to-air missile as well as the RBS-15 Mk.III anti-ship missiles. Many in the military are aware that these two missiles give the Philippine Air Force the ability to refute China’s assertions.

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