PAF'S 72ND ANNIVERSARY. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte attaches the streamer on the banner of one of the award-winning Philippine Air Force (PAF) units during the 72nd PAF Anniversary at the Col. Jesus Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on Tuesday (July 2, 2019). Assisting the President is PAF Commander Lieutenant General Rozzano Briguez. (Valerie Escalera/Presidential Photo)

MANILA -- Once the Philippine Air Force (PAF) acquires brand-new multi-role fighters, the service will be capable of fielding an Integrated Air Defense System that will protect the country from aerial threats.

"The acquisition of multi-role fighters would soon complete the Integrated Air Defense System of the entire country, which is composed of sensors -- the radars, ground defense, and the interceptors, which will be our multi-role fighters," PAF commander, Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez, said in his speech at the Air Force's 72nd founding anniversary on Tuesday.

In support of this mission, Briguez said the Air Force has recently activated its FA-50 simulator facility at the 5th Fighter Wing, Basa Air Base, Floridablanca, Pampanga that will be used by the Air Defense Command in training a new generation of pilots.

"We have also installed our second radar at the Gozar Air Station in Lubang Island, Mindoro and we are continuously working on the construction of the radar basing support system for the third radar at Mount Salacot, Palawan," he added.

Briguez added that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has recently approved the plan to acquire the so-called "ground-based air defense system" that will be used in protecting radar bases and other important government facilities from internal and external threats.

The PAF Strategic Basing Plan intends to develop such areas as Lal-lo, Cagayan; Guiuan, Samar; Mati, Davao Oriental; Hill 900 in Zamboanga; and Balabac Island, Palawan to achieve effective and efficient air operations, he said.

The air force chief added that they will soon finalize their Integrated Command and Control, Communications and Computer Systems that will further enhance their capability to conduct air operations.

"Through this, we shall achieve a robust, high performance, fully interoperable and integrated communications technology infrastructure that will provide all elements of the DND-AFP (Department of National Defense - Armed Forces of the Philippines) information requirement and support a common operational picture," he added.

Briguez also took the opportunity to thank President Rodrigo R. Duterte for his "colossal and unprecendented support to the AFP," which includes the ongoing modernization program; significant salary increase for all soldiers, including the hazard duty pay of front line troops in Sulu; and the additional issued firearms.

These initiatives by the President and Commander-in-Chief have made the troops more secure, confident, and focused in the conduct of operations, he added.

"We also highly appreciate the support of our foreign Air Force counterparts, such as Japan, especially for the UH-1H spare parts they have given us; our ASEAN partners, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam; and also South Korea, China, the United States, Russia, Australia, and other countries that we have been working closely with," Briguez said. (PNA)