The Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) will celebrate its 70th anniversary on Oct. 1 at Daegu Air Base. The country’s F-35A is expected to make a flyby during the ceremony as well.
A Republic of Korea Air Force, F-35A Lightning II banks left during a refueling mission March 15, 2019, in Ariz. The aircraft’s electronic sensors contain the Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System (DAS), a system that provides pilots with situational awareness in the area surrounding the aircraft for enhanced missile and aircraft warning, and day/night pilot vision. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Leala Marquez)
Capt. Jeremy Devlin was taught by Lt. Col. Nathan Graber on how to fly the F-16, years later, Devlin is now teaching Graber how to fly the F-35.
Lt. Col. Nathan Graber, a pilot assigned to the 134th Fighter Squadron, 158th Fighter Wing, Vermont Air National Guard, is with Capt. Jeremy Devlin, a F-35 Lightning II instructor pilot assigned to the 58th Fighter Squadron, 33rd Fighter Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, 2019. Devlin is from the 158th FW and went from enlisted crew chief to pilot and was instructed by Graber on flying the F-16 Fighting Falcon, and was then put on an extended active duty tour as an instructor pilot at Eglin which will see him return to the VTANG once the tour is over. (Courtesy photo by Lt. Col. Nathan Graber)
The Department of National Defense on Friday revealed that among the actions it was taking to address security issues in the West Philippine Sea was asking Congress to finance the Philippine military's modernization program.
Speaking before the Makati Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Defense Undersecretary Cardozo M. Luna said that they were lobbying Congress to nearly double defense spending to two percent of gross domestic product.
"In the ASEAN region, the Philippines is second to the lowest among the ten member-states, spending only between 1.1 percent and 1.3 percent of its gross domestic product on defense," explained Luna.
"We need such an increase to have a sustained multi-year funding for the upgrading and modernization of land, air (drones), sea (surface and undersea), space and cyber capabilities (satellites and radars) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines."
Presently, a large portion of the defense budget goes to salaries of soldiers and civilian employees, as well as pensions for war veterans, retirees and dependents.
Another big chunk goes to disaster risk reduction and management.
"We hope that Congress finds wisdom in investing more resources for [the defense establishment's] modernization efforts... towards developing the country’s credible defense posture," added Luna.
But despite the limited resources available to it, the AFP was enhancing its surveillance efforts with regular maritime and aerial patrols, not only in the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea, but also over the Philippine Rise and the rest of the country's maritime domains.
"These surveillance and enforcement operations will arm the Government of the Philippines in lodging diplomatic actions on every Chinese incursion and unlawful action in our maritime domain," explained Luna.
The Defense Undersecretary also thought it noteworthy that the AFP had deployed ground troops to secure the country’s interests in the Kalayaan Island Group.
Facilities in the Kalayaan municipality, including the airstrip and berthing spaces for Filipino fishermen were also being repaired and improved.
New power, water, and communication facilities were also being installed in the area.
"Repair and rehabilitation efforts in the Philippine-occupied features in the West Philippine Sea are concrete acts to assert our rights over the area," said Luna.
"It is also worth noting that the aforementioned improvements will not only enhance our maritime patrol in the WPS, but more importantly, it will greatly aid Filipino fishermen and residents in the area, especially in their livelihood."