Fact checks on militaries

FACT CHECK: No offer of F-16 aircraft from Israel to PH


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FACT CHECK: No offer of F-16 aircraft from Israel to PH
There have been no official reports from the defense departments of both countries to support the claim

Claim: Israel has offered to give two F-16 Block 40 aircraft to the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video containing the claim has 1,966 views and 53 likes as of writing. It was posted by a channel with 27,400 subscribers.

No official announcements: There are no official reports from reputable news agencies or government organizations confirming Israel’s offer of F-16 aircraft to the Philippines. The PAF has made no announcements on its official website, Facebook page, and X (formerly Twitter) page. Similarly, no such announcements have been made by the embassy of Israel in the Philippines and the defense departments of the Philippines and Israel.

The YouTube video also falsely claimed that the announcement supposedly came from Israeli defense minister Avigdor Liberman, a former minister who served from 2016 to 2018. Yoav Gallant currently occupies the position. 

PH’s F-16 dreams: The Philippines has been looking to add the F-16 fighter aircraft to its arsenal. The country has been in discussions to purchase F-16 aircraft from the US since 2021, when its request to buy 10 F-16C Block 70/72 aircraft and two F-16D Block 70/72 was approved. However, it was later reported in 2023 that Manila had delayed the purchase due to financial constraints. Nikkei Asia reported that the deal was estimated to cost $2.43 billion, more than half of the Philippines’ annual defense budget.

As an alternative, the Philippines is eyeing the purchase of second-hand aircraft from a different country, such as Denmark. Sweden also offered its Saab JAS 39 “Gripen” multi-role fighter aircraft to the Philippines in 2023. Aside from the JAS-39, the US Lockheed Martin F-16V Viper is among the top contenders for the PAF’s multirole fighter acquisition project. 

Israel and the Philippines: In 2023, Israel expressed interest in taking a “major” part in the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernization program. The Philippine and Israeli militaries have been cooperating with each other since 2010, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding on logistics and defense industry cooperation.

Legitimate updates regarding military acquisitions made by the PAF can be found on its official website, Facebook page, and X (formerly Twitter) page. Katarina Ruflo/Rappler.com

Katarina Ruflo is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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