Expect more brand-new aircraft to join the inventory of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) before the end of this year. This was revealed by PAF spokesperson Col. Enrico Canaya Sunday, a full day before the air service is set to receive eight brand-new Bell-412EPs and two attack versions of the AgustaWestland AW-109Es at Villamor Air Base, Pasay City Monday, Aug. 17.
In the pipeline are the remaining six attack AW-109Es, two Airbus Military C-295 medium-lift transport aircraft, two Indonesian-made CN-212i light-lift transport planes, and the first two Korea Airspace Industries F/A-50 “Fighting Eagle” jet aircraft.
Canaya said these new aircraft is a “positive development in terms of our organization.”
“(All these planes) will arrive before the end of the year, so we are looking forward to the arrival of these new aircraft,” he added.
Earlier, Canaya stressed that the PAF’s mobility and close-air support capabilities will be greatly boosted with arrival of eight Bell-412 EP combat utility helicopters and two attack versions of the AgustaWestland AW-109Es Monday,said in a message to the PNA.
“The additional helicopters will certainly help increase (the) capability of the PAF. The Bell-412EPs have better lifting capacity suitable for mobility of troops and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations while the AW-109Es will augment the existing MG-520 gunships in close-air support to ground forces when needed,” he added.
These attack AW-109Es are armed with .50 caliber machinegun pods and 2.74-inch rocket launchers.
Canaya said five of the Bell-412EPs will be assigned to the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing while the remaining three will be configured as VIP transports, for use of APEC delegates, and operated by the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing.