Thursday, January 12, 2012

Philippine Air Force says cargo planes to become operational

Two C130 cargo planes of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) will become operational during the first quarter of 2012 as part of the ongoing capability upgrade of the 20,000-strong military command.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. said that the two Air Force C130s are now undergoing maintenance procedures — one in the United States and the other in Clarkfield, Pampanga.

“Within the first semester, sometime in March or April, we will be having three operational C130,” Burgos said.

At present, the Air Force only has one operational C130 being used in logistics and troop transport and even in disaster response.

“This will bolster our troop lift capability, transportation of goods and even our disaster response, we will be more efficient in terms of disaster response,” Burgos said.

For his part, Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol said that part of the PAF’s capability upgrade program is the acquisition of a fourth C130.

“With this additional two, we will now have three plus it is included in our capability upgrade program the acquisition of another one,” Okol said.

Okol echoed Burgos’ statements that the additional cargo planes will certainly boost the PAF’s capability.

“Of course, it will increase our capability… our heavy lift capability will be enhanced… and disaster response, national development, those things could be addressed,” Okol said.

Aside from the additional C130s, the Air Force is also upbeat on the possibility of acquiring F16 fighter jets from the United States.

The Air Force is also scheduled to receive eight Sokol helicopters, worth P2.8 billion, early this year as part of its capability upgrade. 
By Mario J. Mallari
The Daily Tribune

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