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DND to probe accidents of Spanish firm's planes

The Defense department on Monday vowed to look into the accidents involving the aircraft being offered by a Spanish firm to the Air Force.
The company, EADS/CASA - Airbus Military, was declared the only eligible bidder for the supply of three new medium lift fixed-wing aircraft worth P5.3-billion. It offered to supply C-295 planes for P5.29-billion during the bidding for the project held this month.

The said aircraft model, however, figured in recent controversies that raised doubts on its quality. These include the 2008 crash which claimed the lives of 20 persons in Poland and the decision of the Czech military to return faulty C-295 planes to EADS/CASA.

Defense officials, however, said the plane’s quality will be scrutinized when they conduct the post-qualification phase.

“At present, we cannot offer any conclusion but we will continue to verify the accidents involving the C-295 during the post qualification phase,” Defense Assistant Secretary Patrick Velez said.

The post-qualification phase allows defense officials to determine whether the planes being offered by EADS/CASA are compliant with the standards they set.

Velez cited reports stating that the 2008 air mishap was caused by human error and not due to the plane’s quality.

EADS/CASA claimed that the Polish Air Force acquired five more C-295 planes four years after the crash but this would be verified by defense officials.

The post-qualification phase for the medium lift fixed-wing aircraft has been slated for next month in Spain.

The Airbus website described the C-295 planes as “the most capable and versatile transport and surveillance aircraft.” The air assets is said to be capable of carrying up to nine tons of payload or up to 71 personnel, at a maximum cruise speed of 260 kt or 480 km/h.

Meanwhile, the Defense department rejected an appeal by an Indonesian firm for it to be declared as an eligible bidder for the project.

PT Dirgantara Indonesia joined the bidding for the medium lift fixed-wing aircraft but was disqualified due to its failure to meet some requirements.

The company filed for a motion for reconsideration but this was rejected yesterday by the Special Bids and Awards Committee 1 (SBAC-1).

The SBAC-1 said PT Dirgantara’s plane was not compliant with the technical specifications provided by the bid documents.

The company’s aircraft can only carry 34 paratroopers, lower than the 40 set by the Defense department. The bid documents also required that the aircraft should have a payload of 11,000 lbs. at 950 nautical miles but PT Dirgantara’s plane can only carry 10,120 lbs.

Article Source: The Philippine Star


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