The Philippine Air Force (PAF) officially inducted two Turkish-made T129B ATAK attack helicopters and an Airbus Defense and Space C-295 medium-lift aircraft, Wednesday (Apr. 6).
These two T129B ATAK helicopters are the first batch of six helicopters that were delivered to the Clark Air Base, Pampanga, Philippines on March 9 using two Turkish Air Force Airbus A400M military transport aircraft. Meanwhile, the C-295 medium-lift aircraft is the first of three under a new contract to augment four C-295s previously acquired by the PAF in 2015 and 2019. The aircraft also arrived at the Clark Air Base on March 28 after a ferry flight from its manufacturing facility in Spain.
“For us, these new aircraft will not just beef up our capabilities but, in deep retrospect, carry the hopes and aspirations of what we want as an air force, to become a more agile and dependable organization,” said Chief of PAF, Lt. Gen. Connor Anthony D. Canlas Sr.
In line with the Horizon 2 modernization plan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the PAF is aiming to modernize its assets and expand its capabilities by acquiring new helicopters, transport planes, as well as trainers, and combat aircraft. While the contract for six T129B ATAK helicopters was signed in 2020, the delivery date of the first two units was about six months behind the original schedule due to delays in securing export licenses from the United States for their engines and several other components.
Following the arrival of two T129B ATAK last March, the PAF is now expecting that the remaining helicopters will be delivered in two batches sometime this year and in 2023.
The next two deliveries of the PAF’s sixth and seventh C-295 transport aircraft are also being expected to occur within the same timeframe.
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