The second C295M Medium Lift Aircraft of 220th Airlift Wing, Philippine Air Force with tail number 140 touched down runway 02R of Clark Air Base, Pampanga at exactly 5:30 pm, September 15, 2015. Photo from Philippine Air Force Facebook page
MANILA - The second of three brand-new transport airplanes that the government purchased for the Philippine Air Force (PAF) landed at Clark Air Base in Pampanga yesterday afternoon.
Col. Enrico Canaya, PAF spokesman, said pilots of Airbus Defense and Space (ADS), manufacturer of the C295M medium-lift fixed-wing aircraft from Spain, flew the plane to Clark.
The PAF Technical Inspection and Aerospace Committee (TIAC) shall undertake the necessary inspection and acceptance procedures before the aircraft is sent to Villamor Air Base in Pasay City for the formal turnover and blessing ceremonies to be scheduled later, Canaya said.
The Medium Lift Fixed-Wing Aircraft (MLFWA) acquisition project worth P5.29 billion for the purchase of three planes is one of the projects nearing completion under the AFP Modernization Program that would boost its capabilities in the medium tactical airlift requirement for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) and transport of troops and logistics.
Canaya said the third aircraft is expected to be delivered before yearend.
“Based on a contract approved in March last year, the supply and delivery of the three aircraft were expected in October this year, February and June next year,” he said.
While awaiting delivery of these aircraft, PAF also sent six of its pilots and a 19-man maintenance team to Spain for training in flying and repair of the new planes.
At present, the Air Force has three operational C-130 cargo planes and the new C295Ms would bolster the relief operations and military capability of the Air Force.
The C295M can carry 70 passengers and is designed for short takeoff and landing that makes the aircraft ideal for re-supply and troop rotation operations in military bases with short runways like Pag-asa Island.
Pag-asa is one of nine areas occupied by Filipinos troops in the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) in the West Philippine Sea.
The KIG is part of the disputed Spratly Islands that is being claimed in whole or in part by the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei.
Read more on The Philippine Star