MANILA - The Department of National Defense (DND) defended on Monday the purchase of new aircraft for Philippine government officials.
Director Arsenio Andolong of the DND Public Affairs Service said the 2 new aircraft are a Gulfstream G280 and an Airbus C295.
"The G280 will primarily serve as platform to carry our senior leaders and commanders in the event of, example, a crisis situation. It can be used by the Chief of Staff, SND [Secretary of National Defense], our major service commanders and the President. Although you want to use the term lightly or loosely, it is similar to an airborne command post. It would serve that purpose," he told reporters.
"Admittedly, it's a little...well...more appointed than your average aircraft but it will carry senior leaders so, of course, it's designed to be a little more comfortable."
In a press release dated October 2, 2019, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. announced that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has a contract through the United States government for a Gulfstream G280, including parts, tooling and contractor logistics support. The aircraft will be configured for command and control missions and is slated for delivery in 2020.
The G280 has a maximum range of 3,600 nautical miles/6,667 kilometers at its long-range cruise speed of Mach 0.80 and a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.84. The aircraft can fly eight hours non-stop and can connect Dubai to Hong Kong; Singapore to Melbourne, Australia; or Singapore to Dubai.
Andolong said the aircraft has speed and capability to land on short runways, which cannot be done by other aircraft of the PAF. He said the existing C295 of the Air Force is not able to land on small runways.
The C295 has longer range, is suitable for maritime patrol missions, as well as for transporting supplies and troops, Andolong said.
"As far as I know, the status of the procurement of the C295 command and control aircraft and G280 are already in the contract implementation phase. In fact, the C295 is set to be delivered within the year and the G280 will be delivered sometime next year, in about August, and both aircraft will perform the functions of command control," he said.
The DND official declined to discuss pricing and procurement details, saying he is not privy to the transaction.