MANILA, Philippines - The Air Force is acquiring two new light lift aircraft from Indonesia to boost the delivery of supplies and personnel to remote areas.
Indonesian firm PT Dirgantara Indonesia has won the bidding for the light lift fixed-wing aircraft acquisition project, worth P814 million.
The STAR learned that the defense department issued the notice of award for the project early this month.
Air Force spokesman Col. Miguel Okol said the aircraft could land even in areas that do not have airstrips.
Larger planes like the C-130 and medium lift fixed-wing planes require long runways.
“The light lift fixed aircraft can bring more goods than helicopters.
It can operate in areas with small runways,” Okol told The STAR yesterday.
He said the plane is more flexible, particularly during disaster response operations.
The air assets, Okol said, would ensure on time distribution of relief goods to far-flung areas.
There are three light lift aircraft in the Air Force’s inventory.
Defense assistant secretary Patrick Velez said PT Dirgantara would supply CN 212i planes to the Air Force, which is seeking to beef up its inventory following a series of crashes.
The company is required to deliver the planes within 548 calendar days from the opening of letter of credit, which assures the winning bidder that the government will honor its financial obligations.
The aircraft acquisition project aims to enhance the military’s humanitarian and security efforts.
The plan was to buy an aircraft that can operate in any environment and will provide organic general support for territorial defense, internal peace and security plan, internal security operations, disaster response and national development.
The Aquino administration has vowed to upgrade the capabilities of the military, said to be one of the most poorly equipped in the region.
Other air assets to be acquired include lead-in fighters, long-range patrol aircraft, close air support aircraft, medium lift aircraft, C-130 cargo planes, attack helicopters and combat utility helicopters.