MANILA -- The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is set to acquire more air assets and equipment in the coming months, its commanding general said Tuesday.
In his speech during PAF's 72nd founding anniversary, Air Force commander, Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez said these aircraft are expected to support various operations of the PAF.
In the line-up for the PAF is another Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" transport aircraft, which is expected by the last quarter of this year and 16 combat utility helicopters and six additional NC212i aircraft which will start arriving by 2020.
Aside from these air mobility assets, the PAF chief said six brand-new Embraer A-29 "Super Tucanos" are expected to arrive by February 2020 and "will be a game-changing platform which will perform surface strike support to ground troops."
The "Super Tucanos" are expected to beef up the remaining North American Rockwell OV-10 "Bronco" attack aircraft being used by the PAF in strike missions.
The PAF's operational and strategic command-and-control will also be augmented by the arrival of "two command-and-control fixed-wing aircraft" which includes an EADS CASA C-295 medium transport which will arrive later this July and a Gulfstream G-280 twin-engine jet which will be delivered next year, Briguez said.
"Likewise, four unmanned aerial systems will be coming this year to support intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance for both operational and strategic functions," he added.
The PAF chief said they will also be finalizing its Integrated Command and Control, Communications and Computer Systems (IC4S) which will further enhance their capability in air operations.
"Through this, we will achieve robust, high performance, fully interoperable and integrated communications technology infrastructure that will provide all elements of the DND-AFP (Department of National Defense-Armed Forces of the Philippines) information requirement and support a common operational picture," he added.
Briguez thanked President Rodrigo R. Duterte for the "colossal and unprecedented support to the AFP" which includes the ongoing modernization program, significant salary increase for all soldiers, including the hazard duty pay of front-line troops in Sulu, together with the additional firearms.
These initiatives by the Command-in-Chief made troops more secure, confident, and focused in the conduct of operations, he added.
"We also highly appreciate the support of our foreign Air Force counterparts such as Japan, especially for the UH-1H spare parts they have given us. Our ASEAN partners, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, and also South Korea, China, the United States, Russia, Australia, and other countries that we have been working closely with," the PAF chief said. (PNA)