MANILA -- The Philippine Air Force (PAF) formally accepted on Monday the fourth Airbus Defense and Space C-295M medium transport/command-and-control aircraft that will help deliver relief goods to earthquake-hit Mindanao.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana presided the turnover ceremony held at the Haribon Hangar of the Clark Air Base in Pampanga on Monday afternoon, said PAF spokesperson, Major Aristides Galang, in a message to reporters.
The C-295M, the fourth in PAF service, was acquired as part of the Command-and-Control Fixed-Wing Turbo Prop Acquisition (C2FWTPA) Project under the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program.
Galang said the arrival of the fourth C-295M will boost the PAF's medium tactical airlift requirement of transporting troops and equipment, and support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
The aircraft will also be utilized as a command-and-control aircraft to cater to the domestic air transport of the President and other national and strategic defense leaders of the country.
The PHP1.8-billion aircraft arrived in the Philippines last October.
Lorenzana also extended his congratulations to the PAF for the new acquisition.
He also announced the future plans of the AFP to acquire additional C-295M aircraft to further protect the country’s maritime domain.
The symbolic turn-over rites was followed by the blessing of and ceremonial pouring of champagne on the new aircraft.
The newly-acquired C-295M will begin its operational mission transporting troops, equipment, and relief goods for earthquake victims in Mindanao.
"From airlifting personnel and logistical supplies to projecting military force as well as providing humanitarian assistance and disaster response, air mobility has been an indispensable capability that the Philippine Air Force provides through the competency of our pilots, crew and the aircraft that we possess. The aircraft personifies the guardians of our precious skies, and the bearers of hope," PAF commander Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez said.
Also present during the turnover ceremony was the Ambassador of Spain to the Philippines, His Excellency Jorge Moragas, who expressed his sincere gratitude for the support and assistance in fostering the relationship between Spain and the Philippines.
He assured the support of Spain and its Ministry of Defense to the modernization program of the AFP. (PNA)