MANILA – The remaining two of the total six brand-new Embraer Defense and Security A-29 "Super Tucano" close-air support aircraft acquired by the Philippine government have arrived in Clark Air Base, Angeles City, Pampanga on Thursday afternoon.
"The two remaining Super Tucanos arrived yesterday (Thursday). The first aircraft touched down at 1304H (1:04 p.m.) and followed by the other at 1327H (1:27 p.m.)," said Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Arsenio Andolong in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Friday.
Andolong said the two Super Tucanos arrived from Vietnam, the last leg of their flight to the Philippines.
The A-29 attack aircraft are expected to beef up the Philippine Air Force's 15th Strike Wing.
The first four Super Tucanos arrived in Clark Air Base in the afternoon of September 19. Embraer company pilots flew the aircraft from the company airfield in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and made fueling stops in the Canary Islands, Portugal, Malta, Egypt, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, India, Thailand, and Vietnam before landing in the Philippines.
Andolong earlier said Embraer pilots will train PAF pilots selected to fly the "Super Tucano" for two months as part of the agreement under the Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee.
The A-29s were earlier scheduled to be delivered by the end of July but the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic and subsequent travel bans have skewed the delivery timetables.
The aircraft, which will be part of the PAF's 15th Strike Wing, will beef up the remaining North American Rockwell OV-10 "Bronco" attack aircraft used by the Air Force in strike missions.
"They are a welcome and much-needed replacement for the PAF's aged, close air support aircraft, and their mission versatility and capability to carry a variety of ordnance will be very useful in the field," Andolong said.
The Super Tucano is a turboprop aircraft designed for light attack, counter-insurgency, close air support, aerial reconnaissance missions in low threat environments, as well as providing pilot training. The contract for the six aircraft is worth PHP4.968 billion and was issued in late 2017. (PNA)