(Photo courtesy of AFP)

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday said it received a Short Sherpa military transport aircraft from a mining firm that can provide support to its ground troops.

Previously owned by the Semirara Mining and Power Corporation, the Short Brothers and Harland SD3-30 aircraft was turned over to the Philippine Army in a ceremony held at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Pasay City on Thursday, said Col. Jerry Baclor, AFP public affairs office chief.

The twin-engine turbo-prop aircraft has a maximum speed of 291 kilometers per hour and can accommodate 27 passengers.

It has an overall length of 58 feet and a wingspan of 74 feet and eight inches.

The aircraft currently has 10,846 + 24 hours with a total cycle of 15,141. It is fitted with Pratt & Whitney PT6-45R engines and two Hartzell five-bladed metal propellers.

Present in the turnover and signing of the deed of donation were AFP chief, Gen. Andres Centino; Army vice commander Maj. Gen. Henry Doyaoen; and Defense Undersecretary Cardozo Luna.

"Donating the Short SD3-30 Sherpa aircraft is the most sustainable means of developing the Philippine Army's aviation force aside from procurement. Likewise, this will greatly impact the accomplishments of the unit's mission of providing aviation support to its ground forces," Luna said.

The Semirara Mining and Power Corporation, owned by the Consunji family, cited in the deed of donation its desire to assist the Philippine Army in responding to the needs of the Filipinos.

The Philippine Army, on the other hand, expressed its appreciation and gratefulness for the donation.

The aircraft will be added to the existing air assets of the Philippine Army, enhancing its capability in providing support to its ground troops. (PNA)