(File photo)

MANILA – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Wednesday said all of its six Embraer A-29B "Super Tucano" attack aircraft are now fully operational.

This came as one of these planes that sustained damage during a "routine maintenance check flight" last year and is now repaired and operational.

PAF spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo said the damaged aircraft was made "fully operational" during the third quarter of this year.

"All our 'Tucanos' are all in good shape and fully operational, thus contributing to our focused military operations," she said in a message to the Philippine News Agency.

Castillo also said that the spare parts needed for the repairs arrived much earlier and were immediately installed, bringing the damaged "Super Tucano" into service which was then subjected into a series of tests before its deployment.

Deliveries of these items were affected by the slowdown caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

"The aircraft is now fully mission capable," the PAF spokesperson added. .

She also said the spare parts were provided by Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer.

Earlier, the PAF said the damaged A-29B is repairable and will be returned immediately to service once the needed parts and technicians arrive from Brazil.

Based on the assessment made by the aircraft manufacturer, the structural integrity of the aircraft is "very much intact and by replacing the component parts that were damaged, it will be put back to operational status."

Four of the A-29B close-support attack aircraft arrived on September 19, 2020, while the remaining two arrived on October 1 of the same year.

The A-29Bs were earlier scheduled to be delivered by the end of July 2020 but the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent travel bans skewed the delivery timetables.

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 "Super Tucano" aircraft is worth PHP4.97 billion and was issued in late 2017. (PNA)