|The Embraer A-29B Super Tucano close air support aircraft. Photo c/o MaxDefense Philippines|
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has highlighted the scheduled deliveries of new air assets between 2019 and 2020 during the 72nd Founding Anniversary ceremonies on 02 July 2019.
The Commanding General of the PAF, Lt. Gen. Rozano Briguez, confirmed that the following air assets are arriving to improve their air capabilities:
- 1 Airbus-CASA C-295 Command and Control Aircraft by July 2019
- 1 Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft by the last quarter of 2019
- 4 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles by 2019
- 6 Embraer A-29B Super Tucanos by February 2020
- 16 Combat Utility Helicopters starting 2020
- 6 PT Dirgantara Indonesia NC-212i light lift aircraft starting 2020
- 1 Gulfstream G280 Command and Control Aircraft by 2020
The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are said to be referring to the Elbit Systems Hermes 450 medium altitude long endurance UAVs which were ordered in 2018. The PAF is also expecting the larger Hermes 900 UAVs but deliveries are still unconfirmed.
The Combat Utility Helicopters are referring to the recently-ordered Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawks being built by Sikorsky’s Polish subsidiary PZL-Mielec. The first 10 units are scheduled to arrive in 2020. These helicopters will be complementing the PAF’s ageing fleet of combat utility helicopters mostly made up of Bell UH-1D/H Hueys and newer Bell 412EP helicopters.
The arrival of an additional C-130 Hercules and 6 new NC-212i Aviocar light lift aircraft will improve the PAF’s airlift capabilities. The C-130 is expected to be also used as a surveillance aircraft and may be fitted with the Airdyne Aero SABIR ISR kit, while the NC-212i may replace the remaining GAF N-22B/C Nomad aircraft still in service with the PAF since the 1970s.
The A-29B Super Tucano were ordered by the PAF in late 2017 from Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer, and is expected to be the PAF’s standard close air support aircraft and replace the Rockwell OV-10 Bronco.
The PAF was officially formed as a separate branch of service in 1 July 1947 after being originally part of the Philippine Army as the Philippine Army Air Corps (PAAC). The PAF is currently undertaking a modernization effort to acquire new assets to replace ageing ones, while also re-introducing new capabilities that were lost during its decline from the late 1980s to 2010.
 Philippine Air Force (Facebook)
 MaxDefense Philippines
 PTV News