The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has further boosted its fleet with the arrival of its Bell AH-1s “Cobra” helicopter, one of the most powerful attack helicopters in the world.
The aircraft arrived at Major Danilo Atienza Air Base in Sangley Point, Cavite on Thursday, Nov. 18. It was piloted by Major Reese James Obeso, squadron commander of the 20th Attack Squadron, and Capt. Wilmore Kristus Tanamor.
It took off from Clark Air Base in Pampanga and performed low passes before marking its first touchdown at Sangley Point.
The traditional water cannon salute was also rendered to welcome the aircraft, which was immediately followed by the blessing ceremony.
The Cobra helicopter will be incorporated with the 15th Strike Wing.
“This platform will complement the MD-520MG [McDonnel Douglas Defender attack helicopters] of the 20th Attack Squadron and hopefully, be successfully employed and deliver support to other AFP units,” said Brig. Gen. Aristotle Gonzales, wing commander of the 15th Strike Wing.
The Cobra helicopter is a two-blade, single-engine attack helicopter, its manufacturer, Bell Helicopter, said in its website. It has a speed of 200 knots and a range of 310 nautical miles.
The recent acquisition reportedly came from the donation of the government of Jordan three years ago, according to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
In 2018, Jordan donated two units of Bell AH-1s “Cobra” helicopter to the PAF for its internal security and counter-terrorism operations.
The PAF, at the time, sent four pilots to Jordan for the training in handling the Cobra helicopters. Two of them underwent further training to become test and instructor pilots.