The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is anticipating the delivery of radars, helicopters, and other integrated logistics support assets in the coming months to further boost its capability to defend the country’s airspace from hostile forces.
Lt. Gen. Connor Anthony Canlas Sr., PAF Commanding General, made the revelation during the 75th anniversary celebration of the Air Force at the Clark Air Base in Mabalacat City, Pampanga on Friday afternoon, July 1.
“We are also expecting the delivery of more assets such as four radars, 32 S70i Black Hawk helicopters, and two additional lots of combat utility helicopter integrated logistics support,” Canlas said.
“These will make us more agile in controlling current and future security threats,” he added.
All of these items are part of the second “horizon” of the revised Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program.
In 2020, the Department of National Defense inked a P5.5-billion contract with Mitsubishi Electric Corporation of Japan for the Horizon 2 Air Surveillance Radar System (ASRS) acquisition project of the PAF.
Under this project, the PAF will acquire three fixed long-range air surveillance radars which are equipped with building facilities, and a mobile air surveillance radar. It will be delivered sometime this year.
Meanwhile, the DND also signed the P32-billion contract for the acquisition of 32 additional Black Hawk helicopters in February of this year. This will increase the fleet to 48 units as the PAF recently completed the acquisition of 16 Black Hawk helicopters from PZL Mielec of Poland.
Canlas also highlighted the PAF’s accomplishments in the modernization program under the previous Duterte administration.
“One of the indicators of a nation’s progress is the development of superior air power. Whoever controls the air has the domain over the surface,” Canlas said.
He then enumerated the assets that the PAF acquired including six A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft from Embraer Defense and Security of Brazil; six Hermes 900 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); four SCAN Eagle UAVs; two T129 ATAK helicopters; one G280 command and control (C2) aircraft; the first of the three purchased C295 aircraft; and the Spyder air defense system from Israel – a ground-based simulator training facility.
“Ang pangako ng inyong Philippine Air Force ay lalong paigtingin ang serbisyo para sa bayan (Your Philippine Air Force vows to further improve its services for the nation). This is an expression of constancy of purpose in developing our core competencies to continue soaring to greater heights,” Canlas said.
Canlas also thanked President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on behalf of the 18,626 airmen and airwomen; 1,245 civilian personnel; and 33,898 reserve forces of the PAF for attending the celebration, his first engagement with the AFP.
“It is indeed heartwarming and gratifying today because [in his] first day of office as President and Commander-in-Chief ay kasama natin siya (he accompanied us). Sir, maraming maraming salamat sa iyong pagdalo (Sir, thank you very much for attending) and this tuly means a lot for your Air Force family,” he said.
The celebration had the theme “Patuloy sa Paglipad Tungo sa mas Matatag at Maaasahang Hukbong Himpapawid para sa Diyos, Bayan, at Pilipino.” Some of the anniversary activities did not push through due to bad weather such as a fly-by of T41 and SF260 aircraft to form the number “75.”