The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has increased its Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability following its acquisition of two brand-new Cessna-208B Grand Caravan aircraft from the United States.
The two aircraft, worth 1.67 billion pesos, were presented by US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y. Kim and Lt. Gen. Bryan Fenton, deputy commander of the US Pacific Command, to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
According to the PAF, the Cessna-208B can operate a service ceiling of 25,00 feet, 912 nautical miles, and can stay functional up to 5.5 hours. With the modern technology that the Cessna-208B brings, the PAF said it could execute ISR operations that would not only help the current war against terrorism but also aid in other operations such as Internal Security operations and Humanitarian Assistance and Relief operations.
The donation is part of the Program Authority US Code Title 10 Section 2282 or the US National Defense Authorization Act Building Partnership Capacity Program which is meant to help foreign countries build military strength to combat terrorism. [G30]
Over the last five years, the US government has allocated the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with 15 billion pesos worth of training and equipment.
According to Kim, the latest aircraft delivery manifested the strong relationship between the Philippines and the US. He stressed that it was important for both countries to work together as allies
During the ceremony, Defense Secretary Lorenzana talked about the importance of the two new aircraft. received.
“I can almost see that in the future, these aircraft will be working for the different departments of the government,” Lorenzana said.[G77]
“It will be useful for the Agriculture Department, the Fisheries Department, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, to survey the mining areas and the forests, for the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, also to survey our maritime areas,” he also said.
The PAF’s Air Intelligence and Security Group will operate the aircraft. The unit, based at Edwin Andrews Air Base, is one of the best in ISR operations in the AFP.
The Cessna-208B aircraft shall help protect the military troops in their counterterrorism operations to trace terrorist groups in Mindanao and currently, in Marawi. The United States vow to continue to support the Philippine Army with their mutual objective of defeating terrorism.
Present during the ceremony were Lt. Gen. Edgar Fallorina, PAF commanding general, and AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.