Airbus flaunts defense aircraft as PH plans upgrade
European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is pitching its newly launched military aircraft and satellite products as the government pursues the modernization of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
Johan Pelissier, head of the Airbus Southeast Asia defense and space, said in press briefing on Tuesday the company’s new C295 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and A400M offer the latest technology in boosting military operations.
“What we see according to the modernization plan… is that we have a portfolio which is fitting to the future requirements of the Philippines,” he said ahead of the Asian Defense and Security 2018 exhibition in Pasay City, expressing confidence that Airbus has the right product to respond to the country’s future needs, particularly for air transport and maritime security.
“We believe that this platform is really suitable for the future requirements,” Pelissier added.
Last July, President Rodrigo Duterte said the government is investing P139 billion on PAF projects as part of the revised Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization program.
In a speech at the 71st anniversary of the PAF, Duterte said it is “vital to innovate and invest in strategies and technologies that will allow our forces to perform their duties safely and effectively.”
Airbus said the Philippines had been operating three C295 units since 2016.
Pelissier described the PAF as a “highly valued customer” and the company is happy to support the country’s modernization program.
He said the PAF’s existing C295 is mainly for transporting passengers and cargo, and is commonly used for humanitarian missions. The new C295 MPA was upgraded to have a mission system suitable for overland surveillance and maritime warfare.
“It is especially suitable for countries in Asia, many of which need to monitor large coastlines and secure their economic zones,” Pelissier said in a statement.
The A400M, the newest tactical and strategic aircraft made by Airbus, is the most modern in its category. It can fly twice as long and carry twice as much load than any competing aircraft, Pelissier said.
Both the C295 MPA and the A400M can land on soft and paved runway such as a seashore, making them suitable for use in delivering to a specific point of need.
Earlier this year, Pelissier said Airbus had made a pitch to the PAF for the A400M but the country has so far not placed any order. Upon receipt of an order, he said delivery of the aircraft usually takes around a couple of years.
He added that Airbus has a proven track record of providing surveillance equipment and earth observation satellites in Asia, helping to ensure national security, monitor climate change, and prepare and manage disaster occurrences.#