by Francis T. Wakefield
The Department of National Defense (DND) yesterday said that it has opened bidding for six new air support aircraft, valued at close to P5 billion, for the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
DND Undersecretary for Finance, Munitions, Installations, and Material Raymundo D.V. Elefante, said the defense department has allocated P4,968,000,000 for the project.
Elefante said the money for the planes will come through the AFP Modernization Trust Fund.
The planes will replace the aging OV-10 Bronco (light attack aircraft/surveillance aircraft), used for close air support to ground troops.
Acquisition of the new planes is part of the AFP Modernization Plan, he said.
“The DND/AFP now invites bids for the acquisition of six close air support aircraft with corresponding initial logistics support package. These aircraft shall be capable of performing close air support air operations during day and night,” he said.
Elefante said the guiding principles for the project are affordability and sustainability while conforming to the requirements of the Philippine Air Force.
Elefante said acquisition of the aircraft has already been planned before the time of the previous administration.
“We are implementing programs that were programmed by the the Army, Air Force, and Navy,” Elefante said. The programs were laid even before the time of the previous administration,” he said.
“By 2028, we will have already brought everything we need,” he said.