Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is open to acquire six more Super Tucano A-29B fix-winged, light attack aircraft from Brazil to beef up the muscles of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
Lorenzana led the ceremonial acceptance, turnover, and blessing of the six newly acquired Super Tucano aircraft at the Clark Air Base in Pampanga on Tuesday.
The event was attended by top military officials including Lt. Gen. Allen Paredes, PAF commanding general, and representatives from Brazil-based manufacturer, Embraer SA.
“I was discussing with the commanding general (Paredes) a while ago that having six Super Tucanos is good but maybe another six more will be better,” said Lorenzana in his speech while addressing representatives of Embraer SA.
“We hope that we will have other businesses with you in the future,” he added.
The A-29 is a durable and flexible aircraft designed for counter-insurgency and close air support roles, reconnaissance missions in low threat environments, and pilot training. It is capable of operating from unimproved runways.
The new acquisitions will be used by the PAF’s 15th Strike Wing based in Sangley Point, Cavite to boost its fleet of North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco attack planes and Italian Aermacchi SF-260TP light aircraft.
They are also expected to complement the PAF’s FA-50 fighter jets, which were used to pound Daesh-linked terrorists during the Marawi siege in May 2017.
The acquisition of the Super Tucanos was part of a deal worth P4.9 billion between the Philippine government and Embraer SA in late 2017, shortly after the Marawi siege.
Lorenzana said he was elated with the recent acquisition of the PAF, describing it as “a dream come true” and a step towards a more modernized Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“As we celebrate the arrival of the Super Tucano close air support aircraft, we are once again reminded of the indisputability of air power in national defense and security. To the PAF, your power has consistently allowed our armed forces to project its advantages in the battlefield,” he said.
“It has been a dream of the Philippine Air Force to acquire combat support aircraft like this one for a long time. Today, this is the fulfillment of that dream,” he noted.