Tunis Air Force's C-130B Hercules (photo : planes)
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is set to buy a refurbished C-130 cargo airplane that had overshot a runway.
An American company won the bidding to supply the PAF with the 26-year-old airplane that was previously owned by Tunisia.
Derco Aerospace Inc. was the lone bidder in the project, according to Department of National Defense (DND) spokesman Eduardo Batac.
Batac said Derco Aerospace passed the DND acquisition program’s standards.
"The post qualification is now finished. It's already okay. The result was positive," he added.
The US company offered a 26-year-old Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft, originally used by the Tunisian Air Force, for US $34 million.
Tunisia sold the aircraft to Derco in 2007 after the plane figured in the said accident.
Batac said a post-qualification team inspected the facilities of Derco in Wisconsin, including its repair facility in Malaysia where the C-130 plane offered is undergoing refurbishing.
"As reported by the post-qualification team, the package offered by Derco to the Philippine Air Force is over and above the required specifications for the project...The notice of award will be out shortly," said Batac.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, meanwhile, sought to downplay reports that the deal with Derco was disadvantageous to the government.
He said these perceptions were product of "incomplete information."
"In line with the government's policy of transparency and accountability, let us open our lines of communication so that a proper appreciation of what we do here in the Defense Department can be made, thereby preventing any misunderstanding that might ensue, owing to certain misperceptions formed by way of incomplete information," Gazmin said.
Batac explained that the acquisition project was first approved by the Air Force Weapons and Systems Board on the recommendation of the Air Force Technical Working Group.
"The proposed project was evaluated and endorsed for approval by the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] Weapons Board to the AFP chief of staff and, subsequently, the secretary of National Defense," he added.