12 Maret 2012

Repair of 2 Cargo Planes to be Finished Soon

12 Maret 2012

A PAF C-130 Hercules, body number 3633 (photo : pdff)

MANILA, Philippines - Two cargo planes undergoing repairs are expected to be ready for operation by October and will complement the lone C-130 aircraft being used by the military.

Philippine Air Force (PAF) chief Maj. Gen. Lauro de la Cruz said the repair of one C-130 plane would be completed by July while the other aircraft would be rolled out in October.

“Hopefully by July, the C-130 that is being repaired in America would arrive. Then by September to October, the C-130 being repaired in the Philippines would be rolled out,” De la Cruz told reporters over the weekend.

At present, PAF has only one C-130 plane in its inventory. The cargo plane – a C-130 Hercules aircraft – is being used to carry supplies and troops.

De la Cruz said four brand-new combat utility helicopters are expected to arrive in November.

The four constitute the second batch of Sokol combat utility helicopters acquired from Polish company PZL Swidnik SA.

The first four Sokol helicopters arrived last Feb. 14 and were inaugurated last Friday. The acquisition of the eight helicopters costs P2.8 billion, including support equipment, spare parts and training.

Members of the media, including this reporter, were the first civilians to ride on the new Sokol helicopters.

Last Friday, media were treated to a 40-minute tour over parts of Clark, Crow Valley in Tarlac and the crater of Mt. Pinatubo.

During the tour, pilots repeatedly raised their hands to show that the helicopter can fly even without human maneuvering due to its autopilot capability. The helicopters can also transport cargo, conduct rescue missions and perform security operations.

They are equipped with a night vision goggle compatible cockpit, allowing them to operate day and night in all weather conditions.

The helicopters can be fitted with an M60D machine gun on each side of the cabin and can accommodate 10 passengers.

De la Cruz said the newly acquired Sokol helicopters will be deployed in parts of Luzon.

“These (air assets) will be more focused in Luzon because the training area is here. We have to prepare our pilots and mechanics (to use them),” he said.

During the launching of the Sokol helicopters last Friday, De la Cruz said jokes that PAF is “only air and no force” will soon be a thing of the past.


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