Air Force receives brand new Close Air Support Aircraft

by Warren Ryan Revoltar

The Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Gilbert Gapay together with the Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana and Commanding General, Philippine Air Force Lieutenant General Allen Paredes led the turn-over and blessing ceremony of six Super Tucano A-29B Close Air Support (CAS) Aircraft at Clark Airbase, Pampanga on October 13, 2020.

The newly delivered Super Tucano A-29Bs of Brazil’s Embraer are fixed-wing, light-attack turboprop-powered aircraft, adorned with a traditional World War II-era shark face artwork are capable to be fitted and loaded with 50-caliber machine guns, precision-guided bombs, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, and electro-optical infrared and laser-firing technology.

These aircraft are also capable to reach a maximum speed of 590 kilometers per hour, a flight ceiling of 10,668 meters, and a range of 3,055 kilometers. The aircraft is also capable to take off and land on runways that are not fully developed and equipped with a modern cockpit that is also capable of night operation.

The Super Tucanos will be assigned to the Philippine Air Force’s 15th Strike Wing of the Air Combat Command and will be primarily used to augment the CAS duties of the aging North American Rockwell OV-10 Broncos supporting the ground operations of the troops, conduct aerial reconnaissance missions, and will focus on Counter-Insurgency (COIN) Operations.

The contract awarded to Embraer for the Super Tucanos is worth PHP4.968 billion and was issued in late 2017. The delivery of the six aircraft was originally scheduled for July 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all six aircraft arrived and completed last October 1. — Press release courtesy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines

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