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AFP to acquire light-lift aircraft - official

July 16, 2008 1:23am
MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will acquire three brand-new or refurbished light-lift aircraft to increase its mobility, a high-ranking military official said Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. Jesus Llanto, deputy chief-of-staff for plans and head of the AFP Modernization Program, said they plan to replace the Air Force’s N-22 Nomad plane with light-lift aircraft such as turboprop planes because the Nomad’s spare parts are hard to get by and quite costly.

"It can still fly, but we have to admit that we would spend more for the maintenance of the aircraft," he told reporters in an interview at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Each light-lift aircraft would cost around P980 million, Mr. Llanto said. "We just completed the bid documents, contracts are up for bidding next month."

The military’s capability upgrade program has two phases. The first deals with enhancing internal security and has a funding of P11.7 billion.

The second phase worth P22.2 billion will address territorial defense. It has yet to be funded, Mr. Llanto said.

He said up for delivery within two to three months are communication devices such as night vision goggles and radios worth P4 billion, modern mortars and inshore patrol vessels for units in insurgency-afflicted areas.

Mr. Llanto said the new equipment will increase efficiency by 70%.— J. F. S. Valdez, BusinessWorld