The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is gradually beefing up its capabilities with the inclusion of the two brand new Cessna-208B Grand Caravan Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Aircraft in its inventory.
These ISR aircraft were acquired through Grant Programs of the United States government to the PAF under Program Authority US Code Title 10 Section 2282. Under this program, the US government helps build the capacity of foreign country’s national military in order for that country to conduct counter terrorism operations. It may include the provision of equipment, supplies, training, defense services, and small-scale military construction.
During the turn-over and blessing ceremony of the ISR platforms conducted at Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base, Pasay City on July 27, 2017, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y Kim said that the latest aircraft clearly manifests the strong relations of the Philippines and United States’ Armed Forces. He added that as allies, it is very important for both Armed Forces to help each other, especially in times of crisis.
The C-208 Caravan Aircraft can operate up to 912 nautical miles, has a maximum endurance of 5.5 hours, and service ceiling of 25,000 feet. It is fitted with modern and sophisticated ISR equipment enabling the PAF to provide timely and accurate ISR operations in support to various missions of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
With the arrival of the Cessna-208B Aircraft, the PAF will enhance not only its Counter Terrorism capabilities but will also aid the country’s Armed Forces in the conduct of Internal Security Operations, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, and Law Enforcement and Maritime Patrol.
Meanwhile, Secretary of National Defense Delfin N Lorenzana, who served as the guest of honor, emphasized the usefulness of these aircraft not only in military operations. According to him, other government agencies will also be able to benefit from the C-208B Grand Caravans considering the various missions that these ISR aircraft are able to perform.
“I can almost see that in the future, these aircraft will be working for the different departments of the government. It will be useful for the Agriculture Department, the Fisheries Department, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, to survey the mining areas and the forests, for the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic resources. Also to survey our maritime areas” he said.
As the country’s “eye in the sky”, these ISR platforms will assist the PAF in sustaining the efforts in terms of our nation’s security and safety.
“As head of the Defense Department, I have every confidence that the Philippine Air Force will make effective use of these aircraft that will certainly bolster their capability readiness,” Secretary Lorenzana added.
Speaking before the men and women of the PAF, the Commanding General, Lt Gen Edgar R Fallorina AFP, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to Secretary Lorenzana, General Eduardo M Año AFP, and the US government for their untiring support to modernize the Philippine Air Force.
Having these new aircraft will enable the PAF to become more responsive and swift in conducting its mission to achieve a Jointly Engaged Transforming Force for greater peace and security.
Source: @modernizephilippines (Philippine Air Force – facebook account)