The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has taken delivery
of the first of two ordered C-130
cargo aircraft acquired through the excess defense articles (EDA) program. It is expected that the second C-130 will be delivered in the third of forth quarter of this year. Originally configured for tanker missions, the two aircraft have been converted for transport missions, and will significantly boost the PAF's heavy lift capabilities. At present, the air force operates three Airbus Military C-295 medium, and three Fokker F-27 transports for its logistics and lift missions.
The Philippine Air Force has devolved in many ways since the 1980s, but China’s ongoing pressure is finally focusing high-level attention on the need to rebuild it. A country of islands means a special premium for sea and air transport, but the country’s aerial transport fleet has declined especially badly. At the high end, it has crashed from a high of 18 C-130 medium transports to just 3 aged C-130B and L-382 (converted civil C-130H) aircraft. Poor storage and practices mean that only 3 other PAF airframes can even hope for refurbishment now, and the country is also looking to buy second-hand C-130s from the United States.