The Philippines will take delivery of the A-29 Super Tucano in February next year. According to local news
, the Air Force (PAF) is set to acquire more air assets and equipment in the coming months. On Tuesday, Philippine Air Force commander, Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez spoke on this matter during the PAF's 72nd founding anniversary. The commander said, the Super Tucanos "will be a game-changing platform, which will perform surface strike support to ground troops“. They are expected to support the remaining North American Rockwell OV-10 „Bronco“
attack aircraft being used by the PAF in strike missions. The A-29
is an Embraer light attack aircraft, which carries a wide variety of weapons, including precision-guided munitions. It was designed to be a low-cost system operated in low-threat environments.
The USA needs a plane that can provide effective precision close air support and JTAC training, and costs about $1,000 per flight hour to operate – instead of the $15,000+ they’re paying now to use advanced jet fighters at 10% of their capabilities. Countries on the front lines of the war’s battles needed a plane that small or new air forces can field within a reasonable time, and use effectively. If these 2 needs are filled by the same aircraft, everything becomes easier for US allies and commanders. One would think that this would have been obvious around October 2001, but it took until 2008 for this understanding to even gain momentum within the Pentagon. A series of intra-service, political, and legal fights have ensured that these capabilities won’t arrive before 2015 at the earliest, and won’t arrive for the USAF at all.
The USA has now issued 2 contracts related to this need. The first was killed by a lawsuit that the USAF didn’t think they could defend successfully. Since February 2013 they have a contract that they hope will stick. The 3 big questions are simple. Will the past be prologue for the new award? Will there be an Afghan government to begin taking delivery of their 20 planes much beyond 2014? And will another allied government soon need to use this umbrella contract for its own war?