Philippines to get ‘airborne command post’ based on future jet
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Air Force is acquiring a sophisticated fixed-wing jet aircraft that may serve as an “airborne command post” for the government and ranking military officials in times of emergency.
The P2-billion Gulfstream G280 aircraft is expected sometime in August 2020, Defense spokesperson Director Arsenio Andolong told reporters Monday.
“The G280 will primarily serve as a platform to carry our senior leaders and commanders in the event of, for example, crisis situation. It can be used by the chief of staff, Secretary of National Defense, our major service commanders and the President,” he said.
“Although you want to use the term lightly or loosely, it is similar to an airborne command post. It would serve that purpose, he added.
The Gulfstream said in a news release last week that the Philippine government has recently signed a contract through the US government to purchase the G280, including its parts, tooling and contractor logistics support.
The G280 has a maximum range of 3,600 nautical miles/6,667 kilometers at its long-range cruise speed of Mach 0.80 and a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.84, the Gulfstream said.
The aircraft can fly eight hours nonstop and can connect Dubai to Hong Kong; Singapore to Melbourne, Australia; or Singapore to Dubai.
It may also be used for VIP transport; command and control; airborne early warning; medical evacuation; high-altitude atmospheric research; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana approved the plan to purchase the aircraft in Nov. 29 last year. It was acquired from the US through the Foreign Military Financing Program.
The aging Fokker F-28, which the Gulfstream G280 is expected to replace, is currently undergoing maintenance in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, the Air Force is also expecting the arrival of Airbus Defense & Space C-295 medium transport within the year, which was bought for P1.8 billion. It will also serve as a command-and-control aircraft.
“It has a longer range. It’s suitable for maritime patrol missions as well as for transporting supplies and troops,” Andolong said.
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