PAF issues warning on no-fly zones: We may use force
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Air Force reiterated its implementation of no-fly zones during the five-day visit of Pope Francis starting Thursday.
“We would like to inform the public that we will strictly enforce no-fly zone including drones. We don’t want to use force that’s why we are informing everybody not to make a mistake of flying over the [no-fly zone areas],” Air Force spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Enrico Canaya said on Wednesday.
“We are prepared to use force if necessary,” he added.
The Air Force and Navy will use a total of 26 of its air assets for the papal visit from January 15 to 19. The aircraft will be used for various functions including transportation, air cover and evacuation.
The Air Force is tasked to provide air cover for the papal visit, which means it will use its assets to protect the ground where Pope Francis is.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has already issued a Notice to Airmen on no-fly zone areas, but Canaya said they are reiterating their call just in case the no-fly zone areas are violated.
“We might need to use gunships air defense techniques and even ground-based [techniques],” he said.
He said they will detect the aircraft through radars from CAAP.
“What we usually do is we intercept the aircraft as far as beyond 10 nautical miles. We detect this approaching aircraft and if it continues to the inside the layer defense, intercept or we escort using our assets,” Canaya said.
The S-211 trainer jets will be used for the outer layer (beyond 10 nautical miles), while helicopters will be used for the inner layer.
“In case there will be a threat from the air then using the rules of engagement we may use force. But we want to emphasize that we are hoping that it won’t have to come to that,” he said.
Canaya also said they are ready to airlift the pope in case a problem arises in the motorcade.
“Yes we are prepared for air support when necessary,” he said.
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