Two Philippine Air Force (PAF) programs to acquire long-range patrol aircraft (LRPA) and close-air support (CAS) aircraft have been delayed for a long time. This month, Department of National Defense (DND) is set to hold another bid opening for the acquisition of the close air support aircraft.
The acquisition program was first June 2014 when DND released the bid bulletin showed that the long-range maritime patrol aircraft acquisition project has an approved budget of P5.98 billion while the close air support planes cost Php 4.97 billion.
“The factors affecting delays include the recent change in the Philippines government, funding issues, and foreign bidders fail to meet the technical and financial requirements,” the article said.
It is expected six foreign firms reportedly expressed interest to participate in the bidding including,
Brazilian Aircraft Manufacturer Embraer Asia Pacific
US-based Beechcraft Defense Co.
IOMAX USA Inc.
Korea Aerospace Industries
European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. – Construcciones Aeronautics SA (EADS-CASA)
Airbus Defense and Space
Close air support aircraft is designed to provide air support to infantry and naval units engaging with the enemy.
With the additional six new aircraft, it will add to the current limited number of OV-10s “Bronco” turboprop close attack planes operated by the Philippine Air Force.
The DND’s technical specifications require the aircraft with dual seating with a carrying capacity of at least 3,000 lbs with five hard points. The aircraft must also have two .50 caliber guns installed built-in or through pods.