The Philippines may purchase more NC212i light utility transport aircraft from Indonesia if the Air Force finds it suitable to their operations, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.
On Tuesday, the state-owned PT Dirgantara Indonesia finally turned over two units to the Philippines, after a few years of delay due to autopilot issues. The planes, purchased through the AFP modernization program signed in 2014, are worth P850 million.
The Air Force sees the aircraft as a “big leap” to their air mobility requirements and capabilities. Its fleet of light transport planes, the Nomad, are being used since the 1970s.
“If the Air Force will find this aircraft suitable for our use, they will order more of this aircraft,” he said.
A similar type of aircraft is currently not included in the Horizon 2 of the AFP modernization program, however.
Lorenzana also took the opportunity at the turnover to express his admiration for Indonesia’s defense industry.
“We admire Indonesia for their vision to create their own defense industry. Remember in the 1960s we also had our own modernization program under then President Marcos but it did not take off,” he said.
“But Indonesia was able to pursue their vision of developing their naval industry and aircraft industry and now they are exporting to us,” Lorenzana said, citing the two strategic sealift vessels of the Philippine Navy which were also bought from Indonesia as examples.
“We are happy to have the help of our neighbors. Indonesia is in just in the back door to provide the necessary equipment,” he said.
“When the supplier of a good is near, the after-sale support is easier. It’s easier for them to come and solve a problem,” he added.
By: Frances Mangosing