The Philippine military, which is battling both pro-Islamic State militants and communist guerrillas, is acquiring 6 Brazilian-made A-29 planes for close air support, authorities said.
Embraer Defense was declared the winning bidder to supply the 6 propeller-driven planes for $98.5 million, the Philippine Department of National Defense said. "They are intended to be the primary close air support aircraft of the PAF (Philippine Air Force)," the department said.
Embraer said in its statement that once the Super Tucano was delivered, which would be a process that begins in 2019, the aircraft would be turned over and maintained by the 15th Strike Wing of the PAF and would be deployed for “close air support, light attack, surveillance, air-to-air interception, and counterinsurgency missions.” That would make the Philippines the second operator of the aircraft in the Asia-Pacific, the company said, the region's other operator of the type is Indonesia, which has 15 planes.
The Super Tucanos are likely to replace Manila's fleet of eight obsolescent Rockwell OV-10 Bronco aircraft.
The importance of close air support for the Philippine air force was highlighted earlier this year when Islamic State militants on the island of Mindanao took over the city of Marawi.
The battle to clear the city involved Philippine assets such as the Korean Aerospace Industries FA-50 fighter delivering precision strikes against militants holed up in buildings.
Source : Rappler.com | Flightglobal.com | Militarytoday.com