The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will receive four of 18 new trainer aircraft from Italy as part of its modernisation programme.

The PAF is acquiring the 18 basic trainer aircraft, as well as spare parts, training and integrated logistical support from AugustaWestland at a total cost of PHP621m ($14.5m).

The delivery of the four SF-260 Marchetti planes will boost the training capability of the PAF and reduce the backlog of students required to undergo flying exercises, according to mb.com.ph.

Equipped with the Allison 250-B17D Turboprop engine, the SF-260 aircraft has a span of 8.35m, a length of 7.40m, rate climb of 2,200ft a minute and a maximum level speed of 228kt.

The remaining 14 SF-260 aircraft will be delivered to the PAF in the first quarter of 2011.