Airbus Defence and Space has handed over the first C-295 medium transport aircraft to the Philippines Air Force (PAF) at its final assembly line in Seville, Spain.
In February 2014, Airbus was selected to supply three C-295 planes to PAF at a cost of PHP5.29bn ($118m), to enhance help the overall lift capability of the air force.
The aircraft is expected to play a key role in the modernisation of the force’s transport fleet and will undertake a wide variety of military and humanitarian missions.
Philippines Air Force spokesperson lieutenant colonel Enrico Canaya was quoted by INQUIRER.net as saying that the aircraft will undergo an acceptance process following arrival in the country.
"This is a medium-lift plane, an equivalent of Fokker. This will be used in transporting cargos, disaster response."
Philippines Defence Undersecretary Fernando Manalo earlier told philstar.com that the aircraft would be delivered to Clark Air Base on Luzon Island in the Philippines, between 23 and 25 March.
The remaining two C-295 airlifters are scheduled to be delivered in 2016, and will supplement PAF’s existing transport fleet consisting of three Fokker planes and three C-130 Hercules.
The C-295 is a stretched variant of the CN-235 transporter. It is a tactical military transport aircraft designed to carry out tactical airlift, search-and-rescue, and maritime patrol and environmental surveillance missions in all-weather conditions.
Power from the aircraft comes from two Pratt & Whitney PW127G turboprop engines. The C-295 also features a high-wing, rear-loader design which enables easy loading of mission pallets, passengers, cargo, and litters for medical evacuation, communication and logistic duties or paratrooping operations.
The aircraft has also been sold to customers and operators in Algeria, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, Indonesia, Jordan, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
Image: A Philippines Air Force’s Airbus C295 medium transport aircraft in flight. Photo: courtesy of (c) Airbus Defence and Space.