The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has formally accepted a new C-295M medium transport aircraft during a turnover ceremony at the Haribon Hangar of the Clark Air Base in Pampanga.

The aircraft is the fourth C-295M purchased from Airbus Defense and Space as part of the Command and Control Fixed-Wing Turbo Prop Acquisition (C2FWTPA) project.

PAF will use the PHP1.8bn ($354.2m) aircraft to transport troops and relief material to the Mindanao island, the Philippine News Agency reported. A strong earthquake struck the island last month.

The acquisition is part of the government’s wider programme to modernise its armed forces.

PAF spokesperson major Aristides Galang stated that the C-295M will be used to transport personnel and equipment. The aircraft will also support disaster relief and humanitarian assistance efforts.

In addition, the command and control aircraft will meet the transport needs of the PhilPresident and other important persons.

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PAF commander lieutenant general Rozzano Briguez said: “From airlifting personnel and logistical supplies to projecting military force, as well as providing humanitarian assistance and disaster response, air mobility has been an indispensable capability that the Philippine Air Force provides through the competency of our pilots, crew and the aircraft that we possess. The aircraft personifies the guardians of our precious skies, and the bearers of hope.”

Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who was present at the ceremony, revealed plans to buy additional C-295M aircraft to boost maritime security.