PAF receives new Cessna plane which could patrol West Philippine Sea
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) formally received a Cessna plane, the third from the US, which the military may also use to patrol the West Philippine Sea.
The Cessna-208B (C-208B) Grand Caravan EX Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Aircraft was formally accepted by PA in a turnover, and blessing ceremony at Clark Air Base, Mabalacat City, Pampanga on Tuesday.
The ceremony was led by Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. who formally received the documents of the newly-delivered C-208B from the Chief of Joint US Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG)-Philippines, Col Edward Evans .
It was also attended by AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. and PAF Commanding General Lt. Gen. Stephen Parreno.
In an interview with reporters, Teodoro said the aircraft will be used in all types of military operations, including the patrol in the West Philippine Sea.
"It will be used for all operations, the, all, all types of operations," he said.
Brawner also noted how the C-208B will boost the capability of the PAF in patrolling the maritime waters of the country.
"Yes definitely, this aircraft will boost our capability of patrolling our maritime seas and as mentioned by the commander of Western Command, Vice Admiral (Alberto) Carlos our ability to protect our sovereign rights in our exclusive economic zone depends highly on the equipment that we have so definitely this aircraft will help us, will boost our capability in making sure that we secure our territory and our sovereign rights," he said.
Parreno said the aircraft will be deployed immediately wherever it is needed.
"This brand new aircraft is very welcome addition to our intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance capability, it will also boost our capability in missions of law enforcement, terrorism and maritime domain awareness," he said.
"Like what (Teodoro) said earlier, that it will be used for all types of missions depending on the need, and during humanitarian assistance and disaster response this aircraft will also be useful particularly in the aftermath ng disasters and on RDNA (rapid damage and needs assessment) missions so that we could assess the damage during calamities," he added.
Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo, PAF public affairs office chief, said C-208B can operate up to 912 nautical miles and stay airborne for five hours and 30 minutes.
Castillo said the C-208B Aircraft, with an advanced ISR capability, will be operated by the 300th Air Intelligence and Security Wing (AISW) headed by Brig. Gen Edgar Torres PAF.
"The said aircraft will be utilized in support of internal security operations, territorial defense, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) specifically in the conduct of rapid damage assessment and needs analysis (RDANA) during times of calamities and disasters. The C-208B will also be significant in counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts," she said.
"Beefing up capacity with the brand new Cessna Aircraft, the PAF has now three of this kind of aircraft in its inventory with the first two delivered and formally turned over last August 2017. All of these were acquired as grants from the US Government," she added. Robina Asido/DMS