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Airbus flaunts defense aircraft as Philippines plans upgrade

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EUROPEAN aircraft manufacturer Airbus is launching new military aircraft and satellite products which it said is fit for the government’s plans to modernize the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

Johan Pelissier, head of Airbus’s Southeast Asia defense and space, said in press briefing on Tuesday that the company’s new C295 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and A400M offer the latest technology in boosting military operations.

“What we see according to the modernization plan . . . is that we have a portfolio which is fitting to the future requirements of the Philippines,” he said ahead of the Asian Defense and Security 2018 exhibition in Pasay City.

He said he was confident that Airbus has the right product to respond to the country’s future needs, typically air transport, and maritime security requirement.

“We believe that this platform is really suitable for the future requirements,” he said.

In July, President Rodrigo R. Duterte said the government was investing P139 billion on PAF projects as part of the revised Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization program.




He said in a speech during the 71st anniversary of the PAF that it is “vital to innovate and invest in strategies and technologies that will allow our forces to perform their duties safely and effectively.”

Airbus said the Philippines had been operating three C295 units since 2016.

Mr. Pelissier described the PAF as a “highly valued customer.” He said the company is happy to support the country’s modernization program.

He noted that the PAF’s existing C295 is mainly for transporting passengers and cargo, and is commonly used for humanitarian missions. The new C295 MPA was upgraded to have a mission system suitable for overland surveillance and maritime warfare.

“It is especially suitable for countries in Asia, many of which need to monitor large coastlines and secure their economic zones,” Mr. Pelissier said in a statement.

The A400M, the newest tactical and strategic aircraft made by Airbus, is the most modern in its category. It can fly twice as long and carry twice as much load than any competing aircraft, Mr. Pelisser said.

Both the C295 MPA and the A400M can land on soft and paved runway such as a seashore, thus they are suitable for use in delivering to a specific point of need.

Earlier this year, Mr. Pelissier said Airbus had made a pitch to the PAF regarding the A400M, but the country has so far not placed any order. He said upon receipt of an order, delivery of the aircraft usually takes around a couple of years.

He said Airbus has a proven track record of providing surveillance equipment and earth observation satellites in Asia, helping to ensure national security, monitor climate change, and prepare and manage disaster occurrences. — Denise A. Valdez

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