The first of two Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft with tactical airlift capability has been turned over by the U.S. to the Philippine government as part of strengthening the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) logistical capacity for military and civil support operations.
A press statement sent Friday by the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines stated that the aircraft was turned over Thursday (February 18) at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City by Chargé d’ Affaires (CDA) John Law, alongside their representatives from the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG) in the country.
It was delivered under a recent transfer to Department of National Defense (DND) Sec. Delfin Lorenzana and the Philippine Air Force (PAF) leadership.
It was handed over to the PAF through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grant program to step up the AFP’s logistical capacity for military and civil support operations, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) and distribution of COVID-19 supplies.
The C-130H Hercules aircraft is capable of a maximum payload of 19,000 kilograms, with a flying range of over 1,900 kilometers. The 220 Airlift Wing at the PAF headed by Brigadier General Benito N. Ebuen Air Base in Cebu will own and operate the aircraft.
“The C-130 is a proven aircraft and demonstrated its reach and capability to deliver COVID-19 supplies across the country over the past year. We hope this additional aircraft will continue to be a steady workhorse for the Philippine Air Force for years to come,” said Law.
In a Philippine News Agency (PNA) report, Lorenzana said the arrival of the aircraft is a “timely augmentation” to the country’s present C-130 fleet.
“Certainly, this will make our Air Force soar higher since this new asset will enhance its heavy aircraft capability in missions to support the movement of troops and cargoes during territorial defense and internal security,” Lorenzana said.
“With the government’s upcoming vaccination program to start in the next few months, the Air Force will be very much involved in the transportation of vaccines to all parts of the archipelago,” he added.
With tail number 5125, the aircraft arrived in the Philippines on January 29. The cost of acquiring the two C-130 aircraft was earlier placed at P2.5 billion, with the Philippines contributing P1.6 billion and the U.S. about P900 million, the state bureau’s report said.
The United States, as a longstanding ally of the Philippines, continues to provide support to the AFP through both grants and expedited sales of arms and munitions to assist with urgent logistical and HADR requirements, bolster long-term AFP modernization goals, and buttress maritime security and counterterrorism efforts.
The Philippines is by far the largest recipient of U.S. military assistance in the Indo-Pacific region. Since 2015, the United States has delivered more than Php37 billion ($765 million) worth of planes, ships, armored vehicles, small arms, and other military equipment to the Philippines, while also training side-by-side with our Filipino allies.