Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (left) talks to a Philippine Air Force officer before the new Gulfstream G280 took off to transport medical supplies to Davao City. | Photo courtesy of PAF Public Affairs Office
NEW YORK – A brand-new Gulfstream G280 command-and-control aircraft (C2), acquired by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales, was turned-over to officials of the Philippines and the U.S. Air forces during a ceremony at the Gulfstream Aerospace Dallas Facility Sept. 17.
““The acquisition of the G280 aircraft is an important component of our efforts to modernize the AFP, representing a priority deliverable for a superior, multi-role aircraft. The G280 will provide our country’s leadership with fast and reliable domestic and regional air transportation, with the Command and Control capabilities that can facilitate immediate executive decisions wherever in the country or region the aircraft may be, most especially during times of calamity or conflict,” said Renato Pedro Villa, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Philippine Embassy in the United States. The aircraft is capable of speeds around 500 knots and has a range of 3,600 nautical miles aside from having the capability to land on small runways and transport 12 to 15 persons including the pilots and crew.
Villa also said that the transfer of the aircraft is significant “not only because it represents what will certainly be a long-term partnership with Gulfstream but also because it deepens further the level of cooperation and engagement between our two countries.” Accompanying Villa were PAF Col. Rommel Roldan, Brig. General Marlo Guloy and Col. Amado Dela Paz, officials of the Office of the Defense and Armed Forces Attaché at the Philippine Embassy.
“The aircraft represents the first G280 to serve as command and control airplane for a government,” said Naveed Aziz, vice president of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation.
The G280 will be assigned to the PAF’s 220th Airlift Wing, based in Mactan, Cebu, is responsible for conducting tactical airlift missions in support of the AFP. “It will join our other transport aircraft like the (Airbus) C-295, (PT Dirgantara Indonesia) NC-212i and (Lockheed) C-130,” PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Aristides Galang said when it arrived at the Clark Air Base in Angeles, Pampanga on Sept. 20. It was formally turned over to the PAF Monday, Sept. 21 and had its inaugural flight with high level officials of the COVID Interagency Task Force (IATF) on board during a pandemic-related assessment trip.
The new aircraft, the contract for which was signed in early 2019, is part of the acquisition project under the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program. It will replace the aging aircraft used by the President and other senior officials in cases of emergency.