Air Force gets a lift with new C-130H from US

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 30) — The Philippine Air Force has received the first of two C-130H aircraft it purchased through the U.S. government’s military financing program.

The aircraft, built by American company Lockheed Martin, arrived at the Villamor Air Base on Friday. It already has the insignia of the PAF, with the tail number 5125. The PAF conducted a water salute — a customary tradition given to an aircraft upon joining the service.

“The aircraft will provide enhanced capability in terms of heavy airlift missions to support movement of troops and cargoes during Territorial Defense Security and Stability and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response Operations,” the PAF said in a statement.

A series of technical inspections will be conducted on the newly arrived C-130H aircraft for the next two weeks, followed by a formal acceptance and turnover ceremony.

Officials earlier said the two C-130H planes have a combined cost of ₱2.5 billion. The Philippines will pay ₱1.6 billion while the remaining ₱900 million will be shouldered by the US through a grant under its Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

In a Senate hearing on the Defense Department’s budget late last year, Senator Panfilo Lacson lamented that the country only had four C-130s – only one was operational then since the other three were undergoing repairs. He said the PAF also intended to buy five brand new C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.