The four trainer planes, part of 18 on order, will be formally accepted by PAF chief Lt. Gen. Oscar Rabena in formal ceremonies to be held at the PAF training school in Pampanga this morning. Witnessing the event will be Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin.
PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol said this initial delivery is part of the 18 basic trainer aircraft which the Air Force is acquiring from Augusta of Italy with a total cost of P621,671,409.06.
The package includes the airplanes, spare parts, training and integrated logistical support.
Okol disclosed that the Pilot Training System of the Philippine Air Force currently uses both the T-41 and the SF-260 aircraft for primary and basic training respectively.
“The hand-over of T-41 aircraft from the Republic of South Korea in 2009 provided more primary trainer aircraft for the Philippine Air Force Flying School,” Okol said.
“These (SF-260) trainers will significantly increase the number of available basic trainer aircraft of the PAF for flight training,” Okol said.
According to the PAF spokesperson, the PAF is lacking in training aircraft, with at least 150 to 170 Air Force officers forced to wait in line for actual training to fly an aircraft. The arrival of the four SF-260 Marchetti planes will boost the training capability of the Air Force and ease the backlog of students required to undergo flying exercises.
Okol however clarified that even if the officers wait in line to get flying time, their time was not wasted as they are required to undergo training in other career fields related to intelligence, computers, logistics and maintenance.
The propeller-driven AF-260 is the world’s most successful screener and primary trainer.
Fully acrobatic by design, the SF-260 offers flight characteristics and performance levels that allow effective pilot candidates screening early in the program and minimizes the costs incurred when students wash out on jets or complex turboprops.
The SF-260, with Allison 250-B17D Turboprop engine, has a span of 8.35 meters, length of 7.40 meters, rate climb of 2,200 feet per minute and maximum level speed of 228 KTAS (knots true air speed). All SF-260 variants are available with either piston or turbine engines.
Some 900 SF-260 have been sold to 27 different military customers, civil professional flying schools and private operators worldwide. The Italian Air Force bought 30 brand new units.
The expected completion of delivery for the remaining 14 aircraft will be in the first quarter of next year.