The Philippines is to bolster its airborne counterinsurgency (COIN) capabilities with the receipt of four surplus Rockwell OV-10 Bronco ground attack aircraft from the United States, and potentially two BT-67 gunships that are being offered by Basler Turbo Conversions.
A US Air Force (USAF) sources sought notification for the transfer of two OV-10A and two OV-10G+ aircraft to an unspecified Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customer was first seen by Jane’s on 23 July, while Basler Turbo Conversions told Jane’s on 24 July that it was offering the BT-67 gunships as part of a wider package that includes a pair of BT-67 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) aircraft also.
In terms of the OV-10s, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) is currently the only military operator of the type with a single OV-10A and four OV-10C aircraft in its inventory. The USAF did not respond to a Jane’s request for information on the transfer of the four surplus aircraft, but regional sources identified the PAF as the customer to Defense News’ Mike Yeo. The PAF is due to replace its existing OV-10s with the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano from 2019, but with the transfer of the additional aircraft set to take place at about the same time it is likely that the service will maintain both types for a time.
The BT-67 is essentially a turboprop conversion of the Douglas DC-3 Dakota fitted with updated systems such as digital avionics, a night-vision goggle-compatible cockpit, weather radar, and a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor. Basler Turbo Conversions previously offered the platform to the Philippines in late 2016, but the offer was not taken up at that time.
Should both of these procurements go through, the additional OV-10s and the BT-67s would join the six new Super Tucanos that will arrive from late 2019, as well as two Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX aircraft modified to carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and potentially ground attack missions, and 12 Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 light attack aircraft that the Philippines has recently received.
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