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Philippine Army to boost its aircraft capabilities

The Sikorsky HH-60 Black Hawk MEDEVAC helicopter (shown here in US Army markings) is one of the platforms mentioned by the Philippine Army among those aircraft types required to expand the capabilities of its aviation regiment. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

On 15 December the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Lieutenant General Andres Centino, said that the manned airborne capabilities of the Philippine Army (PA) aviation regiment will be expanded as part of the broader Philippine Armed Forces Modernization Program (AFMP) to complement operations performed by the other services.

Centino stated his commitment to support the PA's air modernisation plans during the opening ceremony of the helicopter transition training course for the Bölkow Bo 105 helicopter at the army aviation regiment's Fort Magsaysay airbase (Nueva Ecija).

“I am fortunate to see the dawn of aviation in the Philippine Army. Rest assured that as chief of staff, you will have my full support in the enhancement of your capability,” he said.

The Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 multi-purpose helicopter, which was donated by a private businessman and commissioned into service in July 2021, is one of three helicopters in the PA's inventory.

Two Robinson R44 Raven light training helicopters that were donated were also commissioned into service in October 2020 at Fort Magsaysay, which is the primary training area for the AFP.

Besides these three helicopters, the service operates two legacy Cessna U206 utility aircraft, according to Janes Inventory data.

In March 2019 during the PA's 122nd Founding Anniversary celebrations, the army aviation regiment stated its initial requirements for both rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft in a presentation.

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