31 Juli 2017
EMB-314 Super Tucano COIN aircraft (photo : Felipe BM)
Export of Super Tucanos to the Philippines can be quadrupled
Depending on how the delivery of the first batch of six EMB-314 Super Tucano aircraft to Philippine Military Aviation, and above all how this is reported to the (controversial) president Rodrigo Duterte, this export to the Asian country can be quadrupled.
According to the INSIDER column, Embraer, the manufacturer of A-29 Super Tucano, has been informed, unofficially, that the Philippine Air Force Modernization Program envisages replacing not only the reconnaissance and ground-attack twin engines OV- 10 Bronco, of American manufacture, but also of the turboprops SF-260TP, of Italian origin.
This means that all material from the 16th and 17th Attack Squadrons of the 15th Air Wing, based at Danilo Atienza Air Base , Sangley Point, Cavite, on the outskirts of Manila, will be renovated. A more than encouraging prospect for the Brazilian company.
Embraer is still waiting for this year to sign the contract for the supply of the first six aircraft, within the Horizon 1 Phase of the Modernization Program. The Super Tucanos will need to be delivered to the Asian country in 2019.
The remaining 18 aircraft will be acquired under the Horizon 2 Phase of the same project, but will need the blessings of the mercurial Duterte, who, at least at first, was convinced that turboprops, by their performance characteristics, are more effective In combating the extremist groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf (linked to Al Qaeda ), which infest the southern part of the Philippine territory.
In private conversations with his military chiefs and even in public statements, the president has already stated: he believes that turboprops are cheaper and easier to maintain and operate than jet planes.
None of this means that the competition is conformed to the possible loss of the order of anti-guerrilla aircraft.
In Manila, the lobby of the Sino-Pakistani JF-17 Thunder fighter (much cheaper than the South Korean FA-50 already imported by Duterte), insists on the thesis that the acquisition of these jets would open an important channel of cooperation between the Administration Philippine and the Beijing government.