Philippines deploy three AS-211 trainer jets for South China Sea patrols

Philippines AS-211 South China Sea patrols
  Philippines deploy three AS-211 trainer jets for South China Sea patrols.

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has deployed three SIAI‐Marchetti S.211 trainer/light attack aircraft to increase maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea.

The aircraft are operating under PAF’s Tactical Operations Wing (TOW) West at Antonio Bautista AFB, located at Puerto Princesa, Palawan. 

"Air assets, that will be based at Tactical Operations Wing West, Antonio Bautista Air Base, will enhance the operational tempo of WESCOM in securing the territorial integrity of the country in the West Philippine Sea as well as the Malampaya Deep Water Gas to Power Project," the PAF’s Tactical Operations Wing West said.

Tensions in the area have been high over arguments between China and other countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan regarding the ownership of territorial waters across the South China Sea.

The SIAI-Marchetti S-211 is a turbofan-powered trainer/light attack aircraft produced in Italy in the 80s and is the precursor of the most modern and advanced M-345 aircraft developed by Leonardo SpA. The PAF is the only armed force still operating the type. The PAF AS-211 variant, nicknamed as "Warriors", is improved with Norsight Optical Sight and AN/ARC-34 comminication systems and a .50 caliber belly gun pod.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: Philippine Fly Boy via Wikipedia