Philippine Air Force wants more Super Tucano light attack aircraft

Philippines buy Embraer Super Tucano
Philippine Air Force A-29B Super Tucano light attack aircraft.

Within days of our article on the Philippines' plan to purchase a new air superiority fighter, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) announced that they are considering purchasing additional Embraer Super Tucano CAS/light attack aircraft. According to leading Brazilian media Cavok, the service intends to introduce a total of 24 A-29B Super Tucano turboprops by 2024.

This announcement follows the one made last October by Filipino Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who confirmed the nation's need to purchase at least six more A-29Bs to continue replacing the older OV-10A/C Bronco and SF-260TP light attack planes at the PAF 15th Strike Wing. The type is deployed for close air support, light strike, surveillance, air-to-air interception, counter-insurgency missions, advanced training, and is part of the PAF's ongoing modernization process. It is equipped with advanced electronic, electro-optic, infrared and laser system technologies, as well as secured radio systems with data links and state-of-the-art munitions capabilities.

The Philippines ordered a first batch of 6 Super Tucanos in November 2017 which were handed over in October 2020. Under the new agreement, an additional 12 aircraft will be delivered by 2022 and the last 6 in the following two years.

The choice to put a light attack aircraft rather than an advanced fighter at the top of the shopping list confirms Manila's urgency to defeat the growing internal wars linked to the Communist rebellion and drug trafficking. Such insurrections represent today a primary threat compared to China with which the Philippines are fighting for the sovereignty of the South China Sea area.

With 24 aircraft, the Philippines would become the second largest user of the Super Tucano along with Colombia.

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Written by Matteo Sanzani

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