The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will use the two US donated Cessna 208B “Caravan” aircraft, which are fitted with intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), to patrol the country’s vast maritime domains and borders, AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restito Padilla said on Wednesday.
In an interview, Padilla said the ISR aircraft could also conduct photo-recon missions along the country’s coastal zones.
Padilla said the two planes, which will be formally turned over by the US government to the Philippines Thursday, were part of America’s Maritime Security Initiative.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is expected to be in the hand-over ceremony in Villamor Air Base, Pasay City along with US Ambassador Sung Kim.
The Cessna 208B will also give the AFP the capability to detect ships and other craft intruding into the country’s territorial waters quickly.
It can also be used to track down or locate lawless elements attempting to infiltrate in the Philippines’ southern maritime borders.
The Cessna 208B has a cruising speed of around 170 knots and has a range of over 1,000 nautical miles and capable of transporting eight to nine persons, including the pilot.
Minus the ISR equipment and avionics, each of the aircraft is worth about USD2 milllion.