MANILA --- Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday expressed interest in acquiring a Lockheed P-3 "Orion" surveillance and anti-submarine aircraft, which the United States is planning to retire soon.
"It will be good if we acquire even one P-3 'Orion,' provided it has all its original equipment. Otherwise it will just be another transport plane. We will find out if we can get one or two," Lorenzana told reporters.
The acquisition will be made through the US Excess Defense Articles Program.
The defense chief said he will soon make a formal request for the acquisition of the American aircraft.
"(If acquired by the Philippines, the 'Orions' will be) very important as our domain awareness will be greatly enhanced," he said.
The "Orion" is a four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the US Navy and introduced in the 1960s. Lockheed based it on the L-188 Electra commercial airliner.
The aircraft is easily recognizable by its distinctive tail stinger or "MAD Boom", used for the magnetic detection of submarines.
It has a range of 2,380 nautical miles and a maximum speed of 311 knots. (PNA)