• US screens DND’s plan to buy two C-130 planes

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    THE US State Department is evaluating the Philippine government’s offer, through the Department of National Defense (DND), for the purchase of two C-130T transport planes for an estimated cost of $61 million or some P2.6 billion.

    The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), in a statement released from Washington, said the DND’s request also includes possible sale of 10 T56-16 engines (8 installed and 2 spares), logistical sustenance and support for three years and associated equipment.

    The DSCA is the central agency that synchronizes global security cooperation programs, funding and efforts for the US Department of Defense.

    It clarified that notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean that the sale has been concluded.

    Earlier, Gen. Gregorio Catapang, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff, disclosed that the acquisition of the two C-130 planes is already in the bag on an assurance from the US that it would provide these transport planes.

    At present, the Philippine Air Force has only three operational C130s at its disposal, far short of the ideal number of nine, from a high of 18 decades back.

    Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the current C-130s are overused.

    Gazmin, however, added that buying brand-new planes is not a priority at this time because of budgetary constraints and that it will cost around $11.5 million or some P500 million to recondition the Air Force’ non-functioning C-130 planes.

    According to the Air Force, a brand-new C-130 plane costs more than P3 billion. All three C-130s being used by the AFP had been refurbished, with one of them purchased for P1.747 billion from the Tunisian Air Force.

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