Defense buys P2B plane for transport of VIPs

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    THE defense department has signed a contract with an American aerospace company for the acquisition of P2 billion worth of aircraft to serve as command and control aircraft and for the transport of the President and other VIPs.

    In a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo, DND spokesman Arsenio Andolong said the G280 aircraft is due to be delivered by the aircraft manufacturer, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp, in August next year. The aircraft was acquired through the US Foreign Military Sales program.

    Andolong could not immediately say when the contract was signed. The contract signing was announced last week by Gulfstream which said the deal includes parts, tooling, and logistics support.

    “The G280 will primarily serve as platform to carry our senior leaders and commanders in the event of, for example, a crisis situation. It can be used by the (AFP) chief of staff, SND (secretary of national defense), our major service commanders and the President,” he said.

    The presidential aircraft, an F-28 or a Fokker plane, is sidelined for maintenance in Malaysia.

    Andolong said the G280 is designed “to be a little more comfortable but… its premium is its speed, capability to land on short runways, which cannot be done by our aircraft at the moment.”

    In a statement, Gulfstream president Mark Burns said, “The G280’s unmatched performance combined with the backup of our world-renowned customer support makes it an agile and reliable platform for the Philippine Air Force.”