We Do Remember!
11 October 2018
Arrival in Balikpapan prior to heading Palu
11 October 2018
After keeping its house in order right after the category 5 typhoon, The Philippines has finally send out Humanitarian Mission to earthquake and tsunami-stricken City of Palu in Central Sulawese as Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130 brought US$200,000 of relief goods to the island on October 10, 2018.
Another US$200,000 in cash was likewise donated to Indonesia to help them in their relief efforts. The C-130 plane is scheduled to ferry relief supplies between Balikpapan, Makassar and Palu.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said it took the Philippines a while to prepare for the goods because of earlier disasters that hit the country which ravaged several provinces in Northern Luzon last month.
According to the Secretary, the C-130 and the humanitarian crew will be staying in Sulawese for quite some time to help in the ferrying of goods. Another C-130 is scheduled to leave on Oct. 15 to complement the first one that left Wednesday.
Philippine Airlines low cost subsidiary PAL Express will fly San Jose airport in Antique beginning December of this year thrice a week from Clark using Q400NG aircraft. Probing flight is tentatively set on Oct. 28.
The resumption of flight takes place after the Transport Ministry (DOTr) closure of the airport for necessary runway upgrade works. The agency has set aside P140 million for repair and upgrade of airport infrastructures to support commercial flights. P40 million of this fund has been set aside for runway overlay of the airport’s 1.2km runway for smoother landing and take-off.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has already completed the set up of the terminal and airport security, provided technical and ground maintenance works, and assisted PAL in preparation for its administrative office.
The airport service commercial flights from April 2003 until June 30, 2006 when Asian Spirit (now AirAsia Philippines) finally left the airport due to dwindling traffic.
Airport Manager Martin T. Terre said airport statistics showed an average of 80 passengers per flight. The passenger volume, however, dwindled to six at its last flight in 2006, mainly attributed to a much lower airfare offered by airlines serving Iloilo airport where multiple domestic airlines serves to and from Manila as compared to that from San Jose de Buenavista, Antique's capital.
Terre said the people preferred the lower airfare and multiple connections offered from Iloilo which is three hours away travel time than paying high fare for direct flight.
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is expecting delivery of two more C-130T aircraft in 2019 according to the Defence Ministry.
Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenza said yesterday two more C-130 cargo planes from the United States valued more than US$ 61 million is scheduled to arrive by second half of next year to further improve the operational readiness of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) which currently has a fleet of five cargo planes.
Lorenzana disclosed that one of the C-130s will be exclusively used for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
The PAF already received the US$6.8 million (P340 million) Special Airborne Mission Installation and Response (SABIR) system kit for use on board one of the upcoming C-130T transport aircraft variant in July this year funded by the United States of America Southeast Asian Maritime Security Initiative (MSI), with a total price tag of US$15.1 million to include system installation and sustainment with the new platform together with the necessary crew training.
The Special Airborne Mission Installation and Response (SABIR) System, developed by the Airdyne Aerospace Inc, is a mounting system developed for the C-130.
It is mounted on the paratroop door on the C-130 Hercules with a roll-up door that includes a mount for sensors that retracts for takeoff and landing; a large bubble window and collapsible workstation for an observer/operator; and an equipment rack.
The system, which can be installed or uninstalled by 2 people, provides a 400 pound payload capacity and multi-mission payload pod using a standard BRU-12 interface. The maximum sensor length is eight feet.
The mount can take EO/IR sensor balls, small radars, SIGINT or electronic warfare equipment. When extended, it provides 360-degree coverage.
The SABIR system which is in use with the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), Air National Guard (ANG), and Marine Corps (USMC) is also provided to PAF with a carry-on operator console for mission equipment mounted in the payload pod.
Airdyne disclosed that it is incorporating PAF SABIR with L-3 Wescam's MX-15 HDi electro-optical imager and a variant of Elta Systems' X-band (8 to 12.5 GHz) EL/M-2022 synthetic aperture radar.
The new SABIR system has been funded by the US Southeast Asian Maritime Security Initiative (MSI), with the USD15.1 million SABIR package to include system installation, integration and sustainment together with the necessary crew training, while the new C-130T acquisition are funded under a separate Foreign Military Sale (FMS) subsidy.
The SABIR sytem provides the Philippines with advanced ISR capability as it increases the Philippine military's "maritime domain awareness, airborne command-and-control, counter-terrorism, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) capabilities".
Lorenzana said that while SABIR system is a “bolt-on”, “bolt-off” avionics module, removal and re-installation of this module is expensive prompting the DND to bolt permanently the module to one of the upcoming hercules.
In 2016, the US gave the Philippines over $127 million in military aid through equipment acquisitions, training and support services.