US approves sale of C130 cargo planes to PH

MANILA, Philippines – The US State Department has approved the request of the Philippines to purchase 2 C130T cargo planes for the Philippine Air Force. The required certification to notify the US Congress of the sale was trasmitted on July 23.

The planes will cost about P2.6 billion.

"The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Philippines for C-130T aircraft and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $61 million (P2.6 billion)," reads a July news release of the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). 

The sale includes 10 T56-16 engines (8 installed and 2 spares), and logistical sustainment and support for a period of 3 years, support equipment, aircraft ferry support, personnel training, and spare and repair parts among others.

These cargo planes are critical lift capabilities, necessary in military operations such as humanitarian assistance and disaster response. It can transport up to 120 people or its equivalent weight in terms of relief goods and equipment. 

"The Philippines will use this increased lift capability to improve the mobility and resupply of its forces and for the provision of humanitarian assistance in the Philippines and the wider region, thereby reducing the potential level of U.S. assistance requested or needed for these purposes," the news release added.

The Philippine Air Force has only 3 operational C130s, which proved to be challenge when the military needed to immediately transport troops during the September 2013 Zamboanga siege and the distribution of relief goods and evacuation of people in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in November 2013.

The US military quickly assisted the Philippine military in responding to Haiyan. 

The sale of the C130 cargo planes is also beneficial to the US, the DSCA said.

"This proposed sale would contribute to U.S. security and foreign policy goals by building the Philippines’ maritime domain security capacity and deepening our overall strategic partnership with the Philippines," according to the news release. – Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com