PH Fleet activates 1st Japanese TC-90 aircraft

MANILA --- One of the two Beechcraft TC-90 patrol aircraft donated by Japan early this year was formally activated by the Philippine Fleet during ceremonies at Naval Base Heracleo Alano, Sangley Point, Cavite City Tuesday.

Lt. Sahirub Taib, Philippine Fleet spokesperson, said the activation of the aircraft, with tail number 390, would boost the operations and maritime air surveillance capability of the Naval Air Group (NAG).

The plane is now mission-ready and capable of deployment in any areas designated by Navy headquarters.

Prior its activation, Taib said the TC-90 was fitted with navigation and maritime air surveillance equipment aside from some other upgrades.

He added there is no schedule yet on the activation of the second TC-90.

The first plane was also used for familiarization and training of other NAG pilots. Taib said the advantage of the TC-90 aircraft over other existing planes of the NAG is its greater range.

The TC-90s have a range of over 1,000 nautical miles, and a cruising speed of 260 knots and capable of carrying eight passengers along with the pilots.

As of this time, the Navy is operating around six Norman Britten "Islander" patrol aircraft, four GAF "Nomad" planes, five AgustaWestland combat utility helicopters and one Robinson R-22 training helicopter.

The TC-90, which is part of the Beechcraft King Air aircraft family, was offered by Japan shortly after the Agreement Concerning the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology was finalized last Feb. 29, 2016.

Two of the TC-90s were delivered to Sangley Point, Cavite last March 27 with the remaining three to be delivered in the first quarter of 2018.

Source: Philippine News Agency