TC-90 to help PH Fleet identify threats, says commander

MANILA -- The newly-activated Japanese-donated Beechcraft King Air TC-90 will help the Philippine Fleet determine the exact capability needed to defeat a particular threat in the country's waters, a Navy official said.

"(The) TC-90 will have a big role in maritime air surveillance, which is a critical component of naval operations. It will provide a bigger and better perspective of the operating environment, which is crucial for decision making because it will determine the type of capability needed to address a certain threat," Philippine Fleet commander, Rear Adm. Gaudencio Collado, said Tuesday.

TC-90 with tail number 390, one of the two Japanese aircraft donated to the Philippines last March 27, was activated during short ceremonies at Naval Base Heracleo Alano, Sangley Point, Cavite City on Tuesday.

Its activation will boost the operations and maritime air surveillance capabilities of the Naval Air Group (NAG).

With the completion of this process, the plane is mission-ready and could be deployed to any area designated by the Navy headquarters.

Prior to its activation, the TC-90 was fitted with navigation and maritime air surveillance equipment, apart from other upgrades.

Philippine Fleet spokesperson, Lt. Sahirul Taib, earlier said no schedule has been set on the activation of the second TC-90.

The first airplane has also been used for familiarization and training of other NAG pilots.

The TC-90 has a range of more than 1,000 nautical miles and a cruising speed of 260 knots, and is capable of carrying eight passengers along with the pilot.

At present, the Navy is operating about six Norman Britten "Islander" patrol aircraft, four GAF "Nomad" airplanes, five Agusta Westland 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 on Feb. 29, 2016.

Two TC-90s were delivered to Sangley Point, Cavite last March 27. Three more will be delivered in the first quarter of 2018.

Source: Philippine News Agency