The Philippine News Agency reported that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) conducted a “solidarity maritime patrol” over the Philippine Rise on Saturday. The activity was part of the country’s commemoration of the 123rd Independence Day and 5th anniversary of the renaming of the Philippine Rise. The commemoration aimed to promote marine conservation and to assert the country’s sovereign rights on the feature, formerly known as the Benham Rise, located approximately 250 kilometers east of the northern coastline of Dinapigue, Isabela.
An EADS CASA C-295 medium transport and two South Korean-made FA-50PH fighter jets took part in the activity which was organized by the PAF and its Tactical Operations Wing Northern Luzon. Aboard the transport aircraft was National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, also National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF WPS) chair and Northern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Burgos along with other ranking officials. Esperon was the guest-of-honor during Independence Day ceremonies at Clark Air Base in Angeles City, Pampanga.
The Philippine Air Force Philippine Air Force C295 aircraft was the primary aircraft for Secretary Esperon, Lt. Gen, Arnulfo Burgos and members of the NTF WPS during the conduct of the solidarity maritime patrol. the escort mission by two FA-50PH fighter jets led by PAF chief Lt. Gen. Allen T. Paredes over sovereignty buoys or markers in the Philippine Rise. Escort mission such as in maritime patrols builds confidence and assures the Filipino people that the PAF will always be there to keep our airspace inviolable and safe for all of us.
The Philippine Air Force operates 3 units for medium lift transport and 1 unit for VIP transport. the C-295M will be used to transport personnel, equipment and also support disaster relief and humanitarian assistance efforts. The Philippine Air Force (PAF) chose 12 KAI FA-50PH aircraft to fulfill its requirement for a light attack and lead-in fighter trainer aircraft. In March 2015, SIPRI reported that the Philippines plans to order additional FA-50s, which is supported by the PAF Flight Plan 2028 that lists another 12 FA-50s planned for the future.