Philippines Seeks S.211 Jet Trainer Replacement

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SINGAPORE—The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is studying options to replace its ageing SIAI-Marchetti S.211—later Aermacchi S-211—light jet trainers as while it is also choosing its future multi-role combat aircraft.

“We are planning for a replacement, research is ongoing, and there will be a presentation of the possible aircraft models to the senior leadership soon,” PAF spokesperson Maynard Mariano tells state media Philippine News Agency (PNA).

The newswire reports that only between three and five aircraft in the S.211 fleet are airworthy after years of neglect and a lack of spare parts.

The PAF first acquired a batch of 18 S.211s in 1988, which were delivered in 1989. A second order for six was made in 1992 and all aircraft were handed over by 1994. Since the retirement of the country’s Northrop F-5As in 2005, the S.211 was for a time the PAF’s only jet-powered combat aircraft, taking on the role of close air support, fighter training and maritime patrol.

Since all 12 KAI FA-50PH were delivered in 2017, the S.211 has primarily been used for pilot training. PAF also has six Embraer A-29B Super Tucanos that are designated for close air support and counter insurgency missions.

The PAF is now in the process of selecting its future multi-role combat aircraft. The competition has been narrowed down to a choice between Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Blk. 72s and Saab JAS-39 Gripen C/Ds.

Chen Chuanren

Chen Chuanren is the Southeast Asia and China Editor for the Aviation Week Network’s (AWN) Air Transport World (ATW) and the Asia-Pacific Defense Correspondent for AWN, joining the team in 2017.