PNG Army purchases four new military planes to renew its air fleet



The PNG Defense Force (PNGDF) has purchased four military planes with the aim of renewing its air fleet.

The first of these Very Short Take-off and Landing (XSTOL) aircraft from New Zealand is expected this month.

Acting Chief of Staff (Air Preparations) Colonel Siale Diro said the remaining planes would be delivered during the year. This would fulfill a bilateral deal made to purchase the PAL P-750 XSTOL aircraft in 2014 when the PNG Defense Force Commander Brigadier General Gilbert Toropo visited New Zealand.

The planes are designed and manufactured in Hamilton, on the North Island.

Brigadier General Toropo yesterday confirmed the purchase of the XSTOL plane from New Zealand, saying the first plane will arrive in Port Moresby next week. He said the government had committed funds for the aircraft which would cost around K60million to purchase under the 2013 Defense White Paper to modernize the air element based at Eight-Mile in Moresby Northeast.

The aircraft, manufactured by Pacific Aerospace Limited since 2008, can carry nine passengers and cargo and is marketed as “excellent on rough, unpaved airstrips”. The manufacturer claims that its Defender II version is in development for the military.

Mr Diro said the KK 60 million had been committed by the government to purchase these planes and that the first would arrive in PNG at the end of the first quarter (this month), followed by the other three.

He said the new aircraft would meet the needs of the airlift squadron which currently only used a single fixed-wing aircraft and two leased helicopters funded by the Australian government.

“The plane has a number of capabilities, including loading troops and supplies as well as surveillance,” Diro said, adding that the planes would be in the country ahead of the APEC leaders’ summit. Post Courier / PNG today



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