US sending 4 OV-10B planes to PH for anti-terror campaign

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday, August 6, announced the transfer of 4 OV-10B planes from the United States to the Philippines to help in the country's counter-terrorism campaign. 

The same type of plane was used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in dropping 250-lb and 500-lb bombs in Marawi City during the 5-month battle with extremists who seized the city last year.

Used as close-air support combat aircraft, several OV-10B planes are currently deployed in Mindanao. 

"The aircraft will be transferred to the PAF [Philippine Air Force] this year or early next year," Lorenzana told reporters.

The Philippines will only spend for the shipment of the aircraft, according to Lorenzana.

"They will augment the existing ones to support ground operations," he added.

The planes, described by a senior air force official as "capable, though old," will be delivered under a military aid program.

The twin engine turbo-prop planes saw action during the Vietnam War but are still in use in the U.S. and Afghanistan.

Since January 2017, the US has provided the Philippines with close to $70 million in military equipment for counter-terrorism operations, including Raven and Scan Eagle drones, rubber boats, pistols, grenade launchers and surveillance aircraft.

The Philippines is dealing with various terror groups in Mindanao. Only last August 1, an alleged suicide bombing killed 10 soldiers, militias and civilians in Basilan. (READ: Suicide bombing in PH could be a regional game-changer– Rappler.com