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PNG Army buys four new Military aircrafts to re-fleet air wing

THE PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) has bought four Military aircrafts in a bid to re-fleet its air wing.

The first of these very short takeoff and landing aircraft (XSTOL) from New Zealand is due this month.

Acting chief of staff (air preparations) Colonel Siale Diro said the remaining planes would be delivered during the year. It would fulfil a bilateral arrangement made to buy the PAL P-750 XSTOL aircraft in 2014 when PNG Defence Force commander Brigadier-General Gilbert Toropo visited New Zealand.

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

Brig-Gen Toropo yesterday confirmed the purchase of the XSTOL aircraft from New Zealand saying that the first aircraft will arrive in Port Moresby next week. He said the the Government had committed funds for the aircraft which would cost about K60 million to buy in line with the 2013 Defence White Paper to upgrade the air element which is based at Eight-Mile in Moresby Northeast.

The aircraft, manufactured by Pacific Aerospace Limited since 2008, can carry nine passengers and cargo and is being marketed as "excelling on rough, unpaved airstrips". The manufacturer says its Defender II version is being developed for the military.

Mr Diro said the K60 million had been committed by the Government to buy these aircraft and the first would be arriving in PNG at the end the first quarter (this month) followed by the other three.

He said the new aircraft would meet the needs of the air transport wing which was currently using only one fixed-wing aircraft and two helicopters on lease that were funded by the Australian Government.

"The aircraft have number of capabilities, including the loading of troops and supplies as well as surveillance," Mr Diro said, adding that the planes would be in the country before the APEC Leaders’ Summit. Post Courier/ PNG Today
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