NAG gets much needed boost with reactivation of 4 Islander aircraft

January 23, 2014 8:54 am 

MANILA, Jan. 22 — The Naval Air Group (NAG), the Navy unit tasked to provide air support to the fleet, got a much needed boost following the activation on Tuesday of four Norman-Britten N2 Islander aircraft.

This effectively raises the number of Islander planes operated by the Philippine Navy to six.

Aside from the six PNIs, the NAG can now boast of operating three AgustaWestland AW-109 "Power" helicopter, four Cessna light utility planes, one R-22 "Raven" helicopter and one MBB-105 helicopter.

Having these planes in the inventory greatly improves the Navy's capability to patrol and protect the country's vast territorial waters.

Lt. (junior grade) Rommel Rodriquez, Philippine Fleet spokesman, said the four planes had just finished their mandatory "scheduled maintenance inspections" (SMIs).

The procedure entails the repair and refurbishment of all aircraft systems and retraining of its flight crew.

“SMIs are required for all Navy aircraft whenever they reach a total of 50, 100, 300 and 500 hours of flying time. This is necessary to ensure the safety and capability of our aircraft when they are deployed in the operational areas,” NAG chief Col. Caculitan said.

After reactivation ceremonies Tuesday, the Philippine Navy Islanders (PNI) in naval parlance were immediately deployed to San Fernando City, La Union; Cebu; Zamboanga City and Palawan.

PNIs are capable of conducting maritime air surveillance, air drop, air lift and aerial reconnaissance missions at sea.

Each aircraft has two pilots and four maintenance crew. (PNA)

LGI/PFN

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