The Philippine Air Force on Wednesday warned adventure-seekers not to push with plans of flying over areas where Pope Francis will be holding activities, saying various aircraft and guns are in place to stop them.
“We are employing different types of aircraft, from S-211 jets, helicopter gunships, regular helicopters, and even ground-based anti-aircraft guns for air cover,” Air Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Enrico Canaya said.
“Ang message namin, there maybe those who plan to overfly the areas. They should be informed that an air defense system will be in place, baka kasi mayroong mag-adventure diyan, mag-overfly,” he stressed.
The S-211 jets, currently the fastest in the PAF fleet with a maximum speed of 667 kilometers per hour, will be used to “intercept” aircraft that are monitored to be heading towards areas where Pope Francis will be holding activities, Canaya said.
They will be used in areas at least 10 nautical miles away from where the Pope is to prevent aircraft from approaching the 3-nautical mile “no-fly zone” designated by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, he said.
Helicopters will be used within the “inner layer.”
Canaya said the PAF and Navy will use a total of 26 air assets for different operations, including air cover.
“As much as possible, we don’t want to use force,” he said, adding that even drones are not allowed no-fly zones.
Amid the massive and seemingly threatening deployment, Canaya assured that Air Force pilots and gunners will “exercise prudence” in dealing with those who enter no-fly zones.
“We are exercising prudence in our judgment… We will see to it that there is no collateral damage,” he said. (John Roson)
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