Tag Archive: Miguel Ernesto Okol

Air Force gets 2 new choppers

Two brand new Sokol helicopters have been delivered to the Air Force, raising the number of such helicopters in the military inventory to six.

The two helicopters were airlifted from Poland and arrived at the Clark Air Base in Pampanga on Monday, Air Force spokesman Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol said in a statement Friday.

The helicopters will be turned over to the 505th Search and Rescue Group after undergoing assembly and final checks by the 410th Maintenance Wing, Okol said.

The helicopters, made by Polish firm PZL-Świdnik, are part of the eight that the government bought for P2.5 billion two years ago.

The first batch of four helicopters were delivered last February and the remaining two are expected to be delivered early next year, Okol said. (John Roson)

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The Philippines has approved plans to buy fighter jets and other military aircraft and may sign contracts for the projects this year, Air Force spokesman Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol said.

Senior officials of the Department of National Defense approved plans for the Air Force to buy 12 units, or a squadron, of lead-in fighter trainer jets, eight light transport planes, three medium transport planes, and attack helicopters, Okol said in a phone interview.

“They have been approved by the senior leadership and we expect their contracts to be signed within the year. It will take about two years for that to be delivered,” he said.

Last Tuesday, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Philippines is looking at several countries, including South Korea, France, and Italy for its fighter jet acquisition.

The Air Force retired its last seven F5 fighter jets in 2005, after being in service for 40 years.

Meanwhile, Okol said the Air Force expects two C-130 carrier planes and four Sokol combat utility helicopters to be delivered to in the coming months.

One C-130 plane will arrive in the first week of June after having undergone depot maintenance in the US while the other, which was repaired locally, may be released in November, he said.

The four Sokol helicopters, expected to arrive also in November, are among the eight which the Philippines bought from Italian-Polish firm Augusta PZL Swidnik for P2.8 billion. The other four were turned over to the Air Force last March. (John Roson)

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A two-seater trainer plane of the Philippine Air Force crashed in waters near Bataan, early Friday, Air Force and police officials confirmed.

The SF-260 plane carrying the number 716 crashed in the vicinity of Mariveles town, Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol said in a text message.

The plane took off from Sangley Point, Cavite, around 6 a.m. for a training session, Senior Insp. Dennis Orbista, Bataan Provincial Police spokesman, said.

At 7:15 a.m., coast guard personnel discovered the plane’s wreckage at Lamonja Island, Cavite, which is just about an hour by boat from Mariveles, Orbista said.

Found in the sea were a fuel tank, a helmet, and a plane seat.

An Air Force major and lieutenant were onboard the plane, Orbista said.

Search and rescue operations for the two pilots are ongoing, Okol said. (John Roson)

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