Airlifters Support to AFP Operations Now in Full Swing

16 June 2017

As soon as the Maute outbreak raged last May 23 in Marawi, the entire airlifters team has maintained the high level of alert and continuing responsiveness. All aircraft were immediately brought back to full operational status including the recently recovered Fokker 259. Since the firefight broke out, airlift missions were non-stop day and night. Pilots, other aircrew and maintenance personnel worked doubly hard to ensure the maximum utilization of all air assets. All the wing's assets were utilized simultaneously, particularly covering flight missions at Laguindingan Airport.

First up on the line are the C-130 aircraft which flew more than 500 flying hours in 250 sorties. The platforms airlifted 8,500 military troops, including about 100 wounded in action, and 1,650,000 pounds of assorted cargoes. Massive troops deployment account the bulk of these flight operations. Minimum turn-around time was strictly observed to allow the rapid concentration of forces and logistics support. Relief supplies were also ferried to affected communities and those struggling in evacuation centers.

The other aircraft, C-295 and Fokker, have flown more than 100 flying hours in 65 sorties that ferried a total of 996 military personnel and 53 civilians. Aside from airlifting mobility reinforcements, several key government officials and Armed Forces of the Philippines commanders were accommodated to and from places of engagement. Also, these aircraft performed a number of aero-medical evacuation for the wounded troops, flying them to higher echelons of medical care.

Nomad aircraft on the other hand, has logged more than 60 flying hours in 45 sorties, airlifted more than 100 military personnel and 7,500 pounds of cargo. Some of its flight missions include airlift of light logistical requirements of other tactical flying units in Marawi City and delivery of light ammunition supplies.

All these airlift operations have provided our AFP commanders in-depth flexibility and capability to deploy forces rapidly resulting to reduced vulnerability to destruction. Its positive impact to the confidence and morale of the troops is widely apparent. In fact, as they are assured of resupply and evacuation, their confidence remain high. Therefore, our troops become more motivated to continue to fight and once and for all, end all atrocities caused by terrorists.

With this current trend, the wing may exceed its programmed flying time by three-fold. Records revealed that from May 23 to date, the wing has logged a total of almost 700 flying hours - the highest of all the flying units. This will mean continuing 24/7 airlift operations and increased and intensive maintenance inspections. Putting back all these aircraft to operational status after going through both scheduled and unscheduled maintenance is never an easy task. Preserving all of them only requires high maintenance standards considering some of these are brand new.

As this writing, the military operations in Marawi City are still ongoing. The airlifters will continue to provide swift and responsive combat support.

Credits to 220th AW