Local media reports on March 18, 2019, suggest that the Philippine Navy is upgrading its Naval Air Group to Wing status, reflecting an expansion of maritime surveillance capabilities.
The Philippine Naval Air Group currently operates three Beechcraft TC-90 King Air maritime surveillance aircraft, donated by the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and a fourth aircraft was delivered in March. Japan has pledged a fifth TC-90 for delivery later in the year.
The Naval Aviation Group also operates five AgustaWestland AW109E Power helicopters and has two AW159 Lynx Wildcats on order. The latter pair of helicopters are due to be delivered in May 2019 and will operate from the Philippine Navy’s two new Jose Rizal-class anti-submarine warfare frigates currently under construction in South Korea.
Speaking at a ceremony to welcome the fourth King Air into the Philippine Navy on March 18, 2019, Naval Air Group Commander Captain Juario Marayag said the decision to upgrade to Wing status was now awaiting approval from the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces Philippines.
Captain Marayag said: “I believe that having these capabilities gives us an unparalleled advantage to our decision-makers in the front line. I cannot overemphasise the value of maritime situational awareness as a factor in achieving archipelagic maritime security.”