The Philippines has a requirement for a single-engined light attack turboprop as it considers replacing its Rockwell OV-10 Broncos.
The new aircraft will need to match the specifications of the OV-10 in terms of weapons, powerplant, and observation efficiency, says the Philippine air force. It will also need short take-off and landing capability.
An air force team has been drafting an outline for the requirement, which will at some point be submitted to the Philippines' defence department. The air force says, however, that the budget could be an issue.
Possible candidates could include the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano, Korea Aerospace Industries KT-1 and Beechcraft T-6 Texan II.
In November 2010, neighbouring Indonesia ordered eight Super Tucanos to replace its OV-10s. This was Embraer's first Asian sale for the type, although the deal has still to be approved by Indonesia's defence ministry.
As an interim measure, the Philippines is in talks with Thailand about a donation of Thai OV-10s. Philippines armed forces chief staff Gen Ricardo David Jr was recently in Thailand, with the possible OV-10 exchange raised as a "point of discussion", says the air force.
The Philippines is not sure how many aircraft Thailand is willing to offer, however.
The OV-10 is an important type for the Philippines' air force, which, like Indonesia, uses the aircraft in the counter insurgency mission. The Philippines is afflicted by a number of low-intensity conflicts, particularly on the southern island of Mindanao, where Islamic militants are active.
"The OV-10 is a good platform," says the air force. "It delivers a multiplicity of munitions and is a good observation platform." It adds that at present only eight OV-10s are operational.
In addition, the Philippines could also buy Malaysia's surplus early-model Pilatus PC-7 primary trainers as Kuala Lumpur may purchase 12 additional PC-7 Mk IIs.