The Philippine Naval Air Wing based in Cavite’s Sangley Point has received four Cessna 172 Skylark planes from the US.

The Cessna planes have been handed over as part of a $5.8m (Php298.1m) grant under the foreign military financing (FMF) programme.

The planes will help in training new naval aviators, as well as sustain the technical expertise of aviation mechanics and the competences of current pilots.

US Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava said: “This project displays the US’ commitment to our Philippine partners to invest in their long-term success. Together, the US and the Philippines will continue to make great strides in the pursuit of a free and open maritime environment.”

The delivery of these four Cessna planes concluded after they arrived and were reassembled on site in December last year.

Before the transfer of the aircraft, 24 Philippine service members obtained pilot and mechanic training from the US in Kansas in August, and September last year.

As part of the package, spare units and an integral logistics support package were also shipped.

The entire package will end with the slated delivery of three US-sourced Robinson R44 helicopters later this year.

Philippine Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana said: “These air assets will significantly improve the navy’s ability to prepare naval pilots for the crucial task of monitoring and safeguarding our maritime territories and domain.

“As we rejoice over this milestone, we also recognise the productive and enduring relationship between the US and the Philippines, which is the key to the success of this acquisition programme. We acknowledge our shared commitment to help preserve the peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region.”

The US has offered $110m (PHP5.65bn) in grant aid to the Philippines military over the last two years.

The assistance offered via FMF seeks to back the Philippines’ sovereignty and modernisation efforts.