The Philippine Air Force (PAF) ordered 48 SF-260 light aircraft in the early 1970s, including 32 SF-260Ms and 16 SF-260Ws.

By the early 1980s, most of the PAF’s SF-260Ws had been converted to training duty. In 1991, the PAF signed a contract to buy 18 SF-260TPs to replace the aging M and W fleet. The force also upgraded 18 more SF-260Ms with Allison 250-B17D turbofan engines and new avionics. Currently, the Philippines maintains 10 SF-260TPs specializing in ground attack, and about 27 SF-260MP/MZ/FH aircraft for training and air support.

SF-260 was designed by Italy, mass-production by SIAI Marchetti The SF-260 is mainly used as a primary trainer and light attack aircraft. The armed version SF-260W Warrior is very popular with small air forces. SIAI Marchetti develops both piston and turboprop versions. As of 2005, a total of 870 SF-260s had been produced, with an average price of $185,000 each.

The aircraft is 7.1 m long, 2.4 m high, a wingspan of 8.35 m, and has an empty weight of 765 kg. The base model of the SF-260 uses a Lycoming O-540-E4A5 engine with 260 hp, for a top speed of 440 km/h, a cruise speed of 330 km/h and a range of 2,050 km.

The aircraft has two weapon hardpoints, allowing up to 600 kg of unguided bombs or rockets. The low cruise speed, light weight and high performance make the SF-260 well-suited to close-in air fire support, which requires pilots to carefully identify targets and avoid attacking nearby allied forces.

The SF.260 has a compact, dense structure which possesses ballistics similar to a jet aircraft, and is approved to perform aerobatic manoeuvres. In comparison to most single-engine aircraft, it possesses superior power loading and above average wing loading. The two pilot are accommodated under a broad, extensively glazed canopy. The SF.260 is a relatively fast aircraft, complete with responsive controls. Piston-engined and turboprop-engined models generally share similar handling and flight performance. In the Philippines, the SF-260 was famous for the mistaken bombing in the city of Marawi in 2017. At least 11 Philippine soldiers were killed by “friendly” fire in a government air raid during efforts to take back a southern city occupied by fighters, Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, said.

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