The RPG-2s of Marawi

RPG-2s captured during a clearing operation in Marawi. Photo courtesy of Raymund Dadpaas’ official Twitter account.

One of the big surprises for me about the Battle of Marawi of 2017 (also known as the Marawi Crisis, Marawi Siege, Siege of Marawi, etc.) was the use and effectiveness of RPG type weapons by the terrorist Dawlah Islamiyah Ranao (DIR) group (also known as the Maute Group, Maute ISIS Group (MIG), A Bunch of Fakking Idi@%s (ABFI), etc.).

Local Islamic insurgent groups like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has long been known to have such weapons in their arsenal, but they used them only sparingly over the years, certainly not anywhere near the same amount of quantity they were used in Marawi.
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The FA-50PH in Combat – Bomb Delivery

Front view of an FA-50PH aircraft of the Philippine Air Force. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

One thing about having an active insurgency in our midst is that we can at least use our weapons in actual combat conditions. Of course that is not necessarily something to celebrate about, but just trying to make the most out of a bad situation.

Like in the case of the FA-50PH Fighting Eagles that we bought from the South Korean company Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), for example. Out of all the countries that has bought the FA-50 and its variants, the Philippines is the first and so far the only country to have used it in real combat.
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BOOK REVIEW: Raid on the Sun – Inside Israel’s Secret Campaign that Denied Saddam the Bomb

I actually finished reading this book sometime during the last quarter of last year, but it’s only now that I got to go around and review it. The book is about a successful raid by the “Heyl Ha’Avir” (Israeli Air Force) in 1981 using their F-16 Fighting Falcons on a Nuclear Reactor in Iraq called “Osirak”. The raid is significant for a number of reasons, first of which is that it was the first time the F-16 was used to bomb a target in actual combat.

Second was that the F-16 was very new to the Israelis, the first ones were delivered in January of 1980 and yet just over a year later they were already using it in combat. Third was that the Israelis did have a number of older aircraft that they were more familiar with like the F-4 Phantom, for example, and yet despite that they insisted on using the F-16 instead, a testament to the aircraft’s capabilities.
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BOOK REVIEW: Magnum! The Wild Weasels in Desert Storm

After months of “Reading While Standing in Line” on my Smartphone, I finally finished the book “Magnum! The Wild Weasels in Desert Storm”. The term “Wild Weasels” is the code name assigned by the United States Air Force (USAF) to their aircraft assigned to seek and destroy enemy Surface to Air Missile (SAM) installations.

The first chapters of the book covered the history, description and tactics used by these Wild Weasel aircraft from its inception during the Vietnam War all the way to Desert Storm. The middle chapters covered the pre-deployment and deployment of its crews to Desert Storm and relied mostly on direct quotations from the memoirs and diaries of a couple of pilots.
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The Philippines’ Pivot to China

A composite picture of the flags of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of the Philippiines. Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In the middle of March 2017, China’s Vice Premier Yang’s Wa … oh sorry, I meant, “Yang Wang” (cough, cough) … while visiting Davao City expressed interest in funding at least two projects that was presented to him by the Philippine government. The two Infrastructure projects are worth a total of USD 3 Billion (or Php 150 Billion, assuming an Exchange Rate of USD 1 = Php 50) spanning 223 kilometers (km) of Infrastructure for Mindanao.

The first of these is the Davao City Expressway Project with a budget of USD 490 million (Php 24.5 Billion) which is a 23.3 km highway that features an elevated expressway.1 The second is the Mindanao Railway Project with a budget of USD 2.56 Billion (Php 128 Billion) is a 200 km circuitous railway line that connects the major cities of Mindanao like Davao, Zamboanga, Butuan, Surigao, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and General Santos City.2
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Military Movie and Series Reviews – March 2017

An image of one of the posters for the series “Plane Resurrection” courtesy of the PBS Network.

With the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on a bit of a break, I decided to take a little break myself and post my reviews of real life or fictional movies or series with military themes that I have seen over the last couple of months. Admittedly all of these materials I have seen are from Netflix, but I did try to include other sources also for them if they are available.

WWII: 1941 AND THE MAN OF STEEL (Five out of Five Stars)
Link: http://www.tpt.org/world-war-two-1941-and-the-man-of-steel/

Available on Netflix, Youtube, DVD and the PBS Network, this series consists of two 45 minute episodes and is originally produced by BBC. This is an absolutely fascinating documentary of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of Russia in World War Two (WW2) from the viewpoint of the Russians. At its center is Josef Stalin, it shows his biography including his inner circle and how he rose into power and transformed Russia.
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Kilo class Submarines for the Philippine Navy?

A Kilo class Submarine of the Russian Navy. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
A Kilo class Submarine of the Russian Navy. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Oh, what a difference a year makes. This time last year it was almost inconceivable for the Philippines to consider getting weapons from Russia. And yet look at where we are now, under a new President with a radically new Foreign Policy, the Department of National Defense (DND) recently went out and announced that it was considering getting the Kilo-class Diesel-Electric (DE) Submarines from Russia for the Philippine Navy.1

’Submarines in Asia’
Now may be time the right time for us to seriously start thinking about getting Submarines because after Thailand solidified their deal of acquiring Yuan-class Submarines from China,2 the Philippines and Myanmar are about the only major countries left in Asia without Submarine capability. The other Asian countries with no subs are either smaller countries, or countries that are landlocked like Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, etc.
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