The H145 for the Philippine Armed Forces?

An H145 Helicopter of the German State Police equipped with a Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) Sensor. Photo courtesy of the official Airbus Helicopters website.

A couple of months ago, the aircraft company Airbus Helicopters Philippines Inc. (AHPI) conducted a local media event at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to showcase the helicopters they were offering to our armed forces. AHPI said that they already briefed the Technical Working Groups (TWG) of the Department of National Defense (DND) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) about the aircraft.1

The company presented at least two aircraft, the H130 and the H145M. The H130 is a smaller and lighter aircraft designed more for the light transport role while the H145M is a bigger and heavier aircraft with a clear military role in mind, hence it would seem to be better suited for our armed forces.
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Aboard the Admiral Vinogradov – October 2017

The AK-100 main guns and bow side superstructure of the Admiral Vinogradov Destroyer. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

After a couple of tries this year, I finally got to go onboard one of the Russian Navy’s ships at the Manila South Harbor, the Admiral Vinogradov (554), an Udaloy I class Destroyer. It wasn’t easy, but it was a good experience as these ships are not as common in our shores, especially before this administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

’Better Queueing Organization’
One reason I was able to get in this time was because there was a better overall organization of the queueing system for going into the ship. First was that they finally got a fairly competent guy to handle the queue who worked hard, communicated well and had a good system for queueing the people up.
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More Medium Gun Armed Vehicles for the Philippines?

A Badak Fire Support Vehicle (FSV). Photo courtesy of the Indomiliter website.

The Department of National Defense (DND) revealed to the Press recently that they were studying the possibility of acquiring more medium-sized armored vehicles to augment their forces. The DND said that such vehicles would fit well into any Urban Warfare scenarios like what happened in Marawi.1

For these vehicles, the DND noted some specific characteristics that they are looking for, and these are:
– Should weigh no more than 20 tons;
– Armed with a medium caliber cannon capable of breaching concrete walls.
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Russian Smart Weapons for the FA-50PH?

A Soviet R-13 (AA-2 Atoll) missile on the outermost right hull pylon of a Saab J-35 Draken fighter aircraft. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Aside from China, the other country that this new Administration under President Rodrigo Duterte is “pivoting” to is Russia, and as part of that initiative, the Department of National Defense (DND) is considering the possibility of using Russian made Precision Guided Munitions (PGM) on our FA-50PH Fighting Eagles.1

A PGM or “Smart Weapon” is a weapon that is able to adjusts its flight path to hit its target. It can either be guided towards the target, or has its own independent guidance system.2 Note that this is at least the second time that the DND was reported to be pursuing such possibility,3 so they seem to be really serious about doing it. The big question now though is whether this is even possible at all?
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The JF-17 Thunder for the Philippine Air Force?

A JF-17 Thunder of the Pakistani Air Force showing its planform. Photo courtesy of RA.AZ thru Flickr.

During the campaign period for the 2016 Presidential elections, one joke I would occasionally come out with on my page went something like, “oh don’t worry, if Rodrigo Duterte becomes President, our Air Force would eventually end up with the JF-17 Thunder as its Multi-Role Fighter (MRF), ha-ha-ha”.

And then the May 2016 elections came, and he won. By a fricking landslide. Five months into the new administration, in December 2016 Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said in a newspaper interview that they were looking at importing weapons from Pakistan where the JF-17 is currently being made.1 Note that Dominguez is also one of Duterte’s closest advisers, being a childhood friend and former classmate.2 So the jokes came out again.
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The Wooden Armored Vehicles of Marawi

A V-150 fitted with wooden armor. Photo courtesy of Raffy Tima’s official Twitter account.

Perhaps the most memorable and most talked about images of the Battle of Marawi (2017) are the armored vehicles of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) covered with makeshift wooden boards that had been hammered together and fitted on the vehicle’s exterior.

Pictures of these started first coming out last June 7, 2017,1 two weeks into the battle and created quite a stir in the internet, ending up being featured in articles in quite a number of established local and foreign publications like Popular Mechanics,2 for example.
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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.
Continue reading The RPG-2s of Marawi

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