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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US Armed Forces Aircraft Operating Costs – August 2016

An F-16C of the United States Air Force in flight. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
An F-16C of the United States Air Force in flight. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The United States (US) Defense Department released a couple of months ago a Financial Report showing the “Reimbursement Rate” for all the military aircraft used by the US Armed Forces.1 That rate is also a measure of the Cost per Flight Hour (CPFH) of each aircraft, or how much it costs to operate the aircraft for every hour of flight.2

Relations between the US and our new President Rodrigo R. Duterte has not been very good lately, hence I’m not sure if this information is still relevant to us anymore. But the US does have a new President, so there is a chance that relations with them will improve. At any rate, I think that it will still be good to take a closer look at these CPFH data just for general knowledge.

Now these data are a little bit tricky since they do tend to vary a lot if you look at some of the data that has been published out there over the years from other sources, but for the purposes of this blog, let’s just consider these latest data as the most accurate one for now.
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The Basler BT-67 for the Philippine Air Force?

Front view of the BT-67 Gunship of the Colombian Air Force. Photo courtesy of The Dakota Hunter website.
Front view of the BT-67 Gunship of the Colombian Air Force. Photo courtesy of The Dakota Hunter website.

The American company Basler Turbo Conversions recently revealed to the major defense publication Jane’s that they were offering their BT-67 Gunship as replacement for the Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) OV-10 Bronco Light Attack Aircraft.1 It was a bit of a surprise for me because prior to this announcement, all of the candidates for the Bronco’s replacement were much smaller aircraft. So let’s take a closer look at what Basler has to offer.

’The BT-67’2
The BT-67 is a refurbished, modernized, and improved version of the Douglas DC-3 which first entered service with the American armed forces way back in 1936. What Basler does is to first get an old DC-3 aircraft, inspect and then do a complete overhaul on it. They then reinforce the airframe, wings and control surfaces to allow the aircraft to handle an increased maximum takeoff weight.
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Hip or Hind Helicopters for the AFP?

An Mi-35 Hind Helicopter of the Czech Air Force. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
An Mi-35 Hind Helicopter of the Czech Air Force. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In his speech during the 48th Anniversary of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing last September 2016, the new President Rodrigo Duterte dropped a bombshell and possible major shift in the policy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) when he revealed that he had received offers with generous financial terms from Russia to provide us with weapons and military equipment. He then said that he will be sending personnel from the Department of National Defense (DND) to go there and explore these options.[1]

A couple of weeks later, a supposed insider from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) revealed anonymously to “The Manila Standard” news publication that the government is reportedly considering the purchase of two to four Mi-17 or Mi-24 Helicopters from Russia for the price of between USD 12 to 17 million each.[2] This is a very interesting report because if it does push thru, it will be the first major military equipment buy by the Philippines from Russia.
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Military Equipment Acquisitions under the Duterte Administration

The Philippine Navy's new Frigate. Photo courtesy of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).
The Philippine Navy’s new Frigate. Photo courtesy of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).

It is now time to start a new running blog of the acquisition of weapons and equipment for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) after the new administration of President Rodrigo Duterte started signing contracts for them. This will be a continuation of my other blog about similar acquisitions by President Benigno Aquino Jr. or PNoy.[1]

’Blog Rules’
I will be following the same “House Rules” or “Blog Rules” from my previous blog about PNoy’s acquisitions, which is first is that I want the news to be confirmed by a MAJOR news organization or a reputable website before I consider it. “Major” meaning a registered news organization like “GMA7”, for example, or “ABS-CBN”, etc. Or websites like the “Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines”, etc.
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The Spike ER and NLOS Missiles of the Philippine Navy

A full scale mock up of a Spike NLOS missile. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
A full scale mock up of a Spike NLOS missile. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd revealed to the press recently that they will provide the Spike ER missiles for the Philippine Navy (PN) and the Spike NLOS missiles for our Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Helicopters.[1] The Spike ER will likely be used on our Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (MPAC) Mark Three (Mk3) while the Spike NLOS will be used on our AW159 Wildcat Helicopters.

Both Spike missile versions were bought as part of the packages for the MPAC and AW159, with the MPAC project awarded in February 2016[2] while the AW159 acquisition was awarded in March 2016.[3] These acquisitions are significant because for the Spike ER, it will be the very first missile system ever to officially enter service with our PN ships. The Spike NLOS on the other hand will be the first ever guided missile to enter service for use with the PN’s helicopters.
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The Elbit UT25 and ORCWS Systems of the Philippine Army

A UT30 Mk2 Remote Weapons Station (RWS) mounted on an M113 of the Philippine Army. Photo courtesy of John K. Chua.
A UT30 Mk2 Remote Weapons Station (RWS) mounted on an M113 of the Philippine Army. Photo courtesy of John K. Chua.

The Philippine Army (PA) finally entered the age of Remote Weapons Station (RWS) when such units it bought were finally delivered. An RWS is a remotely operated weapons system that can be installed on various platforms. These systems became common when the major armed forces of the world like the United States of America (USA) and the major European countries started adopting them during the last decade or so.

The Army’s RWS turrets were bought in 2014 under the PNoy Administration from the Israeli company Elbit Systems as part of an upgrade program for the PA’s M113 Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs). Four M113s were upgraded to have RWS turrets armed with 25 mm cannons while another six M113s were armed with .50 caliber Machine Guns. The .50 caliber RWS-equipped M113s were the first to arrive in September last year[1] and a year later the 25 mm RWS-equipped units were delivered.[2]
Continue reading The Elbit UT25 and ORCWS Systems of the Philippine Army

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