AFP Arms and Equipment – Zamboanga Crisis, September 2013

The Zamboanga Crisis is over as per Malacanang, it was a trying 19-days for the city of Zamboanga which started September 9, 2013 and officially ended at September 28, 2013. Total tally in terms of lives and properties lost is staggering:[1]
– 166 Moron National Liberation Front (MNLF) faction scum dead, 271 arrested
– 23 heroes died, 18 from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and 5 from the Philippine National Police
– 10,000 houses burned or destroyed
– 12 civilians dead, 120,000 people or 10% of the population of Zamboanga were uprooted from their homes

Despite this, though, the “crisis” was a CLEAR VICTORY for the PNoy Administration both strategically and in terms of body count. Strategically, the MNLF faction sought to occupy Zamboanga, but were driven out and ending up either being killed or arrested. In terms of body count, for every soldier or policeman killed, over 7 MNLF faction thrash lost their lives. The victory did come at a high price as the MNLF manure took their frustration and desperation of their impending defeat on the civilian populace by burning down so many houses and thus displacing so many people.

I intend no disrespect towards the heroes and civilians that have died or suffered during the war, but the crisis did give us the opportunity to have a look at some of the equipment the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is using in actual combat. This is NOT intended to be a “comprehensive” coverage of all of the weapons used by our troops during the crisis, just some of it. The primary reason for featuring such equipment are the pictures, once I see a nice, interesting picture of a weapon or equipment in action, then I work backwards from there.

Also, they may not be all that accurate as sometimes the pictures of the arms and equipment used by our forces don’t match EXACTLY what I find in the internet, so feel free to provide feedback if you think there is a misidentification, or if more details could be added.

* M14 Rifle – This is a select-fire, gas-operated Rifle chambered for the 7.62×51 mm ammunition that first entered service with the US Armed Forces in 1959. Other important details about the rifle are:[2]
– Comes with a 20-round detachable magazine
– Weighs 5.2 kg with a loaded magazine
– Effective range is 460 meters
– Can fire at 750 rounds per minute at full auto mode

A combat police force sniper with an M-14 Rifle. Photo courtesy of Agence France Presse
A combat police force sniper with an M-14 Rifle. Photo courtesy of Agence France Presse

* M24 Sniper Weapon System – This is a Bolt-Action Rifle based on the Remington 700 rifle, and chambered for the 7.62×51 mm ammunition. It is made by United States’ Remington company, and first entered service with the US Armed Forces in 1988. Other important details about the rifle are:[3]
– Comes with a 5-round internal magazine
– Weighs 7.3 kg with scope and sling
– Rated to be capable of 2.8 inch groups at 200 yards
– Effective range is 800 meters
– Usually has a Leupold Mk 4 LR/T M3 10× magnification, 40mm diameter lens fixed-power scope
– Slowly being replaced in the US Armed Forces services with the M110 SASS rifle

A government soldier with an M24 Rifle. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Star
A government soldier with an M24 Rifle. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Star

* M110 Semi Automatic Sniper System – This is a Semi-Automatic, gas-operated Rifle based on the SR-25 rifle, and chambered for the 7.62×51 mm ammunition. It is made by the United States’ Knight’s Armament company, and first entered service with the US Armed Forces in 2008. Other important details about the rifle are:[4]
– Comes with a 10 to 20-round detachable magazine
– Weighs 6.94 kg with scope and sling
– Rated to be capable of 0.68 inch groups at 300 feet
– Effective range is 800 meters
– Usually has a Leupold 3.5-10× magnification scope

A Philippine army sniper scans the horizon for enemy movement. Photo courtesy of Agence France Presse / Ted Aljibe / Getty Images
A Philippine army sniper scans the horizon for enemy movement. Photo courtesy of Agence France Presse / Ted Aljibe / Getty Images

* M2 Heavy Machine Gun – This is a fully-automatic machine gun that shoots a .50 caliber round. It was first made by United States’ Winchester Arms company, and first entered service with the US Armed Forces in 1921. Other important details about the machine gun are:[5]
– Weighs 38 kg without Tripod
– Effective range of 1,800 meters
– Recommended rate of fire is 485–635 rounds per minute

A Browning M2 Heavy Machine Gun with Gun Shield atop a vehicle. Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN
A Browning M2 Heavy Machine Gun with Gun Shield atop a vehicle. Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN

* M67 Recoilless Rifle – This is a single-shot, breech-loaded Recoilless Rifle that shoots a 90mm caliber round. It first entered service with the US Armed Forces in the 1960s. Other important details about the rifle are:[6]
– Weighs 17kg
– Effective range of between 300-400 meters
– Recommended rate of fire is 1 per minute to allow cooling in between rounds
– It has a 3x optical sight

A soldier resting with his M-67 Recoilless Rifle. Photo courtesy of the Straits Times
A soldier resting with his M-67 Recoilless Rifle. Photo courtesy of the Straits Times

* M224 Light Mortar – This is a smooth-bore, muzzle-loaded, high-angle, indirect fire weapon that shoots a 60 mm caliber round. It first entered service with the US Armed Forces in 1978, and other important details about the mortar are:[7]
– Weighs 21.1 kg
– Maximum range of between 3,500 meters
– Sustained rate of fire is 8-20 rounds per minute

A soldier firing the M224 Mortar. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Star
A soldier firing the M224 Mortar. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Star

* Humvee – “Humvee” is derived from the designation “HMMWV” which stands for “High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle”. It is a four-wheel drive military automobile first produced by AM General which first entered service in the United States Armed Forces in 1984. Other important details about the vehicle are:[8][9]
– Weight is around 2,300 kg
– Has a V8, 6.2 litre displacement engine delivering 150 HP
– Can reach speeds of up to 105 kph, and an operational range of 560 km
– There are 17 variants with the US Armed Forces, with the only armored variant being the M1114. However, the other variants can be upgraded with armor kits like the Armor Survivability Kit (ASK) to improve vehicle protection. The M1114 or Up-Armored Humvees can protect its crew from up to 7.62 mm ammunition.

Soldiers of the Light Reaction Battallion march behind a Humvee. Photo courtesy of Associated Press / Bullit Marquez
Soldiers of the Light Reaction Battallion march behind a Humvee. Photo courtesy of Associated Press / Bullit Marquez

* Simba Armored Personnel Carrier – is a wheeled Armored Personnel Carrier first ordered by the Philippine Army (PhA) in 1992. The first 8 were made by United Kingdom’s GKN Defense while the remaining 142 on order were license-built by a local company named Asian Armoured Vehicle Technologies Corporation (AAVTC). All were subsequently delivered between 1993 to 1996. Since then it has been a solid workhorse for the PhA, and a constant fixture in all of its major combat operations. Other important details about the vehicle are:[10][11]
– The deal for 150 vehicles was worth USD 46 million, or USD 307,000 each
– Maximum weight is 11 tons
– Has a Perkins 210 HP engine
– Can reach speeds of up to 100 kph, and an operational range of 660 km
– It has a crew of two, and can carry an additional 10 men
– It can be reconfigured with various armaments, but standard armament is an M2 .50 caliber Heavy Machine Gun
– Armor is 8 mm Welded Steel effective against up to 7.62×51 mm rounds

Soldiers march alongside Simba vehicles. Photo courtesy of Associated Press / Bullit Marquez
Soldiers march alongside Simba vehicles. Photo courtesy of Associated Press / Bullit Marquez

* FV101 Scorpion Light Tank – This is a tracked, armored reconnaissance vehicle made by the United Kingdom’s Alvis, 47 were ordered by the PhA in 1976 and all were delivered by the next year. Other important details about the tank are:[12][11]
– Maximum weight is 8 tons
– Has a Cummins or Perkins 190 HP Diesel engine
– Can reach speeds of up to 72 kph, and an operational range of 756 km
– It has a crew of three
– It armed with either the low velocity 76 mm L23A1 cannon, or the Cockerill Mk3 M-A1 90 mm cannon
– Armor is 12.7 mm Welded Aluminium effective against up to .50 caliber rounds in the front

A Scorpion Light Tank in the background behind some capture MNLF scum. Photo courtesy of
A Scorpion Light Tank in the background behind some capture MNLF scum. Photo courtesy of

* MD-520MG Defender – A light, single-engined attack helicopter, this particular version in service only with the Philippine Air Force (PhAF). 8 were first ordered in 1992, while a further 5 were ordered the following year. These were subsequently delivered between 1992 to 1994. A workhorse and a constant fixture in many major battles for PhAF. Other important details about the helicopter are:[13][11]
– Has a Rolls-Royce 250-C30 engine with a power rating of 317 kW
– Can reach speeds of up to 282 kph, a maximum range of 430 km and a service ceiling of 5,700 m
– It has a crew of two, and can be reconfigured with various armaments with a total load of 979kg, but standard armament is a 20mm Gun Pod and 2.75″ Rockets

2 MG-520 Helicopters flying over the early morning sky in Zamboanga. Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN
2 MG-520 Helicopters flying over the early morning sky in Zamboanga. Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN

* PZL W-3 Sokol – A medium-sized, twin-engined multi-purpose helicopter of which a total of 8 were delivered to the PhAF by 2013. These are among the newest helicopters in service with the Philippine armed forces. Other important details about the helicopter are:[14][15]
– The deal for 8 aircrafts was worth USD 70 million, or USD 8,750,000 each
– Has 2 Rzeszow PZL-10B engines, each with a power rating of 618 kW
– Can reach speeds of up to 238 kph, an operational range of 745 km, and a service ceiling of 4,910 m.
– It has a crew of two, and can carry up to 12 passengers, or up to 2,550 kg of load

A W-3 Sokol with the mountains of Zamboanga in the backdrop. Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN
A W-3 Sokol with the mountains of Zamboanga in the backdrop. Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN

* Skywalker FPV UAV Derivative – The crisis provided the first solid evidence of the AFP using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in combat in a picture captured by photographer below. No official confirmation or any other details from the AFP, but the UAV seems to be a derivative of the Skywalker First Person View (FPV) UAV. The only difference is the fixed tricycle-type landing gear presumably to allow easier landings with the aircraft. Other important details about the UAV are:[16]
– It is made out of Expanded Poly Olefin Particle (EPO) Foam, which is a light but very tough and durable material.
– Empty weight is 1.3 kg, and can carry an additional 1.7kg of payload including its battery and camera
– It has an electric motor that can be powered by a 5,000 or 10,000 mAH battery
– Operational range is up to 100 km, maximum speed of 45 kph, endurance is 30 minutes to 1 hour
– Guidance is via Radio Frequency and GPS, and can be semi-autonomous

A Skywalker UAV used by the AFP during the "crisis". Photo courtesy of the Associated Press
A Skywalker UAV used by the AFP during the “crisis”. Photo courtesy of the Associated Press

SOURCES:

[1] Palace confirms Zamboanga crisis is over, http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/496977/palace-confirms-zamboanga-crisis-is-over

[2] M14 Rifle, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M14_rifle

[3] M24 Sniper Weapon System, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M24_Sniper_Weapon_System

[4] M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M110_Semi-Automatic_Sniper_System

[5] M2 Browning, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M2_Browning

[6] M67 Recoilless Rifle, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M67_recoilless_rifle
[7] M224 60mm Light Mortar, http://www.inetres.com/gp/military/infantry/mortar/M224.html

[8] HMMWV, High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, http://www.army.mil/factfiles/equipment/wheeled/hmmwv.html

[9] Up-Armored HMMWV, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/hmmwvua.htm

[10] Simba Armored Personnel Carrier, http://www.army-guide.com/eng/product1144.html

[11] Arms, Transparency and Security in Asia, SIPRI Research Report No. 13, p. 113, http://books.sipri.org/files/RR/SIPRIRR13.pdf

[12] FV1010 Scorpion, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FV101_Scorpion

[13] MD500 Series Technical Description, http://www.mdhelicopters.com/v2/pdfs/products/MD500_Series_TechDescription.pdf

[14] Air Force obtains last batch of 8 new W-3 Sokol helicopter, http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/02/17/909953/air-force-obtains-last-batch-8-new-w-3-sokol-helicopter

[15] PZL W-3 Sokol, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PZL_W-3_Sok%C3%B3%C5%82
[16] Air Electronics UAV Skywalker Brochure, http://www.airelectronics.es/products/skywalker_brochure.pdf

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7 thoughts on “AFP Arms and Equipment – Zamboanga Crisis, September 2013”

  1. The Md-520 uses a 50 cal. gun pod not a 20mm pod. It is made by FN. The PAF has more than 8 (14+ out of about 21 delivered) and received new engines for most of the current fleet

    1. Thanks, onemanok, but are you sure its a .50 cal and not 20 mm? I saw a static display of the MD-520’s gun pod at MoA, and the shells looked like they were 20 mm rounds.

      1. Okay. I also looked at pictures of the static displays, and its possible I simply mistook the .50 caliber ammo for the 20 mm. 20 mm ammo would’ve been better, though. More destructive power, longer range. I’ll change the blog soon …

  2. It was obvious that our armed forces including the PNP-SAF was poorly equipped for urban warfare.

    Some notable solutions for future procurement and urban warfare.
    1. The Rook – Armored critical incident vehicle
    http://www.ringpower.com/division-landing/tactical-home?gclid=CNKhltKEvroCFaF_QgodnQcAJg

    2. Robotic Solutions – Shields, Gremlin etc.
    http://www.howeandhowe.com/rs1-rbs1-robotic-ballistic-shield.html

    3.Flir for helis and armored units.
    http://www.flir.com/US/

    4. Buy a couple of these CV-90 Armadillos with self protection system to negate any RPGs and use as lead breacher.
    http://www.armyrecognition.com/united_kingdom_british_army_light_armoured_vehicle/armadillo_cv90_bae_systems_armoured_combat_vehicle_data_sheet_description_information_specifications.html

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