All posts by rhk111

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.
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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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