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. Continue reading The JF-17 Thunder for the Philippine Air Force?→
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. Continue reading The FA-50PH in Combat – Bomb Delivery→
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.
In celebration of the arrival of the Philippine Air Force’s (PhAF) FA-50PH Fighting Eagle, I decided to come up with this blog detailing some interesting facts and trivia about it. To start things off, the FA-50PH is the first BRAND NEW Fighter Aircraft procurement by the Republic of the Philippines in over 50 years, or half a century. The last time we bought brand such an aircraft was way back in 1962 under the Administration of President Diosdado Macapagal when we bought the F-5A Freedom Fighter. Between 1965 to 2015, we did buy more fighter aircraft like more F-5s and the F-8H Crusader, but these were all in second-hand refurbished condition.
Of course the FA-50PH is not really strictly a “Fighter Aircraft”, it is officially classified as an Advanced Jet Trainer or a Lead In Fighter Trainer, but it does have Combat as a SECONDARY capability, and while we are waiting to buy more capable Multi-Role Fighter (MRF) aircraft, these FA-50PHs will be pushed to conduct Combat missions and will be our main Combat aircraft on a temporary basis (or at least I hope it will only be temporary). Continue reading Welcoming the FA-50PH Fighting Eagle – Facts and Trivia→
About a year ago, somebody wrote a comment on one of my blogs requesting me to do a feature on the Mirage 2000 for the Philippine Air Force (PhAF). I didn’t get to do then it as I had already done a couple of blogs on possible aircraft candidates for consideration by the PhAF, so it was a low priority for me at that time.
However, news came out recently about how the French government was offering 2nd hand former French Air Force Mirage 2000-5Fs to the country of Columbia for only USD 28 million per aircraft, with the price already including an “initial” Logistics package.  That price was low enough for me to think, hey, maybe the PhAF should consider the Mirage 2000 (M2k) also since it’s cheap and seems like a pretty good aircraft on its own, at least at first glance. Continue reading Mirage 2000 for the Philippine Air Force?→
The Philippine Air Force (PhAF) received a total of 37 F-5A and F-5B fighter aircraft from 1965 to 1998, but by 2005 only 10 were operational, and within that same year these 10 were retired from active service, leaving the defense of Philippine airspace to only a couple of AS-211 Basic Jet Trainers. The PNoy Administration of course just bought a dozen FA-50 Fighting Eagle aircraft, the first brand-new true fighter aircraft bought by the Philippines in almost 40 years, but in the back of my mind I’ve always wondered whether it is still possible to revive and even modernize our F-5s. After all, the more capable aircraft we have around to defend our skies, the better.
So what would be the benefits of having these overhauled and modernized F-5s? Well, countries like Singapore (F-5S) and Brazil (F-5EM) use theirs mainly as Lead In Fighter Trainers (LIFTs) and Interceptors, and with weapons/equipment like Multi-Mode Radars (MMR), Helmet Mounted Sights (HMS), High Off Boresight missiles and Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles, they are actually better armed and equipped for air combat than our FA-50s. The advantages of the FA-50s are that they would likely require less maintenance and have better availability because they are brand-new; And that they have a Fly-By-Wire (FBW) system and a built-in simulation system. Continue reading Reviving the Philippine Air Force F-5 Aircraft?→
The Indian manufacturer of the Tejas aircraft recently announced that it is pegging the price of that aircraft at USD 26 million,1 which puts it near the price range of the Kfir Block 60 which is selling at USD 20 million. The relatively low price of the Tejas means it is more affordable for our budget-conscious Air Force and thus worthy of consideration, hence I am starting this informal evaluation of the Tejas by comparing it to the Kfir Block 60.
The Kfir is based on the Mirage III/5 delta-winged aircraft whose blueprints were stolen by the Mossad (as is now detailed in various spy books and articles2), and is described as an all-weather, Multi-Role Fighter aircraft. It was made by the Israel Aircraft Industry (IAI) and first entered service in 1975, seeing extensive combat duty with the Israeli Air Force before finally being retired by the IAF in 1996. Continue reading The Tejas Mk1 versus the Kfir Block 60→