Category Archives: Strike Aircraft

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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A-10 Warthogs for the Philippine Air Force?

Bbbrrrrttttt. An A-10 firing its famous GAU-8 Avenger 30 mm cannon. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Bbbrrrrttttt. An A-10 firing its famous GAU-8 Avenger 30 mm cannon. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The A-10 is one of the more popular aircraft among Filipinos, if you look at the comments on defense-related Social Media sites, every now and then you will come across somebody writing, “let’s get the A-10” (yeah, sure, let’s). This possibility has come closer to reality though as the United States Air Force (USAF) is now seriously considering retiring some of its A-10 aircraft, and the manufacturer of the A-10 has announced plans to sell them off in case it does happen.[1] So, the big question now is, should the Philippine Air Force (PhAF) try to get some of these aircraft in its inventory? Is the A-10 a good “fit” for the PhAF?

’The A-10 Warthog and COIN’
The A-10 is a subsonic, straight-wing, twin-jet engined aircraft designed for Close Air Support (CAS) and built by the American company Fairchild Aircraft. It first entered service with the USAF in 1972 and is so far is the only air force using it. Around 716 A-10s have been built, and its official name is the Thunderbolt II although it is better known by the nickname its pilots gave it, the Warthog.

It is a COMBAT-PROVEN design, destroying thousands upon thousands of Armored Vehicles, Trucks, Artillery, etc. in the various wars in the Middle East that the US has participated in the last 2-3 decades. The latest version is the A-10C with improved avionics like a “Glass Cockpit”, etc. [2]
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The AT-802U Air Tractor versus the A-29B Super Tucano

An AT-802U Air Tractor. Photo courtesy of Aerofossile2012 thru Flickr
An AT-802U Air Tractor. Photo courtesy of Aerofossile2012 thru Flickr

Aside from the AT-6B Texan II, another aircraft worth considering in the turboprop Light Attack Aircraft market is the AT-802U. This aircraft is interesting because it made claims about long endurance, high payload and excellent ballistic protection to make it a good candidate for the Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) planned Close Air Support (CAS) acquisition. Hence in this blog, I will be comparing it to the established leader of the turboprop attack aircraft market, the A-29B.

‘Aircraft Backgrounds’
The EMB314 or A-29 is made by Brazil’s “Embraer” company, it is a turboprop aircraft designed for light attack, Counter Insurgency (COIN), CAS and Aerial Reconnaissance missions in low threat environments, and also for Pilot Training. It is based on the EMB312 Tucano Trainer aircraft, but has a longer fuselage, more powerful engine and strengthened airframe. It first flew in 1999, and since then over 170 aircraft has been built and went into service in 11 countries around the world. The A-29B is the two-seat version of the aircraft, and its official nickname is the “Super Tucano“.1
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The A-29B Super Tucano versus the AT-6B Texan II

Revised January 20, 2014. See bottom of the page for the complete revision history


An AT-6B Texan II. Photo by Airwolfhound thru Flickr.
An AT-6B Texan II. Photo by Airwolfhound thru Flickr.

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is actively looking for a new Close Air Support (CAS) aircraft to replace its aging fleet of OV-10 Bronco Aircraft. Not a lot of details have been released to the public, just that they intend to get half a dozen aircraft (6) and that procurement will be thru Foreign Military Sales (FMS).1 We don’t exactly know which aircraft the PhAF are considering, but right now there are two aircraft of this type that has been competing actively against each other for awhile now, and that is the A-29B Super Tucano and AT-6B Texan II. There are a LOT of materials in the internet comparing these two aircraft, and you can now add this one as my take on the matter.

‘Aircraft Backgrounds’
The EMB314 or A-29 is made by Brazil’s “Embraer” company, it is a turboprop aircraft designed for light attack, Counter Insurgency (COIN), CAS and Aerial Reconnaissance missions in low threat environments, and also for Pilot Training. It is based on the EMB312 Tucano Trainer Aircraft, but is has a longer fuselage, more powerful engine and strengthened airframe. It first flew in 1999, and since then over 170 aircraft has been built and went into service in eleven countries around the world. The A-29B is the two-seat version of the aircraft, and its official nickname is the “Super Tucano”.2
Continue reading The A-29B Super Tucano versus the AT-6B Texan II

Philippine AS-211 Warrior Improvements – September 2013

For more excellent AS-211 pictures, go to user “Philippine Fly Boy”‘s Photo Stream at flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/7th_tactical_fighter_squadron_philippine_air_force/

An AS-211 flying over a green Philippine landscape. Photo courtesy of Philippine Fly Boy thru flickr
An AS-211 flying over a green Philippine landscape. Photo courtesy of Philippine Fly Boy thru flickr

It turns out that our armed forces and local companies have done some nice improvements on the S-211 aircrafts we have in service today. But first, just a short history: The Philippine Air Force (PhAF) ordered the SIAI-Marchetti S-211 in 1989, and received deliveries for 24 of these aircrafts from 1989 to 1994.[1] Almost immediately, these were pressed into service not only as Basic Jet Trainers, but as Attack Aircrafts as well as its secondary role.[2] They were re-designated locally to add an “A” to its S-211 designation to signify their secondary role, and also was nicknamed as “Warrior”.

‘Project Falcon Programs’
In 2005, the PhAF retired its remaining 10 F-5A/B aircrafts from active service,[3] and the AS-211 was pressed into service for the defense of Philippine airspace as well as a (supposedly) temporary or stopgap measure. That same year, the PhAF leadership initiated some measures to try to improve the AS-211’s combat capability. The first of these was called “Project Falcon” which sought to replace the AS-211’s ISIS D211 gun sight which were then having reliability problems and interfering with the aircrafts ability to carry out its missions. The sight was to be replaced with the Norsight Optical Sight taken from retired F-5 aircrafts. The program proved to be successful and provided the AS-211 with an accurate and reliable, albeit rudimentary sight.[2] Note the basic Norsight Optical Sight on an F-5A’s cockpit in the picture below:

A cockpit of an F-5A aircraft. Photo courtesy of Thierry Deutsch thru Airliners.net
A cockpit of an F-5A aircraft. Photo courtesy of Thierry Deutsch thru Airliners.net

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