Defense Against China’s Ballistic and Cruise Missiles

At the time this blog is written, there are reports that the Philippine Army (PA) is contemplating on buying Surface to Air Missiles (SAMs) from Israel, reportedly the “Spyder” SAM Defense System. It is actually a very nice system, mobile, with separate launchers and command-control unit, all of which help make it a very capable and survivable system (learn more about this weapon here: SPYDER Surface-to-Air Launcher for PYthon 5 and DERby Missiles). However, it is still a Ground-based system and uses relatively small missiles, limitations which may not be enough against the type of weapons that China can bring to bear against us.

Defending against Chinese attacks on land targets from the Air is complicated by the fact that China is a VERY formidable adversary. They have advanced weapons, and lots of them. Against LAND TARGETS, their most advanced weapons are BALLISTIC and CRUISE MISSILES. These are weapons that can strike from afar with great accuracy and would be their main weapons against land targets in case of war.

AIRCRAFTS would also be a threat, but these I feel would only be SECONDARY to the Ballistic and Cruise Missiles which should be the PRIMARY threat to us.
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Air Defense for the Philippine Navy

All of our current Weapons Platforms are vulnerable to missile attack, but they would be even more so once they acquire CREDIBLE, OFFENSIVE ABILITY thru Anti-Ship Missiles (ASMs). Their ability take out enemy ships means they will be on top of the enemy’s list to destroy in case of battle or war. So if and when the AFP does get ASM capability soon, the next order of priority will be to PROTECT them effectively.

For naval platforms, the biggest threat will be coming from enemy ASMs also, and they will be launched from either enemy ships, or enemy aircrafts. Almost all of our naval warships have rudimentary defense systems, especially those armed with cannons. However, most of these are just basic systems, and would be inadequate for enemy aircraft or missile defense. Aircrafts and missiles are small, fly relatively fast and close to the sea, making them difficult to spot, track and destroy, thus all active defense against them tend to be sophisticated systems that employs radar detection, automated tracking and firing system, and fast cannons or fast missiles.

‘Enemy Missile Defense’
The most basic ASM defense system are a type of weapons systems called “Close-In Weapons Systems” (CIWS). These are short-range anti-missile/aircraft defense systems that use radar detection and tracking, and are partially or fully automated. The most famous of these is probably the “Phalanx CIWS”, helped in part by them being prominently featured in a couple of movies like Steven Seagal’s “Under Siege” in the 1990s.
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AFP Modernization 2013: Like Buying Guns Without Buying Ammo?

One frustration I have with the ongoing modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is the fact that they seem to be obsessed with buying “Weapons Platforms”, without buying the actual “Weapons” themselves. In a way, it is like buying Guns, without buying the actual Ammunition that you could use with the guns. It doesn’t mean that the weapons platforms the AFP will be procuring will not have the capability to fight, of course, but its that these will not have the necessary weapons to effectively fight the threat.

‘Acquisitions, and Non-Acquisitions’
As of this writing, the Philippines only has 2 effective, modern Anti-Ship Missile Platforms, and these are the 2 Hamilton-class Cutters/Frigates that are in the Philippine Navy Service. One is already in service, while the other one is expected to arrive in the Philippines in August 2013. So far, none of these two ships have been officially confirmed to be armed, or will be armed with Anti Ship Missiles (ASMs).

The Department of Defense (DoD) also announced that they are “very near” in terms of completing the deal to buy a dozen South Koren FA-50s, and in fact expect it to be completed this month, and the most important quality for me in the Philippines’ aquiring this aircraft is its ASM capability.
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Anti-Ship Missiles and Their Weapons Platforms for the Philippine Armed Forces

‘ASM Weapons Platforms’
If you look at a map of the Philippines below, one you will notice is that is is surrounded by large bodies of water on all sides: The Luzon Strait in the North, the South China Sea in the West, the Philippine Sea in the East and the Celebes and Sulu Seas in the South.
philippine_map

This means that any invasion against it will have to involve ships, LOTS of ships. Aircrafts have speed, but they can’t match the amount of payload that ships can carry. Hence, it is only right that our external defense strategy should involve defense against ships.

In World War 1, defeating ships involved using other ships with large cannons in Battleship vs. Battleship showdowns. In World War 2, it involved planes to strafe/bomb/torpedo other ships. In this day and age, it involves using Anti-Ship Missiles or ASMs.
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Light Anti-Ship Missiles for the Philippine Navy

The Philippines’ Department of Defense (DoD) last year announced that it is looking at the possibility of acquiring Anti-Ship weapons to beef up the country’s Maritime Surveillance Capability[1]. I think it is about time as I feel that Anti Ship Missiles (ASMs) are needed for our warships in order to improve their capability of going up against enemy ships, especially at this time when China has been BLATANTLY showing aggressive acts in terms of acquiring our territorial waters.

‘Which Ships?’
The Philippine Navy (PN) currently have a total of around 14 Corvettes and Frigates. Of these, only 5 are truly modern (3 Peacock class Corvettes and 2 Hamilton class Frigates), while the rest are World War 2 relics. The PN does have 38 Patrol Craft vessels, all of whom are fairly modern, with the oldest class manufactured in the 1970s.[2]
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History Channel SEA Special Forces, Thai Marine Recon and Series Reflections

The History Channel Asia showed it third and last of its special feature on the Special Forces in South East Asia on Sunday, September 16, 2012, and this time it is Thailand’s Marine Recon force. I feel lucky I got to see this one on its first airing, and like Malaysia’s GGK episode, this one is quite impressive as well.

Their training started with a “Phase 1” training based on land. This phase was broken down into a stages, with the first stage consisted of extreme physical exercises that saw the weakest recruits both physically and mentally being weeded out. The next stage saw the recruits broken down into teams, and each team asked to not only to march but also navigate to a destination 100 km while away carrying heavy logs.

In the last stage of Phase 1, each team was placed into rubber boats and asked to paddle to a destination at night. As if that was not enough, upon reaching their destinations, the candidates were then dunked into barrels of freezing water after all that exertion to further test them mentally.
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History Channel SEA Special Forces, Force Recon and GGK

Histroy Channel Asia released a new set of shows this month of September, 2012 regarding the Special Forces of South East Asian (SEA) countries. They only announced three shows so far, I don’t know if they will be doing more. The three shows cover the Philippines’ “Marine Force Recon (FR)”, Malaysia’s “Grup Gerak Khas (GGK)”, and one of Thailand’s Special Forces.

The Philippines MFR and GGK were shown back to back Sunday, September 9, 2012, while the Thailand feature will be shown a week later. Documentary channels like “The History Channel” have before done shows on Special Forces from other countries, particularly from the United States, but this is the first time it has done so for SEA Special Forces in recent memory.

I highly anticipated the shows, and I was lucky enough to have caught the first two installments, and I was left a bit stunned, and confused after watching them.
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