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.
Continue reading The Basler BT-67 for the Philippine Air Force?

Hip or Hind Helicopters for the AFP?

An Mi-35 Hind Helicopter of the Czech Air Force. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
An Mi-35 Hind Helicopter of the Czech Air Force. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In his speech during the 48th Anniversary of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing last September 2016, the new President Rodrigo Duterte dropped a bombshell and possible major shift in the policy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) when he revealed that he had received offers with generous financial terms from Russia to provide us with weapons and military equipment. He then said that he will be sending personnel from the Department of National Defense (DND) to go there and explore these options.[1]

A couple of weeks later, a supposed insider from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) revealed anonymously to “The Manila Standard” news publication that the government is reportedly considering the purchase of two to four Mi-17 or Mi-24 Helicopters from Russia for the price of between USD 12 to 17 million each.[2] This is a very interesting report because if it does push thru, it will be the first major military equipment buy by the Philippines from Russia.
Continue reading Hip or Hind Helicopters for the AFP?

Military Equipment Acquisitions under the Duterte Administration

(Revised June 6, 2017. See bottom of the page for the complete revision history)

The Philippine Navy's new Frigate. Photo courtesy of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).
The Philippine Navy’s new Frigate. Photo courtesy of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).

It is now time to start a new running blog of the acquisition of weapons and equipment for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) after the new administration of President Rodrigo Duterte started signing contracts for them. This will be a continuation of my other blog about similar acquisitions by President Benigno Aquino Jr. or PNoy.1

’Blog Rules’
I will be following the same “House Rules” or “Blog Rules” from my previous blog about PNoy’s acquisitions, which is first is that I want the news to be confirmed by a MAJOR news organization or a reputable website before I consider it. “Major” meaning a registered news organization like “GMA7”, for example, or “ABS-CBN”, etc. Or websites like the “Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines”, etc.
Continue reading Military Equipment Acquisitions under the Duterte Administration

The Spike ER and NLOS Missiles of the Philippine Navy

A full scale mock up of a Spike NLOS missile. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
A full scale mock up of a Spike NLOS missile. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd revealed to the press recently that they will provide the Spike ER missiles for the Philippine Navy (PN) and the Spike NLOS missiles for our Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Helicopters.[1] The Spike ER will likely be used on our Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (MPAC) Mark Three (Mk3) while the Spike NLOS will be used on our AW159 Wildcat Helicopters.

Both Spike missile versions were bought as part of the packages for the MPAC and AW159, with the MPAC project awarded in February 2016[2] while the AW159 acquisition was awarded in March 2016.[3] These acquisitions are significant because for the Spike ER, it will be the very first missile system ever to officially enter service with our PN ships. The Spike NLOS on the other hand will be the first ever guided missile to enter service for use with the PN’s helicopters.
Continue reading The Spike ER and NLOS Missiles of the Philippine Navy

The Elbit UT25 and ORCWS Systems of the Philippine Army

A UT30 Mk2 Remote Weapons Station (RWS) mounted on an M113 of the Philippine Army. Photo courtesy of John K. Chua.
A UT30 Mk2 Remote Weapons Station (RWS) mounted on an M113 of the Philippine Army. Photo courtesy of John K. Chua.

The Philippine Army (PA) finally entered the age of Remote Weapons Station (RWS) when such units it bought were finally delivered. An RWS is a remotely operated weapons system that can be installed on various platforms. These systems became common when the major armed forces of the world like the United States of America (USA) and the major European countries started adopting them during the last decade or so.

The Army’s RWS turrets were bought in 2014 under the PNoy Administration from the Israeli company Elbit Systems as part of an upgrade program for the PA’s M113 Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs). Four M113s were upgraded to have RWS turrets armed with 25 mm cannons while another six M113s were armed with .50 caliber Machine Guns. The .50 caliber RWS-equipped M113s were the first to arrive in September last year[1] and a year later the 25 mm RWS-equipped units were delivered.[2]
Continue reading The Elbit UT25 and ORCWS Systems of the Philippine Army

The Navy’s New Frigates – On the Brink, and their ISO/HADR Capabilities

The Incheon class Frigate like this ROKS Jeonbuk (FFG-813) was HHI's entry into the Philippine Navy's Frigate Acquisition Program. Photo courtesy of the Republic of Korea Ministry of Defense account on Flickr.
The Incheon class Frigate like this ROKS Jeonbuk (FFG-813) was HHI’s entry into the Philippine Navy’s Frigate Acquisition Program. Photo courtesy of the Republic of Korea Ministry of Defense account on Flickr.

Officially this is my first blog under the Administration of the new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and guess what? It talks about the Philippine Navy’s (PN) Frigate Acquisition Program on the brink of being either approved … or cancelled outright. First, an update on the whole Frigate program so far.

‘Frigate Program Progress’
The Indian company Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd was found to be the lowest bidder in the PN’s Frigate program, submitting a bid of P 15.047 Billion (USD 326 million), or P 953 million (USD 20.7 million) lower than the P16 billion (USD 347 million) budget for the project. The next lowest bidder was Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) who submitted a bid worth P15.744 billion (USD 341 million), higher by P 697 million (USD 15.1 million) than that of GRSE. Two other bidders, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) Co. Ltd and Navantia SA submitted bids but failed to meet some documentary requirements.[1]
Continue reading The Navy’s New Frigates – On the Brink, and their ISO/HADR Capabilities

Third Year Blog Anniversary

Photo courtesy of the All is Wall website.
Photo courtesy of the All is Wall website.

This month marks the third year anniversary of my “rhk111’s Military and Arms Page” which I started in 2013. With around 113 published blogs and over 860k views in three years, it continues to exceed my expectations, and I thank all the readers for this.

’Delayed and Completed Projects’
During my last year’s anniversary blog,[1] I wrote about delays that hounded the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization, and unfortunately, up to now MOST of those items have still not been completed yet, and with the end of term of the current Administration nearing, then I am not anymore optimistic that they will be awarded a contract anytime soon. These delayed projects are namely the following:
Long Range Patrol Aircraft (LRPA)
Close Air Support Aircraft (CAS)
Shore Based Missile System (SBMS)
Rocket Propelled Grenade or RPG-7
ROKS Mokpo (PCC-759) Pohang-class Corvette
Missiles for our Del Pilar class Ships
Continue reading Third Year Blog Anniversary

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