• Knowing the Philippine Army's BO-105 Helicopters

    These donated helicopters operated by the Philippine Army's Aviation Regiment provides much needed field support, especially on medevac-related evacuation and other logistical concerns.

  • Updates on the PAF's C-130J-30 Super Hercules Aircraft

    The Philippine Air Force, for the first time, sets to have at least three (3) brand new cargo aircraft from Lockheed Martin, which is done through a commercial deal between the two entities.

  • Phil. Army's Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge Project

    This AVLB with a Merkava IV chassis serves as the first platform of such type for the Philippine Army to use, and may set as a reference for the service branch’s future armored vehicle plans and programs later on.

  • Navantia's Submarine Offer to the Philippine Navy

    The Spanish shipbuilder has offered its submarine offer for the Philippine Navy's submarine project. How will it fare compare to its competitors like France's Naval Group and South Korea's Hanwha Ocean?

  • Knowing the AW-109 Helicopter of both PAF and PN

    Both the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy possess this type of helicopter that basically define as a first step towards a more capable Armed Forces, implemented during the First Horizon of the AFP Modernization Program.

  • The Phil. Army's Interest on the FGM-148 Javelin ATGM

    The Philippine Army is improving its firepower capabilities, and it witnessed the performance brought by this anti-tank missile during the Balikatan 2023 Exercises. Now they are considering it for their systems.

  • Know More About Us

    Just kindly click this link to understand more about our resolve of providing knowledge and perspective in relation to the Philippine defense and other related topics or discussions.

Feasibility of Aircraft Carriers in the Philippine Navy

These ships spanned with great range, carrying aircraft that can eliminate threats across the battlefield. One can think that having such a ship in the fleet is indeed an advantage. But all of that comes at the cost.

Thai Carrier HTMS Chakri Naruebet. Via Wikimedia Commons.
Aircraft Carriers are revolutionary in the battlefields of the 20th century, especially in World War 2. Japanese Imperial Navy and the U.S. Navy do have aircraft carriers that are capable to destroy things as citing that they are deemed targets in mission. 

One of the perfect examples is Pearl Harbor in 1941. Modern carriers are more sophisticated than those of WWII considering the asymmetrical aspect of the modern-day battle. However, it all comes at the cost. For the Philippines, as a maritime nation, is it feasible for us to have one?

With Edrick Masangkay of the Defense-RP. (link here)

For someone who has thought it was a "great" idea for the Philippines to have an aircraft carrier, consider this matter:

The cost of a single aircraft carrier is in the range anywhere to $500 million to over USD 1 billion, depending on how large the aircraft carrier is.

And that is just for starters.

You have to consider that you have to acquire a carrier-capable aircraft. Not all aircraft can operate on an aircraft carrier. Carrier aircraft need much more power because it has to take off from a short flight deck (even with the the help of catapults), and must be more durable to handle such short take-offs and landings.

And so with a large ship and an air group, not only are the costs of acquiring an aircraft carrier high, the operating costs of such a ship are very high too.

Plus, aircraft carriers do not operate alone. They operate as part of a carrier battle group and require escort vessels, such as frigates, to protect them from the surface, air, and submarine threats.

Otherwise, your expensive multi-million dollar toy could easily be put on the bottom of the ocean with a couple of torpedoes launched from a submarine, or a couple of anti-ship missiles launched from either an enemy ship or aircraft.

You also, have to consider that an aircraft carrier doesn't really fit into the AFPs defense doctrines. At best, the AFP is geared toward territorial defense and internal security. An aircraft carrier is a power projection weapon, intended to bring the fight to an enemy thousands of miles away. 

If the AFP is only defending Philippine territory, inclusive of the EEZ, it doesn't need power projection capabilities, since at best, the AFP operates to the maximum extent of the EEZ, which is 200 nautical miles from shore. It can better utilize air assets more cost-effectively by operating from shore-based airfields, which are less expensive and cannot be sunk.

An example of what happens when you buy an aircraft carrier, but cannot afford to maintain or keep it equipped is Thailand's aircraft carrier, the Chakri Naruebet. It's a small aircraft carrier, bought from a Spanish shipyard for around USD 330 million. Unfortunately, Thailand ran into economic trouble. 

Plus, the aircraft it was operating, the AV-8S Matador went out of production. As a result, there were no more spare parts available to maintain the existing aircraft, and so the aircraft were decommissioned. And there isn't really another suitable aircraft to operate from such a small carrier. Plus the operating costs on the ship are very high.

As a the result, the ship only leaves port maybe once per month and serves either on humanitarian missions or as a yacht for the Thai royal family. [Link here]

It was also pointed out in the other thread that the Philippine Navy has manning issues.  To man and crew a single aircraft carrier, you would have to decommission every single PN ship currently in service to crew a single aircraft carrier.  And those crews aren't necessarily trained to operate such a vessel.

In the Philippine Navy, a single Gregorio del Pilar class frigate has a crew of about 85.  The supply department of a Nimitz class aircraft carrier is around 500.
HMS Illustrious. Via Wikimedia Commons.
If one also considers the HMS Illustrious which is getting scrapped after many years of service and wants it to be part of the Philippine Navy, think again. The following things can be a problem:

One would also have to consider that the HMS Illustrious has already been gutted by the Royal Navy of all usable equipment, and is being towed off as an empty hulk. The cost of refurbishing the ship back into fighting condition would run into the billions as you would have to restore the propulsion systems back into working order, as well as do necessary repair work to the hull since it has been decommissioned and unmaintained for a number of years.  Also, the sensors and weapons would have to be put back on the ship. 

Plus a A new air group would have to be put together.  Illustrious was designed to handle the AV-8 Harrier, which is no longer in production, and will soon be phased out.  Since it is no longer in production, spare parts are no longer being manufactured.  And the ship, considering its size, might not be able to handle the new F-35Bs.

The another thing to consider is that pilots need to be specially trained for carrier operations.  It's a lot harder to land on a carrier because you are putting a plane on a runway that moves.  Even worse at night.

Again, it needs to be emphasized when calculating the costs of acquiring an aircraft carrier......you're not just paying for the carrier.  You also need to pay for the escort vessels......or else your pretty little aircraft carrier becomes a nice fat the target for an enemy submarine.

You have to pay for the air group.  Because what's the sense of having a carrier without aircraft (again, ask Thailand).

And it's not just buying all of those.  You have to operate and maintain them.......which is very expensive.

As it is, the DND is struggling to acquire frigates and MRFs.  What more acquiring a carrier.

Illustrious was also not a full-fledged aircraft carrier, in the American sense.  It was much smaller.  It was designed to handle VSTOL aircraft and helicopters.  And so instead of catapults, the Invincible class carriers (Illustrious was one of them) had "ski jumps" in the forward part of their flight decks, which assisted in take-offs.


An aircraft carrier is not ideal in the Philippine Navy considering its expensive to operate, the number of crews it needs to operate, several fighter jets and helicopters that need to have designated in the carrier, and the nature of the jets that need to be a naval variant of it. Not also to mention that it is an offensive vessel that is contrary to the doctrines of the AFP which is defending the nation and its integrity. 

Overall, an aircraft carrier in the present tense is a big no-no for the navy today. A fleet of Frigates, corvettes, fast armored crafts, and amphibious vessels are more important to a navy like the Philippine Navy. Well, one must be thankful to have those Tarlac-class LPDs and Del-Pilar class Frigates. Those are the worth a baby step for a real navy modernization and its sail plan in 2020.

(c) 2016 PDA. First edition 8-5-2022.

An Ideal ROTC Program

They offered ROTC programs to the citizens of a signified nation wherein one subjects to training or serving the armed forces in a time, as per variations in the jurisdiction. However, discussions regarding this matter arose across social media sites where it has made mandatory on the grounds that one believes it instills discipline and patriotism.

Marching cadets. Source: ARESCOM, Philippine Army website.

Joining ROTC or its equivalent like CMT is a certified guarantee for a citizen of a specified nation to join a part of the reserve force where in case of conflict or humanitarian help and disaster response, such force will serve as additional reinforcements wherein the whole armed forces can do out of its mandate.

Speaking of which, there are nations like South Korea, Israel, Switzerland, and even Singapore where joining to the military is purely mandatory wherein such nations can cope up with their necessity security and defense needs. 

With South Korea, it is in preparation against their adversaries from the North with their leaders from Pyongyang. 

Israel, meanwhile, needs to defend itself against its predominantly Arabic neighbors whose hatred for Israel they deemed that huge, not to mention political strife across the region. 

Switzerland's case is to have effective neutrality where they are unscathed on both two world wars, and that means being armed for deterrence. And Singapore's small area as a nation badly needs sufficient, if not additional military personnel. That, in that case, makes sense.

In the Philippines, there is this ongoing issue whether ROTC program should be gone back to mandatory, just like the old days, or the voluntary one in the way it is today wherein they entice people to join their program and making the experience much effective than their NSTP-CWTS and NSTP-LTS counterparts.

Now the question lies here - What makes of an ideal ROTC program a mandatory one? Or a voluntary one?

Screenshot from the PDA page. Link for the site here

Before anything else, let us check the news articles as per the making of this blog post. Right now, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the newly elected leader of the country, said in his State of the Nation Address speech that ROTC gets a revision to be applied as mandatory to all boys and girls taking the college to take the program, abolishing NSTP programs altogether.

In that case, upon the first impression of a patriot who idolized a leader like Duterte, decisions such as these are a big welcome for this nation based on the two things that what perceives as progress for the nation, naming discipline and patriotism. As far as these things are concerned, one will really get surprised that most of the very experienced people who joined ROTC, even the ones who serve as regulars in the armed forces, really reject the idea of a mandatory ROTC. Why?

Before proceeding, let us check the statistics made on the site where a poll made by the Philippine Star sees the percentage of those who favor or not.

The statistic results.

Based on the results given above, it is a proposition that many people really wanted to have the revival of mandatory ROTC. Why?

The answer: It is because that modern Philippine society, on the perceptions made by the people across the social media, is more feminine in its content where a typical youth spends time on telenovelas, endless love-related issues like love triangles and mistresses, and most of all, online memes that have little or no factual basis to get back up. One can say that NSTP programs, ROTC included, are just mere minor subjects that are irrelevant to the courses a teenager can imagine.

There are some truthful things in such a thing about these minor subjects that spark hatred among students where it will go on for the rest of their lives. That alone is one of the very reasons among people who have experience of such the program and also those in the regular force that a mandatory ROTC is not favorable in this society.

Now, some people will now ask: If Israel, South Korea, Switzerland, and Singapore made it, what more if we apply the same here in the Philippines? Honestly speaking, as stated at the very start of this article that each nation has its own variation that satisfies its own security and defense needs. 

One cannot just apply the same here in this nation considering the different spectrum of national integrity across nations. And that includes the never-ending insurgency that keeps on plaguing the nation as it strives for peace. Imagine this: Mandatory ROTC includes training on how to handle guns, map-reading, etc. 

What if these people eventually get recruited by a rebel group? It is like the military trains its cadets, including potential enemies of the state, in which, by the time comes, they can use all knowledge and skills learned by these people in ROTC against the state and its elements. That alone is already a national security threat.

This is not only the reason it is not ideal to have it mandatory. Another reason that can make up from this is that military instructors, because they know that they have unlimited recruits since it has made mandatory, will have the training haphazardly done, or worse, applying their own will to the people, which include far, nasty things. 

Speaking of which, some people who favor of mandatory ROTC suggest that there will be reservations that there will be no corruption, hazing issues, lesser boring marches, and more active lectures plus actual training activities like disassembly/assembly of rifles and pistols, knowing map coordinates, firing in a shooting range, tactical maneuvers and more training necessary for a reservist.

Not only that. Since the proposals do include women in the ROTC, it has suggested that women are a welcome additive to the corps. However, having them also doing mandatory roles in the ROTC program is not good in this case considering that the reservist program is usually being taken part by males who really wanted to be part of the reserve force, wherein their labour is badly in-need in times of war. 

This is not a case hampering to the program itself, but hampering the women's role in the society as mere supporters in the effort of having a patriotic nation that they can do that in a way where they don't really need ROTC in their lives. After all, it meant these programs like the ROTC for people with pure volunteerism, that has sheer bravery to die for the country.

For a voluntary ROTC and mandatory ROTC, there are pros and cons that need to be considered.

Voluntary ROTC

- Quality over Quantity
- More volunteers willing to fight
- Instructors keen to make ROTC experience interesting
-  More actual training and tactical activities
- Firing, disassembly, and assembly of weapons, and touring.

- Reliable to the reservist corps
- Credible enough for the regulars to honor.

- Lesser numbers when in conflict
- Lesser workforce in HADR operations
- More time to convince people to join ROTC
- Strained incidents in the past hampered the image of ROTC
- The youth of today have little or no interest in joining ROTC.

Mandatory ROTC

- More personnel in the reservist corps
- HADR operations are much easier to handle
- More youths instilling patriotism and discipline
- Guaranteed additional reinforcements in times of war.
- A better, crowded and excellent parade and reviews
- Easily accomplished military assignments, given the numbers.

- Not guaranteed courage in times of war.
- Shortage of weapons of supplies that can cope with the reservists.
- Lesser training because of confidence by instructors, more marching.
- Disappointing cadets will take the shortcomings as worst experience ever.
-Grounds for corruption, hazing, bullying and other unnecessary incidents.
- Women will faint in the event of harsh activities, especially if not prepared.


An ideal ROTC program can come in two effective ways. One is the voluntary form of it wherein interested people are in with the sense of willingness to fight for the country, boys and girls alike. Another being mandatory with given reservations wherein proper training is done, women's entry is voluntary, tactical activities and weapons know-how a necessity, and most of all, lesser corruption, hazing, and other unintended incidents. 

Both of which will somehow instill discipline and patriotism in the male and female cadets of the said organization. However, discipline does best upon birth and with guidance from the parents, and patriotism can instill without the ROTC program. What matters most is this: Each citizen has his or her own share for the development of this country, in prosperity and security. No matter how big or small it is, it's deemed helpful for the great nation to improve as well as its inhabitants to live better.

(c) 2016 PDA, first edition 8-5-2022 

(exactly 6 years from the time this article has made, wherein ROTC is back once again in the picture).

The East Asia White Fleet Challenge

Coast Guard Vessels do the job of having patrols of a maritime country's coastline. And speaking of disputes, everything seems to get hyped up in a sense that these white hulls do mean presence and pushing sovereignty issues.


Coastguards around the world have one purpose, which is implementing sovereignty and protecting the coast from different elements ranging from border sneaking to smuggling goods. Not to mention that it also includes interoperability between them and their Navy colleagues when it comes to national security matters.

In East Asia, coast guards of the nations where they brewed up in the dispute have taken these things on a whole new level. It was and still, it is in the headlines of several news outlets. It involves coast guards of different nations firing a ship that intrudes into the national territory or throwing water cannons where they shooing fishermen from the disputed rocks or even ramming/firing water cannons between coast guard vessels, in which it was deemed provocative in diplomatic matters.

In this discussion, it will be focusing on the coast guards of Japan, China, the ASEAN and others involved in the recent conflicts on island and trespassing violations across international borders.

Image: Japan Coast Guard with the Chinese Marine
Surveillance in the Background. Source: Wall Street Journal
The Japanese nation, known to its maritime geography and having an excellent shipbuilding industry building both commercial and military-type ships, have a good-equipped coast guard in which it can fulfill their mandate to defend their nation and as well implementing control over their exclusive economic zone.

However, since 2012, Japan and China intensified their patrols in the East China Sea area where the Senkaku island (Diaoyu in Chinese) is situated. And it is no doubt that Japanese coast guard vessels have encounters with their Chinese counterparts in which in every angle or point of view, it is still provocative in a sense that any harm can inflict on both sides, or even it can spark a war.

Both Coast Guard Vessels in a confrontation with regards for the Island
of Senkaku (Diaoyu in Chinese) Source: china.org.cn
The caption from China.org.cn regarding these ships are as follows:
The picture, released by the Japanese media, shows a China Coast Guard vessel cruising neck to neck with a Japanese Coast Guard ship near the Diaoyu Islands waters. Seven China Coast Guard ships entered the Diaoyu Islands waters around 10:30 a.m. on September 10, with one more appearing in the region later that afternoon, according to the Japanese Coast Guard patrol ships.
Speaking of the disputes, in this part of the seas, you can see first hand about the standoff between two nation's coast guards. Setting this aside, let us discuss the ships Japan coast guard has.

The largest white hull Japan has today is the Shikishima-class cutters. These ships have the undisputed record of being the largest coast guard the world has ever known before the crown was transferred to the Chinese upon building their larger version of a coast guard cutter.

Shikishima-class cutter. Source: photozou.jp
Along with that, Japan has many classes of white hulls in its inventory, with Hida, Hateruma, and Aso classes forming a formidable offshore force that has their respective tonnage of 2000T for Hida and 1000T for Hateruma and Aso-class cutters.

Japan CG's primary workhorse: Hateruma-class Patrol Ships.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Soon, we will continue to witness the actions of the Japanese Coast Guard in the sea especially in the limelight of the East China Sea disputes. All in which, they can consider upgrading their existing vessels and adding more white hulls to ensure that their mandate still can get attainable.

China Coast Guard Vessels in Senkaku islands.
Source: China.org.cn
China, before the disputes, is not so really known for its coast guard vessels even though they were in existence at that time considering that there is indeed no coast guard at that time. Most of the patrols were made by Chinese maritime ships.

It was then when the disputes in the South China Sea (East Sea for Vietnam and the West Philippine Sea for the Philippines) and in the East China Sea where China decides to found their own coast guard agency way back 2013.

Their white hulls are notorious for fishermen and other coast guards alike in the ASEAN where there was always a cat and mouse chase among vessels especially when Vietnam wanted to remove the Chinese oil rig back 2014 and Philippine resupply missions on the Ayungin shoal plus pursuits in Scarborough from 2012 up to present.

Chinese CG vessel water cannons its Vietnamese counterpart.
Source: foxtrotalpha.jalponik.com
And, speaking of Chinese CG vessels attempting to ram vessels and/or pursuit smaller vessels, take this video where they harassed the smaller Philippine Navy vessel when they conduct a resupply mission on the Ayungin Shoal.

Speaking of the white hulls Chinese have in their inventory, the quantity is enough for them to enforce their laws on the disputed islands. Thus, that creates a de-facto control over the islands and shoals they operate since there was little or no resistance to encounter with.

Their ships are large offshore patrol vessels wherein they can spend a lot of time at sea. Somewhat it is similar to the functions of other coast guards having white hulls with a tonnage of 1000 above, varying on the endurance, range, and capacity these ships do have. And speaking of ships, China has one huge cutter in which it is the largest coast guard vessel in the world, taking the award from the Japanese and their Shikishima ship.

CCG Haijing 2901 Patrol Ship.
This largest Coast Guard Vessel China is indeed oversize as per the average coast guard ship there is. The 150-meter vessel is larger than the Arleigh-Burke Destroyers, Indonesian-made Philippine Navy LPDs, U.S. National Security Cutters, and the Philippine Navy's prime combatant, the ex-Hamilton Del-Pilar class Frigates. Although unarmed, since it is a coast guard vessel, can still wreak havoc among law enforcement vessels in the East China Sea/South China Sea area where ramming this ship over the other will surely damage the ship of the other nations. 

Of course, it is vulnerable from any kind of sophisticated weaponry there is like Anti-ship missiles, but the nature of this ship will definitely prevent to have warheads aiming to such a white hull. Doing so is a prerequisite for war. And nobody on both sides wants war.


The two nations, the Philippines and Vietnam, are facing one, common enemy. That is -- China. And China has white hulls where these nations have nothing to confront those coast guard vessels head-on. This is a whole new spectrum of conflict in the disputed Paracels and Spratly islands in the South China Sea, in which it is called the East Vietnam Sea by Vietnam and the West Philippine Sea by the Philippines.


Before the conflict, the Philippine Coast Guard, under the management of the Department of Transportation and Communications, are after civilian vessels where these vessels are up to standards where such ships are meant to be seaworthy. They also patrol for smuggled goods in which they turn over to customs and implement maritime security, just like any other coast guards do.

Upon the realization that the PCG is left behind in terms of equipment, the former government under the Aquino administration decides to have ten new units in which it can suffice a little bit with regards to patrolling areas and the seas West of the Philippines.

BRP Tubbataha. One of the Phil. Coast Guard's newest
ships. Source: Phil. Embassy to Japan website
However, such ships are still no match against their Chinese counterparts when it comes to doing patrols in the area. The endurance of these vessels is 1/2 the overall endurance of a typical Chinese CG vessel and the size are smaller than an average CG cutter from China.

Suggestions are saying that the Del-Pilar class Frigates, which are formerly U.S. Coast Guard cutters, should be in the Coast Guard instead of it being in the Navy. Another is that the presidential yacht BRP Ang Pangulo, which plans to be a hospital ship, is appropriate to be a Coast Guard Vessel.

However, the feasibility of such suggestions cannot suffice with what the agency is capable of. Considering the mere fact that the ex-Hamiltons and the Presidential Yacht are beyond operational budget PCG has when it comes to operating these ships, it is also noticeable that PCG personnel are not on par with their Phil. Navy counterparts when it comes to handling these big ships.

The suggestion here is that PCG must request from the government additional funding to do two things, which is to train their personnel plus expenditure for future ships which is predicted to be a bit bigger than the ones they are operating at present.

Not to mention also that Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic resources, in which they rely on PCG for personnel, shall have their own sets of people who can run their ships so that each agency can fully function their respective mandate. All of which will be done by the proper organization, overhaul on the sets of rules and of course, better funding.


Vietnamese Coast Guard DN3500 cutter.
Source: Tuoitrenews.com
Vietnam meanwhile, have ships that can match their Chinese equivalents. Speaking of which, we are referring to this 129-meter DN3500 cutter. That is, a bit bigger than the largest of ships in the Philippine Navy which is at 123-meter.

Dimensions of Vietnam CG's DN3500-class cutter
Source: JohnnyDanghuynh's Photobucket
Before such ships even materialized, it is known that Vietnam and Chinese Coast Guards have the harshest of conflicts when it comes to claiming the Paracel Islands. It is known in 1988 that both sides have a war with each other resulting in an overwhelming Chinese victory with numerous death for the Vietnamese.

The Vietnamese and their coast guard are almost in it again way back in 2014 when China sent their oil rig there...

The Vietnamese, upon the test of time, has shown its resistance against the Chinese even though they have smaller ships at that time, and speaking of which, the fight of white hulls against both sides are tough in the sense that it is provocative that a false move can spark a war. This in which ships from both sides ramming one over the other, aiming water cannons one after the other, and so on.


Based on the scenarios and the reactions regarding the disputes, China is indeed being the fastest one creating a formidable coast guard fleet that in line with its Navy, this fleet can implement its own version of maritime laws in the disputed East and South China Seas. 

Japan meanwhile, has the fleet of white hulls that can deter China's, and the Chinese simply cannot have their will imposed on the Senkaku area. In the South China/East Vietnam/West Philippine Sea area meanwhile, China is freely doing its activities particularly in the areas they controlled including the man-made islands. 

Vietnam and the Philippines have efforts to increase their respective fleet of coast guard vessels in which it made significance to their organization. However, such actions still cannot suffice that of China. Speaking of which, it may take a little while until the white fleet of Vietnam and the Philippines to take the Chinese head-on...




Total Pageviews To-Date

Webpage Visitors

Free counters!