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The Phil. Aerospace Dev't Corporation & The Indigenous Aircraft Revival

This is a government body that deals with aerospace development. That includes the plans of being self-reliant when it comes to aircraft production and improvements as well as having an additional facility for repair and maintenance of such aircraft in which this agency has experience.

HISTORY
The Philippine Aerospace Development Corporation (PADC) is considered as a Government-Owned and Controlled Corporation (GOCC) which it deals in maintaining, repairing, fixing and improving/overhaul the capabilities of the aircraft in the inventory in which it covers the planes owned by the Republic of the Philippines.


Established in 1973, the PADC was founded by a presidential decree in which it is established through PD 286 and is further amended by PD 696. Their primary purpose at that time, aside from repairing, overhauling, and assembling newly-procured aircraft, is to conduct a research and to develop the Hummingbird project, which deals in having an indigenous helicopter in which they hope one day will serve the Philippine government, and the Deviant Project which calls for an indigenous light attack trainer aircraft which was later renamed as "centennial" under the tenure of then-president Fidel Ramos.

Furthermore, these projects came under pressure due to alleged copyright and financial matters, in which it will be discussed further within this article.

THE HUMMINGBIRD AND DEFIANT (CENTENNIAL) PROJETS FROM OPUS'S ARCHIVES
The defiant (centennial) project. From old Timawan archives.

The photo above shows the Defiant 300 undergoing inspection in December 1986. The prototype first flew in February, 1987 and and the test flight lasted about an hour. The fuselage was of wood and fiberglass construction and the landing gear was from a Beech T-34 provided by the PAF. The prototype was to have been followed by a larger version of metal construction with a turboprop engine. 

The Defiant trainer and light attack aircraft project started in the 1980s, and a prototype (the Defiant 300) was built with wood and fiberglass components and a 300 hp Lycoming piston engine. 

Government support was spotty (if it existed at all) and further development languished. 

In 1997, during the administration of President Ramos, the Defiant (renamed Centennial?) and Hummingbird helicopter projects were given the green light in line with PADC's mandate to develop indigenous aircraft designs. 

The budget was a meager PHP40 million. 

The project started in July 1997 and included further development of the Defiant into the Defiant 500, which was to be of metal construction and sport a turbo-prop engine and be comparable in capability to the Embraer Tucano, which costs about US$5 million each. 

In August 1998, after PHP34 million had been used the new administration of Joseph Ejercito Estrada shut the programs down, effectively wasting the amount already spent. 

At around this time the new Estrada administration was being flooded with proposals for the Philippine Air Force for such big ticket items as F-15 Eagles and other ridiculously expensive aircraft.
The Hummingbird, a localized version of BO-105
version from Germany.
The primary reason for these to be scrapped are due to the inappropriate spending of funds during Estrada's time plus the Eurocopter, the maker of the BO-105 threatens to sue PADC for copyright which have led to have the Hummingbird prototype gone to scrap. Hence, it justifies the death of the indigenous aircraft production program of the PADC.

THE REPORTED "REVIVAL" OF PROJECTS
The reports of having the revival of the projects are highlighted by a contributor of the Defense of the Republic of the Philippines Facebook group in which we shared it through our page.


On the given photos, it was shown that these are the fuselage that will be used to redevelop hummingbird and defiant (centennial) projects again in the sense that such improvements will one day serve as the part of the push regarding the policy on Self-Reliant Defense Posture or SRDP. In this case, the contributor says that the PADC will definitely have its paperwork done for the copyright in due time as well as saying that these projects are in a whole new league or shall we say, a new ball game. Thus, the potential for the country to have an effective indigenous aircraft built by PADC will be at hand for the time that the Philippines can finally produce its own aircrafts.


CONCLUSIVE HOPES 

Given the updates, it is ascertain that the time will come that it will fully redevelop once again. Setting these things aside, there are uncertainties with regards to the nature of the improvements of the aircraft and the plans PADC laid in order for this to get done. But then again, it really gives SRDP a hope where self-reliance when it comes to defense will definitely get into reality one step at the time. Hence, it will be a big plus for PADC and for the country presuming the development is on hand.

============================================================
[PITZ DEFENSE ANALYSIS UPDATE]
As of December 28, 2017

The chances to have revival of indigenous aircraft like the hummingbird and defiant projects are decreased further now that the Government decides to abolish the Philippine Aerospace Development Corporation under the premise that the company didn't produce any aircraft in its 45 years of existence. (Check details here)

It definitely explains that the local aircraft production or for what matter needs the support of the government in which it is lacking through the years where commitment especially on aerospace development is not enough. Nevertheless, its demise will not be felt by an ordinary Filipino considering its mandate limited on its purpose. In this area, especially now that the concept of Self-Reliance Defense Posture (SRDP) is in the picture, it can be said that such a move is a step back where aside from abolishing the one that has the mandate to develop and produce aircraft, that also means removing the only provider for repairs and maintenance especially for the part of the Philippine Air Force.

At present, it can only hope that in this manner, the nation may find itself again in the interest to develop its own aircraft where it is not viable at present due to the lacking of skills and services doing so. Hence, the only thing that can be done for SRDP at present is to improve it through GADIE or the Government Arsenal Defense Industrial Estate which it will seek both local and foreign suppliers to supplement AFP's needs. 
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Starting Philippine Military Shipbuilding from Scratch

There are always hopes that local shipbuilding that will produce locally-made warships wherein everybody will be proud of. However, doing so will mean starting from the very start where it involves research and experience.

OVERVIEW
Keppel Shipyard in the Philippines.
Locally-made ships are ideal for self-reliance. In fact, it is detrimental to have independence for a maritime nation will have its own indigenous fleet where the navy benefits, the local workers do benefit as well. In this sense, as said, will produce more jobs as well as more ships where it helps improve the economy. However, it is not always the case wherein the mere fact that military shipbuilding, unlike civilian ones, is different in nature considering the upkeep and the sense of integrity in the case of a full-blown conflict.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The Philippines is known to be the fourth largest shipbuilding country in the world. But sad to say people, that is in terms of the backlog of orders in those shipbuilding industries. Not to mention that such industries we are referring are private-owned industries where they are more on profit-building and not on some other things like building warships whatsoever. These industries focus more on civilian ships which are ranging from bulk carriers to offshore oil rigs like those shown in the photo depicting Keppel Shipyard which is situated in Subic.

Moreover, this comes into consideration that an ideal thing is to build a government-owned shipyard, but we are still far from reaching that goal. In fact, the point of giving the following message is for the people who insisted that having it locally-built without any other consideration is for them to realize that:

There's nothing wrong with believing that it can be done.

But believe with your eyes open.  You have to realize to get to that step, we are essentially starting at zero.  The large shipyards are foreign owned entities, with little to no interest in warship construction.  And they demonstrated their lack of interest by not participating in either the SSV project or the Frigate Acquisition Project (not only did the big foreign owned shipyards not submit a bid, but they also didn't even bother to purchase bidding documents when the bidding was opened up).

And so we're looking at either an existing shipyard or a completely new shipyard.  And none of the existing domestically owned shipyards have adequate size, capital equipment, and technical capability to construct a military spec ship on the order of an OPV or larger.

And so we are looking at least a decade of development, and hundreds of millions of dollars in investment costs.  There has to be significant involvement of government, the private sector, and research entities.  Significant upgrades would be needed in terms of expansion of slipways to accommodate the construction of ships in the 120-meter range (the new frigates are supposed to be 115 meters long), construction cranes, machine shops, and so on.  Associated industries would need to be developed in the areas of steel manufacturing and the production of propulsion systems.  Steel manufacturing has its own complications since one of the keys to that business is ensuring a steady and dependable power supply (steel manufacturing is very electricity dependent).  The production of ship's propulsion systems does not even currently exist in the country.  And of course, the necessary transport infrastructure would have to be put into place in order to transport those materials to the shipyards.

Not to mention having the know how to design military spec vessels, which are far more structurally complex than the bulk cargo carriers and tankers that are being produced in Philippine shipyards.  Also having the highly skilled manpower needed to design and construct the ships.  And the other stuff you would have to consider such as the stricter quality controls, shipyard security, etc.


Make no mistake, as a maritime nation, the local construction of warships can and should be a goal of the nation.  But make no mistake also that the development of warship building capabilities is going to a very long term project that will require a huge investment of capital and resources to make it happen.  And it will be a very gradual process, with the initial "baby steps" will be small, modest undertakings, like the ones we've already seen with the construction of MPACs and the BRP Tagbanua.  However, the construction of large combatants like corvettes and frigates is a long way away, as our local shipbuilding industry would need to gain more experience with increasingly more complex projects.

Speaking of this, let us give you some glimpse of hope as far as SRDP is concerned. First, Propmech and their Taiwanese partners built MPACs which can be considered as proudly made locally. That is a good start. That further enhanced upon the fact that BRP Tagbanua, an amphibious support ship was also locally built. Add to that the ToTs for the Frigate Acquisition Project, the BFAR's acquisition of 40m vessels which will be built in this country, and so on. But with these, as what the message implicates, the whole nation in terms of shipbuilding is still far away from getting into reality. For these to materialize, one requires funding, bureaucracy, location, and series of sub-projects that will be made so that local, military-based shipbuilding, under the program of Self-Reliance Defense Posture, will finally go on its fruition to benefit the Philippine Navy.

THE FINAL POINT

Local shipbuilding is an ideal thing where it gives jobs, improves the economy, and make the morale boost by saying a nation is having a fully-capable ship in which it is proudly made by fellow citizens who aspire to have a nation fully protecting its interest for the sake of growth and benefit for its citizens. However, the realizations unto this matter are that an archipelago like the Philippines, in which its shipyards are primarily owned by foreigners, is far from having its own credible shipbuilding industry that will cater to the government and is controlled by the government. We can learn from our neighbors how it is done. It is a good thing but it is a long, long way to go. Hope that the government has its foresight, this will help improve the nation in general.

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Knowing the EMB-312 Tucano

It is a known thing for countries like the Philippines, Brazil, and even the US that were looking for these propeller-based aircraft such as the EMB-314 Super Tucano planes for close-air support and training. But let us dwell more on its predecessor and as well the aircraft it is based on - the EMB-312 Tucano.

BASIC INFORMATION

A primary source is cached. You may see it at this archived link.

Developed by EMBRAER of Brazil in response to a Brazilian Air Force specification for a replacement for the Cessna T-37. First flown in August 1980. The first of 133 ordered by the Brazilian Air Force was delivered beginning September 1983. 

Was designed from the outset to provide a "jet-like" flying experience with jet-plane type controls, ejection seats, and a staggering tandem-place cockpit. Can carry up to 2,205 lbs. of ordnance in four underwing hardpoints. 

Egypt ordered 143 Tucanos in 1983, of which 80 were diverted to Iraq. Other deliveries include Argentina(30), Columbia(14), Honduras(12), Iran(25), Paraguay(5), Peru(30), Venezuela(31), France (80 modified variant). In 1985 the British Royal Air Force selected a modified Tucano to fulfill its trainer requirement. The RAF Tucano is a license manufactured by Shorts in Belfast and has a more powerful engine and different systems than the standard EMBRAER-built version. 

In 1991 EMBRAER announced the EMB-312H Super Tucano with an uprated Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68/1 engine. The Brazilian Air Force was expected to order 50 armed single-seat versions of the Super Tucano, designated EMBRAER ALX. Up to 120 ALXs were expected to be ordered. The cost is about US$5 million each. 

CHARACTERISTICS:


For EMB-312H/ALX: 

- P&WC PT6A-68/1 turboprop engine (1,600 shp)
- Outstanding aeronautic performance
- Advanced man-machine interface
- Fighter-type pressurized cockpit
- Zero-zero ejection seats
- Onboard oxygen generating system (OBOGS)
- Rugged and reliable systems
- Reinforced structure with new generation materials

- Designed to sustain heavy damage and operate in hostile environments without ground support infrastructure.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Length: 32 ft. 4.25 in. 

Wingspan: 36 ft. 6.5 in. 

Top speed: 278 mph ("clean" at 10,000); 255 mph (maximum cruising speed at 10,000 ft.) 

Range: 2,069 miles ferry with external tanks, 1,145 miles with internal fuel. 

Powerplant: one Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-25C (PT6A-68/1 for Super Tucano) 

Weight: 3,991 lbs empty, 7,000 lbs max. take off 

Ceiling: 35,000 feet 

Armament:
Four underwing hardpoints for up to 2,205 lbs. of ordnance. The ALX has two wing-mounted 12.7 mm machine guns, five external stations and can carry a wide variety of weapons, including Mk.81 or Mk.82 low drag bombs, BLG-252 cluster bombs, IR air-to-air missiles like Sidewinder or MAA-1 Piranha, unguided rockets, 20-mm gun-pod on ventral station (GIAT NC621) and a FLIR pod.

Operators: Brazil, Iran, Iraq, Argentina, Colombia, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela, France, United Kingdom, Kenya, Kuwait.

PHILIPPINE INTEREST

Brazilian Air Force's Super Tucano. Source: Avionale.com
See details of the discussion in the Philippine Defense Forces Forum.

Across the defense outlets about the Philippine Military, it is known that the EMB-312H/314 Super Tucano is deemed the best bet over some other aircraft due to its well-known performance and is long proven in other armed forces. Though some may stick to the Textron Airland Scorpion jet, such planes will never get in the hands of the Philippine Air Force so as the doctrine where it must be operating in other countries before having one. 


The process of procurement is known to be taken now under G2G negotiation (based on DND procurement standards) where several representatives were sent to Brazil for the deal to be set (in which the Brazilian Government is included). This was after three bid failures where it can be blamed for the Embraer's failure to secure delivery time. Hence, that doesn't stop the company to keep negotiating with the Philippine authorities to have them. So as for the recent news, there are still no words coming out from legitimate sites regarding this matter. And it is make out uncertain a little bit when the President announced that propeller-based aircraft shall be acquired from either Russia or China. However, such pronouncements will never dismiss the idea that the Philippine has the possibility to have these planes, and that possibility is at 50:50 chance of success.


The reason for the bid failure.
IN SUMMARY

The EMB-312 Tucano is one of the planes in the 1980s era where the Super Tucano, a modern version, derived from. These planes serve some excellent reputation to the countries that operate these aircraft particularly the Brazilian Air Force who have a huge inventory of it. For the Super Tucano, still a proudly Embraer S.A. Aircraft, it is a certainty that it will gain more reputation in the international spotlight where the Philippines may be included. It is certainly will improve Embraer's sales in the long run, but it is uncertain as to either Philippines get them, at what date, or not at all. But seriously, this is an ideal Close-Air Support aircraft there is, so to speak.

==========================================
UPDATES
November 30 - December 1, 2017

Updates from various outlets such as Flight Global, IHS Janes, and even Embraer itself released a report confirming that the Philippine Air Force is firm on ordering A-29 or EMB-312 Super Tucano Close Air Support Aircraft which it will come at six units at the cost of around Php 4 Billion. 

Albeit that official outlets from PAF or DND isn't releasing their news about it, the previous reports given as well as these recent ones coming from reputable sources are deemed enough to say that the Philippines will finally have such aircraft that will complement its older OV-10s and SF-260s as well as armed helicopters like AW-109s with regards to Counter-Insurgency (COIN) operations. Delivery, in this case, is expected by the year 2019. Additional information was provided in the government-owned Philippine News Agency that the Notice to Proceed was already transmitted by the Department of National Defense to the Embraer, in which it made news by the defense company and several others. After all these things, the hopes and prayers that the Air Force having these aircraft are finally made true.

Given the archived article from Opus' Timawa.net website (inactive) giving suggestions for this aircraft for COIN operations more than a decade ago, it is only at the present date this report is given that such an idea may finally come true. Hence, this will eventually enhance the capabilities of the Armed Forces as the modernization program rolls on.
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Aerospatiale Pumas in the Philippine Air Force

One may know about the 250th Presidential Wing and its Bell and Black Hawks in its inventory, but only a few know about the Aerospatiale Pumas that was leased and was put into service in the Philippine Air Force once upon a time.

BASIC KNOWLEDGE - HELICOPTERS IN THE PAF SERVICE
SA-330 Puma Helicopters.
These choppers are once the workhorse of the 250th Presidential Wing. Accordingly, these were one of the large choppers ever operated by the Philippine Air Force, aside from the S-70 Black Hawks.

The birds were acquired during the time of ex-President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1979 by the Central Bank of the Philippines. The number of Pumas that were leased were two.

Accordingly, these are in complement with other helicopters in the arsenal of the 250th like 3 Bell 205A-1 helicopters in which they replaced the UH-1H helicopters in which it was being used by the 700th Special Wing, Sikorsky S-76As, and S-70s, among others to suffice the presidential requirements.

The two Pumas have the Tail Nos, RP-C752 (c/n 1562) and RP-C753 (c/n 1570). They
are nicknamed "Jonty" and "Giggy" respectively under Pres. Cory Aquino's term in which the birds were named after her grandchildren.

The birds are sold in the late 1990s at the end of Pres. Ramos's term and replaced by Bell 412EP since then. 

RP-C752's airframe was last seen in Taylor Airport Texas in 2003 and were no reports since then. RP-C753 meanwhile were lase operated by Billings Air Service in Montana, USA.
Details about the RP-C753.

BASIC INFO ABOUT THE PUMA HELICOPTERS

Accordingly, the contents are from the Airliners.net website. But since the site is reportedly down permanently, let us post the details here. 

Description

The Aerospatiale (originally Sud) Puma is perhaps the most successful European-built medium-lift helicopter, and while most Pumas have been sold to military customers (largely for use as troop transports), a significant number are in commercial use.

The Puma was first designed to meet a French army requirement for a medium-lift helicopter capable of operating in all weather conditions. The first of two Sud SA-330 prototypes flew for the first time on April 15, 1965, with the first production aircraft flying in September 1968. In January 1970 Sud was merged into Aerospatiale. A 1967 decision by Britain's Royal Air Force to order the Puma as its new tactical helicopter transport resulted in substantial Westland participation in the helicopter's design and construction.

Early versions of the Puma were for military customers, including the SA-330B, C, E, and H. The initial civil models were the Turmo IIIC powered SA-330F passenger and SA-330G freight versions, which became the first helicopters certificated for single-pilot IFR operations in A and B conditions.

The SA-330J is the definitive civil Puma, and compared to the earlier F and G has composite main rotors and increased maximum takeoff weight. The weather radar-equipped J also became the first helicopter certificated for all-weather operations including flight in icing conditions, awarded in April 1978.

IPTN of Indonesia assembled a small number of SA-330s before switching to the Super Puma. After Aerospatiale ceased production in 1987, the sole production source for the Puma became IAR (originally ICA) of Romania.

The AS-332 Super Puma is a stretched development and is described separately under Eurocopter.

Powerplant

SA-330J - Two 1175kW (1575shp) Turbom├ęca Turmo IVC turboshafts driving a four-blade main rotor and a five-blade tail rotor.

SA-330G/F - Two 1070kW (1435shp) Turbom├ęca Turmo IIIC4s.


Apparently, there are more photos regarding the said helicopters. And since Timawa is reportedly down (with reports that it will be down permanently), we have managed to retrieve some of those from cached data left...


CONCLUSION

These Puma helicopters are once the workforce in the Philippine Armed Forces as a presidential transport. Albeit the lesser information outlets reporting about it, it is confirmed that the so-called "ghost aircrafts" once served proudly in the sense that they served former presidents like Ferdinand Marcos, Cory Aquino, and Fidel Ramos. The point is that such choppers do serve their purpose in the 250th Presidential Wing in the meantime as a leased aircraft long before it was now in the hands-on of its new owners. Their present whereabouts and details are a bit uncertain, but, certainly, such helicopters are once a pride of the Philippine Air Force.
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