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Reasons Why BT-67 Basler is Not Appropriate for PAF

This machine, derived from original C-47/DC-3 fuselage of the Second World War, is once again being offered to the Philippine Air Force with the use as a gunship and medium transport. However, albeit the cost-effectiveness, such a plane will not have its effectiveness in a modern-day battlefield.

This is the BT-67. A C-47 derivative. From Airport Journals Website.

In this article by IHS Janes 360 dated October 13, 2016, aircraft company Basler offered its Product which is the BT-67 aircraft, to the Philippine Air Force (PAF). This had looked like a replacement for the aging OV-10 close-air-support aircraft that the PAF gets in its arsenal. Considering this, they are offering on a gunship version of this aircraft wherein this DC-3 derivative plane, according to the said article, is the most proven airframe there is since it gives an exemplary performance during the Second World War. Accordingly, the only difference this plane has with the original ones are the digitized avionics, turboprop engines, and other improved electrical systems.

However, the offer slowly becomes of a discussion matter across defense outlets wherein this offer, albeit its affordability, is an issue of its own. 

Considering that, the company offers a design that is proven once from a great war which will render obsolete in modern terms. 

Not to mention that other considerations such as the number of military users required before the Air Force obtain them. 

Add to that, the other better planes have there that can fit the gunship description with the sense of having a modernized airframe with avionics and engines at par or improved further than the BT-67. These in which we need to get considered.

Among these things, as well as the main point of this discussion matter, there are many reasons as to why BT-67 Basler is not appropriate to the Philippine Air Force.

Converting an old C-47 airframe to a BT-67 format

Here are the given key reasons why BT-67 is not appropriate to the Air Force in the sense that it gives the sense of loading its cargo and several other factors.

1. Nonexisting Ramp Door
US soldiers passing through a ramp door.

Ramp doors are a usual thing in the Philippine Air Force, especially in its logistics and airlift division. From the small CN-212 aircraft to the large C-130 planes, all of these air transports have ramp doors for easier loading and offloading cargo of various types.

This feature is indeed the first and the most important in the Philippine Air Force wherein such capability ranges from better loading to the rapid deployment of the said troops and equipment to the ground. That means that having a Paradrop from a C-130 plane which has a large rear ramp door is better than presumably, a C-47 where the BT-67 has derived where an airborne trooper needs to jump at the side of the plane. More unto this, ramp doors have the equipment which makes things easier in loading supplies into the plane. 

That includes several light vehicles. Here, though, dropping supplies and vehicles in a parachute with ramp doors is a better thing to do. Having this feature is very important where the lives of the crew and the airborne troops are at stake. These things do matter where rapid deployment is a matter of the overall success or failure of the mission provided.

Overall, the BT-67 fails in this first part of rapid deployment matters. Albeit its strategic importance in a form of the older C-47 during the Second World War, the same will no longer apply today wherein the modern dimension of the battlefield full of guided ordinances, albeit the questionable reduced signature against MANPADS, will never stand a chance at all.

2. Weapons capability, Airframe, and Rapid deployment
This is the Dakota Hunter Gunship. From their website.

Speaking of weapons capability, it can be seen as ideal to look back on the armaments such a plane can bring, especially from the C-47 planes that have been used as gunships, such as the Dakota Hunter in Vietnam. (Seen above)

Albeit the firepower that can be seen as effective in the theaters of Vietnam and Colombia as what the Dakota Hunter website has cited for, the reason number one can be put again as the prime reason where the space for extra ammunition is greater with planes with ramp doors than the BT-67/DC-3 plane. 

Not to mention that such aircraft acting at a role as a gunship needs to be rapidly deployed in the battlefield with its given needs where guns shall be immediately loaded in bulks which are deemed disadvantageous wherein time really matters. 

They indeed modernized this plane where FLIR and other sensors apply to this aircraft citing its purpose as a gunship. However, given these things ranging from weaponry to sensors, the airframe design or rather, the airframes given are also given in doubt considering that these are re-manufactured DC-3 planes that as being said before, these planes of such kind are rendered obsolete in today's standards. 

One factor that may show that it rendered such weapons obsolete is that the Philippine Air Force operated C-47 planes before, as well as several Civilian airlines/transports with the DC-3. But with these planes being retired with fatigue as one factor, it is as well not to have these BT-67 planes either unless if refurbishment of older C-47 aircraft is to be seen.

In this matter, one can also say that other aircraft like the recent C-295 that the PAF acquires have the better assessment of being a gunship where better guns can get installed than the BT-67 planes, not with the sense that conversion shall get needed compromising logistics, but gaining more aircraft of such type that may categorize as an air artillery.

3. Better Alternatives
A-29 Embraer Super Tucano

There are better alternatives than this plane that can give the Philippine Air Force more effectiveness in firepower, rapid deployment, maneuverability and other capabilities in which the BT-67 will surely be lacking.

As per the article provided by the IHS Janes, the BT-67 calls for replacing the OV-10 Bronco as a Close-Air Support (CAS)aircraft. But given the provided close-support, there are much better replacements to the said aircraft. First, there is the Close-air support program that the PAF undertakes, which the process is still ongoing. 

As far as the reports are given, the Embraer Super Tucano is so far the best bet for the said replacement since this aircraft, given its nature like the OV-10 which is a strike aircraft than gunships that BT-67 which will do runabouts where it risk the lives on board, is indeed appropriate to what the Philippine Air Force needs for a CAS aircraft. 

Moreover, there are also AW-109 gunships, MD-520s, and even land-based artillery that are better for area saturation than the BT-67s considering that these platforms have indeed proven within the AFP when it comes to battle. 

Speaking of these, it is better to stick on to these kinds of alternatives than having a plane based on the World War 2 design that is inappropriate to what the Philippines is facing today. 

And, as per given that it has proven in several air forces, including those in the United States, forget it. The Philippine Air Force is looking for platforms that suit its purpose given the needs of the whole armed forces, and these alternatives are indeed just right for that.

On layman's term, there are better things for the air force and the whole armed forces to have. Consider these factors: the whole armed forces are looking for a platform that gives what is best for the capabilities these said forces have. And with the BT-67, it only gives more disadvantages than the alternatives given here. Hence, buying what is the ideal platform is a necessity for every armed force, like the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It was just that given the things AFP has, BT-67 is inappropriate as an air asset for the air force to attain.


The BT-67 Basler, as its manufacturer's brochure has offered, has its promising features that may help the AFP to improve its forces whereas they may say that it's affordable, cost-efficient, supplementary spare parts and most of all, quick delivery from the company. 

However, the reasons given are worthy to share points why BT-67 is not appropriate for PAF to have, given the summary because the dimensions and the nature of the weaponry, systems and other factors the AFP and the Philippines as a whole does not seek such aircraft that may risk lives and decreases efficiency in time especially on loading and unloading and rapid deployment. 

Overall, such aircraft as what its manufacturer said may seem too good to be true but given the circumstances, it will not give the proper needs PAF is after for. Perhaps, a CN-235 gunship or a C-295 gunship may do, but citing it as a replacement for OV-10s, it may be appropriate to proceed in acquiring Super Tucano instead since this plane, like the OV-10s are strike aircraft that the PAF can enhance further. In summary, the Philippine Air Force, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines simply deserve better weaponry in the market. 

As they may say, one must not focus on cost alone, but focus instead on balancing it with its given effectiveness that gives an overall impact for the whole armed forces that affect the outcome of a mission.

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

Alternatives for Rifle Procurement

The United States Government over the year supplies its weapons, firearms in particular, to its allies which include the Philippines. And recent reports suggest that a US Senator attempts to cut sales deals of M4 rifles to the Philippine National Police (PNP) where in fact it was not materialized and the deal is still on-going. But these come with a question: "In the event of such cutoffs taking place, what are the alternatives for the Philippine Government for it to sustain its weapons for the police, as well as for the armed forces?

M-4 rifle.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) is procuring around 27,000 units of M-4 rifles from a certain weapons company in the US. However, recent reports suggest that a certain US Senator wanted to block the sales of such rifles to the PNP due to the so-called human rights records with the connection to the recent clout in the Philippine-US relations as based on the Extra-judicial killings wherein it can be blamed to the President as part of its "War on Drugs".

Accordingly, these are the mere points given out from defense-related outlets where such weapons coming from the US are attached with strings wherein the terms of usage can be limited on where it will actually be used as per the recommendations of the US government. Moreover, the proposed stopping of rifles procurement, being said can be more on restraints wherein international sales on weapons can be cited as well through the Blue Lantern End User Programme which is implemented by the US Government since last year which it determines the evaluation of the user's records on weapons and armament usage where it can determine procurements, much like those people applying for credit cards. In the light of the events, several Philippine Senators like Sen. Panfilo Lacson slam the US government for its bully attitude as what this article citing that the actions made by the US is deemed unfair and not acceptable where the proposed cancellation of sales as the highlight in this issue.

The good thing is, the deal is still on the go as far as the two sides are concerned considering that the SIG Sauer, the supplier, sent a letter to its local supplier Intertrade Asia Pacific with regards to the rifles, as it is written here:

Consequently, Pitz Defense Analysis believes that such a decision may be overturned at quite some time considering the recent situations in the Philippines, but it is also ascertained that it might continue as well. Thus, only time will tell with regards to the situation.

These being said, the discussions of looking for alternative sources are still alive and need to be analyzed in the sense that such alternatives can give its advantages and disadvantages in the sense that these things, being weighed out, will determine the best alternative for the forces to consider.


There will be three alternatives given in this situation. That excludes the re-negotiation and improving the human rights situation in the Philippines as well as improving the ties between the US and the Philippines. Although these things are welcoming reports that by nature benefiting both countries, it is at best focus on these alternatives as we explain to you the standards that these alternatives do bear.

The alternatives are determined through its advantages and disadvantages as seen through the context of the Philippine Government and the organizations do involve as well as the technicalities, specifications and other measurements with regards to the weapons themselves. Moreover, the alternatives stick to the only theoretical situation where if the United States decided to cancel the sales of weapons to the Philippine National Police wherein it may reflect procurements of more, sophisticated weapons to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

With these prerequisites, these are the alternatives that the Pitz Defense Analysis that may go possible in these kinds of situations may sprout out.

Alternative #1: Local Suppliers
Government Arsenal Booth.
Several senators agree on it, and the people wanted the government to go for it. Locally-produced weapons would mean more jobs for the people as well as growing domestically-produced weapons industry which will mean the portion of the nation's growth. Speaking of local manufacturing, several companies are for the production of ammunition, rifles, pistols and light arms that is for the needs of the military. Those known companies are:

- Arms Corporation of the Philippines (Armscor)
- Government Arsenal, Department of National Defense (GA, DND or simply GA)

These weapons companies are known to supply both the police and the military all over the years which determines the idealism on the words "self-reliance" that the government is after, where it goes on to the specifics: Self-Reliance Defense Posture or SRDP.

Now, to the specifics: the weapons these companies produced are based on the primary design of the US-made AR-15 where M-16 and later, M-4 was based on. These kinds of weapons are well-integrated to the use in the Armed Forces as well as to the Police and other organizations concerned such as those in BJMP and BuCor. Logistics-wise, it is ideal to have them since other countries as well as local ones can simply repair or produce them further like the Government Arsenal repairing some old M-16 rifles for government re-use.

Bureaucracy-wise, there are problems where several companies encounter various things that are not favorable to them. Privately-owned companies like UDMC are no longer allowed to sell their weapons to the AFP and PNP when the Government improved the mandate of its arms manufacturing arm Government Arsenal where it will be the prime and only supplier of equipment starting from ammunition, refurbished rifles and production of improved weapons for the government to use. But as of this moment, the Arsenal can't still produce more of them as what this article suggests, but it is as hopeful that they can have such capability again as per the given period.

It was cited from R.A. 9184 or the AFP Procurements Law where the provisions stated about the guidelines as for the government to follow where it hampers the ability of small local players like UDMC in joining government bidding projects due to the required experience in getting a previous contract worth 50% of projects being tendered. These in which may revise where the local companies can compete as well as getting involved in such a matter where these companies will cooperate one after the other as part of the SRDP model.

The improvement and further institutionalization of the Arsenal have deemed the part of Old AFP Modernization Program or R.A. 7898 which also coincides with the SRDP model which talks about the government leaning to producing its own and will not relying on procuring from others. Speaking of which, UDMC and others may opt instead to the civilian market where numerous retired military and policemen as well as others who wanted guns as part of their right to protect so that their business will be still on the go.

The only concern in this alternative is on the production itself, especially on producing those rifles in huge amounts like the PNP ordered from SIG Sauer which they procured 27,000 units. Such number of units are too big for the local companies to cope up with, not to mention that the pricing involving in the project may be so huge that when it comes to bidding requirements, it may subject to failure considering the facilities, investment, and the quantity to quality ratio which means sticking with the timeline of the procurement itself as what the contract, presumably goes to be.

In summary, here are the highlighted pros and cons for the first alternative.
- Improving the Local Industry may lead to
 >More jobs for the people
 >Attribute for a better economy
 >Self-reliance where the country made its own
 >Increasing patriotism through cooperation.

- Such action is disadvantageous due to
 >Procurement Policy
 >Lack of facilities for mass production
 >Limitations on support, especially private industries
 >Other bureaucratic and sensitive issues which it will never get discussed here.

Alternative #2: Procure from Eastern Block
Avtomat Kalashnikov 1947 (AK-47),
a masterpiece by Mikhail Kalashnikov (the one in the image).
Image Source.

In the light of improving relations between the Philippines and the Eastern Bloc countries like China and Russia, it is deemed possible to have an arms deal which it involves rifles where it was produced in these aforementioned countries.

Speaking of these, we may see having these several Russian made and its Chinese copy rifles in the arsenal in the inventory. Good as it can be where an AK-47 rifle alone saw combat in several hot spots across the world where such weapons are so light and good to use that even the evilest of groups obtain them to reap terror on the people.

There are also good assault rifles aside from the AK-47. The others are its sister AK-74, SVG guns, and several others including the Chinese ripoffs. These in which are the ones that the government may be eyeing right now considering the value that the relations may bring one over the other as well as having another source of equipment giving a big plus to the military.

But with such an alternative comes with a problem. First, with regards to operability. Both the PNP and AFP adhere to western-based weaponry which as discussed before on this page that the personnel is more used to weapons such as M-16 and R-4 Remington rifles. These in which require light sets of training where although it seems that OK, applying it to all of the personnel requires time where specializations are to be taken place in such a matter. On the bright side though, such operability may overcome later on with the sense of improving the skills of the personnel when it comes to handling different weapons.

The second thing to point on is logistics. Just like any other sophisticated weapons, logistics is one, major obstacle when it comes to procuring weapons especially from Russia and/or China. These in which that the spares of these weapons can be seen cannibalized for the others to function or procuring another set of weapons from the outside to replenish the overused ones. Seeing into this, it may cost some cash where it comes to procuring it once again not to mention that there are no local industries are making such a weapon. The good thing here is that it may overcome by having more orders by bulk where the cost will be lower in the sense that replenishment may be seen as a good thing there. Bulk orders of spares may also do where it is a big plus for such light arms. These in which will give the advantage to have these weapons alongside western-made ones.

And lastly, security nightmares. As of this moment, the Vivendi with China by the Philippines through the so-called "Charm Offensive" is so far working. But all of that does not dismiss the fact that the Chinese are still in the disputed West Philippine Sea/South China Sea area, having their artificial islands much better in function later, still doing patrols in the area, and having their fishermen do their thing despite that the local fishermen are allowed in the disputed zones such as the Scarborough Shoal. Speaking of these, in the event of the whole conflict, it may be possible that the Chinese will convince the Russians to cut off the trade or smuggling counterfeit copies where it will blend with genuine ones where it can render useless in the time of the battle. Hence, it is vital that such things might never happen or the rifle's performance maybe sabotage.

And here are the pros and cons for the second alternative:
- More sources of weaponry
- Easier use and is lighter than the western ones
- More production in sheer numbers where it is variably cheap to acquire.

- Operability issues
- Logistics
- Security concerns

Alternative #3: European Sources
The German HK SL8-5 semiautomatic rifle.
Image Source.

If procurement is impossible in the United States, it may be as ideal to have NATO-standard equipment from the European Community. Speaking of these things, there are many options to choose with as for what source the firearms will be getting, either from the French, or from the Austrians, or the Germans, or the Italians and so on and so forth.

The PNP, considerably ordered Glock 30 pistols from Austria as part of their improvements in their organization as they are up-arming them with such weapons that are light, easy to use and adhere to the NATO standards. One example is the award of a rifle to a wounded soldier.

The benefits that the European Sources given is that they offer weapons that are compatible to the standards both the AFP and PNP adhere as well as having more sources of equipment wherein the reliability on the United States will be decreased a little bit more but not totally eliminate it considering that there are several parts in these weapons are made in the US.

And with this comes as a problem: SIG Sauer is a German arms company, which means it falls in this alternative. And this specific company is the one who supplies the 27,000 units of rifles to the PNP which was proposed by a US senator to cancel the deal. The main reason for this is that Sauer has its facilities in the United States that built these weapons which are intended for the Police. Hence, such firearms deal are within the jurisdiction of the US Government not to mention the design and the standards that have used in these weapons are derived from the US firearm makers.

With connections in the United States weapons industry, it is not dismissable for a fact that a possible cancellation of sales included European-made ones. Albeit the higher chance for those ones that are made within CONUS, it is still possible for those units being produced in Europe as well considering that the technology and other things integrated are still originated in the US. Moreover, it can still be fixed where such weapons are still being insisted by host countries in Europe for the sake of business wherein the provisions are given that there will be no strings attached.

And here are the advantages and disadvantages of having them.

- NATO Standard of use
- Easy Integration of firearms
- Better reliability and usage

- Possible cancellation due to pressure
- It comes with restrictive uses.


These alternatives are given. And the question now is: "Among these alternatives, which we will choose?" The answer is in fact, none as for now considering that the deal is still ongoing and the relations are not that low as compared to the US-Russian ties which are on the low than those during the Cold War. 

However, it is at best that these alternatives are to be given attention wherein the decision-making body has the call as to what alternative will sound best. And in that, it is at best to say that all alternatives shall be considered wherein the advantages will weigh more than the disadvantages.

Overall, these analyses shed light on the idea that there are still alternatives to the problem where more cards are still at hand for the nation to consider. With this, it is ideal that the armed forces, as well as the police force, will be armed in the sense that the mandates given will be fulfilled by each personnel with responsibilities handling these reliable firearms that will determine life or death, victory or defeat, and glory or humiliation.




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