• 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.

Importance of Support Services for Equipment Enhancement

Weapons are indeed that lethal when seen on combat. However, such a dilemma will definitely hamper by problems in maintenance, storage, and other support services in which every armed force should they consider keeping their equipment operational.

Philippine Air Force's new fighter trainer jets. Source stated in the photo as a watermark.

The Philippine Armed Forces at present gets a certain number of equipment that it gets, which includes sophisticated equipment. In this case, the Philippine Air Force presently has 12 newly bought FA-50PH which are categorized as Lead-in Fighter Aircraft by the end user which are used as a transitional platform for the pilots to use as the plans of buying more sophisticated aircraft like the multi-role aircraft (MRF) are being materialized behind the scenes.

Buying military equipment isn't always pertaining to simply getting it and use it up to its purpose. Like a vehicle got by a single family, practicality options are to be considered where aside from the main equipment itself, support services shall also be checked out in its worth wherein it is vital for the armed forces to have so as it will determine the lifespan and usefulness of the military equipment through enhancing its maintenance, streamlining logistics, and of course, providing facilities for suiting these jets for local use which is to tweak its capacity depending to the capability of a nation to do so as well as on the terms of the deal like tech transfer.

Just so we know, gaining military capabilities and military equipment comes with a step-by-step process in order to get things right without a hitch. This refers to understanding D-O-T-M-L-P-F + P or Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel and Facilities plus Policy and its application to fill up capability gaps within the Armed Forces. We will discuss it in-depth later on in this website.

Read more: DOTMLPF-P Analysis - AcqNotes

Philippine Air Force FA-50 Lead-in Fighter Trainer.
Credits to the photo owner.

The importance of military infrastructure, particularly to its support services, is indeed vital that are essential to ensure victory in the battlefield. Such services are so very important that it pretty determine a nation's victory in a war a a whole.

It's easy for any military to buy a weapons system from the defense industry (provided that they have the financial resources to do so). But if others can own the same piece of hardware, how to do an air force gain an edge over others? 

Operational requirements differ between end users. One of the major differences that separates the professional user and the average one is the ability to change and adapt any weapon bought on the open market to suit local operational requirements. This is the first step to achieving the capability of indigenous production of particular equipment. 

The ability to improve on a standard piece of kit by making local modifications to it to extend its combat capability. An example for the Philippines would be the FA-50PH. Does the PAF have an in house capability to change the FA-50PH to extend it's capability? For example, change its radar source code to adapt it to match local conditions to make it more effective? Or introducing your own indigenous Electronic Warfare updates to its self-protection suite? If these capabilities are non existent, then depending on external support means a potential security compromise. 

It also means you won't be able to adapt fast enough to changing threats and mission requirements. Should the AFP concentrate on developing local a Electronic Warfare directorate to drive development of indigenous Electronic Warfare equipment and tactics? Is the current AFP in general ignoring the vital fourth domain of soft kill Electronic Warfare

Electronic Warfare is a highly sensitive, even taboo, subject. Other countries guard their Electronic Warfare secrets tightly and rarely share them with others. Even off the shelf jamming pods are often supplied as black boxes with only the most basic of operation modes. To bring out the best, the user have to upload their own operational doctrines into the system. If the Philippines don't have the capability to do so, it would be at the mercy of those who have already mastered the so called 'Black Magic of Modern Warfare'.

Overall, such weapons will still render useless even if it is so sophisticated in nature, citing that it shows vulnerabilities in a way that once exploited, this weapon will never function and thus, infiltrating an airspace will be a piece of cake. In covert operations, such vulnerabilities, as suggested, must be mitigated at an earlier time possible from the point of discovery so as there will be no regrets in the future. For such vulnerabilities, if left unchecked, will have devastating consequences.

FA-50PH in formation. Credits to its owner.
The main point given here is directly correlated to "tech transfer" opted for maintenance. In this matter, the Philippines does not have the current capability to change the capabilities of an aircraft, especially on its software. 

Even the Government-owned Philippine Aerospace Development Corporation can do it where it is primarily opted for aircraft maintenance, repair and assembly of aircraft even though its driving force are for self-reliance, technology transfer and national security. The Revised AFP Modernization Program or R.A. 7898 emphasizes this matter, which it goes in line with improve capabilities that may include modification and weapons adaptability that include the ideas on Electronic Warfare. These may do not come clearly in the picture yet since they rarely discuss it because of the lack of updates and more priorities on improving other areas, but it doesn't mean that the hope is gone. 

It may get materialized later, but in the end, it is still those within the ranks and others who are involved are the ones who will call the shots. In the end, it is welcoming that military procurement is still taking place, and there may be assurance that soon, not at the present, that topics like this will get into the picture once more.

(c) 2018 PDA, first edition 8-5-2022

Sulu Sea Security and the New Coast Guard Base in Zamboanga City's West Coast

The Philippine Coast Guard presently undertakes its own modernization program aside from the ones in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) where its highlights include new vessels such as the Parola-class MRRVs or the Multi-Role Response Vessels. Aside from that, there are also other interesting developments especially the ones situated near the notorious Sulu Sea.

A Philippine Coast Guard Parola-class vessel BRP Tubbataha, the lead ship.
Providing maritime security is indeed an essential thing for an archipelagic nation like the Philippines to have where livelihood, peace, and economic progress lies to the geographical setup that it obtains at present. Talking about maritime security, it is the role of both the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard to protect the waters and coastline that correlates to the nation's sovereignty.

In order to attain or improve the capabilities of upholding their respective mandates, both the Philippine Navy and the Coast Guard are modernizing its equipment as well as facilities where the primary aim is to deter any threats at sea that may hamper national security and economic progress.

And this is what is the Coast Guard aims to have especially on the construction of its bases for Southern Negros, Catanduanes, Siargao, and Zamboanga. Out of these four places that a Coast Guard bases will be built, the one from Zamboanga City is somewhat interesting where its proximity to the Sulu Sea makes maritime security in the area better. According to the report given by the Manila Bulletin, this Coast Guard base will be built in Zamboanga's Economic Zone Authority complex or ZamboEcozone where this area in itself is intended for economic development which is vital to the region and of the nation's progress.

This Php168 million development will cater modern facilities for the Coast Guard with an additional Php19 million to be used for having sophisticated, state-of-the-art equipment such as radar station and communication facilities as well as a finger wharf for Philippine Coast Guard vessels such as the Parola-class MRRVs to dock (see photo above). Given these details, the capabilities given is an improvement in terms of protecting the area specifically the Sulu Sea which in itself is infested with transiting insurgents and pirates that targets large vessels that may hamper the development needs of Zamboanga City, the Philippines, and its neighbors where it will affect the operations and the economics considering that the ZamboEcozone is specifically created for that matter.

With the correlation of Sulu Sea Security and those of the Coast Guard's development of its base on an Economic Zone estate, here are the things that might have come more interesting as security and progress are interrelated by that manner that the lives of local citizens or say, the whole nation will be affected, either in a direct or an indirect way.

The main office of Zamboanga Economic Zone Authority.
Via Wikimedia Commons.
As interesting as the nature of the news itself, it might as well be a better thing to know with regards to the organizations and parties involved as well as the areas, proximities, projects and other things that will give this project value and significance especially in terms of security and economic progress.

First, it is worthy to know about the location where the base will be built. Case in note folks, this does not pertain to any Operational Security attributes considering that news outlets disclose it publicly and its intended location is also known. Now, it is being said that the new Coast Guard base in Zamboanga will be constructed within the Zamboanga Economic Zone Authority which lies 22kms Northwest away from the City Center to the West Coast Barangay of Talisayan, in its sitio named San Ramon.
Click to enlarge the file. Source
As pointed on the map, this area faces Basilan Strait in the south while facing the Sulu Sea in it's West and Northwest where from there alone gives us an idea how vital it may be having a base in the location considering the dire situation that hampers economic progress that badly needs the solution.

To recall things up, the Sulu Sea is indeed a problem among the countries Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia where at one point in time, their respective armed forces are conducting patrols in the area where the threats of terrorism and piracy even require these nations to inter-operate each other in order to further secure this porous border that badly needs more security. More security in the sense that any piracy encounters at sea will deter more and eventually, making the Sulu Sea less dangerous place than it is at present.

(See more: The Trilateral Sulu Sea Air Patrols and the Maritime Patrol Capabilities)

And to further connect this to the intended mandate of the Zamboanga City Economic Zone Authority, it aspires to be the hub of trade and business opportunities where it seeks investors to pour in their resources and eventually, flourish the needs of the citizens of the nation especially on this Southwestern part of the Philippines. 

Let us take for instance this Private-Public Partnership (PPP) project of the ZamboEcozone called "San Ramon Newport Project" which is one of the essentials for the eventual economic growth of Zamboanga City, the island of Mindanao, and of course, the Philippines. Its aim as the world-class economic zone will not be possible without securing maritime security or maritime domain awareness especially on the threats that the murky Sulu Sea waters obtain. 

So, having a sophisticated Philippine Coast Guard base assigned in the area, complete with radar stations and communication sets as well as a port area for its ships to dock provides the solution in which eventually, the waters will be safe for merchant ships to sail across without any worries of any threats that lie ahead.

Aside from the merchant and commercial ships that will once dock at the future San Ramon Newport at completion, local industries that rely on maritime resources such as the sardines will also benefit where its effect on industry growth further defines the City's title as the Sardines Capital of the Philippines

The industry comprises a number of Canning factories in the area, notably in the West Coast of the city near the Economic Zone. A number of sardine brands may have its way originated from Zamboanga City, which gives an idea of how large is the impact the industry has among Filipinos as well as its importance of feeding families of those who rely on maritime-based livelihood. 

With the new base being in the materialization phase, these fishing vessels will be secure in the sense that marine companies will catch more fish which in turn gives the livelihood to the locals and feed the industry which supplies the demand of Sardines in the country and abroad. Add to that the economic effects of it where it may go as vibrant as the trade that the Zamboanga Economic Zone Authority may provide as the years go by.

And now to the technology that the Coast Guard will have in this new base. Given the reports, it will be provided with radar stations capable of detecting objects covering swathes of territory which may include portions, if not all of the Sulu Sea. 

The nature of radar sensors that the Philippine Coast Guard will be using, given its existing system of radar stations and communication centers across the country, will be more of a Vessel Traffic Management System or VTMS which is a sea version of Air Traffic Control radars designed for navigational guidance and detection of vessels that are sailing in the sea that is as appropriate with San Ramon Newport also being built in the area. These things will be enhanced further with Japan building more Coast Guard Radar Stations in Sulu and Celebes Seas that also goes in line with this prospect of improving Maritime Security and Domain Awareness in the area concerned.

These sets of programs on capability enhancements such as building more bases, facility improvements, procurement of additional vessels, and recruitment of personnel shows the determination of the Philippine Coast Guard where, like its counterparts in the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines under the Defense Department, are in an effort to boost, enhance, and improve its present capabilities where the primary aims are to have a stronger, more firm, and a secured nation that paves growth and development across the country for the citizens to cherish and appreciate. 

Hence, building bases and radar stations are as essential as purchasing of vessels and more personnel recruitments wherein the case of Multi-role response vessels, seven out of ten units are already delivered with the BRP Cape San Agustin (MRRV-4408) being the latest vessel to be in the Coast Guard fleet.


As the whole nation progress throughout time, the number of opportunities will increase especially in terms of trade. And having businesses have factors that cover national and maritime security issues which affect economic growth across neighboring nations.

Alongside with the fact Zamboanga City being the center of industry lenient on marine products such as Sardines, this enhancement of capabilities of the Philippine Coast Guard will also cover vessels at sea that are gathering marine resources in which it is beneficial to the local industry that relies on marine resources wherein turn helps the economy of Zamboanga City as well as those of the Philippines in the sense that it also indirectly provides the food security in terms of marine resources. With fishing and commercial vessels safer, this may eventually lead to the growth that locals might aspire as well as this may pave way for more economic benefits which laborers may finally have something to bring home for their families to feed, enjoy and live comfortably.

Hence, this portion of the Coast Guard Modernization is as important as other base projects, purchase of vessels like the Multi-Role Response Vessels such as the Parola-class patrol boats and recruitments of aspirants in which they desire to serve for the nation in a way that providing Maritime Domain Awareness and Security is their thing that grows economies and benefits the masses.

As of this date of posting, there are no updates yet with regards to recruitment for the Coast Guard except the June 03-04 PCGABT exam. For those who miss the results of the November 2017 exam, the details can be seen here. Check the official Philippine Coast Guard website for recruitment updates as well as our Facebook page at the times that we post updates about it. Thank you.




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