• 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.

The Idea of Having BVR features in an FA-50 Lead In Fighter Trainer Jet

The FA-50 is the primary workhorse of the Philippine Air Force as well as for the Korean Air Force's Close Air Support component (which goes alongside locally-made F-15Ks and F-16s) is still in production with the Korean Aerospace Industries or KAI. 

At present, its role is intended for Training and Advanced Light Fighter roles where it is still not at par with dedicated Multirole Fighter Jets in which aside from having more hardpoints to carry a payload like bombs and missiles, it also lacked a feature that pertains to advanced detection of enemy targets such as the Beyond Visual Range or BVR radar. 

Now, the question is this: How ideal is for the FA-50s like the ones the Air Force currently obtains to be fitted with such feature? Will this mean a lot for the organization? Will this help the pilots train more about this feature with MRFs also coming in the pipeline? Or rather, will this affect the MRF program itself? Such questions are seeking answers that are seen to clarify this out for all to understand.

Before the MRFs will be delivered to PAF, its current fighter jet
is composed of FA-50PH LIFT aircraft from South Korea. 
Photo Source

The Philippine Air Force or PAF at present date obtains a squadron of FA-50PH that already sought real action in areas like Butig in Lanao del Sur and Marawi City in the last year's conflict against radical terrorists that render the City down into shambles. 

These fighter jets or Lead-in Fighter Trainers in PAF's vocabulary proves its worth in the organization wherein in the case of conflict that takes place, its pilots gain the knowledge to the way the aircraft operates as well as for the ground crew about its maintenance. 

Let us take note that since the retirement of the last F-5s at the beginning of the century, PAF was left with only Close Air Support Aircraft such as the OV-10 Broncos as well as Combat Utility Helicopters such as the UH-1s and Airlift platforms like the C-130. With the FA-50s now in the country and in active service, the organization once more regain the capability that these birds obtain which signals the return of the Philippine Air Force back to the jet age.

Before proceeding to the main discussion of this topic, we may recommend everyone to read this article about The Role of FA-50PH as Both Trainer and Light Fighter on this website. It is worth taking note that the FA-50 obtains the potential to have such feature in each unit in terms of detection that the installation of Beyond Visual Range may enhance the performance of these birds in the process, even on the article aforementioned wherein the idea of having EL/M 2032 radars fitted on the jet is a good idea where it can support both Derby and Python missiles, the same munitions that can be found on the SPYDER Ground-Based Air Defense Systems which is the candidate for the project for ground-based air defense. 

While that idea of streamlining logistics and enhancing capabilities for the FA-50PH or the T-50 Family of the Korean Aerospace Industries in terms of sensors may be interesting on its worth, the fact remains that these airframes lack the capacity for BVR detection as it is designed primarily as a Lead-In Fighter Trainer in a way that the Philippine Air Force wants it. 

Nevertheless, this does not also mean dismissing this discussion about potentials altogether given the fact that such scenario may or may not take place in the future time, at the prerogative of the supplier or on the request of any of the end-users that such feature will be added on their respective aircraft for better results.

So, this discussion will aim more on what it will be for the FA-50s if it will be fitted with upgrades such as the Beyond Visual Range radar system. From there, details and ideas will be provided in which each point will be based on factual figures and data that will be gathered from notable outlets for us to see a clear image of possible outcomes.

The Elta EL/M 2032 Fire Control Radar. It is an ideal sensory
system for jets if it comes with Derby and Python Missiles as Munitions.
Photo Source.
This capability involves an aircraft that obtains advanced sensors that scan a wider area beyond the sight of the pilot together with a beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) that does the job of blasting out in the sky with the long-range being at the advantage.

In the photo above, the IAI Elta EL/M 2032 Fire Control Radar is an aircraft-oriented sensory system that is meant to work alongside fellow Israeli-made missiles such as the Derby Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile. Let us take note once again that this missile also serves as a munition in the SPYDER Ground-Based Missile System that the Philippine Air Force together with the Department of National Defense chooses to have for this project that will be operated under 780th GBADG. 

To understand the concept, the example goes like this: An aircraft is part of a system which in the Philippines case will be the Philippine Air Defense System or PADS which aims to have that Area Awareness 1 status by the year 2028. Now, an aircraft interceptor such as an MRF or in this case, the FA-50PH will scramble in the event of an intrusion. Take note that in the usual situation, it involves a series of procedures or some doctrine-based rules of engagement to what proper actions that the pilot will take in situations like this so as not to create any mistakes that will spark any tensions. 

Such a procedure may at times surpassed when a general conflict comes at play wherein these capabilities will put to the test. From there, here comes the measurement of the effectiveness of beyond visual range capability by obtaining the components that cover a wide range of areas for detection and missile payload delivery as designed by its manufacturer which also can be added by the skills and experience attained by the pilot. If all of the components such as the fire control radar (regardless if it is AESA or not), the missiles, and other systemic specifications at design are better than those of the enemy, then the odds prefer that aircraft that obtains such preferred components as they may detect targets earlier than its enemy. 

The same goes in favor of the enemy if they have better BVR capabilities against the first. Supremacy by the distance of detection and missile strike is the main concept for Beyond Missile Range Combat, as modern combat defines the importance of systems especially the ones fitted in the aircraft that will define the outcome of the air battle to whether will it be a defeat or victory.

Aside from the sensors and missiles fitted in the aircraft, the network in itself is also vital where the situation for beyond visual range combat comes with complex ways of doing things. This document provided by the Brazilian Air Force on their assessment on beyond visual range combat, situational awareness, and complex decision-making measures shall obtain by pilots to have an accurate picture of the battlefield as well as to focus on their mission by determining which targets are given to be destroyed. 

Moreover, data exchange is very essential on this matter where data links and continuous exchange of up-to-date between the aircraft and other units across the network like ground-based radar detection systems are needed for proper coordination which may lead to a better outcome wherein different units play their role within the system that aims to keep the airspace as much as secure as possible by keeping any intruders at bay, if not blasting them out of existence when deemed necessary.

The KAI production line of its own products - from FA-50s to KUH-1
Surion Combat Utility Helicopters. 
From AINOnline Website.

From its inception, the KAI FA-50s are only intended as designed where so far it received a positive reception from countries like the Philippines where they actually used it in actual combat which tested its capabilities for close air support roles.

And here is the recent news from AINOnline reporting of what it will be the development of the FA-50 Golden Eagle by KAI to become more sophisticated than the ones in the present service. This involves fitting the jets with the AN/AAQ-33 targeting pods from Lockheed Martin which are intended to increase accuracy for munitions aiming for ground-based targets, the same thing that the Philippines did in their FA-50PH against Maute-ISIS in the Marawi conflict.

This is expected as Korean Aerospace Industries projects additional orders from the Southeast Asian Region for years to come in terms of T-50 family purchases. In the Philippine context, original procurement plans called for at least 36 Light Combat Aircraft / Lead-in Fighter Trainer in the form of FA-50s, which will go alongside the original format of 48 Multirole Fighters as part of the 2028 Flight Plan. 

Apparently, the upgrades will be introduced somewhere around two years from now as what the article suggests wherein at that period the MRF program will undertake production process already shall any decisions and contract to sign for that project will take place somewhere within the year 2019. 

Nevertheless, the plans for that period may affect any future orders of additional FA-50s especially for the Philippine Air Force in a way that this will augment and complement the capabilities of the Multirole Fighters in a variable of missions such as Close Air Support Operations and air interdiction/intercept roles.

So, this development is something that needs a close watch for years to come so as the fact that the Korean Aerospace Industries introducing upgrades on their FA-50s definitely help a lot when it comes to the capabilities of Air Forces such as those of the Philippines where their assets simply become more effective when it comes to carrying out a duty when it is needed in a battlefield or in other roles that it is found suited.

Hence, things will remain to be seen to the progress that their development program will undertake as well as for the time period and future orders to carry out wherein doing so may mean additional sales pitch for their product that in the process benefit both the supplier and the buyer in a way that it only does not benefit the latter in the things aforementioned when it comes to its performance but also to the bagging of contracts which will propel the former to the new heights when it comes to profitability.

U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon egress mechanics pose alongside Philippine Air Force FA-50 egress mechanics upon completion of a subject matter expert exchange during Bilateral Air Contingent Exchange-Philippines (BACE-P) at Cesar Basa Air Base, Philippines, Jan. 22, 2019.
From DVIDSHUB website.

The FA-50PH proves a lot for the Philippine Air Force in a way that it can be seen as one of the avenues for improvement especially if it involves an exchange-exercise with another nation which is at the default ally that the country has like the United States.

On this report, as provided by DVIDS or Defense Visual Information and Distributions Service from the United States Armed Forces, the FA-50s were used by the Philippine Air Force along with their counterparts and their F-16s as platforms to conduct their activities ranging from air combat operations to systems mechanic such as the one depicted in the image above with an FA-50PH jet in the background.

From here, it is a nice, satisfiable thing especially for the FA-50PH being served as a platform for PAF to participate in such exercises given that this jet, although with a light combat trainer jet in nature still obtains that attribute that makes it an ideal thing to be a step platform before the pilots embark to the Multirole Fighter jets that the government and the Philippine Air Force aspires as they seek for a dozen units as part of the Horizon 2 initiative. 

More unto this, there goes the plan for enhancing some of the FA-50PH where going along with what the Korean Aerospace Industries aspires is something that will make these lead-in fighter trainer assets more capable than ever, improving the performance of the Air Force as an organization as these assets will help provide the effectiveness in achieving the primary objectives.

In this case, perhaps this kind of exercise may help PAF in terms of acquiring knowledge in terms of adapting or understanding the use of Beyond Visual Range systems alongside other things that may be considered new capabilities of the organization such as air refueling. Perhaps time will come where these upgrades are already incorporated or the necessary material is already in the Air Force inventory. From there comes the desire to enhancing the performance of this military branch for the better.

There are chances of incorporating T/X program developments to newer
variants of the FA-50s, depending on the discretion of the manufacturer.
Photo Source.
The Philippine Air Force presently obtains the FA-50s in ints inventory while the manufacturer, Korean Aerospace Industries is keen to introduce upgrades to their platforms in a way that they may market it to Southeast Asia like the Philippines sometime in the future.

From there alone comes the chance and as well the opportunity that these lead-in fighter trainers may gain sensors and firepower wherein it will become a more formidable player within the organization where its enhanced performance may help the organization improve its operations especially in combat. 

Also, this will help the Philippine Air Force double its combat aircraft where this will help complement the Multirole Fighter Jet project that it is still on-going as of the present date and is now nearing the decision phase. 

From there, the utilization of these jets may go further than its combat use on a battle like the ones in Marawi years ago. Hence, here goes the potential of the jet that can get improved as the years go by and it will benefit its users where aside from the Philippines includes Southeast Asian peers like Indonesia and Thailand. 

Also on the part of the Korean Aerospace Industries, their efforts of upgrading their aircraft may be worth it once it attracts customers and ramps up orders which in turn makes more profit for the company to sustain its operations as well as its growth as a key player for the sale of defense hardware, an embodiment of an ever-growing Korean Defense Industry.

To wrap this up, it all remains to be seen to what direction this progress may take with regards to improving proven platforms such as the FA-50PH. Nevertheless, it may be said that the future is a bit bright here wherein the planning, ones it pushes through will be a win-win for all of those who are involved, especially the supplier and the end-user. 

Hence, this is definitely something when it comes to garnering the necessary tools and pools of manpower, along with resources and organization for a country's armed force to grow. This, among others, are an effort to improve the overall national security situation that ensures peace among the citizenry.

RAFAEL SPYDER GBADS and the Philippine Airspace Protection

At present, the Philippine Air Force is doing its part to implement the Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone at the fullest. One of the main fundamentals for this to be on its maximum effect is to purchase ground-based air defense systems to protect key strategic zones from potential enemies coming from the sky. And with that, this said military branch is inching closer to have such systems which means a lot for the country's protection.

The missile launching unit of Rafael SPYDER MR, a ground-based
air defense system designed to protect national airspace.
Photo Source.
The year 2019 provides a full of hopes and dreams especially if it means the Modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as a whole, wherein different military branches have their own share of procurement projects intending to improve their performance as part of their mandate as an organization which is oriented to defending the country against threatening enemies that pose danger to the country, its sovereignty, and its citizens.

It is recently disclosed by the former chief of the Philippine Air Force that among those will be purchased in the year 2019 is the Ground-Based Air Defense System or GBADs originated from Israel. So far, the most usual or common offer of the Israelis to the Philippine military comes in the form of Rafael SPYDER family of ground-based air defense systems and munitions. While other defense outlets already discussed the fair technicalities with regards to this system, let us provide simplistic facts to provide an in-depth understanding especially that the country is about to receive its own GBADs, a first in the country with regards to its capability to operate such systems given that there are no decent air defense for the country throughout the years especially if it means ground-based air defense operations.

So, here are the key points that pertain to this project that is relatively new to PAF where such function is already being eyed upon for years, with recent updates provided the details to how close they are on having a deal with the supplier and eventually, seeing them operational on the country operated by the Philippine military.

Rafael is a defense company specialized in advanced weaponry
based on Israel.
Website: http://www.rafael.co.il

Known as רפאל - מערכות לחימה מתקדמות בע"מ in Hebrew, RAFAEL is a defense company owned by the Israeli Government. They serve as a developer and producer of advanced weaponry primarily designed to suit the needs of the Israel Defense Force or IDF.

Together with other defense industries in Israel such as Elbit and IAI or Israeli Aerospace Industries, they serve as a backbone for the IDF's military necessity to weapon up given that the country faced several conflicts which put harm on the country's very existence, one that was founded in 1948, the year when the company was also started as part of Israel's Defense Ministry National Research and Development Laboratory. 

It was incorporated into a limited company in 2002 although it remained majority controlled by the Israeli Government. The combat experience ranging from the six-day war down to the Yom Kippur war up to the present day with many skirmishes provides the points for their weapons platforms to improve. 

At the present date, the company produces advanced weaponry such as the SPIKE-ER that is presently in service with the Philippine Navy onboard the MPAC Mk.3s and SPIKE NLOS that will be armed the Philippine Navy AW-159 Antisubmarine helicopters soon. 

These two said missile systems with the former proven on a missile test have already proved its worth for the AFP to have that is a plus for the sales pitch for these Ground-Based Air Defense Systems like the SPYDER. 

The deals on the SPIKE missile series provide RAFAEL the experience of having negotiations with the key Philippine officials that involve defense procurement matters. So, this may provide an ideal reference for a company in terms of having transactions that may help pitch their product to the Philippine Air Force along with its Ground-based Air Defense Systems Project.

The SPYDER MR and SR obtain different characteristic in terms of
range, payload, and variations on systemic setup.
The SPYDER (abbreviated from Surface-to-air Python and Derby) is a ground-based air defense system made from Israel which can be configured from short range to medium range (SR and MR)

From the abbreviation in itself, the missile munitions are composed of both Python and Derby missiles which both are originally designed as air-to-air assets for the Israeli Air Force, typically fitted on their own aircraft such as the F-16 Fighter. 

In the Southeast Asian Region (ASEAN), the other countries that presently obtain the SPYDER are Singapore (the SR variant) and Vietnam (both the SR and MR variant). 

Now to link this with the Philippine Air Force's another project in the pipeline which is the Multirole Fighter Jet (MRF) program. The compatibility for the Derby missiles goes with F-16s and Gripen Es (not the C/D variant) while the Python missiles go compatible only to F-16s. 

Take note that this is only one area of consideration where missile fitting defines the capability of these birds once they are to protect the airspace and to implement the Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone or PADIZ. Other areas may mean Cost per Flight Hour (CPFH) consideration on fuel and maintenance (in which JAS-39 Gripen is preferred) as well as the great capabilities that the F-16 bring in terms of payload and range. Nevertheless, that is for the Philippine Air Force Technical Working Group to decide.

Now back to the main discussion. Derby was developed in the 1980s and gets introduced in the mid-1990s. Since then, it finds itself on military aircraft such as the ones in the Israeli Air Force as well as on-ground platforms like the SPYDER wherein its Beyond Visual Range (BVR) design capacity is ideal for air defense such as for the Medium Range variant of this Israeli-made system. 

The Python missile meanwhile was developed way back in the 1970s in which the Derby BVR air-to-air missile is one of its variants, along with Shafrirs (Dragonfly) 1 and 2 and eventually the Pythons 3, 4, and 5. These missile and applications are a bit impressive on its worth where it can be both used as an anti-air platform both from the ground and from the air at the discretion of its user. 

That in itself may enhance the logistics supply chain, especially if both the ground and air units utilized similar missiles for their operations on the objective of providing effective air defense.

In line with the topic that pertains to ground-based air defense systems, let us take note that the SPYDER ideally utilizes the latest Python-5 missile and the Derby missile which defines its range of missile firepower that packs a punch against any air-based targets that ranges from cruise missiles to fighter jets. 

While these firing systems are what defines the combative aspect of the system, let us not ignore as well its sensory, command, and support mechanisms which are also as essential wherein the missiles fired may have not achieved its objective of blasting out targets in the sky without any radar guidance as well as command and control platforms. 

The SPYDER system utilizes the ELM-2106 ATAR for the Short Range (SR) variant and the ELM-2084 radar for the Medium Range (MR) variant. Both are produced by Elta Systems, Ltd which is a subsidiary of the Israel Aerospace Industries or IAI. 

Take note that it is also through this subsidiary that the Philippine Air Force obtain the ELM-2288 AD-STAR (with more coming soon) for the Philippine Air Force's 580th ACWW or the Aircraft Control and Warning Wing in which the military branch finally regaining its eyes on the sky which is the first for the implementation of PADIZ which in itself is currently on Area Awareness 4 status. 

Such radar stations of 580th ACWW houses the Elta-made
AD-STAR radars for air detection. 
From 580th ACWW Facebook Page.
A Ground-Based Air Defense System is definitely essential in implementing an idealistic air defense zone such as the PADIZ. It is definitely that essential that the Philippine Air Force obtains an air group under the weapons systems division which is the 780th GBADG or the Ground-Based Air Defense Group.

The role obtained by the 780th GBADG goes in a similar gesture as the 5th Fighter Wing, in which their primary roles are aimed for air interdiction purposes, to take potential threats out of the Philippine Air Force to keep the airspace safe for the citizens to live without the worry of pounding bombs and missiles that threatens the way of life on the country as well as minimizing, if not to eliminate any potential casualties resulted from such strikes.

Its formation way back 2015 prompts the idea about the dedication that the Philippine Air Force has in terms of improving its performance of doing its duties and responsibilities which is a nice attribute of the DOTMLPF analysis chain where there is the sense of doctrine through the ideas of having an effective Philippine Air Defense System (PADS), re-organizing ranks that led to the formation of the group as well as having the training and reconsidering the maintenance, logistics, personnel and facility aspects of this decision which guides them on the decision that will help the country obtain the necessary capabilities in terms of having an effective air defense. 

In that sense, there is the determination for this project to become possible given that the organization realizes the essentiality of having Ground-based air defense systems in the arsenal that may serve as part of a larger component within the implemented PADIZ. This comes with the hopes that having a decent air defense system means a lot for protecting the country in the same way as the other branches of the military like the Navy's aspiration of having secured coastlines and the Army's protection of the country from the number of insurgents that still spreading violence up to the present date.

Regarding support mechanism matters, one may ask to the vehicle platform that the SPYDER GBADS may be fitted upon. So far, the system can be fitted on a truck that is in production with Tatra, MAN, Scania, and Mercedes Benz

Among these four truck providers, it may be a good thing to say that MAN trucks, a Volkswagen subsidiary from Germany may have a better chance for the system to be fitted given that they have an excellent reputation of providing trucks with the government, primarily the Bureau of Fire Protection and Philippine National Police units. Hence, that will help smoothen the logistics chain across as the time passes by when spare parts maintenance arises.

So having this platform defines a lot not only to the Philippines and its national security but also to the relations between this nation and Israel which is the supplying country of systems like the SPYDER. 

It is worthy to take note that the recent rhetoric made by the administration against the United States (although this was disregarded by the Department of National Defense at some point in time), suggests that it is appropriate seeking military equipment instead of countries like South Korea and Israel. 

Taking aside any purely political statement, this may help provide an idea about the security relations of both countries have where the SPYDER, once it is awarded in favor of it and for both the DND and RAFAEL to forge a contract, may go as one of the symbols about the strong relations between these nations.

Israeli Air Force F-16s can be fitted with Derby and Python missiles.
Having both the SPYDER and F-16Vs from Lockheed Martin may be a big
plus for PAF's overall capability. 
Photo Source.
The decision of the Philippine Air Force to have GBADs as part of its long-term plan of regaining capability to implement the Philippine Air Defense System is something that is welcoming especially that the country is presently lacking it in terms of scanning, intercepting, and shooting enemy targets either from air platforms such as the Multirole Fighter jets or from the Ground through GBADs.

The SPYDER definitely now obtain the chance of getting part of PAF's effort to perform its duties as the defense department announced that this is the preferred platform for the Ground-based Air Defense System. 

Nevertheless, the country needs these defense systems especially in protecting key strategic locations that are vital to the nation's security and welfare in its entirety. So, having them may somewhat help further guarantee the safety of these areas especially in case of conflict. 

It is worthy to take note that this also helps improve ties with Israel especially with its defense industries notable to develop defense technology that keeps the country surviving from its inception up to the present date especially from its hostile neighbors wherein such technology may provide the country's needs to protect itself as part of the overall effort of obtaining minimum credible defense posture or deterrence that make any foreign invasion costly to the ones that have plans to carry it out.

So, the only thing now is the hope that the notice of award and eventually, the contract to be signed so as the supplier will be getting the assurance to supplant the Ground-Based Air Defense System to the Philippine Air Force. 

If RAFAEL bagged this contract, this may help further benefit not only in terms of providing them the defense systems package but also its munitions that will help the organization's Fighter Jets where it will be provided additional firepower for more satisfiable results.


The screengrab was taken from the DBM website. Click the image
to enlarge.
The Department of Budget and Management or DBM released a Special Allocation Release Order or SARO (see page 18 no. 6) in connection to the implementation of the Ground-based Air Defense System Procurement Project as this article discussed.

With SARO No. SARO-BMB-D-19-0004325, the Budget Department released at least the exact 15% of the contract price (Php1,027,012,500.00 of Php6,846,750,000.00) where it means that the project is close to an award and eventually to be followed by the signing of the contract then the issuance of the notice to proceed which will kickstart the production of the components for three batteries of RAFAEL Spyder MR variants from Israel.

Hence, from here, the time will be ticking until its delivery date reaches with the new unit components - from the launchers to the system radar being delivered to the country. And that will be a stepping stone for the organization to have a better aerial deterrence as needed in implementing the Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone or PADIZ.

Analyzing Defense: First Weeks of 2019

The first weeks of 2019, started from January 1st up to the present date provides some interesting developments with regards to the wide range of activities that run the Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as the Department of National Defense to conduct their mandate as well as providing the plans and timetables with regards to the updates in connection to the Armed Forces Modernization Program. It is also worth taking note that there will be other sets of discussions that will be inserted here wherein at some sense, those topics at some sense do influence the country's national security status that has correlated to our defense discussions.

These helicopters, along with Amphibious Assault Vehicles are the ones
announced by the Defense Department on the first weeks that
its delivery may take place on the first or second part of this year.

Today is the 14th day since the year 2019 started. And as time passes by, so does new developments slowly unravel before anyone who is interested in hearing and seeing the news developments, especially with regards to defense and other related issues.

Some of these topics may range from a cause of concern especially on the context of a citizen who aspires peace and security to what is to be the good news which primarily covered by incoming deliveries of military platforms from other countries or developments such as deploying a contingent for military exercise or familiarization of upcoming platforms. Also on this matter, there are areas that needed to cover which it affects national defense standpoint such as developments on contested features on the West Philippine Sea or something related in the regional arena.

So, here are some of the interesting articles that were unraveled on the first few weeks of 2019 in which its nature will be discussed and detailed analysis will be provided. And from here, we set a guide of what is to come for the remainder of the year and for the upcoming years.

The long-standing alliance between these nations will be put to a test.

First appeared last year December 2018, the current Philippine Administration opts to review the mutual defense treaty with the United States and its provisions as the situation in the West Philippine Sea or the South China Sea at some sense relatively test it out.

This analytical write-up provides a relevant spotlight so as what the perceptions, viewpoints and the grievances this treaty has to bring between two sides as for the Philippine context we summarize, highlights the shortcomings such as providing hand-me-downs or to aid. Nevertheless, some interesting developments are also covered on that write-up such as the continuous cooperation through Visiting Forces Agreement and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement wherein this help provide the local troops the know-how as well as further developing local military facilities all with the help of an ally. Also to mention the indirect benefit of the country obtains through the Freedom of Navigation Patrols where despite its neutralistic stance since the US obtains a foreign policy of not taking sides, they still conduct these activities in which they show defiance against the hegemonic actions provided by the Chinese that is seen in the region as a provocation of some extent. Moreover, let us not dismiss the fact that the United States currently offer some new material such as S-70i Black Hawk Helicopters for the Combat Utility Helicopter Project and the F-16V variant, known as the Viper Block 70/72 for the Philippine Air Force Multirole Fighter Project.

It is worth to ponder that the ties between two nations are still as strong as ever, where an agreement such as a mutual defense treaty will not simply be disregarded or removed without prior approval of the Congress. That is one area to consider with regards to the process as discussed on their review of its provisions where, it might as well be ideal to somewhat improve it up by having the Armed Forces capable to stand on its own, worthy to be supported by an ally.


Call this the continuation of the first topic that at any sense have the connection with relations to countries such as the United States, because it definitely is. Just recently, President Duterte vows on himself and his administration that they will avoid military purchases originated from the United States, citing CAATSA or Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act which is presently implemented against Russia and its key companies such as Rosoboronexport.

So the point here is this: While other sources such as South Korea and Israel are being mentioned in the article, it is not dismissible the very fact that most of the military platforms of the country are originated from the United States. That is ranging from C-130s to Hamilton-class cutters as well as the on-going deals aforementioned that will help provide the Armed Forces the capability it needs. So, from here alone, there is some sense so as the Defense Department loosely follow the guidelines of the administration where they themselves understand what the military needs more than the rest in the current administration. Implementing this strictly may implicate the operations of the whole Armed Forces as this may not only limit to the types of equipment originated from the United States but also to the ones originated from the other sources that obtain US-made components. So, this may limit the options for the forces to buy down to the Russian and Chinese sources where it may not only get compatible to the doctrine that the country follows so as it presently follow the US-NATO format, but also obtain the security risk that may put the country into the disadvantage.

And so, it is on the best judgment of the Defense Department to give understanding so as the essentials of obtaining these effective military platforms regardless of where it was originated. From there, the mere point here is that as long as this help defend the country itself and its national interest as well as providing the satisfaction to the troops for them to do their job as mandated by law, then there will be no problems at all.

The budget hearings are done in the Congress, and later to be signed
by the President.

Exactly a year ago, we posted an article so as to how really important budgeting is to the Armed Forces and its operations

At present, the 2019 budget, more known as the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA), is still pending approval as Congress is finalizing it up to its very detail. As far as the first weeks is concerned, the Government in itself, the Armed Forces of the Philippines included is operating under the 2018 re-enacted budget. In other words, most of the procurement process will be hampered by this delay.

According to the Department of Budget and Management together with its Secretary Mr. Benjamin Diokno, the 2019 General Appropriations Act will be more or less be implemented on the first week of February this year, rendering most of the January operating on the old budget format until such time it will be covered by the new one, as enacted on the current-date GAA. If so, this will not put most of the programmed 2019 military purchases and recruitments into harm, as the government sorting this delay up in order to cover the present payables, preferably the due and demandable portion on the number of budgetary registries. Also on the side note of this budget, it is worth for each reader to know that once the 2019 GAA gets implemented, its disbursement will be in a cash-based form as against the last year's obligations-based form in which it further improves the management of funds that are allocated on a quarter. Note also that most of the reports seeking by the budget from numerous National Government Agencies - the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police included as well as Local Government Units and Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations shall be submitted before the month ends. So, this is also worthy for a heads-up, especially that financial resources definitely defines what the Armed Forces and the National Police force wants in order to cover their duties and responsibilities to the cover of the nation.

So, on this matter, it might be nice that the Budgetary components of the Government, as well as the key echelons of various government agencies and the military to work hand-in-hand as the passing of the 2019 General Appropriations Act, defines a lot if it means performing necessary duties and responsibilities as mandated by law for the country's eventual progress as a whole.

The Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy, through the Varyag Cruiser
and Admiral Pantaleyev Destroyer, have visited Manila on the first
weeks of 2019 for a 5-day stay.

Last January 6, the Russians visited Manila Port with three ships of the Pacific Fleet being in the country for a five-day goodwill visit, a sign of ever-growing relations between Russia and the Philippines since President Duterte assumed the position in 2016.

It was discussed all along about the possibilities of having Russian-made platforms for the Philippine Armed Forces to use. So far as they are concerned, they only provided the country AK-47M rifles, URAL trucks, ammunition for the AK-47s and SSh-68 helmets in which can be considered as Cold War relics that is incompatible to the doctrine and systemic platforms that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is using. Nevertheless, the relations still improve through forms of trade between countries in which several areas are not defense-related in nature. Note that currently, any options for the country to go Russian in military weapons purchase will be non-beneficial to this nation as the United States, Philippines' primary ally imposes the CAATSA that aims to sanction Russian companies that will take a hit to the economy on the country that obtains the second largest military power in the world. Perhaps it might be only nice to deal with the Russians in terms to other areas such as in other industries and trade as well as exchanging military expertise in counter-terrorism operations in such a way that it will not harm the country from the impending sanction that may affect the country's impending military purchases in the United States as mentioned in this article.

So, it might be nice to keep the best of relations to the Russians as well as to the nation's key ally the United States. Provided that all of these things, among others, will benefit the country and its citizens at a full, a way that will bolster not only the economy of the nation but also, at a certain degree, on a number of areas in defense.

Four KAAV-7s from South Korea as well as two AW-159s from England
will be delivered to the country by the first or second quarter of this year.

The Philippine Navy provided a couple of announcements with regards to its developments in which may give the glimpse so as to its current actions that get in line to its modernization drive.

First on the announcement line is the one about the delivery of four Korean-made Amphibious Assault Vehicles (KAAV-7s) and two Leonardo AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopters intended to the Philippine Navy Frigate. The date is slated in March this year where the Navy will obtain the first batch of eight ordered KAAV-7s intended to the Philippine Marine Corps as well as the antisubmarine helicopters which will nest on the ships that are currently building in South Korea, slated on delivery next year 2020 and year 2021 with names bearing BRP Jose Rizal and BRP Antonio Luna. Another update is about the Pohang-class ROKN Chungju Corvette (PCC-762), now named as BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39) whose namesake is a Philippine Army veteran who fought in the Korean war under the Philippine Expeditionary Forces of the United Nations. The personnel that will be assigned to the Corvette as detailed on RAdm. Empedrad's speech will be undertaking training this year, which means that the delivery of the ship gets closer as the fleet badly needs more ship as the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, the lead ship of the class is still on drydock for repairs on the damage it incurred from last year's grounding of the ship from Hasa-Hasa shoal. Speaking about the Gregorio del Pilar-class of ships, derived from the Hamilton-class U.S. Coast Guard Cutter, the Department of National Defense considers and reviews the option to have a fourth one of such class for the Philippine Navy, still under the premise of covering up their mandated duties and responsibilities as they are still lacking naval hulls to patrol the waters. There is one ship that seems to be decommissioning this 2019 is the USCGC Midgett, although its date may still change without further notice as its replacement takes time to cover up the fleet needs of the U.S. Coast Guard. Moreover, the competition on this one will be that great that countries that already obtain such ships like Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Nigeria, Bangladesh, as well as the Philippines, may end up taking the grabs on the remaining ships either as an additional ship or as a spare parts hulk. So, it might be nice for them to recommend to get at least one or the rest of the fleet wherein the end, it will be for the U.S. Government to decide and determine.

With this progress, it seems that the Philippine Navy is up for grabs for the hulls that will cover up for the fleet to do their duty. Not only that, but it also seems that the Maestrale-class Frigates from Italy gets reconsidered again. With these developments, both good and not-so-satisfiable, may provide the glimpse with the hopes that purchases will help provide them cover up their needs.


The first weeks of 2019 already provided the developments on the defense updates in which may determine on what's to come for the Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as on the other government agencies in terms on actions which may help the country more.

Furthermore, the upcoming sets of activities and provisions may further shape up the direction that the country and the armed forces may take along the way to the year 2019 in a sense that the very moot idea points out to the essence of making the country improved and progressive as this is what the citizens want in the way that it also provides them the fullest of satisfaction. Hence, for every personnel all across the chain, in government and in private as well as to every citizen that is for growth and development, let us improve our knowledge and skills in a way that performing what is for the best can be done on the best principle we obtain. Moreover, helping together to make these things possible is always been the name of the game, as the defense updates provide the detail of hardworking people on the ranks slowly getting the fruits of labor.

Let these be what is the best or what it may be the challenging months ahead. In any sense, some of the Modernization Projects gets in fruition in a way that each member plays the role to make this possible. To sum this article up, let us quote this: "It is preferable to treat one's job as a service rather than a career, as the former wholeheartedly give it all for the best of the country and the organization than the attainments of the latter". Unity is for this nation and its citizens to have, folks.

A Principled, Inspiring and Patriotic 2019 to All

Last year, there are many ups and downs that the key planners in the Armed Forces service faced as they are pushing on their respective projects which may bring improvement to the capabilities of the organization as a unit and also in delivering their intended duties and responsibilities as mandated by law. This is a continuation of last year's #RespectHumbleExcellentAspiring2018 aims which this, along with the greetings for a #PrincipledInspiringHealthyPatriotic2019 goes along in the aims of a better service of and for each uniformed and non-uniformed personnel working in a uniformed organization, as well as the continuous support for the AFP Modernization Efforts that aims for a credible force.


The year 2018 provides us a fruitful year especially on the efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as other uniformed organizations like the Philippine National Police in pursuing their goals as they improve their capabilities in order to carry out their intended mandates. First, the Philippine Navy obtains a milestone for the first and second ceremonial cutting for its two Frigates which are named BRP Antonio Luna and BRP Jose Rizal that are to be delivered a year or two from now and also for the first test-fire of the SPIKE-ER aboard the MPAC Mk.3s, a first for the fleet to obtain missile munitions which push the organization back to the missile age.

Then there is the Philippine Army, in particular, its Mechanized Infantry Division which in itself aspires to have a dedicated light tank for its own use. So far, such a project is at its planning stage where there are minimal updates so as to its movements. Nevertheless, it does not mean that there are no things that happened behind the spotlight. Perhaps such information may be provided later on. The Philippine Air Force obtains a significant milestone as its Technical Working Group chooses the TAI T-129 ATAK Combat Attack Helicopter and the S-70i Black Hawk as its Attack Helicopter and Combat Utility Helicopter, respectively. Shall there are no changes that may happen within this year, the deal will be locked through contract signing wherein obtaining these platforms define the capability of PAF for the years to come.

 As for the citizenry, the pursuance of getting up duties and responsibilities to serve the country in each and every way will become more significant as the introduction of these weapons platform and the recruitment of aspiring applicants for the uniformed service become usual in the way that to those who draft or apply, it may mean a significant change in their lives. Likewise, the civilian workers of the service, especially in the government, contribute in the same way as the uniformed workers where like a mechanism in a system, a functioning component may define the success of the organization in its operations.

The year 2019 serves as a reminder that this is the second year since the Second Horizon Phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program is on the roll. The projects programmed under this horizon is either on the planning stage or its budget already allotted varying on its source of income like the Annual GAA or the BCDA remittances with some closing into the signing of contracts. There goes with hopes and dreams that these projects will prosper on their own worth in a way that all that is involve help provide what is the best for the interest of the Filipino people as a whole.

Once again, in a usual message just like the New Year that was done exactly a year ago as well as from two years ago that this year will provide us the best not only to the country or in an organization but also to each citizen like ourselves as an individual that we are to aspire and work on, with the principled mindset that we work and contribute, based on our respective roles and skills obtained, for the betterment of the country, the society and the development of the Armed Forces as a whole. Let the year 2019 be a Principled, Servicing, Healthy, Loving, and Patriotic year to each and every one of us.

From us here in Pitz Defense Analysis, Have an inspiring, prosperous 2019 to one and all!
#PDA #PitzDefAnalysis #Attainment #Respect #Humble #Excellent #Responsible #Patriotic #PrincipledCitizen #ForTheNation




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