• 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.

Updates for the Philippine Air Force Multirole Fighter Jet Acquisition Project

It is been more than a year now since the last information regarding one of the Philippine Air Force's very important big-ticket projects has provided on this website as there is additional information that is added to this procurement process which is currently being observed and checked across the defense community.

Lockheed Martin F-16 Display in ADAS 2018.
Obtained via Wikimedia Commons.
Before proceeding into details, we encourage everyone to read these articles which provided insights regarding this project wherein most of the content was originated at the start of the Horizon 2 which took place last year, 2018 with its timeline running up to its completion by the year 2022 - the Philippine Air Force Waypoint objective.

- Is Phil. Air Force Ready To Have Multi-role Fighter Jets? - dated July 4, 2016
The Philippine Multirole Fighter Jet Procurement Program - dated June 24, 2018
The SAAB Gripen and the Marketing Over Philippine MRF Program - dated Feb. 10, 2018
More Details on the Philippine Multirole Fighter Jet Program - dated Oct. 31, 2018
The F-16 Fighter Jet and the US Offer for PAF Flight Plan Modernization - dated Sept. 11, 2018

It is on everyone's knowledge that the competition is between the Swedish SAAB JAS-39 Gripen Block C/D against Lockheed Martin's F-16 Block 70/72 Viper wherein these assets come with the aspiration of the air branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to improve its capabilities that have come along with its implementation of a systemic airspace defense known as the Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone or PADIZ.

At these times, the Air Force is now nearing to a closed deal regarding this project as they have made a decision on which Multirole Fighter Aircraft platform will it be to do the duties and responsibilities that the organization will have in protecting the country's national airspace as a means of protecting its overall security from incursions that may have originated from the sky, with sweeteners on the deal is apparently added which makes it more enticing than the original numbers procured.

Let it be known once again that the details of the contract include the procurement of 12 units of such aircraft which is considered a squadron within the Air Force at a deal price of Php 61,200,000,000.00 with terms may include Foreign Military Sale and Foreign Military Financing that compensates the deal further especially if it means the procurement of the U.S. made platform under this program.

With updates now provided, let us have it discussed here where additional information will be entailed to the developments that are currently unveiled in the program as the Armed Forces keep on Modernizing its military equipment along with other areas of improvement like additional personnel, the re-organizations, and opening of new units as well as enhancements being provided on military facilities that will cater such development.

And so, the deal is now at the crucial times that correlate to the funding that the project seeks in a manner where it will surely get bulk from the annual Php 25 Billion budget that is allocated for the AFP Modernization Program where it may be more if such allocation were provided in higher amounts as to satisfy the necessities the Armed Forces will have for its mandate.

There are freebies included. Image Source.
First on the updates provided is the preferences of which aircraft will it be for the Philippine Air Force Multirole Fighter Jet program wherein it was discussed several times across the defense community especially on our Facebook page that the preferred asset goes to the Lockheed Martin's F-16 Block 70/72 Viper.

It is already known that the fighter aircraft provided is in itself the latest iteration of such aircraft with its avionics being the most sophisticated one available wherein it is available on the United States Air Force's more modern aircraft in its inventory such as the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft.

Apparently, the production line of F-16s by Lockheed Marin in Greenville, South Carolina is getting traction with expectations of additional orders coming on its way, with the recent one coming from Taiwan who orders at least 66 units of such aircraft with its latest development coming with the approval of its budget that will set precedent to its production and delivery to a country that sees China as its everyday threat to its survival as a nation.

With such anticipation over the upcoming influx of additional orders, it will be for sure that the production time for the units to be manufactured will be ramping up to four units per month instead of one, wherein the 2022 timeline provided by Lockheed Martin to the Philippine Air Force may go achievable, given that this military branch managed to secure the funding and signatures that seal up the deal before any other nation like Indonesia whose plan is to buy 2 squadrons of F-16 Viper getting along the way and defer the timelines provided for delivery.

Aside from the timelines, another consideration is the freebies that may have come with this deal as it may come with another set of Block 30s that are upgradable to the Block 50 variant which will serve not only as an interim shall the timelines for delivery defer but also to serve as a force multiplier that satisfies the needs of the Philippine Air Force for the defense of national airspace more than what a single squadron may provide for such a purpose.

As of this time, there will be more steps to be done before the finalizations that will close the deal such as regarding its budget and also the approval coming from the chief executive as convincing and explaining it up to the best interest of the Armed Forces and the country's national security is at stake, clarifying that the necessities of these tools are essential for the whole nation's minimum credible defense posture.

These steps though are seen as crucial as passing it through will mean the finalization of the deal in which it will be set and sealed as it will prompt the following processes ranging from the signing of the contract up to the issuance of notice to proceed that informs the supplier to start manufacturing the units for the Philippine Air Force up to the compliance of delivery dates agreed upon by both sides.

Some perspective of what will be two to three years
from now.
Image provided by Efrain Noel Morota.
As the insights are provided, here are some information regarding the development of this project as it is one of the most important procurements that the Philippine Air Force obtains up to date as the proposal of obtaining such fighter aircraft traces back two decades ago when the first AFP Modernization Program or the Republic Act 7898 was in effect, only that the 1997 Asian Economic Crisis diminished the possibility of procuring multirole fighter aircraft at that time.

First is the details regarding its budget where it is worth notable that the Armed Forces of the Philippines annually receives Php25 Billion which is specified actually for such a purpose and it covers a lot of projects across the Armed Forces branches such as the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy and the Philippine Air Force wherein it comes at no surprise that there will be priority projects in one military branch that needs to be funded while the other procurement processes are either to be delayed, deferred to the second list or to be implanted on the Horizon 3 lineup as opposed to the current Horizon 2 timeline.

Talking about the annual budget allocated to the Armed Forces, it may go ascertain that the funding for such a project (referring to the Special Allotment Release Order or SARO) may get its approval either on the first or second quarter of next year, of which chances may go on along the way as procurement budgets seem to get a concern lately as such funding program usually goes in line with the government's General Appropriations Act or GAA in a fiscal period or through Multi-year Obligations/Contracting Authority (MYOA/MYCA) wherein compilations of different programs for different expenses ranging from Personnel Services (PS) down to the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) as well as Capital Outlay (CO) of different agencies are to be debated, added, and reduced until it reaches the table of the President for its approval.

The budget provisions are an essential part of any project including this one as it will serve as a needed financial resource where it is provided from the national coffers to fund the project's procurement cost which helps a certain manufacturer like Lockheed Martin to keep its operations as a defense industrial complex that supplies its key military equipment like the Multirole Fighters such as the F-16 Vipers for them to have as that will help sustain the growing requirements of the Philippine Air Force, along with other branches in their efforts of improving their capabilities and satisfying that desire for defense which has years to set up as these developments unfolded, where slowly the process makes the idea of having such assets becoming a reality.

Another information comes that it has now come at the President's table for final approval as this approach will surely be considered a fairly vital one as the funding portions of the deal wherein convincing powers from the Defense Secretary as well as national security advisors are needed so as to justify the purchase and also the necessities that have come with the deal itself, given that such a project is primarily for air interdiction missions and is a component for the implementation of PADIZ.

Finally, the details that will complete these sets of information for this discussion will be the letter of request to the prospective aircraft's country of origin wherein such an update will be provided publicly just by accessing the website for Major Arms sales like in the case of the Defense Security Cooperations Agency of the United States Department of Defense, as it will be determined there so as to whether the request was granted or not that may play a factor for the project's status.

So, it is worth to see these developments slowly unfold as any of these provided factors are something that will define the direction of this project to the upcoming years as well as to that significant portion of the capabilities that will be provided in a military branch within the Armed Forces of the Philippines such as the Philippine Air Force.

The movement of the production line is a factor for the
procured unit's delivery date.
Another significant detail on a certain deal such as this one for the Multirole Fighter Jet Program is regarding the supplier's upholding commitment of having the procured units delivered on time as it means a lot not only to the reputation of the prospective contractor who won the deal but also for the combat readiness of the Philippine Air Force where it anticipates its capability by the time its needed tools are delivered and eventually turn-over for commissioning it up into active service.

It is said that with demands coming in regarding the countries' interest for the latest iteration of the F-16 Viper MRF, one may hold on the idea that the production of the aircraft may get ramp up from a single unit per month to at least three units produced per month which in the process hastens the process for these aircraft to be manufactured, providing that possibility that the commitment for a 2022 delivery for the Philippine Air Force possible, unless otherwise, another deal from another nation gets in before the PAF gets its own deal with the manufacturer.

Currently, the orders for the F-16s are from Bahrain, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Taiwan, and soon, Indonesia shall its orders proceed along with the Philippines if it manages to seal the deal before any prospective buyers and end-users decide to purchase and fast-track the process of their respective procurement in which the queue for the order backlogs lengthens the time needed for the delivery of these newly-built combat aircraft.

With the increase of backlogs and also the final steps that this acquisition is in, it is worth to see the timeline for the deal to be finalized and signed as it is with these periods that determine the overall outcome of the whole project in its entirety with the factors mentioned making the influence over the direction that the project may partake or the future perspective of which assets may compose the Philippine Air Force for the years to come.

Now with the funding to launch the project will be expected in the first half of the year, there may still change that may happen as there will be new orders coming in before that period or the plans itself may take another direction without prior notice. Nevertheless, it comes with the hopes and dreams that the project will stay on the track.

Additional information sets in with the visit of the U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in the country wherein these close-to-accomplishment acquisition deals such as the Multirole Fighter Jet Program, along with the Attack Helicopter Acquisition Project, may get along in the discussion as it is with these people where they play a factor to the outcome of such projects like this one and the participation of the U.S. Defense Department on these deals.

It remains to be seen aside from the fundings regarding the development of this project as it means a lot for the Philippine Air Force to obtain as it will define more of their duties and responsibilities of protecting the country's national airspace against any intruders which it comes as part of the desired minimum credible defense posture that the nation aspires.

There comes the certainty for such an asset as the F-16 to push through.
The Philippine Air Force is inching closer in having a Multirole Fighter Jet as fewer steps are to be made before the deal is considered as a sealed one wherein one of the latest information regarding this development is the one where the President of the Philippines was presented by the 5th Fighter Wing regarding the importance of Multirole Fighters in air defense operations.

Take note that in the presentation, they utilized the module that resembles one of the competitors of the Multirole Fighter Project wherein it will be not much surprising on its preference as both the FA-50PH and the F-16 share its design DNA as the former comes as a joint development between the Korean Aerospace Industries and Lockheed Martin.

All it takes now is for the budgeting matters to roll along as it comes as one of the requirements wherein 15% of the overall contract price will be needed in order to materialize it further to sealing the deal and eventually to have it approved by the commander in chief of the Philippine Armed Forces which is no other than the President of the Philippine Republic.

There goes some certainty that this closely-monitored project may push through given that it will come in the good conscience of the people in the Defense Department as well as the end-user which is the Philippine Air Force wherein they are the ones that will give some wisdom on the idea of such platform's importance especially that the organization is on its way in implementing its Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone or PADIZ.

The period of which we will check the developments of this project as well as on others may cover along as the year 2020 may provide interesting updates regarding the details for platforms like this one as the funding will be covered once again under the allocated Php 25 Billion for the AFP Modernization Program in which they may have the opportunity to grab the portion of the pie as it comes with the stiff competition on which military branches regarding their share.

This goes with the dreams and aspirations of the Philippine Air Force in its aspiration in getting such platforms as it will help augment the FA-50s in air interdiction patrols as well as to improve further the numbers and capabilities that are needed in protecting the country's airspace. 

It will be worth the time waiting and determine the outcome of the project in which it will be a significant step of what will it be on the overall progress of the AFP Modernization Program especially that several projects are on the line, awaiting further push with the aims of having a capable Armed Forces that push for minimal defense posture.

Discussing the K-136 Kooryong MLRS Acquisition of the Philippine Armed Forces

The Armed Forces of the Philippines through the years relied on towed artillery which in itself is reliable in pulverizing enemy positions especially with the country's ongoing counterinsurgency efforts against the communists and Moro separatists (plus radicalized terrorists) that poses the threat against the country's overall national security as converted to its economic and societal development.

The Philippine Army and the Philippine Marine Corps are set to have this platform that packs sufficient firepower that can conduct area suppression with continuous rocket barrage which inflicts damage on the enemy, both in terms of physical and psychological terms.

K136 Kooryong Philippines, Kooryong Philippine Army, PA MLRS
This is the first for the Philippines to have Multiple-Launched Rocket
Obtained via Military-Today website.
The Philippine Army recently launched its new military units and sub-units within the organization which preferences the potential plans of the service branch on acquiring new military equipment for their mandated duties and responsibilities as well as the anticipation over the arrival of several assets that may mean additional capabilities for them to obtain as it increases their effectiveness in combating an enemy that poses threat to the security of the whole nation.

One of those activated is the 2nd Multiple-launched Rocket System (MLRS) Battery wherein this sub-unit within the Philippine Army will be the one who oversees the responsibility of operating incoming MLRS for the service branch to have as it may fall under the larger Artillery Regiment. 

That may also come with another launched sub-unit that is the 1st Land-based Missile System (LBMS) where it will soon oversee the responsibility of operating missile platforms intended to be launched from land and to target opposition forces from both land and sea.

This signifies the ever-increasing desire of the Philippine Army to increase its capability where aside from the aforementioned units, there is also the expansion of its Army Aviation Regiment that sought its own procurement plans of acquiring light attack helicopters and MEDEVAC platforms as well as the previously-discussed details about its Self-Propelled Artillery System as well as the Medium Tank and Tank Destroyer/Fire Support Vehicle wherein both of these assets fall under the single procurement program known as the Light Tank Acquisition Project.

Shall these respective projects getting into realization, it means a lot for the service branch under the Armed Forces of the Philippines' desire to enhance its CounterInsurgency operations that better, effective ways of delivering firepower against a target are now in place.

These facilities provide a helping hand for the Government troops to get an upper hand over the situation that increases the resolve for the country's defense and security alongside the efforts being made by other military branches such as the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Air Force.

In this article, we will discuss the sets of enhanced artillery platforms that are on its way to the Philippines from South Korea where recently, most of the country's big-ticket defense hardware have originated where aside from the Jose Rizal-class Frigates and FA-50PH, this multiple-launched rocket system helps augment the country's existing artillery platforms that expounds the support needed for the ground troops to get hand-in-hand on getting the government forces to the top of a combat situation.

USSR/Russia's Katyusha Rocket Launchers are a classic example
of MLRS where it was employed during the Second World War.
Image Source.
While the idea of having a Multiple-Launched Rocket System is relatively new to the Philippine Armed Forces' point of view, the existence of such a platform is not new especially on several armies that have already employed them in several wars where the idea on area suppression of rockets in complement to the artillery platforms have already taken place.

One may trace things back to the fifteen-century (15th Century) Korea where they employ the "Hwacha" Multiple Rocket Launcher which signifies the sophistication of the Kingdom of the time, one that a Modern Korean may go on obtain with the modern Multiple-Launched Rocket Systems with the North Koreans employing the KN-09 MLRS while the South is now replacing the K-136 Kooryong with the more-modern K-239 Chunmoo MLRS.

During the Second World War, the well-known user of what will be the predecessor of a modern Multiple-Launched Rocket Systems during that time was the Soviet Union where they employ their Katyusha Rocket Launchers against the Germans who are that time are invading the vast Soviet Territory of what will be known as the Operation Barbarossa (nicknamed Operation Fritz) and eventually on their great counter-offensive all the way to the City of Berlin wherein they, along with their U.S. and British Allies at that time, have managed to defeat the German military in 1945. 

The principle regarding the MLRS comes with an idea that it is artillery, but it is rocket-propelled aimed at obtaining a continuous barrage of firepower coming to the enemy at a large number as opposed to usual artillery units that have come with a howitzer cannon and ammunition that is more of an enlarged caliber cartridge that it is fired one at a time before getting reloaded and the process gets repeated along once again.

A modern MLRS is now better and more sophisticated wherein several platforms such as the M-270 Multiple-Launched Rocket System came with a fire control system and may go with guided munitions onboard the platform which increases the accuracy of the rocket's trajectory as opposed to the target that is intended to destroy.

This evolution of the Multiple-launched Rocket System is something that the Philippine Army, as well as the Marine Corps, missed throughout its operations from its respective foundation up to the present date in which the one from South Korea will render this service branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines into having one of such platforms which helps provide necessary fire support in augmentation to the existing artillery pieces and close-air-support aircraft such as the incoming A-29 Super Tucano.

Hence, the capability provided by a Multiple-launched Rocket System will be enhanced along the way as pounding a hostile enemy position may get simplified which may help the government gain the higher ground over a situation such as the ones that took place in the country's southern part with the recently-ended Marawi Siege as an example.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE KOORYONG - South Korean deterrence and growth in the local defense industry
Korea K1-36 Kooryong MLRS, Kooryong MLRS Philippines, Philippine Army, PA, Philippine Marine Corps, PMC
The rockets are fitted onboard a KM813A1 truck chassis which
is one of the Philippine Army's key transport vehicles. 
The South Koreans since the Korean War are weary to the threats being thrown unto them by their Northern neighbors whose ideology is to reunite the whole nation under the Juche-communist banner of its then-leader Kim Il-Sung which is the very reason to why there is the technicality that the 1950s Korean War is still being fought until the present day, with a full-scale conflict being held by an armistice which is considered the longest one to date.

Such a threat that continuously endangers South Korean sovereignty compels the country to develop its own array of weaponry wherein it comes at no surprise that its local defense industrial complex continuously grown over the decades, up to the point that they supply the Philippine Armed Forces with an array of military weaponry ranging from the Korean Aerospace Industries KA-50PH which itself as part of the T-50 family of jets, Hyundai Heavy Industries' Jose Rizal-class Frigates which is derived from the HDF-2600 design which in itself is also a derivative from the South Korean Incheon-class Frigates, and the license-built Korean Amphibious Assault Vehicles (KAAV-7) which is now being utilized by the Philippine Marine Corps.

Speaking of North Korean threat and the boom in South Korean Industry's Research and Development complex, let it be known that the former obtains a handful of Multiple-Launched Rocket System in a form of BM-21 Grad which it was obtained from the Soviet Union which may be considered as a direct successor for the Katyusha Rocket Launchers of the Second World War.

The North Korean BM-21 Grad serves as a threat against the South Koreans as well as an opportunity and inspiration to provide themselves their own version of such Multiple-Launched Rocket System which is considered a precedent to the development of a South Korean MLRS which is now about to provide the Philippine Army and Marine Corps its own firepower that will augment other components in the military that will ensure the completion of an objective against an enemy that endangers the safety, security, and welfare of the nation and its citizenry.

The development of the K-136 Kooryong started in 1973 and it took almost a decade until the first unit for such a platform got deployed in 1981 wherein it served the South Korean armed forces for many years, helping their own defense industry to flourish and to keep their rouge neighbor in the north in check, wherein the constant threats thrown against them serves as an inspiration to improve their defense weaponry in such a way that an improved version of the K-136 which is the K-136A1 was put in service on its deployment in the late 80s.

This helped the South Koreans improve their expertise in creating, developing, and producing an MLRS or Multiple-Launched Rocket System wherein they are now starting to replace these older K-136 Kooryongs with the newer K-239 Chunmoo MLRS with newer features integrated and experience on weapons development applied on their own worth, paving the way for these older MLRS platforms to be provided in countries that need such a platform such as the Armed Forces of the Philippines, through the Army and the Marine Corps.

The K-136 Kooryong MRLS' Specifications. Click the table to enlarge.
Image Source.
Regardless of its age in which it is on the process of being replaced by a better and newer Multiple-Launched Rocket System in the South Korean Armed Forces service, such a platform is considered a welcoming improvement for the capability of the Philippine Army as well as those of the Marine Corps, especially in terms of providing firepower support that is meant to pulverize enemy positions in combat.

It comes with 36 tubes that render the capability of this Multiple-Launched Rocket System to fire a full salvo of massive delivery of firepower against the target within 23 kilometers range, giving it additional support for the ground troops on its objective that requires such scale of destruction which assures that the target is obliterated and the area is flattened for the ground troops to move forward on its objective and finish the remaining pockets of the enemy in its position.

Now with the vehicle that the Korean Armed Forces utilized for its K-136 Kooryong that the Philippine Army sees commonality - the KM809A1 6x6 truck chassis wherein it was derived from the United States-developed M-809 heavy tactical trucks that it obtains wherein it will not be seen as much of a concern in terms of commonality and logistics chain as its integration within the Armed Forces will be smooth in terms of operating and maintaining the truck chassis that carries the K-136 Kooryong MLRS.

The M-809 trucks that the Philippine Army obtains usually comes as a cargo truck type which comes with a 250hp engine with a maximum speed of 84 km/h and a range of approximately 800 kilometers which is seen as greater than the Korean variant provided that comes with a 236hp engine with a maximum speed of 80 km/h and a range of 550 kilometers. 

Nevertheless, it is with this type of vehicle that the K-136 Kooryong MLRS comes wherein it comes with a rocket launcher and components such as at fire control in a manner that with maneuverability comes the accuracy and efficiency required that will effectively achieve the purpose of these platforms at the expense of lesser munitions required to get the job done.

Its munition comes with two variants - the K30 standard rocket and the extended K33 rocket, of which it only comes as the only ammunition fitted onboard the K-136 wherein it needs 10 minutes for each platform to reload after a salvo of rockets was fired against the enemy - and such operation was done by maneuvering the launchers from its attack position to a safe place while getting it armed with a supply companion coming in a form of another KM-109 truck that has 72 rockets for reloading.

Like the munition, the K-136 Kooryong MLRS in itself comes at two variants - the original K-136 and the improved K-136A1 with the latter having the chance to be the one that will be supplied to both the Philippine Army and Marine Corps wherein it may come with improved materials that can be found on its tubes in the form of stainless steel.

Its low acquisition cost prompts South Korea to produce these
platforms rather than sophistication that is seen on the
K-239 Chunmoo successor. 
The Philippine Armed Forces especially the Philippine Army getting at least two batteries (with other reports suggesting to have four batteries of such platforms with one will be getting by the Philippine Marine Corps) wherein each battery consists of at least six units, equating the overall purchase on its entirety up to 12 units (or 24 units) of which some of it will be handled by the Army's newly-organized 2nd Multiple-Launched Rocket System Battery.

Its feature of mobility especially of its composition as an artillery platform comes parallel with another Philippine Army project on the block that also comes with such mobility, only that it is fitted with a howitzer cannon as opposed to the MLRS attribute of the K-136 Kooryong which both obtains the same function as towed artillery although they vary in terms of firepower aside from the aforementioned feature.

Such artillery we refer there is the ATMOS 2000 Self-Propelled Howitzer is being produced by Elbit Systems through its artilleries subsidiary Soltam Systems which is utilized currently by countries such as the Kingdom of Thailand and the African Nation of Rwanda where it is being considered by the Army in which just like the K-136 Kooryong is something that helps improve the efficiency of having it deployed from one place to another without taking another vehicle to tow it up such in the case of Soltam M-71 155 meters towed howitzers that were delivered to the Philippines.

Apparently, its low acquisition cost and perhaps its low operational cost is something that these assets will help the Armed Forces attain its objective without any logistical concerns, given the commonality that its launch vehicle has with the ones such as the M-809 that the Philippine Armed Forces obtains wherein while it is losing relevance in an ever-changing landscape of the battlefield that is being fought by systems warfare of which the Chinese seek to wage it up, the continuous infestation of numerous communist and radical terrorist elements in the country makes this platform more relevant as it will showcase the government's resolve to enforce its power to these said enemies of the state which inflicts more harm than good as they hamper the country's overall peace, security, and development as citizens of the nation.

The platform's manual process from the assembly of the munitions in the field down to gun-laying which pinpoints the aim of the Multiple-Launched Rocket System to the target, these set of skills are something that will help the Armed Forces of the Philippines improve their capability to operate this kind of artillery piece which may go handy whether they consider the plans to purchase a sophisticated MLRS later on which in it goes the increased firepower that the government seeks that inflict devastating damage against the enemy.

With age, these assets are getting more maintenance-intensive which at the standpoint of the Philippine Armed Forces, it may be seen as a potential non-feasible military asset to operate, although the decision to acquire and obtain them goes with the idea that its usefulness weighs along as the maintenance culture that came along with that decision shows significance on the improvements therein and the assessments that these platforms are up for the needs of the military for its desire of defense.

These things play to the factor that helps take the decision for the key officials in the Philippine Army as well as the Marine Corps in which the K-136 Kooryong MLRS is a platform that improves the overall firepower package that the organization seeks as part of its desired Modernization plan as getting formidable comes with the desires of providing the tools needed to protect and defend the nation and its citizens against numerous threats, whether it may be internal or external.

One of the tokens of the Philippine-South Korean defense relations
is the Jose Rizal-class Frigates produced by Hyundai
Heavy Industries.
Acquiring the K-136 Kooryong MLRS from the country that originated, developed, produced, and used is something that shows the vibrancy of the relations of both nations where its foundations were started when the Philippines sent its troops composing into what is known as the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea or PEFTOK which play a role for South Korea's survival from its neighboring communist north's invasion, assuring its existence up to the present day.

Recently, with the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines in the form of Republic Act 10349 rolls across the timeline from its inception in 2013 to the date that this article published, South Korea provides a significant amount of military equipment for each branch of the military to have wherein these assets are continuously operating and serving the country's primary defenders as these tools are an element for constant upholding of the organization's duties and responsibilities.

South Korean defense industries like Hanwha Systems, Korean Aerospace Industries or KAI, LIG Nex1, KIA, and Hyundai Heavy Industries have respective projects with the Philippine Armed Forces wherein they provided their respective military products, tools, and technologies that help the country's military defense posture improved a bit in which new capabilities are being introduced along the way as they present their equipment that will mean much for the defense capabilities of the nation as a whole.

The product they offered that managed to be part of the inventory of the Armed Forces of the Philippines includes the KAI FA-50PH which comes with a single squadron (12 units) purchased, Hyundai Heavy Industries' Jose Rizal-class Missile-Guided Frigates which comes with two ships - the BRP Jose Rizal FF-150 and the BRP Antonio Luna FF-151, Hanwha Systems' Naval Shield Integrated Combat Management System or ICMS which are fitted on the aforementioned Jose Rizal-class Frigates and soon to be fitted on the Del Pilar-class Offshore Patrol Vessels, munitions such as the Blue Shark torpedoes and SSM-700K "Haesong" Anti-ship missiles which are both made by LIG Nex1, and the Hanwha System's Korean Amphibious Assault Vessels or KAAV-7s that the Philippine Marine Corps utilized on its amphibious operations.

These assets are several of the military assets that the South Koreans supplanted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines alongside the K-136 Kooryong MLRS. Add to the mix are the ones donated by the South Korean government such as the Pohang-class Corvette BRP Conrado Yap PS-39 which is currently the most capable warship within the Philippine Navy to date, with the prospect of more ships of such type may be offered or considered for years to come as the Navy follows the rule of thirds in obtaining vessels in its fleet for continuous flow of operations without disruptions from maintenance and repairs in any of such ships in the fleet.

Further adding things up are some of the candidate military products that the South Korean defense industries pushed wherein there are lesser chances for these assets to be considered by the Philippine Armed Forces such as the Hanwha K21-105 Medium Tank for the Philippine Army's Light Tank Acquisition Project - tracked and the KUH-1 Surion Combat Utility Helicopters by KAI which was lost in favor of the S-70i Black Hawk Helicopters to be produced by Sikorsky's subsidiary in Poland.

The scale of these offers and procurements which include the K-136 Kooryong MLRS is something that may serve as an ever-growing tie between the Philippines and South Korea in terms of transactions that are related to defense with the former aspires to have an improved Armed Forces and the latter getting its defense industry flourish and grow further to its full potential.


The Philippine Army and Marine Corps will soon be having additional artillery pieces that will augment their respective existing towed artillery wherein this one provides a salvo of continuous bombardment of its munitions against a target which overwhelms its capability to defend up in a form of saturation attack.

Procuring the K-136 Kooryong serves as an addition on the list of the South Korean-made products that have been provided for the Armed Forces of the Philippines that enhances its own desire for defense wherein these platforms may help support ground troops in the case of another devastating conflict in the future where it may go needed against harmful elements that pose threat in the country.

With this, it may go hand in hand with other units within the Philippine Army such as the M-113 Armored Personnel Carriers with some fitted with Elbit ORCWS as well as from other military branches like the Close Air Support Aircraft of the Philippine Air Force such as the OV-10 and the soon-to-deliver A-29 Super Tucano wherein these assets puts the government forces at the upper hand against the communist bandits and terrorists.

Obtaining these Multiple-Launched Rocket Systems are a first for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to have, wherein they may gain additional skillsets and experience of obtaining such assets along the way wherein it may go handy as they will procure more sophisticated ones later on as other Southeast Asian Nations like Cambodia and Myanmar obtain such MLRS platforms like the BM-21 Grad as supplanted by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

To take note, it was also with the BM-21 Grad which is also obtained by North Korea that the South Koreans prompted the development of the K-136 Kooryong as its capability may help them match the array of MLRS assets that their rouge neighbor in the North obtains in terms of firepower capabilities for saturation attack between both sides.

As it gets delivered to the country, it will be interesting to see these platforms eventually entering active service within the Philippine Armed Forces as its performance, later on, may help suffice the need of the organization to enhance its capability which will ensure its efficiency in doing its duties and responsibilities in defending the nation.

The continuous effort of Modernizing the whole Armed Forces of the Philippines is considered an ever-increasing source of national pride that the citizenry is seeking for a capable military that has a sufficient array of assets to provide the necessary minimum credible defense posture required for the assurance of securing and defending the country's national sovereignty and integrity as a whole.

Aero L-39NG Albatros Jet Trainer for the Philippine Air Force?

The Philippine Air Force is about to embark on more sophisticated weaponry especially the ones that will define its role within the Armed Forces of the Philippines such as the Lead-in Fighter Trainer or also known as the Light Combat Aircraft coming in the form of the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50PH and the future Multi-role Fighter Jet (MRF) of the service branch where latest reports suggesting that it is lenient on the F-16 Block 70/72 Viper. With these recent developments, one may understand that it also requires a platform that will provide the pilots basic training of experiencing and flying a basic jet aircraft before their assignment on these sophisticated aircraft aforementioned with required flight hours covered and satisfied.

The Philippine Air Force is now seeking for a newer advanced basic jet trainer
in replacement to its older ones in inventory.
The Philippine Air Force is currently growing its own fleet of military assets which eventually will render this service branch within the Armed Forces of the Philippines more capable than ever, satisfying its need of having capable tools to get its job done and goes in line with its Waypoint 2022 and Flight Plan 2028 goals.

It comes along with other purchases within the Philippine Air Force particularly the developments unfolded for the service branch's Multirole Fighter Jet Program in which it is considered one of the priorities of the organization in improving its capabilities alongside other procurement projects about attack helicopters, combat utility helicopters, an additional squadron of FA-50PH and other Modernization-related materializations that are currently taking place, with the Multirole Fighter Jets and Attack Helicopters being the most waited projects to unveil before this year ends.

With these projects taking its roll across the Philippine Air Force Flight Plan timeline, it will be a nice thing if a project for Advanced Basic Jet Trainer shall be initiated wherein its purpose comes with the aspiring pilot's desire to learn more basic jet flying lessons on military aircraft operations especially in maneuvering and flying a jet aircraft as a stepping stone before the embarkment on operations with a higher level of military aircraft to be utilized such as the Lead-in Fighter Trainer or a Light Combat Aircraft coming in the form of FA-50PH obtained from South Korea and eventually the Multirole Fighter Jets that are essential for the country's territorial defense through the security of national airspace.

Currently, its role is covered by the SIAI Marchetti S-211 Basic Trainer Jet which was considered the primary aircraft that the Philippine Air Force after the last F-5A/Bs decommissioned from service until the entry of the first units of FA-50s within the service branch wherein there is an idea that such platform may need a replacement as the whole organization get its array of military equipment modernized.

Hence, this development is as interesting as the other projects of the Philippine Air Force where obtaining a newer, capable basic jet trainer is something that will help the organization increase its pool of skillful pilots in anticipation of their overall increase in air defense capabilities which involves the use of advanced aircraft that is essential for the implementation of PADIZ or the Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone.

This was once the Philippine Air Force's primary defense aircraft
before the FA-50s entered service within the organization.
Via JetPhotos.
Understanding the idea of obtaining advanced basic jet trainers within the Philippine Air Force also means understanding the operations that were initiated by having such a platform especially when the times that the organization is at the all-time low since the decommissioning the last of its capable F-5 A/B variants from service.

Commissioned in the early 1990s, the Marchetti AS-211 Warrior is the Philippine designation of the Italian-made S-211s with its original designation as a basic jet trainer with the added attack capability wherein it went more prominent when it was to fill the roles of once-active F-5s for the organization to have where these aircraft undertook several upgrades under the series of steps under Project Falcon.

From here, it is seen that the Philippine Air Force is doing its part on enhancing the resources it obtains in the first decade of the 21st Century where they lack the necessary tools required for the organization to further implement its Air Defense given that the responsibility was given to a basic jet trainer which considers the sad state of the service branch in its mandate in protecting the national airspace.

The turning point for the role of the PAF AS-211 Warrior as a primary air defense aircraft came with the entry of Korean Aerospace Industries FA-50PH which it was purchased as part of the Revised AFP Modernization Program, known more like the Republic Act 10349 in which it provides new hope for the Philippine Air Force in its desire to improve its air defense capabilities with the AS-211 Warrior now augments the FA-50s in providing training to new pools of pilots and in air defense capabilities that come back the vibrancy since the last F-5s went out of service.

As the second decade of this century draws to a close, the times have inflicted to the age of the Marchetti AS-211 units within the Philippine Air Force as its airframe flight cycles have already incurred from its entry of service to the point that a replacement is badly needed for such kind of aircraft that at one point served gallantly to the organization in the times that it badly need tools that are about to be granted eventually along the current procurement plans undertaken under the Waypoint 2022 and Flight Plan 2028 goals of the service branch.

While the idea of replacing it comes with its ever-increasing cost for maintenance and operations, its legacy carries on where it serves as a platform during the humble times of the organization where it provides the driving motivation for its key leaders to push through and modernize up to the point that each current procurement projects are slowly being granted or at the point nearing the closing of the deal such as in the case of Multirole Fighter Jet program.

A newer platform may continue its role as a basic jet trainer that serves as a bridge for pilots from SF-260 which is also the product of Marchetti to the Korean-made FA-50s especially with regards to obtaining the skills required on operating a jet aircraft before the assignment onboard a more sophisticated aircraft.

Aero Vodochody is Czech Republic's Aerospace Industry which
is also part of its defense-industrial complex alongside
others like Excalibur Army.
It is worth mentioning last time as you read along with the articles we wrote in this website regarding the Wheeled Tank procurement of the Philippine Army that the currently preferred platform is a 105mm 8x8 variant that is currently marketed by this country that is also the origin of these basic jet trainer aircraft that is set to help improve the skills of aspiring pilots of the Philippine Air Force - and yes, we are referring to the country of Czech Republic and its Defense Aerospace Company which is Aero Vodochody.

This year, the year 2019, marks its 100th anniversary of operations which were started in then Czechoslovakia a century ago, with its experience as an aerospace industry keeps on incurring from time to time where their work reflects on the products they produce such as the L-39 Albatros advanced basic jet trainer aircraft that caught the interest of those in the Philippine Air Force as well as its service with its existing users that is something that talks about the reputation of this Czech-based company in the defense aerospace industry.

The history of the Czech aerospace company traces back when the Czechoslovak Republic itself went independent in 1918 where it founded just a year later as the Aero - továrna létadel or known more in English as the Aero - the aircraft company which was then situated on the country's capital city which is in Prague with the A-1 and A-10 its first-ever produced aircraft for both military and civilian applications, respectively.

Throughout the interwar periods (spanning 1919-1939 in Europe), Czech Aero expands its production and market wherein they produce a handful of license-built aircraft as well as several indigenously-developed aircraft that are essential for both military and civilian applications inside and outside Czechoslovakia at that time. 

Such capability for production and aircraft development further intensified during the Second World War when the country was under the occupation of Nazi Germany which is primarily for transport and training purposes wherein their products improved with several German attributes included in their aircraft development (since they produce aircraft like the Focke-Wulf 189 alongside the Siebel Si-204).

After the war, the capability that the company needs in producing an advanced basic trainer jet such as the L-39 Albatros came with the country being under the Soviet influence within the Warsaw Pact as they produce license-built USSR-designed military aircraft such as the Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-15s as well as the later variants like the MiG-21s (MiG-21F-13 Czech license-production) which in the process introduced them to jet age with the experience of its production engrained on their accrued skillset that comes with its going credibility as an aircraft manufacturer even at the present date especially in their post-cold war attributions from developing newer aircraft to providing subcomponents to various production aircraft of other manufacturers like those for the Boeing Company

With this array of the company's experience of producing aircraft ranging from its early days down to the country's occupation and control of powers like Germany and the Soviet Union, it goes to show that Aero Vodochody is resilient enough to survive along the way where the eras of the country's history come to the opportunity for this aerospace industry to keep on improving to the certain point on the milestones they achieve in the current date.

It is said that this aircraft was developed in the 1960s when
Czechoslovakia was still a communist country aligned to
the Soviet Union on the other side of the Iron Curtain.
Image Source.
The aircraft's development comes with the introduction of jet technology to Aero Vodochody through their cooperation in building license-built MiG aircraft that was aforementioned in this article in which they produced the L-39 Albatros predecessor coming in the form of L-29 Delfin wherein it was considered the first Czech indigenously-built jet aircraft which has done by the same company.

Speaking of its predecessor, it was from the L-29 Delfin that the Aero Vodochody provide the foundations to the development of the L-39 Albatros of which it went to service across the Eastern Bloc including the Soviet Union of which its purpose goes as it is intended - a jet trainer that helps prepare future pilots of MiG aircraft to understand jet operations and acquire skillsets that is helpful for their duties and responsibilities in their respective nations.

The development of the L-39 Albatros started in the early 1960s which correlates to the development of its predecessor just a decade earlier of which at that time is already in service in the aforementioned countries which include Czechoslovakia itself. The first test flight for this aircraft didn't take place until eight years later on November 4, 1968, and its introduction within the Czechoslovak Air Force took place four years from its first test flight, in 1972.

At these given years, it is worth taking note that the 1960s is also the year when a Fighter aircraft like the F-5 Freedom Fighter was introduced in nations which include the Philippines in which it obtained the platforms until it went decommissioned out of service more than the decade earlier in 2005 which speaks fully with regards to the age of these aircraft's design, only that the L-39 Albatros was younger a bit with its introduction to service took place in the early 1970s, of which is still currently develops into its latest variant and still in production at the current date as opposed to the F-5 which is slowly being replaced with more capable aircraft such as the FA-50 in the case of the Philippine Air Force.

Aero Vodochody's product still persists today wherein the L-39 Albatros came with a new variant which is the L-39NG or the Next Generation jet trainer wherein it serves as a multirole platform for pilot trainees to have that it comes double as a light combat/reconnaissance aircraft especially in combat where such aircraft is needed in augmentation for other close air support aircraft like the A-29 Super Tucano or unmanned platforms such as the Hermes 450 and Hermes 900 UAS that the Philippine Air Force is opting for its ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) operations.

Such variant goes in parallel to what the AS-211 Marchetti is capable of within the Philippine Air Force wherein it is fitted with some weapon components on the units as part of the Project Falcon step-by-step processes, only that the L-39NG will be getting a bit more sophisticated with modern avionics and other improvements that the AS-211 does not have may go applied as the capabilities within the military branch improves in the long run.

It is worth seeing regarding the developments that such type of aircraft may partake for the years to come, given that it obtains all of the potentials it possesses for it to be an ideal platform for the Philippine Air Force to have wherein such an option is definitely not new to itself and was considered before in the original AFP Modernization Program in the form of the Republic Act 7898 from 1991 to 1995.

Hence, the possibility for the Philippine Air Force in obtaining such asset is there wherein the fact is established that the older AS-211 Marchetti aircraft that the organization currently uses for its basic jet trainer operations is badly needed to be replaced as its airframe life cycles are getting maxed out to prevent a scenario that an aircraft simply exploded in the air like in the case of the F-5A/Bs that have led to its decommissioning from service.

This is the latest variant of the L-39 Albatros basic jet trainer that
is worth a replacement for the Philippine Air Force S-211 Marchetti.
Obtained via Jet Photos.
First introduced in Farnborough International Airshow in July 2014, this aircraft is seen in its greatest potential as an advanced multirole jet trainer that will surely existing jet trainers in countries like the Philippines as aforementioned as well as in countries that obtain earlier versions of the L-39 Albatros where it is incorporated with components that are either not seen on the previous variants and with improvements incorporated on this newly-enhanced jet trainer aircraft.

It is worth taking note that there are 12 other variants of the L-39 Albatros, of which several are fitted with weaponry or being specialized in a specific form of training that is seen as an essential thing for a country like the Czech Republic especially that upon the fall of the Iron Curtain that separates the Communist Eastern Bloc and Western Europe wherein an aerospace company such as the Aero Vodochody sees an opportunity to sell its jet trainer product aside from getting access on western avionics and better engines that will power the aircraft aside from the original Soviet-era Ivchenko AI-25 engines.

This latest variant of the L-39NG Albatros will be considered as the recent, most modernized version of the aircraft in service wherein it will be fitted with the Williams J44 engine as well as better avionics and fuel system that makes it as the most upgraded variant of the Albatros to date in which it comes with the marketing that these welcoming additions to its subcomponents are essential for the improvement of an air force's basic training capabilities required for an aspiring pilot to partake especially with that required flight hours needed to be worthy enough to take the wings and fly on more sophisticated aircraft like the FA-50 lead-in Fighter Trainer and eventually, the F-16 Multirole Fighter where it is inching closer to a final deal.

The first flight for this aircraft took place four years after it was introduced in December of 2018 in which it showcased by the manufacturer Aero Vodochody as a renewal for this Soviet-era designed aircraft which is now integrated with Western-based technology and is now set the sights to create sales for this product, open new markets for its jet trainer product and creating its prospects wherein they are aiming for deliveries as early as next year for 10 undisclosed nations that are aspiring to obtain these aircraft as part of its inventory.

The prospective customer's desire for procurement is something that eventually helps improve the number of users for such type of aircraft where the sources for spare parts will be available thereon and safeguarding the requirements of procurement that requires at least two exporting countries, if not the host country itself, actively utilizing such platforms in their respective air forces.

It satisfies the prerequisites for its purchase which increases the opportunity it has in terms of having Aero Vodochody's penetration in the Philippine defense market which has come in the same manner as a fellow Czech defense company Excalibur Army regarding their marketing of Pandur 8x8 Wheeled Tank / Fire Support Vehicle that is a preferable candidate for the Philippine Army's Light Tank Acquisition alongside GDELS' ASCOD MMBT.

L-39NG Specifications.
Here are some details regarding the latest iteration of
Aero Vodochody's known product.
Image Source.
The features provided in the L-39NG as noted are considered improvements over its base design aircraft of the Cold War period wherein this present iteration comes with a couple of upgrades that are up with the technologies that are in place in this current portion of the 21st Century.

Its airframe is considered as reputable which it goes as proven as the original L-39s that went in service across Eastern Block militaries, with innovations introduced in the aircraft regarding its aerodynamics, weight, and airframe life cycles which is up to 15,000 flight hours that are all essential on its very purpose and operation as a jet trainer that hones the skills of aspiring pilots. It is worth checking the details right on this link here.

Comparing it to the SIAI Marchetti S-211 jet trainer that the Philippine Air Force currently uses as its own jet trainer, it is known that the L-39NG obtains its edge against the S-211 especially in terms of each aircraft's speed and range, with the former having 750km/h at the range of 2,590kms while the latter having 667km/h with a range of 1,670kms.

The edge that the L-39NG obtains against the S-211, along with the upgrades it received from avionics to its engine, it is also considered as a boost for the Philippine Air Force's jet trainer inventory shall this platform gets considered given that its capability will be helpful to the aspiring pilots to train down to the basics of flying a jet aircraft that ensures smooth transition along the way to the FA-50s and eventually to the Multirole Fighter Jet aircraft.

On the other information, some details are signifying that this preferred candidate of the Philippine Air Force Trainer Acquisition Program is said to be facing potential setbacks regarding its procurement, although it is still considered to be in the competition of the project - only that there may be an idea to the deferring timelines provided where it may be discussed on an update in the future on this website.

Still, the idea for replacing the S-211 is there to have given that its airframe life cycle is slowly using up wherein the stress to the aircraft's incurring flight hours is inflicting to its structural integrity which may mean more harm to the pool of pilots in the long run if these platforms are to be used continually for the next couple of years which keeps potential candidates like the Aero L-39NG Albatros in the picture.

So, on the idea regarding this platform's performance will be served to its potential end-user, the pilots will improve their skillsets further with longer flight hours that this jet trainer provides in which more pool for skillful manpower will be produced along the way that the Air Force will end up obtaining for the operations of its more-advanced aircraft with several assets coming on its way to its airwing setup.

Jet trainers are essential for having a capable Air Force.
Image Source.
The Philippine Air Force is currently in a procurement spree of various military equipment it aspires to have in its inventory along with the Modernization plans via the Waypoint 2022 up to the Flight Plan 2028, wherein the most awaited decision is seen for its two big-ticket projects such as the Attack Helicopter Program and the Multirole Fighter Project which will be interesting in the next couple of weeks, if not months ahead.

In terms of having soon-to-have sophisticated weaponry such as the Multirole Fighter Jets and Lead-in Fighter Trainers, it is at no doubt that advanced trainers are also needed to obtain skillful pilots who are capable enough to operate these multi-billion peso assets that the Philippine Air Force has in a way that duties and responsibilities in securing the national airspace will be effectively and efficiently delivered.

With this, it comes with an idea of replacing older AS-211 Marchetti jet trainers that are slowly using up its flight hours on the full wherein preferred candidates such as the L-39NG are at a consideration wherein its enhanced capability from the original aircraft it derived is something that suits the pilots on the sophistication that newer fighter aircraft that will be coming to the Air Force inventory for the years to come.

It remains to be seen now as there may still be changes in preferences regarding the Trainer Aircraft Acquisition Project where planning and even the timeline may change without prior notice, in which circumstances that may come along the way may influence the decision on key officials on determining the best platform for this purpose.

Nonetheless, this project comes with the aspirations that came along other big-ticket projects across the Armed Forces of the Philippines in a way that a minimum credible defense posture is to attain in a way that training the people who will serve as part of enforcing the Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone (PADIZ) is as essential as the purchase of sophisticated military weaponry itself, along with facilities, doctrine, and organization that defines the functions of an Armed Forces in securing the country and its national integrity.




Total Pageviews To-Date

Webpage Visitors

Free counters!