The Necessity of Having Military Cargo Platforms for Logistics and HADR Operations

When speaking of national defense, the first thing that comes into mind is the idea of having advanced weaponry within the inventory of a military force so as it will be useful for defending the country's national interest and territorial integrity from threats coming from inside and outside of the jurisdiction that defines a nation.

However, there is something more than firepower and capable military prowess that is as just as important, given that this area of consideration is something that defines not only the overall outcome of a battle or a war but also the essentials of providing the needs which it involves humanitarian matters or disaster response.

A non-combatant platform such as the BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602) is
just as essential as other firepower-capable warships that the
Philippine Navy obtains.
Image from DVIDSHUB.
On the recent news about the deployment of a single Tarlac-class Landing Platform Dock and a Del Pilar-class Offshore Patrol Vessel to Iraq as part of repatriating Overseas Filipino Workers over the recent escalation of tensions between Iran and the United States, one has simply an idea about the importance of having such naval vessels to get things done of putting Filipino citizens abroad from the harm's way.

This importance came along with a simple fact that the Philippine Navy still lacks the number of warships it needs, so much that the outgoing Flag Officer in Charge of the organization admitted it in an interview with reporters wherein it gives that hard fact that despite the pace of the Revised AFP Modernization Program made to the fleet in improving its capabilities, more is needed to get the capacity required not only in patrolling the country's waters but also in providing sealift support for other uniformed forces to have.

Aside from the Philippine Navy, there is also the Philippine Air Force where they have the plan for utilizing their cargo aircraft such as the C-130 and C-295s as part of the repatriation campaign to get as many Overseas Filipino Workers as possible from the potential conflict area given the similar context involving the tensions aforementioned which is a cause for concern in the Middle East.

So it similarly goes to what the Philippine Navy get in terms of providing logistical resources which sends that very important message of getting more things done especially with the Philippine Air Force has only five C-130s (with one recently burned in an airport), and three C-295s (with one being with the Presidential Airlift Wing, making it four), wherein it also shows the limitations that the military branch has in having this capability.

Given these logistical-related matters that correlate national defense, let it be ideal to deal with this kind of discussion in which the aspect that the subject matter covers is something that deals with the mobility that the Armed Forces obtains and providing the way to enhance it for the betterment of the whole organization and for the whole nation as well.

The Philippine Navy is currently tendering on the Landing
Docks Acquisition Project.
Image Source.
Currently, the Philippine Navy initiated a bid that will call for a purchase of at least two more Landing Platform Docks which will help complement the Tarlac-class Landing Platform Docks that the Philippine fleet has in its inventory wherein one of such vessels participated in the repatriation process in the Middle East.

One of the participants of this project is Indonesia's PT PAL Persero wherein they provided the Tarlac-class to the Philippine Navy wherein its ideal preference as an extra platform through this project may help ease logistics along the way will increase the number of such vessels in the fleet that obtains the needed carrying capacity for both amphibious operations and HADR or Humanitarian Assistance / Disaster Response.

The Philippine Air Force meanwhile, received its fourth C-295 cargo plane in which it was deemed useful during the time when Mindanao, specifically in the City of Davao, was hit by series of earthquakes there as well as the anticipation for the delivery of 16 S-70i Black Hawk Combat Utility Helicopters from Poland either within this year or by next year, and also the idea of having more C-130 and the delivery of six NC-212i in complement to the recently-purchased two NC-212i from Indonesia's PT Dirgantara.

Given these developments, one will say that this indeed the progress that both the Philippine Navy and Air Force obtain in regards to having a logistics platform that gives both of the airlifts and sealift capabilities in which in the process helps mobilize not only the troops and military equipment into combat but also the needed supplies and other matters in any natural calamities and events.

That being said, let us provide the prevalent situations within the country and abroad which gives necessity for such assets like these logistics platforms given that the geography, natural disasters, unrest from overseas, and also other things which are feasible or justifiable of providing more such platforms, along with additional combat vessels for protection.

The country sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a meteorologically-active
part of the planet filled with numerous earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. 
Image Source.
The Republic of the Philippines sits on the Western Pacific area, an archipelagic nation similar to that with Indonesia wherein it lies on the maritime Southeast Asian nation surrounded by bodies of water from the Bashi Channel to the North, the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea to the West, the Celebes Sea and the Sulu Sea to the South and the Philippine Sea/Pacific Ocean to the east.

This means that it also lies in a geographically-active area known as the Pacific Ring of Fire which explains the number of earthquakes such as those that took place in Davao in the latter part of the year 2019 or in Bohol which was hit in 2013 as well as the number of Volcanic eruptions such as the ones that recently took place on the Taal Volcano in Batangas.

The country also sits at the forefront of the typhoon alley wherein it produces the most powerful storms therein which put lives in danger as well as inflicting damages to property, hampering people's lives on the path of these destructive natural elements with the immediate necessity for basic needs usually came aftermath such as in the case with the Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) which definitely the strongest one in the recent history that had inflicted massive destructive results in areas such as in Eastern Visayas area.

Adding more to the list are several man-made calamities which go as destructive as the natural ones, wherein here goes more the strain with the Southern part of the country in Mindanao being the area most affected by the actions made by radical terrorists and Islamic separatists such as in the case on 2013 Zamboanga Siege and the 2017 Battle of Marawi City.

These natural and man-made disasters are something that will highlight the necessity for logistics platforms wherein it will be ideal to have these situations considered on factoring the future planning in purchase additional logistics platforms needed in increasing the immediate deployment of goods whenever it is needed, addressing the situation at a shorter time.

A Philippine Air Force C-130T aircraft on the runway.
(c) Robert Rimestead - Philippine Planespotters Group.
The geographical location of the Philippines in the Asia-Pacific region comes with strategic points as well as disadvantages brought by several natural calamities aforementioned that the country is vulnerable to, in which logistical tools and platforms like military aircraft and sealift vessels are needed to quickly respond to these types of scenarios that will immediately provide help.

Currently, the Philippine Air Force operates 5 C-130s of which one was burned and two under maintenance, leaving two of such aircraft operational while having four C-295s and two NC-212s in service in which it may still go insufficient given the reasons that specify specifically more on the nation's vulnerabilities which emphasizes thorough Humanitarian Assistance / Disaster Response aside from deployment of military troops, equipment, and supplies in combat at a shorter period.

Moreover, the Philippine Navy currently obtains two Landing Platform Docks, three Balikpapan-class Landing Craft Heavy that was obtained from Australia, a handful of Bacolod-City class Logistics Support Vessel, World War 2-era Landing Ship Tanks, and BRP Tagbanua (AT-296) which is the largest Philippine-built warship to date, in which it will be added more by two Landing Platform Docks in which suppliers such as PT PAL Persero may stand a chance as their product offerings go as similar as the ones already in service with the fleet.

Going with the deployment of ships and plans of sending aircraft to the Middle East, it is just as useful to simply have the BRP Gabriela Silang doing the repatriation work as it sails on its way to the country while letting the country's key airlines doing the same kind of approach of helping Overseas Filipino Workers repatriated which may minimize the strain on the military's key assets for such operation.

Instead, this may help push the idea of purchasing more military platforms - both logistical and combatant ones as it will help the country cope with its capability with existing assets in the inventory regarding in taking rapid response to natural disasters as well as enhanced mobility and deployment of military resources that preserve the country's national security and territorial integrity. 


The recent deployment of the Philippine Navy to the Middle East with Sri Lanka serving as a stopover shows the importance of both combatant platforms like the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16) and a logistics platform like the BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) wherein it gives an idea regarding the necessity of adding them more in sufficient numbers required both in patrolling the waters and providing sealift as well as airlift support in the case of the Philippine Air Force.

Moreover, the country's geographical setting, its vulnerabilities from natural calamities, and the situation of the Filipino diaspora in the Middle East make such an idea on taking such necessity more viable as it shows the country's resolve of taking its citizens out of harm's way which in itself is an attribute for a responsible nation with a government taking care of its people.

It is with here that the Revised AFP Modernization Program based on the current Republic Act 10349 gets more significance as there is something more than what the Armed Forces can do aside from territorial defense wherein logistics platforms may double as both platforms for military mobilization and deployment on areas of concern as well as the ones that serve the people affected by calamities the basic needs at an immediate time possible.

With the projects ongoing such as those for the Landing Docks Acquisition Project, the hopes are high for it to push through as this means additional platforms for the Philippine Navy to utilize aside from its existing landing crafts of various types which include the largest ones it obtain such as the Tarlac-class Landing Platform Docks.

Hence, it will be an interesting thing for all branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, including also the Philippine Army with a handful of military trucks in its inventory like the Ural 4320 military trucks from Russia to have more assets at hand on sustainable numbers wherein these logistics platforms are an essential thing to keep an upper hand for the movement of supplies in both peaceful and combat situations. 

To end this entry, let us quote things about logistics:

“The tactics…no, amateurs discuss tactics,…. Professional soldiers study logistics.” – Tom Clancy.


rakhi said...
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ahmed said...
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