• 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.

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Updates on the Philippine Air Force's C-130J-30 Super Hercules Cargo Aircraft

The Philippine Air Force aims to increase its fleet of cargo aircraft, which comes just as essential as its primary combat aircraft, like the upcoming Multirole Fighter Jets under the acquisition project of the same name and other ones in the Horizon 3 lineup of the air service branch.

This article presents some interesting updates about this specific acquisition project that deals with this type of cargo aircraft known and iconic for the Philippine Air Force, plus some startling information worth sharing for this community.

C-130J-30 Super Hercules, Philippine Air Force, Lockheed Martin, PAF
This is a C-130J-30 aircraft.
Image for Reference.

At the time this article published, several news outlets already provided the highlighted reports regarding the acquisition of brand new C-130J-30 Super Hercules Cargo Aircraft for the Philippine Air Force, pertaining to the procurement of at least three (3) units of this cargo aircraft aimed in complementing the older C-130H and C-130T variants that served as the primary airlifting workhorse of the air service branch.

In the news provided in-detail, it referred to the statement of the Department of National Defense regarding its release of a Notice to Proceed or NTP, a piece of document in accordance to the Procurement Law or R.A. 9184 that served as a go-signal for the winning bidder to materialize the production of goods needed as stipulated and required by the Philippine Air Force, with detailed specifications fully specified in an agreed contract between two parties involved.

As intended, the acquisition of these cargo aircraft from Lockheed Martin aims to achieve two things, first regarding the Humanitarian Assist and Disaster Relief or HADR operations of the air service branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as this focuses much on getting the relief goods in disaster-prone areas as quickly as possible. And second, regarding its use for delivery of goods and military equipment, along with the deployment of needed military personnel in areas of concerned as part of the Armed Forces' logistics chain.

With this acquisition project, the Philippine Air Force experienced a leap in its overall airlift capabilities, as this also means reducing the operational hours of its existing C-130 aircraft, allowing these cargo platforms to undergo necessary maintenance schedules without disruptions in airlift operations, while getting an expanded capability in airlift as the C-130J-30 aircraft comes with an expanded fuselage compared to the ones currently servicing the air service branch.

As other news reports already provided the primary developments regarding the updates of the C-130J-30 Super Hercules cargo aircraft that the Philippine Air Force is likely to receive by 2026 and 2027, respectively, this article will focus more on other information not available from the news outlets and resource websites, as these are the details that got shared to the Pitz Defense Analysis website from our reliable sources.

Notice to Proceed, Philippine Air Force, C-130J-30, Super Hercules, Lockeed Martin, R.A. 9184, Procurement Law
The letterhead of the Notice to Proceed document.

Here are several details regarding the developments of the C-130J-30 Super Hercules cargo aircraft of the Philippine Air Force, especially the two essential events that define the preferable outcome for the overall direction of this acquisition project as pushed by the Department of National Defense into the bidding stage. One of those events is the issuance of the Notice of Proceed document of the winning bidder.

Speaking of Notice to Proceed, contrary to the reports that the document has issued recently, have actually released to the representative of Lockheed Martin on June 5, 2023 or four (4) months since the recent media releases and the publishing of this article. This means that the process in producing the three (3) C-130J-30 cargo aircraft has already started, with queues ramping up in the production line that gives the reason regarding the 2026 and 2027 delivery dates.

Going further, the contract signing for this acquisition project actually took place on February 9, 2023, or another four (4) months ramping up to the Defense Department's issuance of the Notice to Proceed documents before the Lockheed Martin representative, which makes it at least eight (8) months from the signing of the contract up to the time this article has published. This further connects the timeline that the movements for the acquisition of the C-130J-30 Cargo aircraft take place within the year 2023 alone.

As described in the documents, the contract price for the delivery of the C-130J-30 cargo aircraft for the Philippine Air Force amounts to Php 22,199,999,983.47 or US$390,913,893.00, which means every aircraft in this contract costs at around Php 7,399,999,994.49, or Php 130,304,631. Also to point out that contrary to several reports, both the contract and the notice to proceed have actually signed and took place during the time of the Defense Officer-In-Charge Carlito Galvez.

Completing it up, the Notice to Proceed has received by the representative on June 7, 2023, and since then it formalizes the start of the production and eventual delivery of the C-130J-30 Super Hercules cargo aircraft that may substantially improve the airlifting capabilities of the Philippine Air Force upon the successful delivery of the units three (3) to four (4) years down the road.

C-130 Production Line, Philippine Air Force, PAF,
C-130 Production Line.
(c) Lockheed Martin, Flickr.

Aside from the information provided regarding the issuance of the Notice of Proceed documents along with other details about the dates of contract signing and the go-signal that starts the process for Lockheed Martin to produce and eventually delivering the C-130J-30s for the Philippine Air Force, here are some interesting information about the number of units purchased and the prospective plans in the long run.

Initially, the Philippine Air Force opts to get at least five (5) C-130J-30 Cargo aircraft as originally planned, until these gets reduced to three (3) units which is now the official number of aircraft purchased under this acquisition project that the air service branch is surely getting and is now in its current production phase in a Lockheed Martin facility that produces those C-130 aircraft (see image above).

These three (3) units of C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft purchased by the Philippine Air Force for this acquisition project have simply counted as the first phase of the entire process, as the original aim of getting at least five (5) units of C-130J-30s have not entirely abandoned by the leadership, but having it divided into manageable phases with the remaining units belonging to the second phase of this entire acquisition planning.

While these are the initial planning setup unfolded to us from the information shared to us from our source, this does not mean that such an arrangement comes as a final and absolute setup for this portion of the entire Revised AFP Modernization Program or R.A. 10349, as the current administration's push for external defense and revising the provisions and doctrine of the Philippine Armed Forces to this posture may put portions of projects like this into the back-burner.

Hence, there is still a standing chance that the original plans of getting at least five (5) C-130J-30s comes into fruition, although the implementation and decision of whether pushing the second phase of this planning is still with the leadership within the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of National Defense. Still, adding at least three (3) C-130J-30s into the current fleet of C-130 aircraft of the Philippine Air Force presents a leap of its own.

C-130 Hercules, C-130H, C-130J-30 Super Hercules, C-130J-30, Philippine Air Force, HADR, PAF
The difference between C-130H and C-130J-30 is in terms of performance.
(c) Lockheed Martin

Another thing to point out is there are other acquisition projects that the Philippine Air Force expects to receive coming out from the United States, primarily regarding the used ones under the arrangements between the both governments during the visit of the entourage of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Washington D.C. to meet his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden. 

The ones referred to are the moves of the United States government in transferring at least three (3) C-130H cargo aircraft to the Philippine Air Force, of which they present their intention to make that undertaking, aside from the plans of transferring several of the United States Coast Guard's Island-class and Marine Protector-class patrol vessels. 

These latter two patrol vessels have the Philippine Navy as its primary recipient, with the details provided in a separate article entry we have through this link here.

This means that if the goods under this arrangement push through, the Philippine Air Force will receive at least six C-130s altogether, giving a huge leap to its airlifting capabilities over the existing ones currently serving the air service branch. This leap means lesser operational time for those existing ones, which also means reduced flight hours and continuous airframe stress that will wear its remaining serviceable life further, while having time for maintenance and repairs without disruption.

Going further, if we add the additional two (2) C-130J-30s under the original acquisition plan on top of the three (3) C-130J-30s currently in production and the C-130H pledged by the United States during the Philippine president's visit to the United States, this means that the Philippine Air Force may ending up having at least eight (8) newly added C-130s, ensuring a huge boost in capabilities that the organization needs not only to deploy troops and equipment but also in delivering relief goods in an event of calamities.

So far, there are no updates regarding the development of this pledges coming from the United States, and since the Department of National Defense is gearing itself to external defense, it may likely get a request on additional fighter aircraft like the F-16 Multirole Fighter Jets, of which this presented as an option through Excess Defense Articles or EDA,  as part of security arrangements that include additional sites under the Excess Defense Cooperation Agreement or EDCA.

C-130J-30 Sunrise, C-130 Sunrise, Philippine Air Force, Bagong Pilipinas, Bagong Pilipinas Logo, PAF, Lockheed Martin
A C-130J-30 of the British Royal Air Force pictured in a sunrise during an exercise in Jordan.
Image Source.

With the official news about the C-130J-30 Acquisition Project of the Philippine Air Force coming out, we presented several insights and additional information that came from the sources that we have, with an idea and complete context of the developments from earlier this year when the contract gets signed on February 9, 2023, up to the release of the Notice to Proceed documents on June 5, 2023.

The delivery dates presented come reminiscent of the other acquisition projects of the Revised AFP Modernization Program, whereby the ones like the Long-Range Patrol Aircraft Acquisition Project of the Philippine Air Force have its delivery date completion slated on 2026, while others like the Philippine Navy’s Corvette Acquisition Project (HDC-3100 design) also have its delivery date slated in 2026.

Also, to recap a bit, the Philippine Air Force originally intends to get at least five (5) C-130J-30 Super Hercules cargo aircraft in its planning, although this seems like it reduced to three (3) units, with the info we gathered suggesting that the numbers have remained and the latter two (2) units are in the second phase of this acquisition planning process that may change given the Department of National Defense’ current shift into external defense posture.

The development comes on top of the pledges that the United States made earlier this year, of which it includes at least three (3) C-130H cargo aircraft whereby it also comes as a significant boost to the existing number of C-130s currently servicing the Philippine Air Force. Adding it together will give the air service branch a big leap in its airlifting capabilities, a much-needed capability for the country’s archipelagic geography with its vulnerability to natural calamities ranging from earthquakes to typhoons.

Overall, this development presented itself as good news among the first salvo of upcoming Horizon 3 lineup and acquisition plans that may take place in the next couple of months, as the entire Armed Forces of the Philippines upped its ante in terms of the need of additional budget to get the number it gets, while making sure that the country’s minimum credible defense posture that the entire organization is seeking is worthy with its capabilities that correspond to every cent of taxpayer’s money being spent.

(c) 2023 PDA.

Japan's Type 74 Tanks for the Philippine Army?

Previously, Japan has provided the Philippine military a handful of air search radars from its own budgetary requirements, enabling the former to have the first of its defense and military export of its kind since the relaxation of laws that restrict the country from such arrangement.

The bilateral relations between both countries, especially regarding to national defense, have come more vibrant lately that the Philippine Army may get the likelihood of getting more armored vehicles, especially the one that is about to discuss in this article.

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, JGSDF, Type 74 Tank, Philippine Army, Armor 'Pambato' Division
Providing the Philippine Army with Type 74 tanks from JGSDF stocks may help boost its armor a bit.
Image Source.

Previously, discussions on Japanese military hardware possibly getting provided to the Philippine military came along, with the Philippine Army being the primary recipient of these assets, in an event that these plans push through. Typically, the discussions previously discussed on this website usually talk about the air assets that the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force may provide this service branch with, such as the UH-1J Combat Utility Helicopters and the AH-1S Cobra Attack Helicopters.

However, the aforementioned military hardware coming from stocks within the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force inventory isn't the only one that may likely end up in the hands of the Philippine Army, as there is a single type of armored vehicle that the Japanese shows some willingness to provide their Philippine counterparts that may boost its armored capabilities aside from the ones it already have like the Sabrah Tanks (of both ASCOD 2 and Pandur II chassis) coming from Israel's Elbit Systems Ltd.

The said armored vehicle refers to the Japanese-made Type 74 tank (see image above), as these platforms are something that the Philippine Army officials are interested to get on, as these main battle tanks, along with their UH-1J Combat Utility Helicopters, are on the process of getting a schedule for its eventual decommissioning out of active service from the Japanese military.

Japan's plans for decommissioning both its Type 74 tank and UH-1J Combat Utility Helicopters also coincide with their military's plans to decommission their AH-1S Cobra Attack Helicopters, as their security defense policy update sees these platforms obsolete and now in the process of getting replaced by unmanned aerial systems or drones that they may see as more relevant to their defense-related requirements. On the other note, the decommissioning of UH-1J Helicopters comes as the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force gets newer helicopters like the UH-2 Combat Utility Helicopter, itself a Bell 412 variant that the Philippine Air Force also have and has plans to add more later on (See page 84 of the SARO release list PDF File).

While some media outlets are quick to brand this information as 'fake', this information holds plausibility as the Philippine Army's idea of getting Type 74 Tanks has gotten rounds on several defense outlets that come with credibility even before the mainstream media gets it, along with the information that Pitz Defense Analysis have that gives full verification for this military asset from Japan.

Hence, the Type 74 Tanks deserves a discussion of its own for the sake of obtaining it, as the possibility for the Philippine Army of getting it is there, although it is not necessarily 100% guaranteed as plans changes from time to time and there are several cases that the end-user decided not to pursue the project itself, such in this case regarding both the Philippine Army and Marine Corps' Multiple-Launched Rocket System acquisition project, presumably what would be the K-136 Kooryong MLRS from South Korea.

In this topic, we will discuss its development, specifications, and an elaborate comparison with the other tanks that Japan Ground Self-Defense Force has, as the plans of decommissioning the tanks came as the Japanese are on the process of introducing its newest Type 10 Main Battle Tanks into service, as it really comes as a replacement to the older tanks like the Type 74.

JGSDF, Japan, Type 61 Tank Type 74 Tank, Philippine Army
The Type 61 tank has served as Japan’s first Indigenously made tank since the end of the Second World War.
Via Wikimedia Commons.

Through the years, the fleet of armored vehicles like tanks within the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force or JGSDF constantly changes and improves in a manner that a new type of tank gets introduced in the Japanese military service, effectively replacing older ones in inventory that they may render as obsolete. This is actually what is happening with Type 10 Tanks slowly replacing the older Type 74 Tanks that have the possibility of getting its way to the Philippine Army’s inventory shall things push through.

This was also the case for the Type 74 Tanks when it was first developed in the early 1970s, whereby the Japan Ground Self Defense Force, in partnership with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, is looking for a new Tank that intends to replace the Type 61 Tank. The said tank was the first indigenously made Japanese tank in the early years of the Cold War and also the one made since the conclusion of the Second World War and the formation of Japan’s pacifist constitution that made the Japan Ground Self Defense Force today.

With the development of the Type 61 Tank took place in the mid-1950s by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the renewed experience in creating the design and having the tank mass-produced help the company and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force in developing far advanced tanks and armored vehicles along the way, enabling them to conceptualize and getting the works started in the early 1960s as a counter to the Soviet-made T-62 series that Japanese says that is out of scope for their existing aforementioned tank‌.

Once the work has started, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries produced different prototypes and started testing different design features and tank hulls such as the STB-1 prototype featuring an adjustable hydro-pneumatic suspension system of the discontinued American/German MBT-70 tank, while using a German Leopard 1 tank as its basic hull tank design and its main gun being a British 105mm L7 rifled main gun tied to an automatic loader developed and produced by Japan Steel Works Company. While the development is promising, its limitations forced the parties involved to make some necessary revisions in their design.

The revisions in the design became what they named as the STB-3 tank prototype, whereby the development pushed further in the early 1970s until they reached the STB-6, a final test prototype of the tank prior to its acceptance and compliance to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and eventually, the mass production of this tank design. In 1974, the JGSDF formally accepted it and has provided the designation ‘Type 74’ tank, which connotes the year it entered service and since then, became the mainstay tank of the Japanese military for years to come.

Since its introduction to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries produced at least almost 900 units of the Type 74 Tank, spanning at least 10 versions of the tank produced in the 1980s. The production line for the tanks has since then shut down in 1989 to give way for the newer, more sophisticated Type 90 tanks for production, of which it serves as a complementary main battle tank to the Type 74, itself a Second Generation tank of the Japanese military of the post World War 2 era.

The Type 74 tank served as Japan’s mainstay tank during the remaining years of the Cold War era, whereby the design features and weapons components come as applicable for the armored vehicles of that era. It is not surprising that the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force produced the modern Type 10 main battle tank as the 1970s-era Type 74 tank no longer suits their needs. As for the Philippine Army, having such tanks may provide a boost for its armor division, complementing the Sabrah Tanks it currently has in inventory.

Type 74 Specifications, JGSDF, Philippine Army, Main Battle Tank
The detailed specifications are in the image provided.
Image © Wikimedia Commons, with spec-sheet reference from Military-Today website.

The specifications that the Type 74 Tank of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force or JGSDF comes as a byproduct of continuous development resulted from the previous prototypes that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has made, aiming to improve the prospect of a second-generation main battle tank designed to replace the Type 61 Tank, the first indigenously made main battle tank of Japan since its defeat in the Second World War and the adoption of having a defense-oriented armed forces, which it still has today.

According to the descriptions made by a spec-sheet oriented defense outlet about the Type 74, the tank provides an impression that the tank produced by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force that it entered service in 1975 as an already-obsolete tank, describing that other contemporary Western-made tank designs that entered service in the 1980s rendered the second generation Japanese-made tank as an out-of-date platform, in need of complementary and more capable platforms such as the Type 90 tank.

Delving into the details, the Type 74 tank’s dimensions come with a weight of 38 tons, length of 9.42 meters with gun forward, hull length of 6.7 meters, width of 3.18 meters, and height of 2.67 meters. In comparison, the Sabrah Light Tank - ASCOD 2 chassis of the Philippine Army comes with a weight of 30 tons, a length of 9.5 meters with gun forward, hull length of at least 7.6 meters (ASCOD 2), a width of 3.4 meters (ASCOD 2), and a height of 2.5-2.8 meters for the ASCOD 2 hull alone (with around 3.5-3.8 meters that includes the turret). 

The dimensions make the Type 74 tank of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force coming almost to par with the Sabrah ASCOD 2 tank in terms of size, with the latter being as a larger type for a Light Tank as the chassis comes originally designed as an Infantry Fighting Vehicle for both Spain and Austria. Despite the size differences, both tanks have the same 105mm caliber main gun, with the Sabrah Tank manned by at least three (3) people as opposed to the Type 74 tank’s four (4) personnel. The Sabrah Tank’s reduced crew configuration became possible as it comes with an automatic loading system onboard. 

The said Japanese tank’s engine comes with a single Mitsubishi 10ZF Model 21 10-cylinder diesel engine delivering 750 horsepower, an engine that is likely seen uniquely with the tank that it comes installed. In comparison, a Sabrah Tank with ASCOD 2 chassis comes with the 805 horsepower MTU V8 199 T21 diesel engine, making the latter more capable in terms of engine power that comes alongside with its weight that is lighter than what the Japanese Type 74 Tank comes with its design.

The power produced by the Mitsubishi-made engine enabled the Type 74 tank of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force to travel at a maximum speed of 53 kilometers per hour, at a range of 400 kilometers. The ASCOD 2-based chassis of the Sabrah Light Tank comes faster at its maximum speed of around 70 kilometers per hour, with its range of around 500 kilometers. This is not surprising as the ASCOD’s design comes with a requirement fit for an Infantry Fighting Vehicle or IFV.

Despite the difference, of which coming with a thick armor of 80mm on the upper body part of the tank and has a defensive ability of 195mm, the Type 74 that the Japan Ground Self Defense Force plans to decommission are a worthy consideration for the Philippine Army leadership to check, even though it remains to see whether getting this type of tank will push through, or not at all.

Philippine Army, Sabrah Tank, ASCOD 2, Pandur 2 6x6, Type 74 Tank, Elbit Systems Ltd., JGSDF, Mitsubishi Electric
The Philippine Army aims to augment its Sabrah tanks in terms of numbers.
Image Source.

The Philippine Army aspires to get additional Medium Main Battle Tanks or a fleet of Light Tank units for its operations, as the Sabrah tank orders of both the ASCOD 2 and Pandur 2 6X6 chassis under its current contract does not suffice the numbers as we get the additional information discussed in the final part of this article, shortened for straightforward discussion under this topic.

Adding here are some sufficiently gathered relevant and fairly important types of information that provide insight about the Philippine Army’s acquisition plans relating to the Medium Main Battle Tank (MMBT) units for the Armor “Pambato” Division to use. The abbreviation and description provided come as the current designation of the service branch for a Light Tank, such as Elbit’s Sabrah Light Tank of both ASCOD 2 and Pandur 2 8x8 chassis.

One point of information here is the Philippine Army’s idea of getting and maintaining at least 144 units of Medium Main Battle Tanks or MMBTs, whereby the numbers provided are insufficient if we refer to the number of Sabrah Tanks ordered by the Philippine Army at its current contract arrangement of 28 units. The idea of filling it up comes when the idea of getting Type 74 tanks from JGSDF stocks gets into consideration. It shows that the numbers are still a requirement for the Philippine Army to have as part of its operational needs.

The idea of getting Japan’s Type 74 Tanks come as its eventual retirement from service becomes more inevitable with the entry of Type 10 Main Battle Tanks within the active service of Japan’s own Ground Self Defense Force units, coming along other potential offers that the said country has in offering to the Philippine Armed Forces, ranging from its locally produced UH-1J Huey Helicopters to the AH-1S Cobra Attack Helicopter that are potentially up for grabs, possibly benefiting the Army’s Aviation ‘Hiraya’ Regiment.

In summary, getting the Type 74 Tanks came as an interesting proposition that may help improve the capabilities of the Philippine Army’s armored vehicle capabilities, especially regarding into the idea of fielding the number of Medium Main Battle Tanks that augments the current number of Sabrah Tanks of both wheeled and tracked variants ordered from Israel’s Elbit Systems Ltd. While being idealistic, this concept remains as simply a plan, unless there is a clear emphasis that this prospect actually turns into reality.

(c) 2023 PDA.




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