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Monday, November 23, 2015

APEC 2015: Aircraft of the Heads of State

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit recently concluded in Manila, bringing together leaders of some of the world's most powerful nations. With the help of our friends at the Philippine Plane Spotters Group, we have compiled a collection of photographs to share of the aircraft used by the visiting Heads of State.

air force one philippines
Copyright Photo: JM Santos Reyes/PPSG
This is the second time that the Philippines has hosted an APEC Summit. The last summit held in the Philippines was in 1996. The theme for this year's summit was "Building Inclusive Economics, Building a Better World." The 2015 APEC Philippines Summit included four priorities: Investing in Human Capital Development, Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities, Fostering Small and Medium Enterprises Participation in Regional and Global Markets, and Enhancing the Regional Economic Integration Agenda.


chile presidential aircraft
Copyright Photo: Gerard Montejo/PPSG
President Michelle Bachelet of Chile arrived aboard a Boeing 767-300ER. It is the only VIP aircraft that carries the Chilean Military livery. Bachelet was the first world leader to arrive in Manila for the 2015 APEC Summit. This was also her first state visit to the Philippines.

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Dassault Falcon 900 EX
Copyright Photo: Roman Angelo/PPSG
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill arrived at Villamor Air Base in Manila two days ahead of the summit aboard a Dassault Falcon 900 EX jet. O'Neill expressed gratitude for the rice exports from the Philippines and the contributions of Filipino teachers. 30,000 Filipinos currently reside in Papua New Guinea.


vietnam airlines a321
Copyright Photo: Gabriel Camino/PPSG
vietnam airlines government aircraft
Copyright Photo: Alwin Escobar/PPSG
Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang arrived in Manila aboard a chartered Vietnam Airlines Airbus A321 aircraft. The Vietnam Presidency is a largely ceremonial role as the Prime Minister manages the daily functions of the Vietnamese government.


mexico president aircraft
Copyright Photo: Dominick Galauran/PPSG
mexico president aircraft
Copyright Photo: Robert Rimestad/PPSG
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto arrived in Manila aboard a Boeing 757-200. Nieto's political presence at the APEC Summit was overshadowed by his celebrity status with countless Filipino women adoring him as an "APEC hottie." A Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner is slated to take over the role of official Presidential aircraft in December 2015.

United States of America

air force one philippines
Copyright Photo: Robert Rimestad/PPSG
us air force 757 philippines
Copyright Photo: Lester Tangco/PPSG
marine one manila
Copyright Photo: Dominick Galauran/PPSG
President Barack Obama arrived aboard a customized Boeing 747-200B aircraft. Obama disembarked the aircraft at the Balabag Ramp Area at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. He was the only head of state to arrive at this part of the airport. This is the second time Obama has visited the Philippines. His last visit was in April 2014 on a four-nation tour of Asia. Although the Boeing 747 is most commonly referred to as Air Force One, the term is actually a call sign used to refer to any aircraft that carries the President of the United States. If the President is not on-board, a regular call sign is used. The helicopter used to transport the President is most commonly referred to as Marine One.

malaysia prime minister a320
Copyright Photo: Jose Gabrielle Dela Pena/PPSG
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 aboard an Airbus A320 operated by the Royal Malaysian Air Force. The aircraft was just purchased in 2015. This is the Prime Minister's third trip to the Philippines after previously visiting in October 2012 and March 2014.

korea government 747 philippines
Copyright Photo: Dominick Galauran/PPSG
korea government 747
Copyright Photo: Jose Gabrielle Dela Pena/PPSG
korea president plane
Copyright Photo: Jay Fillarca/PPSG
Korean President Park Geun-Hye arrived at Terminal 1 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. She travelled on board a Boeing 747-400, leased from Korean Air for the next five years. The fuselage features the country's name written in English and Korean. Park is the first female president of Korea and was named the world's 11th most powerful woman by Forbes Magazine in 2013.


australia government 737
Copyright Photo: Dominick Galauran/PPSG
australia air force 737
Copyright Photo: Jose Gabrielle Dela Pena/PPSG
Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull arrived in Manila aboard a Boeing 737 Business Jet operated by the Royal Australian Air Force. He arrived at NAIA Terminal 2 at the same time as the South Korean President was arriving at Terminal 1. The Royal Australian Air Force operates two Boeing Business Jets in VIP configuration. They were acquired in 2002 under a lease agreement and feature conference tables, office suites, and secure satellite and communication capabilities. These particular aircraft offer a longer range than the standard Boeing Business Jet. In 2014, it was announced that these aircraft will be replaced by a VIP-configured KC-30A aircraft, a variant of the Airbus A330.


canada government aircraft manila
Copyright Photo: Lester Tangco/PPSG
cc 150 polaris manila
Copyright Photo: Katrine Laframboise/PPSG
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 aboard a CC-150 Polaris aircraft, a variant of the Airbus A310-300. The VIP aircraft is operated by the Royal Canadian Airforce. Trudeau, along with his Mexican counterpart, was one of two leaders at the APEC summit that were labelled the "APEC hotties" by Filipino netizens.

New Zealand

new zealand air force 757
Copyright Photo: Jay Fillarca/PPSG
new zealand government aircraft
Copyright Photo: Jose Gabrielle Dela Pena/PPSG
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key arrived aboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757-200. Key arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1. These aircraft are only occasionally used to transport the Prime Minister as the New Zealand government prefers to use chartered or commercial Air New Zealand flights for both domestic and international travel. These multi-role 757 aircraft are most commonly used to transport troops or freight.


Copyright Photo: Lester Tangco/PPSG
Copyright Photo: Robert Rimestad/PPSG
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived aboard a Boeing 747-400 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1. He is Japan's youngest leader since World War II. The Government of Japan maintains two Boeing 747-400 aircraft operated by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. They use the callsign Japanese Air Force One when operating on official government business, and Cygnus One when operating for other purposes such as training flights. The aircraft always travel in pairs with one serving as the primary transport, while the other serves as a backup. The Japanese aircraft were constructed at the Boeing factory at the same time as the US Air Force One VC-25 aircraft. However, the US version is built to the 747-200 design, while the Japanese version is built to the 747-400 design. These aircraft will eventually be replaced by the Boeing 777-300ER in 2019.


brunei government 747
Copyright Photo: Robert Rimestad/PPSG
sultan brunei 747
Copyright Photo: Robert Rimestad/PPSG
The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, arrived at Terminal 2 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport aboard his Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The Sultan has several aircraft in VIP configuration, which are used for his own travel and for members of the Royal Family. The Boeing 747-400 was purchased in 1990 for $100 million and underwent a further $120 million in upgrades including professional interior design by Reese Design. The Sultan is one of the world's longest reigning monarchs with an estimated net worth of $20 billion.


Copyright Photo: Enzo Hortaleza/PPSG
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha arrived at Terminal 1 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport aboard an Airbus A319CJ. The aircraft is maintained by Thai Airways International and used primarily by government officials. The Thai Royal family usually fly on commercial flights operated by Thai Airways when travelling outside of Thailand. However, a Boeing 737-800 is maintained by the Royal Thai Air Force for royal use within the kingdom. The Thai Government also operates an Airbus A340-500.


singapore government aircraft
Copyright Photo: Enzo Hortaleza/PPSG
singapore government jet
Image Source: ABS CBN
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport's Terminal 1 aboard a modest Gulfstream jet. Government officials from Singapore including Lee typically travel on regularly scheduled commercial flights operated by Singapore Airlines. However, the Singapore Air Force does maintain a small fleet of passenger-configured Fokker 50 aircraft. Singapore is one of the richest economies in the world with a GDP per capita income that is 20 times higher than the Philippines.


colombia president 737
Copyright Photo: Lester Tangco/PPSG
colombia government 737
Copyright Photo: Enzo Hortaleza/PPSG
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos arrived in Manila at Ninoy Aquino International Airport's Terminal 1. He was the second world leader to arrive. However, he attended the summit as an observer under the invitation of President Aquino. Colombia was the sole non-APEC country invited to the APEC summit. Reports suggest that the nation's invitation may be an initial step towards Colombia being received as an organization member. The President arrived aboard a Boeing 737 aircraft, which was purchased by the Colombian government in 2005. The government fleet also includes F-28 aircraft, Lear Jets, and an Embraer Legacy.


russia president il 96
Copyright Photo: Lester Tangco/PPSG
il 96 philippines
Copyright Photo: Charleston Felimon/PPSG
russia government ilyushin il 96
Copyright Photo: Robert Rimestad/PPSG
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport aboard a Russian built Ilyushin Il-96-300 aircraft. Russian President Vladimir Putin was originally confirmed to attend the APEC summit. However, he later cancelled due to domestic concerns. The aircraft are operated by Russia's State Transport Company. One of the Il-96 aircraft was refitted as a VIP transport in 2001 at an estimated cost of  GBP £10 Million. It is rumoured that the luxurious refit included marble floors, silk-lined walls, and gold-plated bathroom fittings. It is also believed that the aircraft features an escape capsule.

indonesia government aircraft
Copyright Photo: Charleston Felimon/PPSG
indonesia government aircraft
Copyright Photo: Roman Angelo/PPSG
Indonesia Vice President Jusuf Kalla arrived at Terminal 1 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, representing President Joko Widodo. The Indonesian Presidential Aircraft is a Boeing Business Jet version of the Boeing 737-800. However, Kalla arrived aboard an Avro RJ85, operated by the Indonesian Air Force VIP squadron. The Indonesian President, known for his common touch, turned heads last year when he flew economy class to Singapore.

Former Taiwanese Vice President Vincent Siew arrived in Manila at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1, representing Chinese Taipei's Economic Leader. He arrived aboard a chartered China Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft. Usually, travel by the Taiwanese Government is aboard a Boeing 737-800 operated by the Republic of China Air Force. However, long-haul trips are usually operated by a China Airlines Boeing 747.
Hong Kong
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying, commonly referred to as CY Leung, arrived aboard a Cathay Pacific wide-body aircraft at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. He was one of the first world leaders to arrive in Manila. The Chief Executive of Hong Kong always travels on commercial aircraft operated by Cathay Pacific, when travelling outside of the country.


chinese government 747
Copyright Photo: Robert Rimestad/PPSG
china government 747
Copyright Photo: Jose Gabrielle Dela Pena/PPSG
China's President Xi Jinping arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport's Terminal 1 shortly after the arrival of South Korean President Park Gyeun-Hye. He was greeted by Hong Kong's Chief Executive CY Leung, who arrived the night before. The President arrived aboard an Air China Boeing 747-4J6, which is specially configured for government use and does not operate any commercial service.


philippine presidential aircraft
Copyright: John Edmund Buen/PPSG
philippine presidential aircraft
Copyright: John Edmund Buen/PPSG
Although the Philippines hosted the 2015 APEC Summit, it is important not to forget that the nation also has its own Presidential transportation. The Philippine Air Force is tasked with the responsibility of transporting the President and the First Family. The fleet consists of a Fokker F-28 and Fokker F-27, as well as a series of helicopters. When the President travels outside of the country, aircraft from Philippine Airlines are usually chartered. The call sign PR001 is used to represent an aircraft operated by Philippine Airlines to transport the President.

from: Philippine Flight Network

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

PAF Reactivate Three More S-211

SIAI-Marchetti S-211 PAF jet trainer (photo : Timawa)

Reactivation of additional S-211s to train F/A-50 pilots

MANILA,(PNA) -- The decision to reactivate three more SIAI-Marchetti S-211 jet trainers is aimed at increasing the number of aerial assets needed to screen and train prospective F/A-50 pilots.

This was revealed by Air Defense Wing official Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol in a message to the PNA.

The additional S-211s will provide incoming pilots of the South Korean-built jet plane with the flight time and training needed for fast aircraft operations.

"So far, we have three (S-211) operational and we are requesting (funds) for CY (calender year) 2015 to operationalize one," Okol stressed.

He added that reactivation for two more S-211s are afoot.

"We have two more after this but (this is) subject to funding," Okol disclosed.

The F/A-50 "Fighting Eagle" is expected to be in service by the third quarter of 2015.

Earlier, Okol said that four PAF pilots will be deployed to South Korea before the end of the year to undergo familiarization training in the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) F/A-50 "Golden Eagle".

He added that these officers are relatively junior and only have the rank of captain and major.

Aside from this, these PAF officials relatively have high jet time compared to other pilots.

Okol said that these officials have accrued their jet time flying SIAI-Marchetti S-211 jet trainers which doubles as attack aircraft of the PAF.

"These men will be rated as test pilots and operational pilots of the F/A-50s while those who only have 200 to 300 hours of jet hours will be first made to undergo F/A-50 simulator training before being trained and certified by our test pilots for F/A-50 operations," the PAF official said in Filipino.

Deployment of these PAF pilots to South Korea for training and familiarization briefing on the F/A-50 will be determined later, Okol said.


PAF AW-109s to Reinforce MG-520s in Ground Attack Role

AW-109 armed version (photo : Gerrit Kok)

MANILA (PNA) -- With delivery and commissioning commissioning of the eight armed AgustaWestland AW-109 "Power" helicopters early 2015, the Philippine Air Force (PAF)'s McDonnell Douglas MG-520 "Defender" attack helicopters will get a much needed reinforcement in its ground attack missions.

This was stressed by Air Force spokesperson Lt. Col. Enrico Canaya in a text message to the PNA.

He added arrival of the eight attack versions of the AW-109s will greatly boost their close-air support capabilities.

The AW-109s which the PAF will be getting is armed with .50 caliber machine guns and rocket launchers and will be used for the ground-attack-role.

The Air Force is expected to take delivery of its AW-109s starting January to July next year.

The PAF is known to operate between 12 to 16 models of the MG-520, according to military sources.

The PAF affair with the MG-520 started in the early 90's when 25 units of these excellent aircraft were delivered to country.

It was used with great effect against New People's Army (NPA) rebels and lawless elements like the Abu Sayyaf Group for the past few years.

The MG-520 is derived from the MG-500 light utility helicopter.

It can be armed with .50 caliber heavy machines and air-to-ground rockets.(PNA)

PAF MG-520 Defender (photo : worldmilitaryintel

PAF AW-109 Armed Version Pilots, Maintenance Crews to Start Training by July

Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesperson Lt. Col. Enrico Canaya on Friday announced that pilots and maintenance crews of their soon-to-be delivered AgustaWestland AW-109 attack helicopters will start their training in Italy this coming July.

These group consists of eight pilots and 22 maintenance personnel.

"They will start their training by July in (Cesto Calende) Italy as part of the acquisition package," Canaya pointed out.

He added that this helicopters will boosts the PAF's capability in providing close air support to combat forces in the ground.

The PAF and AgustaWestland signed the contract last November.

The aircraft will be used to perform a range of duties including homeland security, armed reconnaissance and close support.

The contract also includes initial logistics support and training for aircrew and maintenance personnel.

The deal is worth P3.44 billion.

The PAF’s AW-109 attack helicopters will feature a dedicated mission package and equipment including a combination of weapon systems.

The AW-109 "Power" is a three-ton class eight seat twin engine helicopter.

The spacious cabin is designed to be fitted with a number of modular equipment packages for quick and easy conversion between roles.

The aircraft’s safety and survivability features include a fully separated fuel system, dual hydraulic boost system, dual electrical systems and redundant lubrication and cooling systems for the main transmission and engines.

The AW-109s' superior speed, capacity and productivity combined with reliability and ease of maintenance make it the most cost effective helicopter in its class for a range of government tasks.

Over 580 AW-109 "Power" and AW-109 LUH helicopters have been ordered for parapublic, military and commercial applications by customers in around 50 countries. 


IOMAX Offers Archangel Light Attack Turboprop to the Philippines

Artist's concept of the IOMAX Archangel ISR and light strike aircraft modified with a bubble canopy, ejection seats, and speed fairings. The aircraft is currently being offered to the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (image : IOMAX)

IOMAX has offered its Archangel Block 3 Border Patrol Aircraft (BPA) to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) as a replacement for its ageing Rockwell OV-10 Bronco counterinsurgency fleet, IHS Jane's was told on 2 June.

The US defence company has submitted a bid to the Philippine government, in which it is pitching the Archangel as a replacement for the PAF's nine remaining OV-10s, which were acquired second-hand in the 1990s, IOMAX CEO Ron Howard disclosed during a visit to the company's North Carolina headquarters.

"IOMAX has previously done signals intelligence in Southeast Asia, and so we know the region. The Philippine mission is very well suited to the Archangel," he said.

The Philippine requirement was formally launched in mid-May, when the Department of National Defense (DND) issued tender documents to acquire six close air support aircraft and an accompanying logistics support package for PHP4.968 billion (USD114 million).

In its documents, the DND noted that the selected bidder must have had prior experience of such programmes over the previous decade, and that the selected platform should already be in service with the armed forces of the country of origin or by the military of at least two other countries.

Although the Archangel BPA is regarded by some (the US Department of Defense included) as being an essentially new platform, it is in fact the third iteration (hence the Block 3 designation) of the Block 1 and Block 2 AT-802 that IOMAX developed and supplied to the United Arab Emirates (and which it still supports). Also, with the Block 1 also now in service with Jordan, the Archangel does fit the criteria for selection as laid down by the DND.

While the DND did not publically disclose aircraft specifications, IHS Jane's understands that they have been written up with the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano in mind, with requirements that it be equipped with retractable undercarriage and ejector seats, among other things.

The Archangel currently features neither of these, but Howard told IHS Jane's that IOMAX has done studies with Martin-Baker on the feasibility of replacing the current crash-resistant seating and roll-cage with twin ejection-seats and bubble canopy, and that this is perfectly doable (the United Arab Emirates is also said to be interested in the canopy for a potential follow-on order of aircraft, but not the ejection-seats). As for retractable undercarriage, Howard said the mission did not require it, and the weight penalties and rough field limitations would outweigh any benefits over the current fixed undercarriage, and so this would not be offered.

As retractable undercarriage is not being offered as an option, Howard said the company's designers were looking at a number of aerodynamic improvements to the Archangel that would help it close the speed gap from its current 180 kt cruise speed to bring it closer to the 220 kt of platforms such as the Super Tucano.

From spinner to tail, these enhancements include the option of an enhanced propeller with a scimitar-style composite blade; a sleeker nose profile; angling the exhaust rearwards to provide about 200 lb of additional thrust; speed fairings on the main undercarriage and wheel struts; remodelled wing roots and tips; blending the rear of the cockpit to the tail section to reduce buffeting and drag; remodelled tail and stabiliser roots and tips; and a more generally cleaned-up fuselage, with as few protruding parts as possible. According to IOMAX's chief scientist, Ray Nielson, who is leading this improvement effort, these modifications should increase the aircraft's cruise speed to about 210 kt.

Even so, Howard was keen to note that speed is not everything, and that rival platforms had sacrificed much in terms of payload and range/endurance in order to go faster. With a typical mission profile of 175 kt outbound to a range of 1,350 n miles, six hours on station, and 175 kt inbound to base, and all with a maximum gross take-off weight of 6,715 kg, the Archangel can cover more of the Philippine's area of operations with a greater weapon load than any of its competitors. At just USD8 million per aircraft (without options), the Archangel is also cheaper than many of its rivals ( IHS Jane's All the World's Aircraft gives the Super Tucano a unit price of USD12-13 million).

With the DND's tender documents now released, all bids must be submitted by 11 June, with the selected platform expected to be with the PAF 18 months after contract signature. Besides the Archangel and Super Tucano, other platforms expected to compete include the Beechcraft AT-6 Texan II, and perhaps even the Pilatus PC-21.


South Korea to Give 'Pohang' Class Corvette to Philippine

Pohang class corvettes, length 88,3m displacement 1200 ton (photo : Militaryphotos)

MANILA — The South Korean government will be donating a corvette to the Philippines before the end of 2014, Department of National Defense spokesperson Dr. Peter Paul Galvez said on Thursday.

He added that the corvette will be one of South Korea's "Pohang" class and there is a big possibility that the ship will be handed to the Philippine Navy with all its weapons and sensor system intact.

The "Pohang" class corvette is a general purpose vessel operated by the Republic of Korean Navy.

They have served in a coastal defense role during the late Cold War and post Cold War period.
A total of 24 "Pohang" class vessels were built, all constructed in South Korea. Twenty-one vessels remain in service.

A "Pohang" class corvette weighs around 1,200 long tons and has a length of 289 feet and 8 inches.

It has a beam of 32 feet and 10 inches and a draft of nine feet and six inches.

The ship is powered by CODOG (combined diesel and gas propulsion system). "Pohang" corvettes have a maximum speed of 32 knots and a cruising speed of 15 knots.

It has a range of 4,000 nautical miles and a crew of 95 officers and enlisted personnel.
Sensors and processing systems include one AN/SQS-58 hull-mounted sonar.

The ships are armed with Harpoon and Exocet anti-ship missiles, a 76mm Oto Melara automatic cannon, a Breda 40mm twin cannons and two Mark 32 triple torpedo tubes (with 6 Mark 46 torpedoes) and 12 Mark 9 depth charges.

Announcement that South Korea will be giving a "Pohang" class corvette to the Philippines came in the wake of reports that the former will be also donating an LCU (landing craft utility) to the Navy. 

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