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Sunday, July 29, 2012

DND Wants Frigate with 'Surface-to-Air' Missile Power

Finmeccanica Aspide medium range surfafe to air missile, intercept range approximately 25 km (photo : Seaforces)
MANILA, Philippines - Defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez announced on Friday that one of the frigates to be acquired by the Philippines will have "surface-to-air" capabilities. That is, the ship will have the capability to fire missiles, guided by radar or heat sensors, at airborne targets.
"Aside from this, our latest frigate will have heavier gun armament and other equipment that will make it very effective in patrolling and securing the country's waters," Galvez said in Filipino.
He declined to state the particular country the Philippines will acquire this ship but stressed that acquisition will be done through a government-to-government transaction.
The Philippines has taken on a new sense of urgency to upgrade its naval capabilities as tensions continue to rise around the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). US President Barack Obama's announced "pivot" for America towards the Pacific has stirred greater naval activity on the part of China, triggering cross-border problems between the Asian superpower and the Philippines, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, and Russia across the East and South China Seas. Against this backdrop, the Philippine Navy has been exposed to be glaringly ill-equipped to patrol and protect its own shores.
Fincantieri Maestrale class frigate for anti-submarine warfare, can carry 1 × octuple Aspide SAM launchers (photo : Militaryphotos)
Earlier, DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the military wants to acquire additional naval craft from Italy.
"We are not relying totally on the United States (for) our equipment acquisitions. We are also looking at the possibility of getting some of our equipment from Europe, specifically from Italy, depending on our budget," he added.
Possible naval craft to be acquired from Italy by the Philippines are the "Maestrale" and "Soldati" classes.
The "Maestrale" class, operated by the Italian Navy, is primarily designed for anti-submarine warfare.
Cantieri Navali Riuniti (CNR) Soldati class frigate for anti-surface warfare, can carry 1x octuple launcher for Aspide SAM (photo : Militaryphotos)
However the vessels are highly flexible so they are also capable of anti-air and anti-surface operations.
It has a displacement of 3,300 gross register tons and a speed of 33 knots.
The ship is armed with anti-ship missiles, torpedoes, long range guns and automatic weapons, making it ideal to protect the country's maritime borders against poachers, pirates and foreign aggressors.
The "Soldati" class, on the other hand, is a multi-purpose warship designed for anti-surface warfare.
It has a displacement of 2,500 gross register tons and has a top speed of 35 knots.
The ship has missile, torpedo and gun armament and is capable of carrying an anti-submarine helicopter.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Indonesia and the Philippines to Increase Spending on Defense in 2013

The 2013 defence budget of Philippines include procurement of anti-ship missile (photo : Militaryphotos)

TSAMTO - The two governments of Southeast Asia - Indonesia and the Philippines - have announced significant increases in defense spending for 2013 fiscal year.
According to "Jane's Defence Industry," The Cabinet of Ministers of Indonesia announced an increase in the budget of the Ministry of National Defense to 76.54 trillion rupiah (8.1 billion dollars), which is 18% more than in FY 2012
Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said the Philippines July 19 on the allocation of the Ministry of National Defense 121.6 billion pesos (2.9 billion dollars) - an increase of 12.5% ​​compared to FY 2012
According to the Department's Budget and Management, the Philippines, the 47.2 billion pesos allocated to the article "internal security" and 2.1 billion pesos - the "territorial defense initiative."
Armed Forces of the Philippines in the arms procurement program (CUP-Capability Upgrade Programme) will also receive five billion pesos, which will be used to purchase critical equipment, boats and airplanes.
As part of the CUP in the next few years will be a series of acquisitions of military hardware. In particular : air-and sea-based missile system,  various types of helicopters, patrol aircraft, medium-sized military transport aircraft and combat-capable aircraft.

According to the President Benigno Aquino on July 23, the program has allocated more than the administration CUP 28 billion pesos. Projects worth another 75 billion pesos in the forwarded to the Parliament. These funds will be spent over the next five years.
In addition to the costs of the defense budget and the Department of Planning will provide Philippine Coast Guard (which reports to the Department of Transport and Communications) funds amounting to 1.8 billion pesos, a 62% increase compared to FY 2012
Ministry of Interior and Local Government allocated 120.8 billion Philippine pesos (an increase of 21%).
The Cabinet Office did not disclose Indonesia expenditure for the purchase of military hardware, though, as you know, they include fighter aircraft, transport aircraft, frigates, maritime patrol boats, helicopters, and several types of anti-aircraft missile systems.
Despite the increase in defense spending, accounting for a small percentage of the gross domestic product of Indonesia allocates to defense about 0.8% of GDP, Philippines - about 1.1%. At the same time, both countries have in recent years have seen the compensation inadequate funding of defense spending from extrabudgetary sources.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Philippines Looking at South Africa as Option for Attack Helicopters

Denel Rooivalk attack helicopter (photo : Gary Shephard)

A spokesman for the Philippines Air Force (PAF) has been quoted as identifying South Africa as one of the countries that are under consideration to supply his service with new attack helicopters. South Africa is one of the few countries to have developed a dedicated attack helicopter, the Denel Rooivalk (Kestrel, in English).

The PAF is seeking 10 attack helicopters as part of a major modernisation programme. The other countries listed as possible suppliers by Lieutenant Colonel Miguel Okol were Italy, France, Russia and the UK. US helicopters have been ruled out as they are too expensive for the country.

Confusingly, PAF commander Lieutenant General Lauro Catalino de la Cruz was reported to have said that Italian helicopters would be ordered. These would presumably be AgustaWestland AW129 Mongoose attack helicopters.

However, Okol spoke to Agence France-Presse (AFP) after De la Cruz made his comment, suggesting that the general was expressing his personal opinion or spoke ambiguously and had been misunderstood. Whatever the case may be, the acquisition of the new helicopters has been approved and the order should be placed before the end of this year.

The PAF seems to use the term attack helicopter to refer to any armed helicopter and not just dedicated attack designs. This would explain the inclusion of the UK on the list – Britain does not have a dedicated attack helicopter design but the army version of the AgustaWestland Lynx can (and has been) be armed with guns and missiles.

Likewise, the PAF refers to its current force of MD Helicopters MG 520 light armed helicopters as attack helicopters. “What we are going to get are armed attack helicopters ... that can carry more payload than the MG 520,” Okol told AFP. The PAF is also upgrading its MG 520s.

The Denel Rooivalk is not currently in production, but the company could restart manufacture if it received a suitable order. The company has been redelivering Rooivalks upgraded to operational standard to the South African Air Force, a process that should be concluded next month.

(Engineering News)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Italy Also Offers Attack Helicopter to Philippines

AgustaWestland AW-109 armed helicopter version. 10 attack helicopters, 21 Huey helicopters, 3 medium-lift fixed-wing aircraft, and 12 lead-in fighter-trainer will be purchased before year end as part of the P75-billion for Armed Forces modernization program (image : Airvectors)

Air Force to Get 10 More Attack Helicopters
BEFORE the end of the year, the Philippines would have 10 new attack helicopters, and the go-ahead has also been given for the purchase of 12 surface attack aircraft/lead-in fighter-trainer (SAA/LIFT) to form part of the P75-billion modernization program of the Armed Forces.
This was revealed by the Air Force commander, Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino  de la Cruz, who flew in from Europe through the Middle East on Monday afternoon, after participating in the Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom (UK).
“I was able to take a firsthand look at some of the industry participants, talk to some of them and would now report to senior leaders in the Armed Forces the best options available for the country,” he said during a brief interview at the airport.
De la Cruz said the four contenders for the jetfighter are Italy, Korea, Russia and the UK.
Agusta A-129 Mangusta attack helicopter (photo : btgsanmarco)

The purchase of the attack helicopters has been approved and these would be provided by Italy.
“I was in Italy to look at some of the attack helicopters that were offered and hopefully, we will have them by the end of the year,” he added.
He said the Philippines preferred the Italian models because they are cheaper compared to those made by Americans, which are top of the line and are very expensive.
The attack helicopters would replace the ageing OV-10 “Bronco” armed reconnaisance planes and MG-520 attack helicopters currently in the Air Force inventory.
De la Cruz said the acquisition would be purely for defense purposes.
“The Armed Forces concentrated on dealing with internal insurgency until we realize the need for credible defense following the row with China over the Spratlys,” he said.
The present Air Forces inventory has 43 aircraft, consisting of one S-211 trainer jet, two OV-10 “Broncos,” four MG-520 attack helicopters, nine T-41 trainers, 16 SF-260FH trainers, four UH-1H “Huey” helicopters, three Fokker F-27 “Friendship” aircraft, one C-130 “Hercules” transport aircraft, and four newly acquired Poland-made Sokol helicopters.
AgustaWestland AW-119 armed helicopter (photo : finmeccanica)

Col. Miguel Okol, Air Force spokesman, said the command was given authority to proceed with the 38 projects lined up to beef up its assets. These include the purchase of medium and light lift aircraft as replacement for the C-130 “Hercules” troop and transport carrier, long-range patrol aircraft, radars, SAA/LIFT and attack helicopters.
From one of the best in Southeast Asia in the 1960s, the Air Force fleet gradually deteriorated and became obsolete without being replaced, leaving the country with no external defense capability.
To upgrade the entire military’s capabilities, the Department of National Defense and Armed Forces are working to fast-track the approval by July this year of a total of 138 contracts.
The contracts, mostly aimed at boosting badly depleted air and naval assets, would be implemented during the Aquino administration.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Five Type Warplanes were Expected to be Delivered within Two Years

Five type aircraft : attack aircraft, lead-in fighter-trainers, attack helicopters, light transport and medium transport aircraft were all expected to be delivered within two years (photo : Militaryphotos)

Philippine Air Force to Get New Warplanes by 2014
The Philippines, which is now embroiled in a territorial dispute with China, is set to acquire new warplanes in two years to upgrade its poorly-equipped air force, the defence minister said Friday.
Attack aircraft, lead-in fighter-trainers, attack helicopters and light and medium transport aircraft were all expected to be delivered within two years, Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.
Speaking at the 65th anniversary of the Philippine Air Force, Gazmin said "these aircraft shall once and for all, erase the ironic and naughty commentary that our present airforce is all air, devoid of force."
The defence department also plans to sign contracts by July 31 to implement 138 military modernisation projects over the next five years, he added, without saying how much the contracts would cost or who would supply such equipment.
The Philippines has one of the most poorly-equipped militaries in the region, having retired the last of its fighter jets in 2005.
The weakness of the military was highlighted when the Philippines got into a standoff with China in April over the Scarborough Shoal, an outcropping of rocks in the South China Sea that both countries claim as their territory.
China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, even waters close to the coasts of neighbouring countries. The Philippines says the shoal is well within its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.
The two countries also have wider territorial disputes over parts of the Spratly islands in the South China Sea .
Gazmin did not mention the territorial dispute but stressed that air force personnel were all over the archipelago, including the West Philippine Sea-- the local term for the South China Sea.
The Philippines has looked to its main defence ally, the United States, to help it upgrade its armed forces but President Benigno Aquino said in an interview in May, that it was looking for aircraft from outside the US as well.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Philippine Navy Seeks Speedy Delivery of Second Warship

PF-16 BRP Ramon Alcaraz (photo : Timawa)

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Navy is trying to speed up the arrival of the country’s second warship, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz.

“That’s what we’re trying to do…to speed up it’s delivery but we don’t want to compromise the things that should be done…as the saying goes haste makes waste,” Navy chief Vice Admiral Alexander Pama told reporters in a phone interview.

A 90-man crew from the Navy who will man the warship are going under training in Charleston, South Carolina since April, he said.

BRP Alcaraz is scheduled to arrive in November.

Monday, July 2, 2012

P1.5B to Modernize Philippines Coast Guard

BRP San Juan (56 meter) a Tenix class patrol vessel (photo : Timawa)

West Phl Sea Base to be Fortified
MANILA, Philippines - Apart from repairing their air and sea assets, a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) official yesterday said a portion of the P1.5-billion fund allocated by the government for the maritime agency would be used to construct a support base at the Western Philippine Sea to immediately respond to sea emergencies in the area.
Coast Guard vice commandant for operations Rear Admiral Luis Tuason Jr. yesterday said they were grateful for the full support being given by President Aquino and Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II to the Coast Guard.
“We are thankful to Secretary Roxas for his full-blast support to the PCG. Improving the capability of the PCG would help us fully implement the projects and programs of the Aquino administration,” Tuason said.
He said a portion of the P1.5 billion to be released to the Coast Guard would be used to set up a support base in Ulugan Bay in Palawan. At the moment, the Coast Guard has a district in Palawan, but it is facing the eastern side of the province. It is also supported by five stations and 17 detachments.
Apart from being the largest province in the country, Palawan also hosts the Malampaya natural gas project.
“It would be quicker for quick response and law enforcement activities in the West coast of Palawan... especially if there is a problem in the Malampaya project or other projects of national government, we would have a faster response time,” Tuason said
He said the support base would also provide immediate shelter for ships during bad weather in the area.
The Coast Guard might also build a hangar for their helicopter and a pier for their ships.
Tuason said the support base would also be useful during inspections and there might also be instances when the growing oil and gas exploration in Palawan would create problems and the maritime agency should be quick to deploy its assets to address situations such as maritime pollution.
“We can easily do that if we are near the western side (of Palawan),” he said.
The government is expected to give the P1.5 billion from its share of the Malampaya fund to upgrade the Coast Guard assets within the year or next year.
Part of the money would be used to repair two of their 56-meter vessel and one 35-meter vessel. They could also have one helicopter and one islander fixed.
It is also part of their plan to purchase M35 trucks that are necessarily during heavy flooding in Metro Manila.
“This would be useful for land rescue, when we need to go to flooded areas. We could use this to transport our divers,” Tuason said.
Should there be more available funds, Tuason said the Coast Guard would hire additional personnel.
Apart from the funds from Malampaya, the Coast Guard under the leadership of its commandant Vice Admiral Edmund Tan is also coordinating with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for the purchase of brand new vessels.
“There is already an ongoing deliberation for 10 units of 40-meter vessels for the PCG. In due time, this would be referred to Japan wherein five vessels might be constructed in Japan while the other five units in Cebu. These vessels would be brand new,” he said.
This is part of the agreement between the government of the Philippines and Japan.
“We are also hoping that we would be able to get a grant. We are requesting them to construct two bigger vessels, measuring 80 to 100 meters, to be constructed in Japan...We would be grateful because they know that we are also in need of those ships,” he said.
Tuason added the 10-meter ship would better ensure the safety of the Coast Guard’s search and rescue personnel during operation.
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