Tuesday, April 21, 2015

PH-US Troops Conduct Military Exercises Near West Philippine Sea

ZAMBALES, Philippines- The Amphibious Assault is one of the highlights in the bilateral exercises between the Philippines and the U.S. in Zambales; the exercise is being done approximately 250 kilometers away from the disputed Panatag or Scarborough Shoal.

The northern beach in the Philippine Naval Base in Luzon spreads at a length of 2 kilometers, making it the perfect place to conduct the Amphibious Landing Exercise of the Balikatan; according to U.S. Exercise Deputy Director BGEN Christopher Mahoney.

"The complexity of this exercise is born out of the beauty of this training range. It’s practical to use this training range in order to get all our objectives"
He added

The exercises this year focuses on territorial defense scenario; wherein the joint US and Philippine task forces aim to take back the islands seized by the enemies.

When asked why the field training exercise is being conducted in Zambales near the West Philippine Sea, Marine Battalion Landing Team 7 Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Doroteo Jose Jalandoni said it does not aim to escalate the maritime dispute between the Philippines and China.

"We don't do exercises in areas that have places of contention. This is an exercise and exercise is testing the capability of both forces" said Col. Jalandoni.

The beach landing exercises aim to improve the inter-operability of military assets and personnel  of the AFP and the US Armed Forces, both at sea and on land.

Inter-operability refers to the alliance of two different forces to effectively accomplish a certain mission.

350 Filipino soldiers and 400 American soldiers participated in the “Boat Raid” training.

21 Amphibious Assault Vehicles plus a UH-1 Cobra, a UH-1 Huey and AV-8 Harriers were used as closed-air support in the amphibious assault exercise.

Though the country is lacking in modern equipment, Col. Jalandoni believes that training with the US Armed Forces will help strengthen the capability of the Philippine Armed Forces.

"This exercise is a good measure of looking at it that when it arrives, we are prepared already. He said

The Philippine Navy is set to acquire 2 brand new Strategic Sea lift Vessels (SSV) and 8 Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV); making this
amphibious assault exercise a perfect training for the future operators of the incoming assets.

See Also:
DND and PT PAL INDONESIA-Persero inked in the agreement to build 2 SSV for the PN
Samsung Techwin's Bid for the 8 Brand New AAV Project to be Decided Mid 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015

PH-US Balikatan 2015 aims Peace and Security in Asia Pacific Region

Photo from Exercise Balikatan FB Page
MANILA, Philippines- The Philippines-US Balikatan 2015 Military Exercises has formally opened; aiming to maintain security and peace in the Asia Pacific region.

The Balikatan 2015 is the largest Balikatan Exercise to be participated by 11,000 Filipino and American soldiers programmed until April 30, 2015.

According to AFP Chief Of Staff Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr., the increase in the number of participants this year compared to the previous years does not aim to spread terror or provocative actions on the maritime dispute at West Philippine Sea.

Its primary aim is still to improve the capability and capacity of the Armed Forces of the Philippines; as part of the AFP modernization program and the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the United States.

"I think the Americans would like a bigger exercise. We believe it will help a lot because the more troops given a chance to participate, the more useful to the Armed Forces of the Philippines."said the AFP Chief

According to Vice Admiral Alexander Lopez, Exercise Director of Balikatan 2015(AFP), the exercise is not limited to field trainings only.

There will be humanitarian and community projects through the 10 days of bilateral exercises apart from field trainings to be held in Panay and Palawan.

"The exercise also showcases 56 civil military operation activities such as engineering civic action projects with an estimated 10,000 indirect beneficiaries and a civil assistance and community health engagements." He added

US Ambassador Philip Goldberg expressed that through this bilateral exercises, current challenges being faced by the Asia Pacific region will be solved.

"It's about preparing to confront emerging challenges across the Asia Pacific Region. What we do in Balikatan is not aimed at any country or any group of countries." He said

He also added that the U.S., the Philippines, and other countries in Asia aim to maintain the freedom of aviation and navigation as well as the diplomacy in Asia Pacific region.

Also participating in the Balikatan Exercises are the Australian Defense Force and some representatives from Asia that are invited as international observers namely Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Samsung Techwin's Bid for the 8 Brand New AAV Project to be Decided Mid 2015

Samsung Techwin KAAV7A1 (photos: Militaryphotos)
Quezon City, Philippines- The Department of National Defense (DND) and Marines are now in the process of assessing the feasibility of Samsung Techwin's bid, and are expected to make a final decision on the contract sometime in early-to-mid 2015.

Assuming the deal moves forward, production of the vehicles is scheduled to take place over the course of approximately 2.5 years subsequent to the date of contract signing.

DND posted their invitation to bid for their Amphibious Assault Vehicle Acquisition Project amounting to Two Billion Five Hundred Million Pesos (Php2,500,000,000.00) for the Philippine Navy Inclusive of Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) last 2013.

See: DND invites bidders for 8 Amphibious Assault Vehicles

No contractors responded to DND's initial bidding request, the subsequent process was reopened in May 2014.
Samsung Techwin KAAV7A1 (photos: Militaryphotos)
South Korean defense giant Samsung Techwin submitted the sole production proposal for the revived effort, offering to produce eight of its licensed KAAV7A1 variants and provide long-term logistical support for the products, at a total estimated cost of $53 million (PHP2.42 billion).

DND aimed at acquiring eight new-build Amphibious Assault Vehicle for eventual deployment with the country's Marine Corps.

The Amphibious Assault Vehicle Project is believed to be inline with the MRV Project or "Mother Ship Project" which will serve as their carrier platform for insertion of troops during beach landings and siege.

See: DND and PT PAL INDONESIA-Persero inked in the agreement to build 2 SSV for the Philippine Navy

The People's Republic of China's continued aggression in the West Philippine Sea have accelerated the efforts of the AFP to further develop and refine their amphibious assault capacities and enhance their ability to project military power over a number of hotly contested islands.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Philippine Air Force formally received first of three Spanish Airbus C295 Medium Transport Planes

Villamor Airbase, Pasay City- Today, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) formally received the first Airbus C295 Medium Transport Plane that the government purchased from Spain.

The newly acquired aircraft can carry as much as 71 passengers, 50 paratroops, 24 stretchers with five to seven attendants or up to about 20,000 lbs of cargoes.

Compared to C-130, in terms of fuel, C-295 is cost effective and will not need long airstrips because of its short take-off and landing capabilities.

C-295 has modern equipment like a glass cockpit and a Digital Flight Management System and has Liquid Crystal Display or LCD.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said, it will be a big help to the capabilities of our Air force.

 “Short runway, powerful, we will have 3 and we will distribute that to our islands to avoid long journeys” He added.

The additional C-295s will enhance the overall capability of the PAF in providing airlift requirements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

Transportation of the military troops, light vehicles and equipment from one island to another especially during emergency cases can be done as well by using C-295 aircraft.

The new C-295 is an addition to the three Fokker planes and three C-130 Hercules cargo planes of the Philippine Air force.

The 3 C-295 aircraft has a total amount of 5.29 billion pesos and the delivery and acceptance of the remaining 2 C-295 will take place in 2016.

The 4 Air force pilots and 24 maintenance crew who will take care and operate this newly acquired aircraft are now being trained.

One of them is Captain Geraldine Abigail Matienzo

 "I'm very happy to have this new equipment, modernization has been a long process for us and even as young pilots, we made the most of what we have" She said.

Training for the first batch composed of four PAF pilots and 24 maintenance crew was done in Seville, Spain and was completed last March 10.

The aircraft was flown into the country by civilian pilots and crew of Airbus Military. It departed from Seville, Spain last March 16 where it was assembled.

Airbus won the Department of National Defense medium lift aircraft program by tendering a bid for Php5.29-billion for three aircraft last year, lower than the Php5.3-billion stipulated in the contract.

See: DND to open bidding for 3 Medium Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft and logistics support

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Philippine Army's 28 Upgraded M-113 AFV Expected to Arrive 2nd and 3rd Quarter this Year

Upgraded M-113 that will arrive May and July (photo : Militaryphotos)
Quezon City, (Philippines)- A number of upgraded M-113 Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFV) intended for the Philippine Army (PA) will arrive May and July this year.

PA spokesman Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato confirmed the report in a text message sent to State Run News Agency (PNA). 

 "Eighteen will be delivered by May 11 and the remaining 10 will handed over (by the supplier) on July 11," he added.

The M-113s will be supplied by Israeli defense manufacturer Elbit Systems Ltd. in a contract signed last June 22 with an allocated budget of Php882 million.

Fourteen of the M-113s will be configured as fire support vehicles, four as infantry fighting vehicles, six as armored personnel carriers, another four as armored recovery units.

Upgrades include installation of 25 mm unmanned turrets, 12.7 mm remote controlled weapon stations (RCWS) and fire control systems (FCS) for 90 mm turrets.

see: Philippine Army's M113 stocks (24) to get major upgrade from Elbit Systems of Israel for $19.7m

The PA operates around 343 AFVs (armored fighting vehicles) and APCs. Some 150 of these are the United Kingdom-built GKN "Simba" with the remaining AFVs consisting of US designed V-150 and V-200 APCs, M-113, Turkish made ACV-300s and British Scorpion CVRTs.

Around 85 percent of these AFVs are on green status (fully mission capable) while another 10 percent are on yellow status (undergoing repair) and five percent are on red (beyond repair).

These vehicles give the PA its armor capability and are organized into a 14-vehicle mechanized infantry companion for deployment with regular units.

Meanwhile, Senators Chiz Escudero and JV Ejercito will be holding a Senate Inquiry regarding the report that DND diverted funds intended for transportation expenses for 114 units of second hand M-113A2 donated by United States to purchasing upgraded M-113 units from Israel.

Department of National Defense (DND) declined to give comment on the issue and promised to clarify things out in the Senate Inquiry.

Transfers of Major Conventional Weapons: PHILIPPINES

     The SIPRI Arms Transfers Database contains information on all transfers of major conventional weapons from 1950 to the most recent full calendar year. It is a unique resource for researchers, policy-makers and analysts, the media and civil society interested in monitoring and measuring the international flow of major conventional arms.

 *note:  The Fennec ordered from France did not pushed through for it was bought by Pakistan Army. It was replaced by AW-109 Power. see: AugustaWestland's AW-109 "Power" for PAF a "Smart Choice"

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Philippine Air Force Conducts Media Demonstration of Newly Acquired Huey UH-1D

Villamor Airbase, Pasay City- Philippine Air force (PAF) showed some of the newly acquired helicopters to the media that was previously reported as defective.

PAF have decided to explain to media the controversy which circulated lately that allegedly the helicopters purchased by the Department of National Defense were defectives.

2 Huey helicopters model UH-1D included in the 7 delivered and received by the PAF landed in the Villamor Airbase this morning to be exhibited to media.

Philippine Air force firmly stated that there is no truth to the report that the helicopters are defective. They said that the news that this model is no longer used by the military in other countries because of unavailability of the spare parts is erroneous.

"Their parts are not obsolete and available in the market just like the parts for the existing fleet the UH 1H that we have in the Philippine Air force" said Lt. Col. Enrico Canaya- Director, Philippine Air force-POI

At the moment, PAF is maintaining 20 helicopters and they intend to purchase another 21 new helicopters.

Lt. Col. Canaya stated, the additional air assets will be used to different missions like in combat operations, humanitarian assistance, disaster response and not just for training operations

The Air force cited one by one the technical capabilities of the new helicopters and averred that these are compatible to the various missions in the country.

Major Aristides Galang, a test pilot, confirmed that he was one of those who tested and made an endurance flights of the delivered and accepted helicopters.

He said, the existence of discrepancy is not an issue because it is but normal to an aircraft to have that whether new or old.

He added, compared to the previous helicopters, Huey UH-1D helicopters are better.

  “I tried this, it is better power wise, i still have more reserve power, for me to use this..its pull is stronger, its lift is more secure” said Maj. Aristedes Galang.

Before these helicopters were admitted, it passed through a strict inspection and procedure conducted by the technical and acceptance committee of the Philippine Air force.

Philippine Air force insisted that they will not accept any aircraft which will cause their personnel to perish.