Tuesday, November 17, 2015

US President Barack Obama visits PH Navy flagship, pledges two more ships as aid

In his second visit to the country, US president Barack Obama promised maritime security assistance to the Philippines.

Obama promises to donate two more ships to the Philippine Navy during his visit aboard the Philippine Navy flagship BRP Gregorio Del Pilar today.

"I can announce that we intend to transfer two additional ships to the Philippine Navy, research vessels to help man its territorial waters and another Coast Guard Cutter to bolster the Navy's ability to conduct long endurance patrol"

From the airport, US President Obama visited BRP Gregorio Del Pilar at the Philippine Navy headquarters in Manila Bay.

This is the same vessel deployed to the West Philippine Sea and Northern Luzon to keep the country’s maritime security.

BRP Gregorio Del Pilar is a former Hamilton-Class Cutter previously owned by the US Coast Guard and the first ship turned over to the Philippines by US in 2011 and now serves as the Philippine Navy’s flagship.

With the planned donation of two more ships, Rear Admiral Leopoldo M. Alano said that it will be a big help for the Philippine Navy to have three vessels patrolling Philippine waters for maritime security.

"It will add another to our inventory in patrolling again our territorial waters and exclusive economic zone to add to the first two WHECs that were donated (by US)"

Meanwhile, the Arleigh Burke-class USS Fitzgerald guided-missile destroyer also arrived in Manila Bay yesterday.

Photo from: clker
This is a day before the scheduled arrival to the country of US president Obama for the APEC Summit-2015.

The ship is on a five-day support mission to the Philippines and the last US vessel to conduct routine patrol in West Philippine Sea.

USS Fitzgerald is under the command of US Navy 7th fleet.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Manila Bay declared ‘no sail zone’ for APEC-2015

The Philippine Coast Guard deploy its floating assets in Manila Bay for the APEC summit.

The PCG will implement a no sail zone in Manila Bay starting today until November 23, all kind of vessel will not be allowed 30 yards from the shoreline, an exclusion zone will also be implemented that will cover 2 nautical miles from the shoreline to seaward from the Pasig River up to ParaƱaque City.

All ship owners who wants to berth to other place must ask permission to the PCG while all domestic and international vessel that will berth inside the no sail zone will be escorted by the PCG.

"When we speak of exclusion zone we are referring to an area wherein we will not allow a vessel to sail except of they ask a permission before hand we may be able to provide permit, provided when we allow them to sail we will provide escort and Sea Marshall on board" said PCG-NCR Chief Commodore Joel Garcia.

Moreover, the PCG put the Pasig River under heightened alert to inspect bridges and informal settlers dwelling near the river.

70 floating asset that consist of the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy, PNP Maritime Group and Bureau of Customs are deployed to apprehend violators.The PCG also alerted all its stations in Visayas and Mindanao to monitor any possible threats and suspicious persons.

PCG said, operation of domestic ships that will dock to north harbor  will not be affected.

"If you referring to domestic vessel coming from ports of Visayas and Mindanao going to North Harbor I don't think they'll be affected because North Harbor is in the northern side of the Pasig River and it's not included in the exclusion zone" said Commodore Garcia.

The PCG calls on all trader and shipper that uses the port to understand that all of this are measures to secure all APEC delegates.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Defective helicopter cause of saranggani crash, mere speculation - AFP

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it is highly speculative to say that the recent military crash was due to a defective helicopter.

AFP appealed that people wait for the final report of the investigation conducted by the Philippine Air Force accident investigation board instead of speculating on the cause of the military helicopter crash at Malapatan, Sarangani on Saturday.

The AFP spokesperson Col. Restituto Padilla Jr. said it is unfair to say it was because of  the defective helicopter.

"The reason of the accident in which a UH-1D helicopter crashed in Sarangani is still being confirmed by the accident investigation board of Philippine Air Force."

The same was also stated by the Philippine Air Force, which said it is not impossible for any military asset to meet an accident.

The accident investigation board was able to do a site inspection immediately after the accident.

It has also started to interview victims of the helicopter crash.

"For now, they are doing an interview with the survivors of the helicopter crash so the investigation of the accident investigation board has not yet ended and they still have to finalize it" said Col. Padilla.

Last Saturday morning, a UH-1D helicopter crashed in Malapatan, Sarangani while evacuating injured soldiers from the 73rd Infantry Battalion of Philippine Army.

Nine soldiers were injured from the crash with no reported fatalities.

Months before the accident, The Department of National Defense was beset by controversy over their acquisition of purportedly old and defective UH-1D helicopters but the Philippine Air Force was firm in refuting claims of unreliable machines.

See: Philippine  Air Force carries out flight demo of controversial helicopters 

They insist that other nations military are still using the same model, and that spare parts are still available in the market.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Building of NC-212i Aircraft for Philippine Airforce is now complete

NC-212i production line in PT DI Bandung (all photos: DetikFoto)

Workers of Dirgantara Indonesia in Bandung, West Java had completed the building of two NC-212i aircraft ordered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Wednesday (11/04/2015) as posted by DetikFoto on their website.

The building process took about 18-20 months to complete.
NC-212i production line in PT DI Bandung (all photos: DetikFoto)
The planes are the second generation of NC212-200 or NC212-400 with the contract value amounting to Php820 million or around Rp225 billion under the Acquisition of Light Fixed Wing Aircraft Project of the AFP Modernization program.

Once delivered, the two aircraft would be conducting of airborne operations, medical evacuation, limited maritime patrol and search and rescue operations.

Aside from maritime patrol, the two planes can also be used in the conduct of emergency evacuation of troops and civilian residents from Kalayaan town in Pag-asa Island in the Spratlys.

The planes are now in the final stage prior to delivery.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Philippine Airforce F/A-50 "Fighting Eagle" will be the centerpiece of the 80th AFP founding anniversary celebration

Photo from KAI
"Ninety percent the (first two) F/A-50s will play a role in the coming 80th AFP founding anniversary."

This is the statement of Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Dr. Peter Paul Galvez during an interview by PNA on Thursday.

Galvez said that it is very likely that the F/A-50s will play the centerpiece of this year's celebration. 

"I don't know whether the planes will perform a high-speed pass or not but I know the aircraft will be the centerpiece of the celebration," the DND spokesperson disclosed.

These statements coincides with President Benigno "NoyNoy" Aquino's statement during the PAF's Anniversary.

SEE: Philippine Air Force Modernization Program Shall Continue Under the Flight Plan 2028
Photo from: KAI FB page
The South Korean-made F/A-50 "Fighting Eagle" has completed it's maiden flight last June 19 and Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI) promised to do their best to deliver initial 2 aircraft by the end of the year.

Philippines has signed a contract for 12 KAI FA-50 fighter aircraft in March last year with a budget amounting to Php18.9-billion.
Photo from: KAI FB page
The 80th founding anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be celebrated this coming December.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Philippine Army challenged the capacity of 6 out of 28 newly acquired M113A2 (APC)

The Philippine Army plans to acquire the refurbished M113A2 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), one of the leading military technologies of today.

Six of the twenty-eight APCs were shown to the media on Monday (September 21) at Camp O'Donnell in Capas, Tarlac.

The six refurbished APCs from Israel are equipped with remote controlled weapons.

This means, guns connected to the APCs, particularly the M2 heavy barrel caliber .50 heavy  machine gun, are operated using a controller handle.

These have the ability to fire at long ranges, both still and moving, day and night.

Unlike regular armored vehicles where soldiers are exposed, these APCs can house up to 11 soldiers. The gunner is located inside the vehicle itself.

The machine gun is being controlled by a remote control, and monitored using a day and night vision camera.

M113A2 can also detect hiding opponents with the use of a thermal scanner; and can run at a speed of 64 kph on land.

The Mechanized Infantry Division of the Philippine Army tried and challenged the capacity of the units.

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said acquiring sophisticated and modern armored personnel carriers will help a lot in strengthening the country's internal defense security.

He is generally satisfied with the mobility and fighting capabilities of the APCs.

“This will be very effective in combat operations. We never had this kind of equipment before.”

According to Gazmin, the AFP modernization fund financed the procurement of the 28 APCs, which cost more than P800 million.

114 more APCs from US are expected to arrive in the country before the end of the year, as a part of the excess defense articles of the United States of America.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Philippine Navy acquires new multipurpose equipment for maritime capability and rescue operations

Two new attack helicopters or Augusta Westland AW-109 "Power" helicopters landed at the Philippine Navy headquarters.

These are multi-purpose helicopters with additional capacities and armaments. 

"As a pilot, these new acquisitions are such a big help and relief for us and our units because finally the new choppers can also compensate the difficulties we face during operations” said LCDR. Ariel Joseph Coloma- 1st pilot, AW-109.

Coinciding with this, two Landing Craft Utility Heavy (LCH) have also been turned over to the Philippine Navy by the Australian Navy for free.

The LCH has a maximum range of 5,600 Kilometers and a displacement of 364 tons standard and 514 tons full load. It has a length of  44.5 meters and speed of 19.5 Kilometers per hour.

The ship can carry 400 soldiers or up to 180 tons of maximum payload which is almost equivalent to 13 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers. 

“The capability of the landing craft heavy is humanitarian assistance and disaster response so these were donated by the Australian Navy to augment the logistics capability of the Philippine Navy” said CDR. Joselito De Guzman-Commanding Officer, BRP Ivatan.

These are also utilized for humanitarian assistance, disaster response and rescue operations in times of disaster and calamities.

According to Navy spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo, both equipment can also be used in intensifying patrol of the Philippine Navy. 

"These can perform combat and non combat role. When it comes to combat, it does not only serve the Navy but other services of the Army when necessary" said Arevalo.

The newly installed Philippine Navy Flag-Officer-in-Command Rear Admiral Jesus Taccad said, though the Philippine Navy's capacity is still limited, the more important thing to monitor is our maritime security. 

"We come up with acquisitions of needed fire power,  which means more or less deter any naval force that would try to stop us from employing our assets to assert sovereignty over our waters" said the Admiral.

The Philippine Navy is currently in negotiation with  Australian government for the purchase of 3 more Landing Craft Utility of the same class.