22 Juni 2018

Duterte Approves P300-Billion Military Upgrade

22 Juni 2018

Philippine Army Scout Ranger (photo : pdff)

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has approved a 5-year plan to spend P300 billion ($5.6 billion) to modernize the outdated military, defense officials said on Wednesday.

A previous 15-year upgrade plan failed to take off in the mid-1990s, leaving the Philippines with outdated hardware, including warships from World War 2 and helicopters used by the United States in the Vietnam War.

"We have the go signal now to buy brand-new equipment, like fighters, drones, light tanks, radar, an additional frigate and a submarine to boost our defense capability," said a defense official, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to media.

The previous administration of Benigno Aquino III spent about a third- P91 billion ($1.7 billion) - on the military during his 2010-2016 term in office, mostly on secondhand ships and planes.

Duterte approved the P300-billion modernization plan at a meeting with top defense and military officials last month.

A senior general said Duterte had approved 33 modernization projects, with a focus on domestic security and protecting the vast maritime borders of the archipelago.

"We're putting a premium on unmanned aerial vehicles, long-range patrol aircraft, offshore patrol ships and an electric-diesel submarine," he told Reuters.

The military is bent on preventing another Islamic State-inspired insurgency after rebels seized Marawi, the country's only Islamic city, for five months last year.

The Philippines also faces a challenge in South China Sea, a strategic waterway most of which is claimed by China, which has built military outposts there.

Besides the Philippines and China, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have rival claims on the area, through which $3 trillion worth of sea-borne goods pass every year.

Manila had planned to acquire four submarines after 2023, but the plan could be accelerated to boost the Navy's regional capabilities, said Arsenio Andolong, a defense department spokesperson

"We want to get submarines as soon as possible," he said.

Duterte had set aside $1 billion for new helicopters and light tanks, but no purchases have been made yet.

The Philippines has received donated military hardware from Australia, China, Japan, Russia and the United States, mostly to assist in disaster response and fighting militants and pirates.


Expert Predicts China May Shortly Have a Third Aircraft Carrier

22 Juni 2018

Third aircraft carrier of PLAN in the centre (image : ChinaDaily)

China might soon have its third aircraft carrier, said military expert Song Zhongping, after a picture showing three aircraft carriers was made public in a news piece by China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) on Wednesday.

Song told Global Times that the three aircraft carriers shown could be China's original aircraft carrier Liaoning, with the first domestically-developed aircraft carrier alongside a new one with electromagnetic aircraft launch systems.

The picture shows that one of the carriers is equipped with three electromagnetic aircraft launch systems, which suggests high speed launch capabilities, high frequency take-offs and quick responses.

A giant "island", or command center on the deck explains that the warship is a conventionally-powered carrier rather than a nuclear-powered one. However, Song added that according to the "unwritten rules" of the People's Liberation Army, a nuclear-powered carrier is probably already under development since the warship with electromagnetic launch catapults has now been exposed.


21 Juni 2018

C-130J Fuselage Trainer Enters Service for RAAF

21 Juni 2018

The Royal Australian Air Force has accepted for service a new C-130J Fuselage Trainer that will help deliver comprehensive loadmaster training. (photos : CAE)

CAE today announced that the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has accepted into service a new C-130J Fuselage Trainer (FuT).

The C-130J FuT was officially handed over to the Royal Australian Air Force during a ceremony today at RAAF Base Richmond.

“Our C-130J Hercules are some of the busiest aircraft in Defence, and having a Fuselage Trainer relieves the burden of using a real aircraft to conduct essential training,” said Minister for Defence Marise Payne.  “The Fuselage Trainer is an exact replication of the cargo bay and systems in a real C-130J Hercules aircraft, and will provide loadmasters with a purpose-built classroom ideal for training.”

The overall design and development of the C-130J Fuselage Trainer was led by CAE, which included leveraging simulation software from other C-130J training programs and tailoring the development to meet RAAF training requirements. Airbus Australia Pacific provided the physical hardware by using two ex-RAAF C-130H airframes to recreate the fuselage of the C-130J aircraft, and Lockheed Martin provided consulting services and spare parts used in the production of the fuselage trainer.

According to the Honourable Christopher Pyne, Australia’s Minister for Defence Industry, the C-130J Fuselage Trainer will play a key role in helping engineers and loadmasters design new load carrying techniques for the Hercules transport.

“The next-generation of vehicles and systems that can be deployed by the Hercules will utilise the Fuselage Trainer to determine what is the best practice,” said Minister Pyne.

“This new C-130J Fuselage Trainer will enhance operational availability of our C-130J fleet while enabling us to provide a safe, cost-effective and realistic training environment for our loadmasters and rear crew,” said an RAAF spokesperson.  “In addition, we will now be able to network with our C-130J Full-Flight and Mission Simulator and other training assets to provide full-crew mission training and rehearsal in a virtual environment.”

CAE designed and manufactured the C-130J Full-Flight and Mission Simulator (FFMS) used by the RAAF at Richmond, as well as desktop trainers and instructor tools used as part of the C-130J groundschool.  In addition, under the Management and Support of Australian Defence Force Aerospace Simulators (MSAAS) program, CAE Australia provides a range of training services on site at RAAF Base Richmond, including academic, simulator and live flying instruction. CAE Australia will now provide maintenance and support services on the C-130J FuT.

“We are pleased to continue our longstanding relationship with the Royal Australian Air Force as their C-130J training partner, and delighted to work closely with Airbus and Lockheed Martin who provided valuable hardware and support that helped deliver this key project for the RAAF,” said Ian Bell, CAE’s Vice President and General Manager, Asia-Pacific/Middle East.  “The RAAF continues to be one of the world’s leading air forces in the application of simulation-based training, and this new C-130J Fuselage Trainer is another example of the RAAF investing in new technologies and capabilities to best prepare their aircrews for operational missions and requirements.”


Navy to Get Additional Missile-Armed Frigates

21 Juni 2018

PN to get additional HHI frigates of the same class aside two in construction (photo : Seoul)

MANILA -- Aside from the two missile-armed frigates now undergoing construction at Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea, the Philippine Navy (PN) will be getting additional ships of the same class, Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said Wednesday.

Acquisition for these additional frigates will start during Horizon Two of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (RAFPMP), which is scheduled for 2018 to 2022 and has a budget of roughly PHP300 billion.

"In the PN, you will find this interesting. Aside from the two frigates that are currently being constructed, kukuha pa tayo ng additional (frigates)," Andolong said.

He, however, acknowledged that he has no idea how much money would be provided for the acquisition of these additional frigates.

"Yun ang hindi ko pa alam, dahil siyempre iba-budget, ia-apportion pa yung PHP300 billion (That is what I do not know yet. It's because there will be a budget allocation. The PHP300 billion will be apportioned)," he stressed.

The two frigates being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries has a contract of PHP18 billion, including its weapon systems and munitions.

It is designed to be capable of engaging air, surface and sub-surface threats. Deliveries are expected to start by 2020 and end on 2021.


Ukraine, Thailand Look to Establish Joint Industrial Facility

21 Juni 2018

BTR-4E armoured personnel carrier (photo : Artemis Dread)

Ukraine and Thailand are considering plans to expand defence industrial collaboration through a jointly run facility that could support maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and possibly joint production activities.

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDCU) said in a statement that the proposed facility, which will be located in Thailand to support locally operated military vehicles, was the subject of discussion between senior defence ministry officials of the two countries on 15 June in Ukraine.

BTR-3E1 of the Royal Thai Army (photo : pantip)

The NSDCU indicated that the scope of collaboration would likely hinge on additional orders.

According to the NSDCU, its deputy to the secretary, Oleg Hladkovskiy, “emphasised [to the Thai delegation] that our state is ready to continue to export armoured vehicles to Thailand as well as expand the range of military products [supplied to the Thai military]”.


20 Juni 2018

Canada to Buy 25 RAAF F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets

20 Juni 2018

RAAF F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet (photo : Aus DoD)

Canada to Buy More Used Australian Fighter Jets - Number Goes from 18 to 25

Canada has boosted the number of used Australian fighter jets it is purchasing to 25 but the deal to acquire those aircraft still hinges on approval from the U.S. government.

The Liberal government originally announced it would buy 18 used Australian F-18 jets to augment the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-18s until new aircraft can be purchased in the coming years.

But it has added seven more used Australian F-18 aircraft to the deal, the Department of National Defence has confirmed.

Those extra aircraft will be stripped down for parts, Dan Blouin, a spokesman for the DND, said Friday.

It is not known yet if the seven aircraft will be flown to Canada or shipped, he added.

The exact cost of purchasing the 25 aircraft, along with weapons and other equipment is not yet known as negotiations are still underway on the deal, Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough recently told journalists. The Liberal government has set aside up to $500 million for the project.

An Australian Senate hearing was recently told that Canada was presented with a cost proposal from the Australian government last year. “They accepted our offer in December, but they have also put in a further request for some seven aircraft for system testing, training and spares,” Australian Air Vice Marshal Cath Roberts told the hearing.

The U.S. government is examining the deal and will have to give its approval to Australia before that country can sell the F-18s to Canada.

Approval is needed because the F-18s were built in the U.S. with American technology.

Canada is hoping for the U.S. approval sometime in the summer.

See full article Ottawa Citizen

PAF Accepts 2 New Indonesian-Made Aircraft

20 Juni 2018

NC-212i of the PAF (all photos : IMF)

According to PTDirgantara Indonesia (Indonesian Aerospace), the Philippine Air Force (PAF) officially accepted the two light lift fixed-wing NC-212i aircraft on June 19.

The Indonesian aircraft manufacturer said the acceptance was made after completing ferry flight and acceptance test process.

The 2 aircraft took off from Husein Sastranegara International Airport in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia for Clark International Airport in Pampanga for delivery in early June.

These aircraft will be serving under PAF’s 220th Airlift Wing.

The Philippine government contracted Indonesian Aerospace to build two NC-212i aircraft in January 2014. The delivery was delayed due to an issue between Indonesian Aerospace and the contracted autopilot supplier.

“The NC212i aircraft can be used strategically for producing artificial rain, maritime patrol and coast guard patrol. It can also be utilized for the following missions: passenger and troop transport, cargo/logistic transport, anti-smuggling control, immigration control, search and rescue, paratroop dropping, and medical evacuation,” PAF said.

“Compared to the previous NC212, the new model has a carrying capacity of 28 passengers, a digital avionic and next generation autopilot. It features a ramp access, next generation navigation and communication system, as well as, cheaper operational cost. Moreover, the said aircraft is capable of taking-off and landing on unpaved runway,” PAF added.

PAF also noted that though it has been using the previous generation aircraft which is the C212, this is the “first Indonesian aircraft ordered by the Philippines and is the latest generation of the NC212.”