Philippine Air Force Discussions and Updates

koxinga

Active Member
A request for clearance would have come from the Phillipine Government to the USGOV so there must be some tentative plans in place for an actual order but nothing concrete in the public domain as far as i know.
DCSA announcements are part of the clearance process for a request for pricing. It is just to ensure that if LM offers you a formal proposal, the requesting country can actually procure it. This was probably in the works while they were doing the evaluations.

Affordability and political considerations would likely prevent such a sale from going through in the case of the Philippines.
 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
According to a Pinoy blogger, they have chosen the Saab JAS-39C/D Gripen (due to what I consider to be a small price difference with the 10+2 F-16V weapons package). The Technical Working Group (TWG) for the Multi-Role Fighter Acquisition Project has revised its recommendation and go with the Saab JAS-39C/D Gripen; their goal is to buy whatever rubbish they can, instead of following required specs. If the TWG specify a Gripen E or at least a C with an AESA radar, I would understand.

In May 2021, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte rebuked his top diplomat for telling China to “get the f--- out” of disputed waters, explaining other officials in his government lack the prerogative to speak so indelicately. IMO, their President is an agent of China, if they want his blessing to proceed for the remaining time of his term, it will not be an American made fighter with an AESA radar. The Pinoys want to make sure they defang mutual defence treaty to the point that they will not a military target for China; which is why the VFA cancellation is only suspended (and for the second time, following President Duterte’s desire is to shake the money tree of US military freebies).
Yes, besides the price tag, also a sudden move to buy american stuff is quite surprisingly.
But who knows, maybe in the end Duterete will choose the JF-17 or second hand J-7 as "a gesture of friendship and solidarity - the hallmark of the Philippines-China partnership".
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
But who knows, maybe in the end Duterete will choose the JF-17 or second hand J-7 as "a gesture of friendship and solidarity - the hallmark of the Philippines-China partnership".
1. President Duterte’s rejection of U.S. assistance during the Whitsun Reef stand-off signifies his refusal to accept the failure of his appeasement policy on China. His unrelenting moves to distance the Philippines from the United States and gravitate toward China have failed to moderate the latter’s aggressive postures in the South China Sea or generate investment in the country’s infrastructure development under the Belt and Road Initiative. He is oblivious to the reality that China does not differentiate between its friends and rivals when it comes to its territorial disputes. Duterte is hopelessly clinging to his delusion that China will eventually accept the merit of the Philippines’ claim in the South China Sea and that it will be fair in settling its territorial rows with other littoral states in the South China Sea.

2. If the Pinoys buy the JF-17, they will be the laughing stock of most other ASEAN air forces that operate to provide air cover over disputed EEZ claims in the South China Sea — for choosing a fighter with an inferior engine cab impaired to even their FA-50 — an unnecessary complication to weak logistics system for little net gain. The thrust to weight ratio of:
(a) the JF-17’s Klimov RD-93 engine (weighing 1,055kg) with 11,111 pounds of dry thrust is not fantastic,​
when compared to:
(b) the General Electric F404-102 engine (weighing 1,035kg), which is rated at 18,100 pounds (80 kN) thrust and used to power the Saab JAS 39.​

3. Compared to the smoky Russia Klimov engine, the American designed F404-GE-402 provides higher power, improved fuel efficiency and increased mission capability for both the Saab JAS 39 and FA-50.

4. The Pinoys have an air force that is better than Brunei, Cambodia and Laos, which is a very low bar for standards within ASEAN. Buying a Chinese design like the JF-17 ensures that the TWG will be subject to laughter by the fighter pilots of Indonesian, Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai and Vietnamese, air forces, especially since the Pinoys are noted as a very lousy operator the FA-50 (due to their illogical sustainment system), according to a Pinoy blogger, who wrote:

“When the PAF bought the FA-50PH Fighting Eagle from South Korea's KAI years ago, it did not include even a single spare engine, radar, and other major components which resulted to some aircraft becoming hangar queens for long periods of time.”​
 
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Ananda

The Bunker Group
Duterte unpredictability makes Indonesian current administrations poster child of logical thinking as comparison. Heck he even make Myanmar Tatmadaw look mature and their antics are more predictable compare to his. If they choose 12-16 Gripen C/D, PAF will get their Fighters ready in faster time, while maintaining some similarity logistical support with their FA-50.

If they have predictable non PRC supporting President.
 
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Ananda

The Bunker Group

Philippines defense secretary Lorenzana already comment that the F-16V price tag offer is too much. Thus they're evaluating others. So far according to Max's Blogger PAF only evaluating two Fighters, Viper and Gripen.

So, are Lorenzana already move on from Viper, or his Boss told him to create public scene for further bargaining. After all his boss is big on making scene for bargaining strategy.
 

Ananda

The Bunker Group

PAF C-130H crash with significant fatality. Condolences for PAF. However I'm afraid it will turn into blame games. I can already see some Politicians using the accident for political blaming games, either on the age of Aircraft or Used Assets Procurement strategy.

We still don't know what cause of the crash. It could be overweight, it could be something not related to Aircraft condition. However I do afraid Pinoy Politicians like in Indonesia is full of those that going to take opportunity for blaming game.
 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
PAF C-130H crash with significant fatality. Condolences for PAF. However I'm afraid it will turn into blame games. I can already see some Politicians using the accident for political blaming games, either on the age of Aircraft or Used Assets Procurement strategy.

We still don't know what cause of the crash. It could be overweight, it could be something not related to Aircraft condition. However I do afraid Pinoy Politicians like in Indonesia is full of those that going to take opportunity for blaming game.
1. Besides the loss of human lives, this crash has a big impact on the Philippine Airforce. Not only is this 5125 C-130H just delivered in January this year, as the first of two ordered, but the Philippines just doesn't have that many serviceable Herculeses.
2. Blaming others and pointing fingers after an accident is standard procedure of politicians.
3. But at least 40 people on board are rescued.


 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
1. Besides the loss of human lives, this crash has a big impact on the Philippine Airforce. Not only is this 5125 C-130H just delivered in January this year, as the first of two ordered, but the Philippines just doesn't have that many serviceable Herculeses.
2. Blaming others and pointing fingers after an accident is standard procedure of politicians.
3. But at least 40 people on board are rescued.
It’s not due to age as this #5125 C-130H was inspected prior to handover — two of Singapore’s C-130s are significantly older.

An air force official told The Associated Press that the Jolo runway is shorter than most others in the country, making it more difficult for pilots to adjust if an aircraft misses sweet spot for the landing approach. The official, who has flown military aircraft to and from Jolo several times, spoke on condition of anonymity because of a lack of authority to speak publicly. IMO, the Pinoys lack sufficient training and approach radar systems at Jolo Airport (IATA: JOL, ICAO: RPMJ), Patikul, Sulu to de-risk take-offs and landings. This is a Class 2, domestic airport and some news reports suggest that the crashed aircraft missed the runway.

This is not the first time that the Philippines armed forces have come under scrutiny for having a patchy record on air safety. A Black Hawk helicopter crashed only last month during a training mission, killing six people.
 
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tonnyc

Well-Known Member
By my amateur count, PAF has four old C-130 Hercules. One B, one H, two T. Plus the just crashed H version. Another H version should be coming in October.

The B type is supposedly a hangar queen due to age and probably shouldn't be counted.

PAF is trying to P5.5 billion as down payment for five new C-130J-30. Total cost is P37 billion but they need to get funding for the downpayment first and they aren't getting it.

At any rate, three Hercules (or four if you count the B) are too few for a country their size. Hopefully their congress will see sense. Their president's policy on only buying new is also hampering them. It's not a bad policy per se but if their policy is to buy only new stuff the procurement budget ought to reflect that.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
It’s not due to age as this #5125 C-130H was inspected prior to handover — two of Singapore’s C-130s are significantly older.

An air force official told The Associated Press that the Jolo runway is shorter than most others in the country, making it more difficult for pilots to adjust if an aircraft misses sweet spot for the landing approach. The official, who has flown military aircraft to and from Jolo several times, spoke on condition of anonymity because of a lack of authority to speak publicly. IMO, the Pinoys lack sufficient training and approach radar systems at Jolo Airport (IATA: JOL, ICAO: RPMJ), Patikul, Sulu to de-risk take-offs and landings. This is a Class 2, domestic airport and some news reports suggest that the crashed aircraft missed the runway.

This is not the first time that the Philippines armed forces have come under scrutiny for having a patchy record on air safety. A Black Hawk helicopter crashed only last month during a training mission, killing six people.
Well the RNZAF are still flying the first three C-130Hs built albeit slightly modified since 1965. NZ7001 was the prototype H aircraft. So the Pinoy's one definitely can't be that ancient.
 
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Rob c

Well-Known Member
Well the RNZAF are still flying the first three C-130Hs built albeit slightly modified since 1965. NZ7001 was the prototype H aircraft. So the Pinoy's one definitely can't be that ancient.
Slightly modified? They are like Grandads old axe which had 3 new handles and a new head but was still grandads old axe. Slightly I would say is a bit of an understatement.
 

koxinga

Active Member
It’s not due to age as this #5125 C-130H was inspected prior to handover — two of Singapore’s C-130s are significantly older.

An air force official told The Associated Press that the Jolo runway is shorter than most others in the country, making it more difficult for pilots to adjust if an aircraft misses sweet spot for the landing approach. The official, who has flown military aircraft to and from Jolo several times, spoke on condition of anonymity because of a lack of authority to speak publicly. IMO, the Pinoys lack sufficient training and approach radar systems at Jolo Airport (IATA: JOL, ICAO: RPMJ), Patikul, Sulu to de-risk take-offs and landings. This is a Class 2, domestic airport and some news reports suggest that the crashed aircraft missed the runway.
Palace, nation pray for victims of Sulu military plane crash | Philippine News Agency (pna.gov.ph)

Based on their own reports, the plane was flying with 96 pax. Based on USAF recommended specs, the maximum load is up to 90 troops + 5 crew. If the runway is as tricky as you claim, there is very little margins if the pilots miss the initial approach and tries to go around.

When you have insufficient assets, two things can happen. You use the asset more and run down useful life, you stretch the limits of maintenance and maximum capacity. Buying two planes at a time isn't going to help. The Indonesians acquired 9 ex RAAFs in the 2010s (4 donated, 5 bought) at one go.

C-130 Hercules > U.S. Air Force > Fact Sheet Display (af.mil)
C-130E/H/J: 6 pallets or 72 litters or 16 CDS bundles or 90 combat troops or 64 paratroopers, or a combination of any of these up to the cargo compartment capacity or maximum allowable weight.
 
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Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
Palace, nation pray for victims of Sulu military plane crash | Philippine News Agency (pna.gov.ph)

Based on their own reports, the plane was flying with 96 pax. Based on USAF recommended specs, the maximum load is up to 90 troops + 5 crew. If the runway is as tricky as you claim, there is very little margins if the pilots miss the initial approach and tries to go around.

When you have insufficient assets, two things can happen. You use the asset more and run down useful life, you stretch the limits of maintenance and maximum capacity. Buying two planes at a time isn't going to help. The Indonesians acquired 9 ex RAAFs in the 2010s (4 donated, 5 bought) at one go.

C-130 Hercules > U.S. Air Force > Fact Sheet Display (af.mil)
C-130E/H/J: 6 pallets or 72 litters or 16 CDS bundles or 90 combat troops or 64 paratroopers, or a combination of any of these up to the cargo compartment capacity or maximum allowable weight.
| "The Western Mindanao Command report as of 5:30 p.m. said of the 96 onboard, 50 were rescued but injured, 29 cadavers were retrieved, and 17 were still unaccounted for in the incident in Barangay Bangkal at about 11:30 a.m." |

What in heavens sake made them decide to use that word for people? I dont know Tagalog, but as far as i know, that word is only used for dead animals.

Anyway, BBC is talking about other amounts, that 50 people died, which are mainly military personnel, but three civilians on the ground were also killed. Here are some more details.

 
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Todjaeger

Potstirrer
| "The Western Mindanao Command report as of 5:30 p.m. said of the 96 onboard, 50 were rescued but injured, 29 cadavers were retrieved, and 17 were still unaccounted for in the incident in Barangay Bangkal at about 11:30 a.m."|

What in heavens sake made them decide to use that word for people? I dont know Tagalog, but as far as i know, that word is only used for dead animals.

Anyway BBC is talking about other amounts dead are mainly military personnel, but three civilians on the ground were also killed.
In the SAR world, the term cadaver is used in some areas for deceased finds, or during recovery (as opposed to rescue) operations.
 
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Ananda

The Bunker Group
The Indonesians acquired 9 ex RAAFs in the 2010s (4 donated, 5 bought) at one go.
Those purchase probably resulted from previous crash of KC-130B near Medan AB. That RAAF offer is blessing for TNI-AU considering dwindling inventory due to attrition and age. That plane stuffed with 114 passanger and crew.

Even with ex RAAF purchase and some refurbishment (5 if reading TNI-AU sites) of C-130B to H standard, the inventory only can make two full squadron (12 each) consists of Refurbished C-130B, C-130H and L100-30. All being standardise to H for common logistical.

Thus TNI-AU that wants to have 3 sq of C-130, with two consists if C-130H and 1 C-130J, has to be realistics on how to acquire those J. Just like Philipines, buying second hand assets also become Political weapon (thus in the end bargaining). While in same time used C-130J begin to enter the market (mostly ex RAF).

If Indonesia need at least three sq, then PAF at least need one full sq of that. Off course the Politicians are talking on new Aircraft as preference. However can they provide the fund for full squadron of J's ? I'll be surprise even if TNI-AU can get full squadron of brand new J's.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
Thank you for your explanation. It just sounds so horrible to use that word for humans.

Some SAR areas instead use the term human remains, and frequently specific types of canine working animals (search dogs) are utilized when there is a high index of suspicion that subjects are deceased. These are usually referred to as cadaver dogs or HRD's (human remains dogs).

EDIT: side note, I hope counseling resources are made available to the personnel involved in the SAR ops. An incident of this magnitude is going to exact a psychological toll on personnel
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Providing context to crashes & taking note of the lack of a GSOMIA — Part 1

1. The worse enemy of a Pinoy seems to be another Pinoy, given the illogical stance taken by some in the Philippines, with regard to the latest crash of a C-130 in Patikul, Sulu — at an organisational level the PAF seem to be unable to raise, train and sustain their fleet of C-130s. Air crash investigations take time to complete and at an organisational level the PAF must institute change, after the findings are released. The past refusal to release findings avoids embarrassment but this secrecy ensures the institutionalisation of organisational incompetence.

2. I find the statement on allegations of defective equipment being purchased and used by the AFP, as grossly inadequate and lacking in comfort that the same cycle of crashes will not repeat itself. Let me quote the statement by Delfin N. Lorenzana, as Secretary of the Department of National Defense:
“We are currently focusing our attention on the rescue of the survivors of the C-130 crash and all available resources of the AFP are being utilized for the ongoing search and retrieval operations. With the investigations of the past mishaps still ongoing, such speculations are as of yet baseless and disrespectful to the affected men and women of the Philippine Air Force, AFP and their families.”​

Even with ex RAAF purchase and some refurbishment (5 if reading TNI-AU sites) of C-130B to H standard, the inventory only can make two full squadron (12 each) consists of Refurbished C-130B, C-130H and L100-30. All being standardise to H for common logistical.

Thus TNI-AU that wants to have 3 sq of C-130, with two consists if C-130H and 1 C-130J, has to be realistics on how to acquire those J. Just like Philipines, buying second hand assets also become Political weapon (thus in the end bargaining). While in same time used C-130J begin to enter the market (mostly ex RAF).
3. Indonesia, through her foreign minister, as leader of ASEAN, sends her condolences for the loss of #5125, the C-130 that crashed, to the Philippines, while at the G20 meeting.
(a) I hope the Pinoys will learn from Indonesia’s best practices in C-130H fleet management. To be competent, an air force needs a minimum size. Instead of acquiring a small number of each platform, the Pinoys need to focus resources on core and basic competencies — especially to train and sustain any existing platform, instead of making do.​
(b) I suspect that the PAF have killed more through organisational level incompetence and impotence than any local rebel group in 2021. Duterte’s online army’s desire to downgrade ties with the US, Australia and others in ASEAN will get more of their countrymen killed.​

4. Each day, hundreds of thousands of supporters—both paid and unpaid—take to social media to proselytize Duterte’s deadly gospel. They rotate through topics like corruption, drug abuse, Australian and U.S. interference, and post links to hastily cobbled-together, hyper-partisan web sites at all hours of the day and night. Though social media is designed to make each user appear to be a unique individual whose views are their own.
(a) The Duterte troll army’s cohort stick exclusively to Duterte talking points, without any of the cat GIFs, funny asides, jokes with friends, or other elements that populate most people’s feeds. Duterte has taken advantage of this media landscape. Online trolls can earn up to US$2,000 a month creating fake accounts on social media, and then using those “bots” to flood the digital airwaves with pro-Duterte propaganda.​
(b) According to Affinio, a social media analytics firm, a staggering 20% of all Twitter accounts that mention Duterte are actually bots. Thanks in part to this constant thrum of pro-Duterte messaging, the president has maintained an approval rating of more than 80%.​
(c) As a citizen living in ASEAN, I support the logical and reasonable — technical competence is not acquired overnight and change must be instituted at an organisational level — if there is no local competence, they need to be humble enough to seek it abroad. As Trevor Norris on a well followed Philippines defence Facebook page wrote:​

“Hi Max,​

I write to you regarding my concerns over the operational proficiency, training deficiencies and more importantly cultural attitude of the PAF that has resulted in the loss of so many lives today.​

We have seen an increase in the number of accidents and fatalities in PAF operations in recent years. The last 18 months has been a particularly dark and costly period for loss of life and assets.​
The PAF, DND and Goverment have been quick to blame the aircraft. But, aircraft are machines. Inanimate objects that do what pilots tell them to do and break if we do not maintain them properly.​
The 2 most recent tragic losses counter the usual blaming of the machinery. A brand new Blackhawk a few months old and now a C130 fresh from overhaul and in service for only 6 months. It's not the aircraft and we can also assume maintenance error or mechanical failure are not causal factors here.​

The common factors:​
PAF training​
PAF proficiency​
PAF culture​
We need to find a vehicle to ensure full and thorough investigation, evaluation and corrective actions are initiated to address ALL these PAF accidents over at least the last 18 months. To determine the causal factors and to address those issues to prevent a recurrence of these accidents (not mishaps).​
You have a platform to urge those investigations to take place and to do so would be making the lives of all those who fly in AFP aviation assets safer.​
Please do it.​
If I can offer you assistance, I stand ready to do so.​
Trevor Norris​
ATPL(H)​
Former Chief Helicopter Test Pilot Boeing Australia​
Quality Manager Boeing Australia​
Avionics Engineer Crosstrade Engines & Airframes​
Aviation Professional”​

5. This effort at intra-ASEAN goodwill and condolences is acknowledged by the Pinoys; if the organisational expertise does not exist in the Philippines, they should send technical officers abroad on secondment (within ASEAN, from Australia, or with their US ally) to gain or learn from others to avoid continued crashes of perfectly good aircraft. This inability to learn from others hinders progress, even if an advanced or modern platform is acquired.
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Providing context to crashes & taking note of the lack of a GSOMIA — Part 2

6. There is plenty of expertise on how to operate a particular aircraft type abroad. The Pinoys need to be humble and learn by sending service support people abroad on secondment and improve pilot training through the use of simulators. To give context to the chronic nature of the Pinoy organisational level problem — I also mentioned or alluded this back in 2012 and I quote from my prior post #555:

“Traditionally, PAF has not been able to budget enough sustain its C-130 fleet, leading to crashes (last crash in August 2008, off-Davao and another in December 1993) and pre-mature scrapping of air frames (and without preserving parts, engines and spares that could have been preserved).​
The size of the PAF operations budget was a historical problem but the current bigger problem is that the PAF purchases items on a piece-by-piece basis in a bureaucratic manner that defies logic (all in the name of clean government, when it is actually a model of bureaucratic inefficiency and symptom of government waste). For example, the AFP Procurement Service about has about 7.9 million pesos worth of bid invitations. Instead of establishing a service support agreements with pre-qualified aircraft suppliers (and there are many around in Asia, be it in Malaysia, Singapore or Korea), the AFP Procurement Service invited potential suppliers to submit 18 individual bids for C-130 components. This mode of procurement is inherently more expensive and less efficient in keeping C-130s operational.”​

7. As others have mentioned elsewhere, the Pinoys need to be determined to ensure full and thorough investigation, evaluation and corrective actions are initiated to address ALL these PAF accidents over at least the last 18 months. The Jolo airport, where the crash occurred, has one direction for landing and another for takeoff. Landing direction is coming from sea to land and takeoff is from land to sea. According to witnesses, the crashed aircraft bounced a couple of times before going off the 1,850 metre runway. After bouncing, the C-130 tried to regain altitude. One of its wings was hit by a tree, forcing the C-130 into a right banking turn before it crashed into the ground. At an organisational level, both Singapore and Indonesia have learnt from past air crashes and instituted long lasting changes to ensure these accidents do not easily repeat. A summary of the last 4 PAF crashes are, as follows:
  • Jan 2021: UH-1 Helicopter crashed in Bukidnon, 7 dead
  • Apr 2021: MD-520MG Helicopter crashed in Bohol, 1 dead
  • Jun 2021: S-70i Helicopter crashed in Pampanga, 6 dead
  • Jul 2021: C-130 Aircraft crashed in Sulu, at least 53 dead, the current death toll is higher than the initial 17 that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had reported initially
8. It is worth taking note that the Philippine Ambassador to the US Manuel Romualdez is keen on the idea of procuring the CH-47 Chinooks for the PAF to use as part of the service branch's flight plan, prompting my discussion of this topic. IMO, real world technical problems relating to aircraft can take days, weeks and months to solve even when very determined and resourced for a respected operator of a type. See this short film for a Singapore example of the huge effort taken to troubleshoot a seemingly minor vibration problem on a CH-47SD (before it becomes a safety issue) to ensure the continued operational readiness of Singapore’s heli fleet.

9. I suspect that RHK111 is a paid pro-Duterte messaging online troll that constantly attacks other neutral or objective bloggers discussing Philippine defence. Please take his pro-China posts with a huge pinch of salt, going forward. Such tactics are being employed by authoritarian regimes around the world. In the Philippines, the massive online army has chilled public opposition. Like Duterte, China’s Communist Party has mobilized a network of government bureaucrats known as the “50 cent” army to post 450 million fake comments a year on social media. In Russia, the Kremlin finances a huge army of trolls who post disinformation all over the web. Social media has undeniably helped activist movements draw attention to their causes. But regimes around the world have figured out how to use social media to build even bigger megaphones, effectively drowning out dissent.
(a) Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed the “everlasting friendship” of the two countries and vowed to further strengthen relations between Manila and Beijing. Xi gave these assurances in a 9 Jun 2021 letter to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, under whose administration ties between the Philippines and China were seen to have entered a “golden age.”​
(b) Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was one of the world leaders who attended and gave a speech at the Communist Party of China (CPC) and World Political Parties Summit, a virtual gathering commemorating the 100th year anniversary of China's ruling party. In his speech on 6 Jul 2021, Duterte praised CPC's accomplishments and its success in turning China into a world power. Like other country leaders present, he spoke not only as Philippine Chief Executive but as chairman of his national political party, PDP-Laban. Duterte attended as one of the 20 leaders of political parties, who are also serving as heads of state or governments.​
(c) As noted on RHK111’s Facebook page (that serves to advance Chinese interests in the Philippines), “Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolence to President Rodrigo Duterte over the recent crash of the C-130” of the PAF in Sulu. Xi expressed “condolences to the victims, and offered sympathies to the injured and the bereaved families.”​
(d) A notable element of Beijing's approach is making ASEAN (especially, the Philippines) permanently dependent on China, and exploiting that dependency for political ends. Xi Jinping is pursuing a grand strategy of making China independent of high-end imports from industrialized nations while making ASEAN heavily reliant on China for vaccines, high-tech supplies, infrastructure funding and development and as a source of raw materials.​

10. While on 4 July 2021, officials from the Joint United States Military Assistance Group – Philippines (JUSMAG-P) delivered Php48.5 million (US$1 million) worth of new weapons and munitions to AFP, it should be noted that:

(a) the Philippines were not even mentioned in the 7,000-word Interim National Security Strategic Guidance issued 3 Mar 2021 by the Biden White House. This guidance is, first and foremost, a stopgap political statement designed to reassure NATO members, Australia, Japan, and the general public that mindful professionals are back in town. Even non-allies like Singapore appear in the Interim National Security Guidance;​
(b) there are several reasons that the Philippines might have been omitted, such as Duterte’s relentless pursuit of deeper ties with China, his campaign of extra-judicial killings, or his insistence on insulting or shaking down the US at every opportunity. But more importantly, the omission should be understood as a signal that the Philippines is slipping from realistic strategic planning considerations in Washington; and​
(c) as Kurt Campbell recently explained a “new cold war” was a not a suitable way to frame the U.S.-China relationship, even though it has adversarial aspects. “There will be periods of uncertainty — perhaps even periods of occasional raised tensions,” he said. IMHO, what matters to China is the actual performance [of Indo-Pacific states in concert with the US], at actually pushing-back firmly but not in a manner that shows over reaction to Chinese attempts to advance their interests [within the 1st island chain]. Given the presence of a performance driven culture, those who perform are on the inside track, those that don’t are wondering what comes next.​
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Providing context to crashes & taking note of the lack of a GSOMIA — Part 3

11. During the Cold War, the Philippines hosted some of the largest US military installations abroad at Subic Bay Naval Station and Clark Air Base. American support for the Marcos government’s authoritarian rule, however, combined with a volcanic eruption at Mt. Pinatubo, resulted in the failure of negotiations to renew the basing agreements, and U.S. forces departed in 1991 — since then American presence in the region has rested on cooperation with Singapore. While security cooperation was partly revitalized after September 11th, 2001, with the deployment of several hundred U.S. special operations forces to the southern Philippines for counter-terrorism purposes, it has never progressed beyond that. For too long, the 2 plus 2 discussions on the U.S.-Philippine alliance has been defined by expanding annual exercises and engagements, or about increasing amounts of funding and military aid.
(a) Despite this military aid, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has not progressed beyond endlessly fighting local rebel groups. The misguided focus on these tactical-level events and exchanges of equipment has superseded progress on even the most basic agreements that should undergird the alliance, such as a General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) which, surprisingly, does not exist between the U.S. and Philippines.​
(b) Basic functions like intelligence sharing are limited by Duterte’s flirtation with China, but also by bureaucratic stovepipes, despite U.S. investment in installing secure multilateral and bilateral networks for that very purpose. Today there are not many identifiable areas where the U.S. and Philippine forces can be seen working together toward shared goals aside from limited cooperation on counterterrorism.​

12. Senior US officials in the Biden administration are also supportive of the logical and reasonable. The attractiveness of economic ties with China, and particularly China as a potential source of investment and infrastructure development, has led some Philippine politicians — this included the very corrupt prior Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration’s attempt to downplay security tensions with Beijing in order to reap the benefits of economic cooperation with China before it flip flopped to hostility under Benigno Aquino; and then back to subservience to CPC rule and methods under Rodrigo Duterte (going so far as to speak at CPC’s 100th anniversary). As I said earlier, this is not the first time that a Philippine administration in power has flirted with China or that the Philippines armed forces has come under scrutiny for having a patchy record on air safety. They need to develop a safety culture with help from the USAF, if the Pinoys plan on operating fighters to deter the PLA(N) in the near future.

At any rate, three Hercules (or four if you count the B) are too few for a country their size. Hopefully their congress will see sense. Their president's policy on only buying new is also hampering them. It's not a bad policy per se but if their policy is to buy only new stuff the procurement budget ought to reflect that.
13. According to AFP spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo, the military had five C-130 planes in total, including the one that crashed. Another C-130, which is in flying condition, will be grounded. Two others are currently under maintenance in Portugal. The fifth plane – recently purchased second hand from the Americans – has yet to arrive.

14. For change to occur, the Pinoys need to want that change. The first step to change is to acknowledge that there is a problem. It’s not enough to beg for freebies, they need to:
(a) heed technical advice given by advanced air forces (eg. learn from the USAF) and adopt best practices in fleet management when benchmarked against ASEAN air forces, like the Indonesian Air Force (who operates many common platforms with the Pinoys, like C-130s, Super Tucanos and Golden Eagles); and​
(b) build an AFP that can really inter-operate with the USAF and the USN, instead of endless lip service. The Pinoys endlessly talk about buying fighters and submarines but no one in ASEAN actually expects them to be able to raise, train and sustain such a force.​

15. A definition of insanity is doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results. The Pinoys are simultaneously over reliant on American military aid and under invested in basic agreements that should undergird the alliance, such as, GSOMIA. Which is why no one expects closer ties between Washington and Manila any time soon.
 
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