Wednesday, July 24, 2013

PAF Attack Helicopter? Looks more like an Armed Scout Helicopter...

MaxDefense notes that the Philippines' Department of National Defense (DND) and Philippine Air Force (PAF) calls its latest, but not necessarily new project as the "Attack Helicopter Acquisition Project" (AHAP). The DND has allocated a budget worth PhP 3.441 billion for 8 such helicopters, and delivery shall be completed within 18 months. It was reported so far that only Eurocopter and AgustaWestland purchased the bid documents as of this writing.


The MD Helicopters MD-520MG, currently the foremost attack helicopter of the PAF. The new attack helicopters will be complementing the MD-520MG fleet while it undergoes modernization and upgrades.
Photo taken from PAF 15th Strike Wing website.

Due to lack of information regarding the specifications of the helicopters, initially MaxDefense used the project cost to determine the possible type of helicopter to be purchased. Based on the amount and number of units to be procured, the average amount allocated for each helicopter is around $10 million, although we have to consider that the entire amount includes an Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) package, training for air and ground crew, complete weapons systems, and other ancillaries. This amount is not enough for a full-fledged attack helicopter similar to the likes and class of the Boeing AH-64 Apache which costs way up north of $20 million a piece. But to make sure, let us analyze the information released by the DND for public consumption.


Many are expecting the PAF to purchase attack helicopters in the same category as the Agusta A129 Mangusta, as shown above. Sorry folks but I think the PAF is far from something like this yet.

Based on the Supplemental Bid Bulletin Nr. AFPMP-PAF-AHAP-13-01, which was released by the DND on July 16, 2013, the following are the basic requirements specified for the project:

- Day & Night targeting and designating weapons delivery for minimum of 1 gun pod and 1 rocket launcher (2.75' NATO Mk.66 or equivalent) system; or 2 rocket/gun combined pods; minimum 2 hard points on each side plus side firing at least a 7.62mm machine gun on both sides;
- Equipped with a Night Fighting System, including an Electro-Optical and Infra Red system and Night Vision Goggle capable;
- Airborne Fire Control System (FCS) compatible to NVG and Laser Designator;
- Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and Day/Night Visual Flight Rules (VFR) rating capable, and equipped with a Weather Radar and capable of operating even at Inadvertent Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IIMC);
- Multi-engine powered turbine system using Jet A-1 fuel;
- Uses a wheel-type landing gear for easy towing and parking;
- Cruising speed of  at least 120 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) with 2,000 lbs. payload;
- Minimum endurance of 2.5 hours at minimum of 120 KIAS;
- Minimum payload of 2,000 lbs;

Other requirements include a minimum engine overhaul interval of 2,000 flight hours, and has dual flight control system for cyclic, collective and pedal controls, as well as instrumentation.


Eurocopter's EC635 might be a potential candidate for the PAF's attack helicopter program, and may be an alternative to the Fennec and Fennec 2.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

Most modern attack helicopters may meet or even exceed the requirements set by the project specifications, except for one thing: the side firing machine guns, which are only available on helicopters with side doors. Combine that with a budget of only around $10 million a piece, then we got an armed scout helicopter, not a real attack helicopter as many believes.

Interesting enough is a similar program for the US Army called the Armed Aerial Scout Program (AASP), aimed at replacing the ageing OH-58 Kiowa scout helicopter. Contenders for the US Army program are the OH-58 Block II Kiowa Warrior, Boeing AH-6S Phoenix, AgustaWestland AW169AAS, EADS (Eurocopter) AAS-72X Lakota Concept, MD Helicopters MD-540F, and Sikorsky S-97 Raider. So far all are still being evaluated and there are even reports that the program may be scrapped due to lack of funds.


The US Army intends to replace their ageing OH-58 Kiowa under the Aerial Armed Scout Program. The requirement is almost similar to the PAF's attack helicopter requirements.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

Due to this, it was expected that some of the contenders in the US Army project might be the same contenders for the PAF project. But so far only Eurocopter, AgustaWestland, Boeing and MD Helicopters has bought the bid documents, although during the pre-bid conference, representatives from Elbit Systems, Bell Helicopters and Intrade were present. MaxDefense believes that Intrade and Elbit Systems is interested in supplying ancillaries like weapons systems for the helicopter producer rather than supplying the helicopters. 


Boeing's AH-6 Little Bird. This is a possible contender should Boeing join the PAF's AHAP bid.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

For the PAF's AHAP, MaxDefense believes that AgustaWestland will field their AW109 LUH, which was an previous favorite as it was chosen before in an earlier attempt to obtain attack helicopters. Eurocopter may have planned to field either the AS550 or AS555 Fennec, or the larger EC635Boeing is expected to offer their AH-6S Little Bird, and MD Helicopters with either the MD-530F or MD-540F. But it appears that the Eurocopter, Boeing and MD Helicopters offers might have difficulty in following the specified requirements as all these offers are not wheel-type landing gear equipped. The only wheel-type landing gear Eurocopter has is the larger and more expensive AS565 Panther, which may exceeding the budget.


The Eurocopter AS550 Fennec armed variant. Eurocopter offered this before to the DND. It is expected that Eurocopter may offer this or the AS555 Fennec 2 multi-engine version.

With the opening of bids scheduled today, it is still early and difficult to say what model will the DND/PAF choose this time. In previous attempts during the Aquino administration, the AW109 LUH was chosen for a government-to-government deal, but due to delivery and availability problems the DND decided to instead switch to an offer made by Eurocopter for 10 AS550 Fennec that were originally slated for the Pakistani Army. But this did not come to fruition as Eurocopter renegotiated with Pakistan for the said units. The Aquino administration also cancelled awarding to AgustaWestland-PZL for an armed version of the W-3A Sokol in 2010 due to anomalies in the bid . 


The AgustaWestland-PZL W-3WA Sokol, an armed variant of the W-3A already in service with the PAF. This offer reportedly won the bid previously but was not awarded a contract due to anomalies.
Photo taken from Airliners.net, copyright Radim Salek.

A similar awarding cancellation also happened in 2008 when the Philippine government cancelled awarding a contract for 6 MD-530F combat helicopters as it did not meet payload requirements.


An MD Helicopters MD-530F of the Mexican Armed Forces.
Photo taken from Airliners.net, copyright to Ricardo Padilla.

MaxDefense's opinion is that AgustaWestland has a higher chance of successfully bagging the award for the new bid as the specifications MAY comply to the AW109 LUH. But it would be best to await the outcome of this new bidding (opening of bids is scheduled today July 24, 2013) as anything may still happen, including another possible failure. Also, the PAF should give its current MD-520MG fleet with a relevant refurbishing and upgraded to be night capable, capable of carrying guided munition, modernization of its avionics, and engine improvements. This is to keep up with the times and be in the same category as the new incoming helicopters that will complement them.

The AgustaWestland AW109 LUH, the possible contender by the said company for the PAF's AHAP.
Photo taken from deagel.com.



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Updates:

August 3, 2013:
It was reported that only AgustaWestland submitted a qualified bid for the attack helicopter project of the PAF. The bid amount was Php3,441,415,000, a little lower than the budget allocated by the DND. Post bid qualification is expected to start soon, and if AW passed the contract may be awarded to them.

More of the news here.
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October 28, 2013:

Reports surfaced that the DND has already awarded the contract for the PAF Attack Helicopter acquisition project to AgustaWestland after fulfilling the requirements set by the DND's Technical Specifications and Documentation Requirements as part of the post-bid requirements. AgustaWestland reportedly offered the AW109E Power variant, and will be armed with unspecified gun pods and rocket launchers. A total of 8 helicopters will be procured.

The report also says that AgustaWestland is committed to deliver the 1st batch of helicopters as early as end of December, 2014 if the letter of credit is opened immediately. This would be possible if the Philippines' Department of Budget and Management (DBM) immediately release the cash allocation for the project to support the letter of credit.

MaxDefense will provide more updates as the project progresses. More of the news report here.
===

November 8, 2013:

AgustaWestland confirms that the Philippine Air Force has signed a contract with them, ordering 8 AW109 Power helicopters for the attack helicopter role.

MaxDefense's new blog discuss this development.

More of the news report here and here, while the new blog is here.
===

113 comments:

  1. If PAF wants an attack Helicopter, then they should really ask Russia for MI-24 or MI-25 Hind or the MI-28. The MI-28 is cheaper than most western attack helicopters. If PAF goes for Hinds, go for the ones that Brazil and Poland has. Hinds are the best attack helicopter in the world.

    Here's Youtube promo vid for the Mi-24/Mi35 Hind
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT23BQwSoSA

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    1. My thoughts exactly. It can also carry a few troops so set one M60 gunner on each side, side firing 7.62 solved.

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    2. Which is why, if PAF can't afford Western attack helicopters, then they need to go to Russia for MI-35's or Mi-28's. They are cheaper and would give PAF a creditable Helicopter fleet.

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    3. Must be something diplomatic behind our not patronizing russian mil hardware.

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    4. I's put my coins on the Eurocopter's EC635 posted above screw the little birds if memory serves me right our MD's had problems with armor which was nonexistent. Our new birds should have some kind of armoring so that it can storm in and out of a firefight.

      But with 70M USD? I'd go for anything that costs 5M so we can buy more than 8 units.

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    5. I hear that the Russian MI-35's or Mi-28's are cheaper and even Brazil, which operates Super Tucanos, also operates Mi-35's. Which is an Export version of the Mi-24. The ones the Brazilian Air force got is called the Mi-35M4, which they call in Brazil the AH-2 Sabere. It's an attack helicopter with a mix of Russian and Israeli gear. If the Philippines want to get a pure attack Helicopter, then go to Russia and get what the Brazilian Air force got called the Mi-35M4. Am MI-35 Hind compared to the Eurocopter's EC635 is more armored and can even drop bombs as well. It can transport 8 combat troops into the fight and even provide CAS for them as well.

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    6. i agree, yet Hind attack choppers are cheaper yet competitive in quality compared to their western counterparts. the hind also can be used for insertion and extraction of troops, so it serves 2 purposes, as transport and attack chopper, thats 2 birds in one stone. But due to the narrow mindset of our leaders this may never happen.

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    7. I don't understand...the best attack / assault-scout european heli with a strong protection and armed platform doesn't match compared to the flying cemetery MI28? Also the Eurocopter Tigre with important anomalies cannot compete with it. All european experts say that Mangusta, Apache, Cobra and Lynx are the best attack machines actually in the world. A129 in Afghanistan battelfields demonstrated all its lethality, and Americans remained supraised for its fire power, precision and day/night lethality.
      It will be a very good business for PAF to acquire some of it, increasing well its deterrent capacity carrying advanced armaments and optoelectronic suites, more than a very strong chassis and pilot protection.

      MI28...they are predestinate victims of any modern light AA missile and moreover of combat helis like Apache Cobra or Mangusta

      Regards
      Mauro

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  2. Since the PAF already operates the MD 520, it might as well take a close look at the new MD 540F. In contrast to the MD 530F it would meet the payload requirements, since it has new engines and stronger skids, and it is a considerably more capable scout/light attack helicopter than the MD 520. The ease of maintenance and the operating costs probably are the best around, as well and it's a great COIN helicopter that should work well in combination with something like the Embraer Super Tucano. It may look like a Little Bird, but it's definitely not your grandfather's Little Bird.

    If a good deal could be struck for the AW 109 or some up-armed version of the UH-72 Lakota/Eurocopter EC 145, that would be fine, as well, imo.

    Let me repeat my mantra here: low operating costs and high level of availability will be key.

    Laurence



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    1. The MD-530F was actually the initial choice in the earlier bids for attack helicopter, but was subsequently cancelled due to allegations of bid manipulations. If you look at the specifications released, the MD-540 or any of its derivative (including Boeing's Little Bird AH-6) can't fit the bill.

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    2. The MD series is not an attack chopper, its a scout attack chopper. It has limited armor, range and shit load. PAF already had bad experiences with our MD's as being more like AEV's than APC's if we compare it with land based units. The AW-109's power series will elevate the PAF to a more efficient per flight missions.

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  3. if PAF get the no.1,2 and 3 picture attack helicopter that awesome really nice..go PHILIPPINES

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    1. The 1st photo is actually a PAF MD-520MG. We had them since the early 90s. Sadly the 2nd photo is currently impossible with the budget and requirements the PAF indicated for their attack helicopter.

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  4. The current price tag for a Agusta A129 Mangusta that the Italian and Turkish army operates US$58.82 million. It isn't cheap, but it is on par with the early versions with the AH-64 Apache. The Turkish version is estimated to cost US$3.2 billion. I would say, if you can get the Agusta A129 Mangusta, it would be very good as a CAS and attack helicopter

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    1. That's why definitely the Mangusta and Apache are out of the choices. In the current situation of the PAF, it would be better to get more FA-50s rather than buying Apaches.

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    2. attack helicopterslike Mangusta and Apache are out of choices because this is the strategy of Abnoy to Balance what is needed. To make more classrooms and housing what the fuck, we all die because of the lack of will and palabra de honor of the greedy administrations, 27.2 Billion pork barrell (PDAF)what a thick of face

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    3. I wonder how is it possible that other governments can get their aircrafts on lease from other governments. I wonder why is it not being considered by our own armed forces since we obviously need a deterrent posture now? Do we have to be in an actual "state of war" for us to enter into such deals? - Jasper

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    4. PAF needs some helicopters, and if it can't get Mangusta's, then they can walk to Russia and as for MI-35's or Mi-28's.

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  5. kinda glad W-3 Sokol "wont" be involved, they seem so bulky, slow, less agile compared to AW109 LUH

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    1. AW 109 Light Utility Helicopter With 8 Units Worth 3.4 Billion Pesos... Not Attack Helicopter...

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  6. Is there doctrine of strategy helicopter vs jet fighter?

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  7. supplemental bid bulletin says it requires "wheel-type landing gear" so...some helicopters shown above are out of the question.

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    1. Following the specs, yes. But if the PAF considers to rwmove that clause, then they're still up. So far no confirmation if changes were made in the last minute.

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    2. But they haven't, so its out of the roster of candidates.

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    3. You're reply is quite outdated, my friend. The AW109 already won the bid, and you're replying to a comment from 4 months ago.

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  8. i don't think we need attack coppers, instead they should buy fixed wing aircraft. for attack choppers they can just modify some of the Huey choppers as done before, mount them with rockets and machineguns in front for the pilot and the side machinegun mounted and that should make it an attack heli. buying an attack chopper is very expensive and really not practical for the budget. when the insurgency is solved and gone what then will they do with these choppers? can they convert it to transport chopper?

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    1. If you ask me, I also prefer the AFP modernization budget to be used for fighter aircraft or patrol aircraft rather than attack helicopters.

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    2. Max,
      Exactly same as my thoughts, I wonder if that idea is not being entertained by DND. We already have a lot of Helos, the incoming 21 refurbished Hueys, at least 4 of the Sokols can be converted to Light Attacked version (just attach Gattling Gunpods / Rocketpods). The budget for 8 Attack Helos can be used to purchase Super Tucano or Texan T6 or the Korean KT1 that is much better for COIN/CAS mission. Wonder if DND Sec is thinking about this.

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    3. Regarding your opinion that we don't need an attack helicopters, but instead having only fixed wings for close support. I respect your insights, but having served the army for almost 8 years in Mindanao, we really need choppers. fixed wings needs airbase for replenishment of ammo and fuel, considering the distance form the area means a lot of time and it means lives of the soldiers are at stake, unlike choppers that could be stationed replenished on the nearest military installation or even on the tactical post itself during the conduct of operation. Since childhood i had witnessed the horror of war in Mindanao, i hope that it will come to an end...give us hope in Mindanao!!!!

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    4. im not saying we do not need choppers, we need them for transport, recon, rescue, and medevac. I served in the Army too. But buying attack choppers are way too impractical instead we just need to convert some of the choppers to armed scouts with rockets, M60s and grenade launchers, etc. other than buying an attack chopper for that purpose only, whereas a conversion is more cheaper and practical as they can be converted back to transport chopper when not on tactical mission for a while. a fixed wing can be used for long range recon, and ground support for troops.

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    5. it was just at the tip of my tongue, now we see what happened in Zamboanga City. we really need a full pledge attack helicopters that could deliver a precise hit on the target with heavy payload, somewhat like a flying tank that could destroy the morale of the enemies.

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  9. No mention about the Rooivalk attack helicopter im disappointed but we are both the same thinking they should focus on jet fighters rather buying other stuff.

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    1. Forget the Rooivalk, it is a dead end program. Only South Africa bought it and only a handful remains. We would be better off in a successful product.

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  10. The news is out. Only AgustaWestland submitted a bid, the others (Boeing, MD Helicopters, Eurocopter) did not submit their bids as they do not have products that fit the specs and budget. As explained in the blog, that "wheel-type" landing gear killed the chances of Boeing and MD Helicopters, while Eurocopter can't submit a wheel-type model with a budget of only $10 million.

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    1. with only one bidder, do you think this project would push thru ? or another re-bidding process will be done ?

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    2. It will depend on the outcome of the bid opening next week. It will still undergo the process but being the only one submitting a bid does not necessarily mean AgustaWestland won.

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    3. Interesting.

      The AW 109 probably isn't a bad choice for the needs of the AFP, since its initial cost is fairly low, it has low operating costs, and is a flexible platform.

      It is kind of strange when you only have one company submitting a bid, though.

      But if the Philippines gets a good deal on these, I don't really see any reason to complain.

      Laurence

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    4. Its not really a bad choice. It has been their top choice since a few years ago. But the DND need to follow proper procurement procedures.

      Anyway lets wait for further updates. The bid of AW is for opening next week. It still needs to comply to the specs and bid requirements.

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    5. Here's the thing with the AW 109, it's not a Pure attack helicopter. It's a SAR, transport and medevac. If PAF wanted a pure Attack helicopter, they should have asked for Agusta A129 Mangusta. If they wanted something cheap and ready to go. Then they should have gone to Russia and as for Mi-35 Hinds that Brazil has or Mi-28's. If PAF ask the US nicely, they can get some older stock AH-1 Cobras or AH-1 Super Cobras.

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    6. @Nicky one of the variants of AW109 which is consider a light attack version is the AW109 LUH. in which if you will search thru their WS, this bird do have pretty good armaments if AFP will acquire the whole package. This will be good advantage since most of the new acquired helos are from same coy with respect to logistics and maintenance wise. just my two cents...

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    7. The problem with the AW109 LUH is that it is not a pure attack helicopter. It is a Light utility helicopter and dose not have the survivability of a pure attack helicopter. Also it dose not have the armor protection that an attack helicopter has. What AFP is getting is nothing more than a light Utility/Armed scout helicopter. They need to focus on a pure attack helicopters such as the A-129 Mangusta, Mi-35,Mi-28 or the Eurocopter tiger

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    8. AW 109 LUH Is Not a Pure Attack Helicopter But It Is the Only One Who Fits the BUDGET With 8 Units ...

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    9. There is no problem with the AW's, a whole lot of commercial planes can be converted for attack versions with a whole lot of revisions. Fact is this chopper can carry guns and rockets and possibly missiles and troops as secondary role. And it is a whole lot better than our dilapidated MD's.

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  11. If everything goes ok, AW 109 LUH will be a good complement with our 3 AW 109 Power arriving in Dec. and another 2 for anti submarine by next year. Besides escorts for SSV to transfer troops and equipment this will serve as extra ship protection. I guess landing on ship is much better than those other one.

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    1. Actually the AW-109 Power helicopters are for the navy, while this "attack helicopter" project is for the air force. They will have separate teams using and maintaining them, although the naval air group and the air force can compliment each other if needed.

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    2. Yes I'm thinking about having them on board too if needed for future SSV or frigates. Max, what's the use of AW 109 Power besides surveillance? Does it equip with something armaments for protection; sorry I'm a newbie and not following all the specs for Navy AW Power.

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    3. Hi Nes, the AW-109 Power ordered by the PN are for shipboard multi-purpose helicopter requirements. They can perform surveillance, light utility & transport, search and rescue, and law enforcement duties. The PN can opt them to assist in ASW operations if they are configured to carry sonobuoys. So far I am not sure if they can carry dipping sonar and torpedoes. Unfortunately the AW-109 is just one of the few helicopters in the market that can fit the Gregorio del Pilar-class' telescopic hangar.

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    4. Max, Thank you for the info very informative. My hopes are for our PN to carry most of what you mention? P1.3 billion for three of them with the option for another two for ASW compared to PAF P3.441 for eight light attack helicopter, just looking at the specs above and the price difference. I don't see any reason our DND struck a deal for what you mention? Well back on topic with the budget of 9mil for one of them, 8 light attack helicopter will do the jobs for now and hopefully after 3 years well get more something specials real macho type of 3 to 4 or more "attack helicopter" in the mixed with others in the PAF service, but again as you mention you raised the point down below comment if “You rather have FA-50 or an Apache”. Anyway aim high PAF.

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  12. i hope they'll be more specific next time, multi purpose helicopter to be converted into an armed helicopter,to be procured by the PAF..because we're cheaper than the african nations. Be truthful enough that they can't afford to buy even a russian attack helicopter. Pinoys always go for the pwede na yan than to go to pwedeng pwede na.

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    1. Actually the bid specifications was too specific....too specific to point to the AW109.

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  13. Max,
    Dont know if this is good news or bad news... Only one bidder submitted for the attack helos and that is Augusta Westland, the other few your mentioned backs out.. What do you think would happen now? Thou it's transparent, i'm really frustrated on this procedure by our DND.

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    1. From the beginning and as I posted in the blog, the specifications appear to tailor a specific model, which is the AW109. It is the only model being offered to meet the budget, has a wheel-type landing gear, multi-engine, and has side-firing machine guns. The AS550, AH-6 and MD-530/540 all have single engines and skid-type landing gears. The AS555 have multi-engines but still a skid-type landing gear. The Panther is, although having multi-engine and wheel-type landing gear, is too expensive and can't fit the budget.

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    2. Yep I agree, the specifications were tailored to the 109's. I don't think there's any side dealings involved here though. Cause if there was they're making it really obvious.

      So It was just a mistake by DND. If Eurocopter got involved, they would get better offers.

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  14. if there were corruptions here as usual, then they should prosecute. in the meantime, what we already have, the Sokols, if they will be armed attack scout choppers so be it. make the best of it. Im sure these choppers cannot be returned to the manufacture due to corruption. so just make them armed scouts, actually looks a little bigger for an armed scout and can still be useful. they can also be converted to transport choppers if not on tactical mission. or search and rescue and disaster rescue and relief ops.

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    1. Since they entered service, the Sokols were usually tasked for peacetime transport, relief goods carrier, escort for the presidential helicopters and for search and rescue. On these missions so far the Sokol performed well. Officially they are assigned with the 505th Search and Rescue Group, so officially they have been considered as SAR assets. Since the PAF is also in need of SAR assets, then the Sokols are just right. Just install winches and SAR-related accessories, and paint them white.

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  15. Do you think agustawestland will offer the anti tank version?

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    1. You mean the A-129 Mangusta? No. But the AW109 can be fitted to fire anti-tank missiles if required.

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  16. Sir what can you say about the report that the dnd is not happy with the Sokol helicopter because the machine guns cannot be used?

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    1. It's not the fault of the helicopter nor the manufacturer. Did the DND specify the side door opening size to match their requirements? So far I have no access to the previous CUH bid specifications, so I can't say more.

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  17. Cant the Dnd just wait for the budget next year? Masyado sila nagmamadali.

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    1. The budget for this project won't get any increase anymore, since there is already an allocated budget for it. So it doesn't matter. Besides the DND won't pay the entire amount immediately.

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  18. If ever, I think AW109LUH is pretty much capable of doing the job as 'pwede na yan' attack helicopter (di na kayo nasanay)...well it is better than nothing...

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    1. The PAF was never really in a market for a full fledge attack helicopter. An Apache costs as much as an FA-50, what would you rather get?

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  19. Why not purchase the Kiowa warrior through fms

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  20. I think the armed scout helicopter is enough for the PAF since the super tucano (or woongbi) will do the strike anyway.

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  21. Max what's the latest on the July 24 bid opening for the attack helicopter acquisition of the DND?

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    1. Only AgustaWestland submitted a bid. The others (Boeing, MDH and Eurocopter) did not submit. AgustaWestland's bid will be opened next week and will undergo normal qualification requirements.

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  22. And also any news on the super tucanos? These are really good planes to add into PAF's arsenal!

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    1. None yet. The OV-10 replacement appears to be at the back of the PAF's list for purchases.

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  23. Sir Max, did you see this news came out recently - Israel are selling their surplus air assets including spare parts and etc. http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.537781

    I would say, it's very rare to see this big garage sale coming with high quality air assets with special modifications made by IDF.

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    1. The Philippines was one of the first countries informed about this and has already checked the assets to be offered. The DND is seriously considering some of the offers, and comparing the offers made by Italy and other countries.

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    2. IF THE ALLOCATED FUND IS 3.441 BILLION ONLY AND NOT ENOUGH FOR 10PCS. WHY YOU PUSH IT TO 10 INSTEAD OF 5,OR 4???


      FOR MY OPINION. A SERIOUS GOVT. IS TO TAKE ACTION AND SHOW YOUR PROVED THAT YOUR WILLING TO MODERNIZED YOUR NATION,MEANING THEY ALREADY PLAN AND BUDGET WHY THEY DON'T GO FOR IT? PLAN IS A PLAN. NO NEED TO CANCEL OR POSTPONED.

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    3. CONT. SIR MAX:

      I NOTICED TO OUR DND AND GOVT. IS..?

      THEY ARE LOOKING AND PLANNING FOR A BIG QUANTITY OF ITEMS,THEN THEY WILL ALLOCATE A SHORT FUND SO THAT THEY HAVE A REASON TO CANCEL THE PROJECTS. ITS SO OBVIOUS.(HOW MANY TIMES THIS HAPPEN?)

      HONESTLY,THERE'S A THING THAT I LEARN FROM CHINESE, EVEN 1 CENTAVO'S THEY WILL SAVED IT. MEANING BUY 5 PCS INSTEAD OF 10PCS. THEN NEXT YEAR OR 2 YEARS AFTER BUY 5 AGAIN..SLOWLY BUT SURELY(SHOW RESULT NOT ONLY TALKING.) RIGHT??

      THAT IS WHY IN SOME OTHER REASON,SOME COUNTRIES ARE NOT ATTRACT TO BID BECAUSE IN THE END THEY KNOW THAT THE PROJECT WILL CANCEL DUE TO SHORT OF FUND AGAIN(FUNNY BUT TRUE). AND THEIR EFFORT IS USELESS.

      PERSONAL QUESTION TO YOU SIR. MAX

      DID OUR DND AND GOVT HAVE COMMON SENSE??

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    4. cont.again sir max

      why i ask you if DND have common sense or not?

      its because "IF" i'm the one to buy some items..i will itemized first:

      i will ask any source that i have for partial price of ideal attack helicopter depend of what specification i want, then i have an idea for the prefer quantity of my budget.( they don't have common sense like this??). i don't think so.

      i have more respect for you sir max than all DND personnel bco'z you have more ideas of what DND needed to purchased.






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    5. They are not cancelling the project. The budget allocated is actually enough for such aircraft to be purchased. So there's no reason to cancel it except if the government decided to use the budget for other purposes. So far there's no reason for cancellation.

      If you still haven't noticed, the bidding is just to follow laws on government purchases, but the AFP already have specific models that they target to purchase. The bidding is just for compliance, and if not these laws, the PAF may have already chosen their desired aircraft.

      Yes, the DND has common sense. And they are more knowledgable on what's happening than me, and more than you. MaxDefense is only hear to give opinions but the final say is still up to the AFP and DND.

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  24. Hi Max, once again a very good commentary and very informative indeed. As I'm reading your last two blogs, something struckmy head. It seems to me that the DND was so starved that it wants to eat everything that's on the table. MAI-IMPATSO SIYA NIYAN! (I hope I'm wrong.) Although each armed services has its own modernization needs, maybe it is better that the DND and the AFP sit together and discuss the foremost and gravest defense concern of the AFP or of the Philippines as a whole for the moment? Is it territorial integrity or counter-insurgency?
    IMHO, The AFP and the DND should prioritize its needs than wants. If the defense concern is territorial integrity then, we need to procure the navy at least 2 or more frigates before the year ends and the AF should have something to supplement this say, a squadron of 12-18 fighters to provide air cover. and the army or AF should have a mobile point defense system like the spyder, a credible area air defense system (e.g.,Favorit) plus mobile anti-ship missile like the Brahmos, to supplement the ships. Likewise, the Coast Guard should have 3 patrol (p-400) ships that could be rotated in station. The AFP should orchestrate the 3 services and prioritize what should be procured. There should be a cohesive procurement strategy for the AFP.
    Because, it seems that every service wants a bite or two on the apple. (And it is not a big apple.) The AF needs a replacement for its OV-10, and needed armed helicopters, the navy needs 2 SSVs, and the army need new howitzers (these are meant for COIN operations). Well, the French patrol vessels are outside DND's jurisdiction, as well the the armed helicopters for the PNP. It seems that everybody don't want to be left behind.
    What is for the Marines?
    Concerning these Air Force attack helicopters, IMO, what could happen here is just a repeat of the SIMBA APC. It was the hands down winner before any competition. However, the majority of the APC was built locally.

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    1. We have to remember that the budget allocated for the AFP Modernization is for the 3 services, not just for a specific one or two. Currently the PAF is in really bad shape that it needs to purchase replacement for almost all its inventory. But lack of budget forces them to just do piecemeal purchases to complement or replace their several systems. So I expect the PAF to really try to spread their purchases but this is done thinly. If only the government was able to fund the military since the mid 90s until now, then we won't be seeing such thinly-spread purchases, high equipment BER rate and poor operational capability for the PAF and the entire AFP as a whole.

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  25. Max,

    in light of these needs of the AFP, like these helicopters, light attack or full version, why cant the US donate even a single squadron of their de-commisioned helicopters like the oh58 Kiowa, given their airframe is old and battered, but so is our old Hueys that is in PAF inventory. We have good proficient PAF technicians that can refurbished them like what they did and doing in Hueys..

    What do you think the DND opinion about this.. Geopolitical?? on part of US ? or simply they want something new (yes 15 yrs in service should be) but always comes with a price...
    Coz if we can secure a fleet of those decomissioned Kiowa or other type of Helos.. Is a force multiplier.

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    1. for me:

      when it come to defense we don't need to buy 2 frigates or attack helicopter if we want urgent needs,we need to buy batteries coastline mobile anti ship missiles like Russian made P-800 Yakhont or US made RGM-84L Harpoon anything for defense and offense,this kind of defense can covered 200 miles or more and 50%percent less than of buying traditional weapons in term of warships and fighter planes. 36-40 batteries each to Palawan and Luzon will be a credible and effective kind of defense.

      But i prefer Harpoon Missiles! it can pulverize any ships in minutes, the Phil govt. can buy Warships and fighter plane later.

      tnx...

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    2. It's not really geopolitical, but more local politics and internal decisions within the PAF. It appears that they prefer a new helicopter, not a used one. As for the US providing helicopters, the 21 used UH-1H being bidded recently are actually EDA's from the US.

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  26. I agree it's better to buy 4 true attack helicopters than 8 armed scout helicopters

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  27. Max do you think the govt will be interested in the israel cobra gunships since they are selling these in the IDF website. How about the transport helis?

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    1. The PAF WAS actually interested on these helicopters during the term of GMA. But it was cancelled and instead the PAF opened the bid for the attack helicopters. The used Cobras from the IDF was actually the 1st choice but it was found to have high operating cost and high maintenance costs, which the PAF didn't want to bear.

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  28. the missiles are expensive for rebels terrorists. an AH with a 30mm canon is needed. these helicopters have that?

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  29. I think they need a multi-role helicopter that can armed with anti-surface missile and anti-tank role to support the ill-equipped navy in the future need.

    Even a single squadron of jet fighter cant handle alone through out the mission.

    AS 565 Panther is armed Mark46 lightweight torpedo. Israel has available there. They can purchase both spyder missile and Mark46 at the same time.

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  30. Max i dont think israel kfir jet a move forward toward modernize airforce.it lack fly by wire although it has helmet mount targeting capability.fa-50 support this specs upgrade too.fa-50 is slower but it has low observable radar signiture coz it is very small jet compare against kfir

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  31. IAI selling upgraded Kfir jets for $20m

    Israel Aerospace Industries promises very short delivery schedules for the renovated jets, which it claims are even better than fourth-generation jets.
    6 August 13 17:45, Yuval Azulai

     
    Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) is trying to sell dozens of Kfir fighter jets to foreign air forces, offering a 40-year manufacturer's guarantee. The veteran jets are equipped with new avionics and powerful radars developed by IAI unit Elta Systems, diversified armaments, updated electronic warfare systems, and air-to-air refueling.
    IAI has told its sales reps to sell the Kfirs to Eastern European countries that are due to join NATO. Other buyers are Latin American and Asian air forces, which are seeking combat jets that can take out targets with the precision of fourth-generation jets, such as the F-16, but cannot afford them.
    IAI has produced several hundred Kfirs since the 1970s. The Israel Air Force used them for air defense missions and ground attack, mostly in Lebanon. Foreign sources say that the Kfir is no longer in service with the Air Force, and the jet was replaced by F-15s and F-16s.
    Dozens of Kfirs were sent to IAI for storage, and others are used for test flights or were upgraded and sold to Colombia, Ecuador, and Sri Lanka. The US Air Force also procured Kfirs to simulate enemy planes in pilot training. These air forces reportedly have dozens of Kfirs in service.
    IAI declines to disclose the names of the countries with which it is in talks for the sale of upgraded Kfirs, but it promises very short delivery schedules for the renovated jets. "It took us just three years to deliver an entire squadron for the Colombia Air Force, and at a third of the price of a fourth-generation single engine jet fighter. The upgraded Kfir provides just as good an answer as fourth-generation jets, and in some cases, even better," IAI Lahav Division general manager Yosef Melamed told "Globes".
    Each upgraded Kfir costs $20 million, including accessories: new wiring; a cockpit equipped for day and night operations and in poor weather conditions; and air-to-air refueling for long-range missions.
    "The Kfir we're supplying today has state-of-the-art computers developed just in the past two years, which enable better performance that fourth-generation planes with obsolescent computers. Thanks to our innovative up-to-date avionics, an Israeli pilot who flew the Kfir in the 1980s wouldn’t be able to do very much with it today. It's simply a different plane," says Oren Aviram, who is tasked with marketing the Kfir for IAI.
    "An Israeli pilot getting into the cockpit of a Colombia Air Force Kfir would know how to operate the engine and fly, but he would know nothing about the avionics. To operate the plane's systems efficiently, a pilot needs one year of training. He should be digitally proficient and, if possible, aged 20-30, otherwise he really won't get along."

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  32. Any update Max on the result of attack helicopter bidding?

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    1. Since AugustaWestland was the only one submitted the bid they should have a clearly decision if they want to pursue it or not, I hope they don't cancel this project. It will be a pain in the a$$ if they cancel and do it over again. I guess lets wait in the next two week that would be a month.

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  33. make it 4 helicopters to atleast get a light attack choppers. mangusta is there and the as555. the government should be serious we must show the world that we are credible buyers because if were not no good suppliers will enter our bids. sobra naman taung kuripot baka mag end up tau sa pagbili ng surplus walang pinagkaiba sa pagkahilig ng pinoy sa rtw parang not so right na.

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  34. I wish I knew why the other helicopter companies didn't bid. The good thing about the MD product is that their company is small and could probably deliver all the aircraft before the deadline of 15 months - not sure if the bigger companies could match that. Also, if they got MD540's or 530F's...the current pilots are already trained on the airframe so you would not have to spend months training for a new helicopter.

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  35. So, the Air Force and Navy would end up with the same helicopters?

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  36. @Max, are you sure Apache price tag is $20 mn each? I thought Boeing AH-6 Apache cost about $60 million each. Recently our TNI-AD purchasing Apache type E/D? longbow in that range of prices ($500-600 mn for 8 units). Even locally built Huey by PT.DI cost about USD 10 million per unit
    About the choice itself, many here including myself think we should go for more Russian M-35 instead, which we already have in our inventory and so can avoid logistical nightmare, rather than Apache with the constant embargo possibilities restricting its movements. Product from Russian and most east Europe military industry products also mostly cheaper and not necessary inferior to its western counterpart
    So i don't quite agree with quality before quantity in this situation, atleast not now when both our country still has huge gap in military capability compared to its geographic challenge and limited military budget. We can get advantage in number (and quality) with less expensive military hardwares. Quantity has a quality all its own.

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    1. As I said before the Apache is "way north of $20 million", meaning the actual price is way way higher than that amount. You may refer to the recent deal between the US and Indonesia for AH-64E Apache Guardian but you have to consider that this includes "first time user" expenses, logistics and training support, spares, and ammunition specifically the Hellfire missiles. This eats up a lot of money, and pushed the pricing for the entire contract. Still, the amount is worth an MRF per Apache, not really wise for such a budget-strapped military like the AFP.

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  37. Though the armed helicopter AW109 is a good helicopter and a great boast to the present capability of the AFP. However, considering the availability of more powerful hand held weapons in the world market today including the black market and the present capability and determination of the rebels thru the recent events in Zamboanga, the AFP needs more than an armed helicopter, if they wanted to be on top of the situation all the time. These people would continue fighting and arming themselves with whatever weapons they can find. The attack helicopter, likewise is a psychological deterrent for the government, just like the M1 Garrand compared to an M16. There are now suggestions that the Malampaya funds should be used to upgrade the capability of the AFP. Though it is a wishful thinking, hopefully it will push thru before the conclusion of the armed helicopter acquisition and instead the acquisition will be upgraded to Mangusta's or maybe Cobra attack helicopter thru negotiated procurement process to hasten its delivery. Thank you Max for the continuing update on the AFP modernization. As a proud Filipino, I've been waiting for this AFP modernization to happen and I hope this would continue that we buy our own equipment or build it locally, instead of waiting for a dole out from the US. Though there is nothing wrong if the US would provide us with some capability, but it is more inspiring to see that we paid for our own.

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    Replies
    1. Sir, malaking bagay ang attack helicopters na pwedeng limipad sa gabi para sumuporta sa mga remote detachments ng army natin. na balitaan ko po na isa sa mga dati nming detachments nuon ay na overrun ng mga terroristang npa na umabot ng mahigit kumulang 4 na oras na bakbakan, na pka lapit lng po nito sa air base, cgro mga 20 minutes lang ang travel time ng helicopter. kung reinforcement by land po ay na pka impossible, ito na po cgro ang pinaka mahirap na terrain sa buong mindanao. kng meron lng sana tayo nito na kagamitan maiwasan natin ang casualties sa hanay ng mga sundalo at ma tugis ang mga masamang elemento. sana po bigyang halaga ang buhay ng sundalo at kanilang mga pamiya at mabigyang katapusan ang gulo na dulot ng mga terrorista para umunlad ang ating bayan. i just hope that our government will be sincere enough to consider a dedicated attack helicopters the we could be proud of.

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    2. Actually this attack helicopter program is more of a complementary project related to the MD-520MG currently in PAF service, which are scheduled to be entering mid-life upgrades, I believe some helicopters have already started undergoing the upgrade program. In the absence of most of the MD-520MG, the new attack helicopter will take its place. So expect the MD-520MG to be more capable after the upgrades, with night capability and better performance.

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    3. sir max, thank you for the information, sana sa madaling panahon ma deploy itong mga helicopters na ito, to save the lives and properties of the government, let us see if this lawless elements dare to hide during the night and take advantage of the terrain. our enemies don't have any military academy, but they use common sense. I just hope that in the government side they would also have this common sense. I remembered one time, there was a survey in the field, they ask us about our supplies and equiptments, one of our complaints was the poncho, tumatagos ang tubig, para siyang textile ng payong while the issue of caa was rubberized, we ask why? they told us "it is you who complained about the weight of that poncho" when in fact every body wants to have that. my point here sir is na sana thay be practical to meet the needs of the field men and not to cover any personal agenda that involves any profit in the procurement.

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  38. MI-35 and Mi-28 from Russia How much would they go for?

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  39. 8 units for Php3.4 billion?...anong klaseng heli na naman kaya ito...ibili na yan ng 2 units ng Boeing AH-64 Apache may silbi pa yan

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  40. Looks like this armed helicopter project is in limbo.

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    Replies
    1. Its not, it has actually proceeded already.

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  41. @max
    ei max since the aw109 is now declared the winner maybe you could make a separate article regarding the 109, its capabilities and future potential.

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    Replies
    1. I'm afraid these choppers will become air taxis of greedy politicians remember what happened with the s-76 choppers

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  42. Why AW109 power instead of AW109 LUH for military application?

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  43. Why buy 8 aw 109 Power helicopters and call them- in the media- attack helicopters? Very misleading- they are basically transport helicopters. Why didn't the DND bid out instead for 5 Super lynx 300 helicopters for the navy and give the incoming aw109 to the PAF? The 5 Super Lynx 300 will easily fall within the ph3.4B budget and really give the navy what it really needs. Are we accumulating transport helicopters in the name of modernization? Something basic is missing in the DND's implementation of the AFP modernization- please fit the budget to good quantity- like we can buy one frigate and one missile boat at the same time-then we can get them surely with all the weapons we need- we need modern assets that can deter and not simply serve as inventory items. If the DND plans their acquisitions well- and hopefully the honorable men in congress understand the implications of a 'failed' military establishment- then surely starting next year for the next five years we can have a deterent force in place ... Sen Cit

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    1. The AW109s for the PAF will not be used as transport helicopters but rather as armed gunships like the AUH-76 during the Marcos-Cory era and MD-520MG during Cory to Pnoy's time. There will also be a separate program to buy 2 real anti-submarine helicopters that will operate out of the 2 new frigates. So far the Super Lynx won't fit the Gregorio del Pilar's hangar, so there is no choice but to go AW109E for the PN since they fit. This was discussed before in the blogs and blog discussions.

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  44. Finally it is official.

    Philippine Air Force Signs Contract for Eight AW109 Power Helicopters

    http://www.agustawestland.com/news/philippine-air-force-signs-contract-eight-aw109-power-helicopters

    06/11/2013

    AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that the Philippine Air Force has signed a contract for eight AW109 Power light twin helicopters. These aircraft will be used to perform a range of duties including homeland security, armed reconnaissance and close support. Deliveries will start in 2014. The contract also includes initial logistics support and training for aircrew and maintenance personnel.This contract further expands the presence of AgustaWestland in the Philippine helicopter market and adds one more military customer for the AW109 Power model in this country, following an order for three aircraft by the Philippine Navy earlier this year to enhance the service’s maritime operational capability.

    The Philippine Air Force AW109 Power configuration will feature a dedicated mission package and equipment including a combination of weapon systems.Daniele Romiti, Chief Executive Officer, AgustaWestland said It gives us great pleasure to sign this contract with the Philippine Air Force, further reinforcing the already strong partnership with the Department of National Defence. This latest achievement provides clear evidence of the customers confidence in the product while weve demonstrated that we are a reliable partner, able to offer a cost-effective solution. We are committed to deliver the improved mission capabilities and high quality services the customer deserves.

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  45. IMHO since our defense is non existence I suggest we first build a fleet of defense force. A cheap, ready to go fleet (bulk), well armed and VERY INTIMIDATING LOOK Mi-35 will surely scare the hell out those insurgents and invaders.

    Invading china the subtle way!

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  46. Nice post, it is on par with the early versions with the AH-64 Apache.

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  47. Isn't it better to buy from Russia?
    Mi-24 and Mi-28 are cheaper than its western counter-parts and it can be an attack and transport helicopter at the same time?

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