Your 1st in Philippine defense

Hermes 450 MALE UAVs arriving soon!

MaxDefense presents the first photo of the Elbit Systems Hermes 450 MALE UAV of the Philippine Air Force!

Elbit's Skylark 3 UAV coming soon!

The Philippine Army just made a massive order for several UAV types from Israel.

Philippine Navy and HHI launches BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150)

The Frigate acquisition project reaches a milestone with the launching of BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150).

The Philippine Navy's first Combat Management System from Saab

The Philippine Navy introduces the first CMS in PN service, the Saab 9LV Combat Management System on PS-35

Spot the difference

The Philippine Army received their first batch of upgraded M113A2 APCs. So which is which?

They KAAV7A1s are finally here!

The Philippine Navy (Marines) will soon be having their own AAVs. No more hitchhiking on USMC AAVs!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Main Battle Tanks in ASEAN Armies - Is there a Regional Tank Buying Spree?

Indonesia received its first delivery of pre-owned Leopard 2 main battle tanks from Germany, specifically the "A4" variant, together with pre-owned but upgraded Marder IFVs. This is part of their deal with Germany, which is a major breakthrough for Indonesia as they have been planning for this capability for a long time. 



Indonesia recently received their first Leopard 2A4 tank and Marder IFV from Germany as part of a larger deal.
Photo taken from Kaskus forums c/o Audrey.

Is there a main battle tank race in the ASEAN region? Well, from MaxDefense point of view, there is a spike of purchases and interests for main battle tanks in the region that started a few years ago, and a so-called race is probably only happening in a few member countries.

Within the Southeast Asian region, only the mainland states of Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia traditionally operate tanks heavier than 35 tons, although it is a very well known secret that Singapore keeps an arsenal of main battle tanks since the mid 1970s to avoid giving their perceived threats a reason to include main battle tanks in their arsenal.

Traditional Tank Users:
Vietnam:
Of all ASEAN armies, Vietnam has the largest tank fleet and has been a long time user of Soviet-era T-54/55 series and Chinese Type 59 medium tanks, with several units actually being Vietnam War veterans. Of the estimated 600 to 850 T-54/55 tanks in Vietnamese serivce, around 310 were modernized using Israeli technology into T-54/55M3 standards which involved the replacement of the original Soviet 100mm gun with a 105mm M68/L7 gun, installation of explosive reactive armor, smoke grenade launchers, a new German-made 1,000hp engine, a 60mm mortar and meteo-sensors technology. There were previous reports that Vietnam planned to purchase 150 T-72 main battle tanks from Poland, but did not materialize and budget was instead used to purchase naval assets.


A Vietnamese T-54/55 series tank, modernized by Israel to T-54M3 standard.
Photo taken from ttvnol.com 


Laos and Cambodia:
These two countries are also long time users of the Soviet-era T-54/55 series medium tanks, with around 30 and 300, respectively. Most of their tanks were also received as far back as the Vietnam War era. So far there are no tank upgrade programs or new tank purchases for both countries, except for the transfer of 50 used T-55 medium tanks to Cambodia following tensions with neighboring Thailand on disputed territory.


Cambodia recently received 50 used T-55 tanks after tensions with Thailand on a disputed temple.
Photo taken from Reuters.

Myanmar:
Myanmar is another country with a large standing army and a large tank force in the region, mostly made up of Chinese-made tanks like the T-59D reportedly numbering around 150 units, which it uses for several decades now; the Type 69 and Type 69-II main battle tanks reportedly at 130 units in service since 1990; and the Norinco MBT-2000, which China supplied several units in 2011.The Myanmar Army also reportedly possess 139 T-72 tanks, some purchased from Ukraine in 2002-2003 although the numbers are debatable due to absence of an accurate account of deliveries.


A screenshot from a Myanmar video of a Chinese-made MBT-2000 allegedly on trials.
Photo taken from China Defense Blog.

Thailand:
The Kingdom of Thailand has been operating around a hundred American M48 Patton medium tanks, with the first batch delivered to the RTA since 1979, and was reinforced by its first main battle tank, the M60A1 in 1991 and M60A3 in 1996, numbering a total of around 170 tanks. All are former US Army stocks and were sold to Thailand through FMS program. These tanks would soon be reinforced by a 2011 order for 49 brand new T-84 Oplot-M main battle tanks from Ukraine worth TB7.155 billion, although there are reports that Thailand used its option to buy as many as 200 tanks to replace the ageing M-41 Bulldog light tanks. There were reported criticisms on the government's decision to buy the Ukrainian tanks because of the auto-loader feature, while tank crews were said to prefer South Korean-made tanks.


Thailand's first T-84 Oplot-M being presented to the Thai delegation in Ukraine last June 26.
Photo taken from defence-blog.com (in Russian).

Aside from the traditional tank users, other ASEAN countries have also started getting main battle tanks as part of their army's arsenal. Originally believed to avoid tanks due to unfavorable terrain conditions, there countries have now accepted the need for tanks and integrated them to their doctrines.


Non-Traditional Users:
Singapore:
The small island nation is believed to be in possession of British-made Centurion main battle tanks, specifically 63 units of Mk. 3 and Mk. 7 reportedly obtained from India in 1975 and additional units coming fro Israel in the early 1990s. All were said to be upgraded with Israeli technology and are locally named as the Tempest. There are no credible proofs though of the tank's existence with the Singapore Army as there are no available photo or credible open sources to prove them except for some few publications, although the Singapore government did not deny or confirm their existence. But this is now moot considering that Singapore purchased 66 ex-German Army Leopard 2A4 plus 30 several spare tanks, together with 10 Bergepanzer-3 Buffel armored recovery vehicles in 2007-2008. Most of the tanks were recently upgraded to Leopard 2SG standard with advanced modular armor protection from IBD Deisenroth Engineering and ST Kinetics starting 2010. They are currently considered the most capable tank in ASEAN region for now.


A side-by-side comparative photo between Singapore's Leopard 2SG standard (left) and the Leopard 2A4 (right). Not all of Singapore's Leopard 2 are in SG upgraded standard yet though.

Malaysia:
The Federation of Malaysia procured its first main battle tank, 48 units of PT-91M Twardy from Poland plus associated support vehicles (6 WZT-91M armored recovery vehicles, 5 MID-91M engineering tanks, 5PMC-91M Leguan armored bridge layers, and 1 SJ-09 driver training tank) with the first unit delivered in 2005 as part of a contract worth $370 million. The tank is now locally known as the Pendekar, and are operated by the 11th Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps. It is interesting to note that as part of the contract between Malaysia and Poland, the tanks were purchased in exchange for palm oil which is one of Malaysia's main product.


A Malaysian Army PT-91M Pendekar during one of the parades in Kuala Lumpur.
Photo and commentaries from World of Malaysia Military Special blog site.

Indonesia:
The vast archipelago country is a latecomer in terms of acquisition of main battle tanks to its military, but it entered with a big bang. Under a $280 million deal with Germany, the Indonesians will be receiving ex-German Army Leopard 2 tanks with the following breakdown: 40 Leopard 2A4 tanks, 63 Leopard 2RI (upgraded to "Revolution" standards), 4 Buffel armored recovery vehicles, 3 Leguan armored bridge layers and 3 Kodiak armored engineering vehicles, plus 50 Marder 1A2 infantry fighting vehicles. They initially requested to purchase tanks from the Netherlands but their request was rejected by the Dutch parliament. The Indonesian Army continues to operate smaller tanks as well and these main battle tanks will supplement them.


An example of the Leopard 2 Revolution was displayed in Jakarta last May to showcase the tank as part of the deal with Germany.
Photo taken from Minsera.blogspot.com.

Brunei:
Due to it's small size, there are currently no plans for Brunei to obtain main battle tanks and this is projected to remain for many years to come.


So how about the Philippines?

The last time the Philippines had at least medium tanks in its inventory was a long time ago, with ex-US Army M4 Shermans received during the late 1940s. Aside from a handful of M-41 Bulldogs light tanks received in 1965, there were no other tanks that were procured by the Philippine Army (take note that the British FV101 Scorpion is not a tank, but is a fast reconnaissance vehicle). Fast forward to present day, and there appears to be some plans to procure main battle tanks that will form future armored battalions of the already active Mechanized Infantry Division. MaxDefense sources confirmed that the DND was previously looking at used main battle tanks from European countries, but the project was not given priority right now. This plan may only be included in the 2nd (or even 3rd) phase of the revised AFP Modernization program if everything goes according to plan.


The heaviest tank operated by the Philippine Army was the M4 Sherman tank. This example appears to be have the insignia of the 1st "Tabak" Division". The Philippines remain as the only major ASEAN country without major tank assets in its army.
Photo from Smith & Wesson forum c/o jun225.

Looking at how the Philippine Army's proposed items for purchase in the 1st phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Law, it appears that main battle tanks have taken the backseat due to the limited budget allocation and the numerous needs to upgrade it current forces. For armored assets, priority was given to additional armored personnel carriers (APC) and infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) to fill-in the expanding mechanized units of the Philippine Army. This includes the expected delivery of 114 M113A2 APC from ex-US Army stocks within this year or early next year, plus additional requirements for new tracked APCs and IFVs, possibly based on the ACV-300 purchased earlier by the PA from Turkey. 

Contrary to most beliefs that main battle tanks are useless in the Philippine setting, MaxDefense believes that main battle tanks have a place in the Philippine Army's force structure. These assets are still the best defensive and offensive ground asset that any army could have, and are the spearhead of any army formation. Although the terrain in the Philippines is disadvantageous for tank operation due to fragmented land features, a combination of mountainous and river-rich terrain plus poor infrastructure, there are vast areas where tanks could be used, including the plains of Central Luzon and large portions of Mindanao. This was proven by the Japanese and Americans who maximized the use of tanks in Central Luzon and Manila area during World War 2. Recently, main battle tanks have even been included in urban operation doctrines as shown by recent experiences by foreign armies. All these perceived difficulties have already been considered by army planners not only in the Philippine Army but worldwide as well. 


Even as early as World War 2, tanks have demonstrated their usefulness on urban-environment warfare. Photo above shows a US Army M4 Sherman tank entering a devastated Walled City of Intramuros within Manila.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

But of course, there will always be some setbacks to having main battle tanks. Not only will they cost much to purchase, these tanks are expected to have high costs with regards to upgrading, operation, maintenance, training and integration to the entire army force structure. It also requires several support vehicles for it to operate in the Philippine vegetation and terrain, like the need for armored bridge layers and recovery vehicles. These assets are expected to be procured all together with the main battle tanks once the PA decided to get some. 

The Indonesian purchase of Leopard 2s is actually something the Philippines can look at. They have the same problems as the Philippines in terms of infrastructure development and natural terrain, although they overcame the problem of financial capability which the Philippines has not yet reached. Although other analysts believe that Indonesia's purchase of tanks was because of strong pressure from the army high command and because of pride and prestige as the unofficial leader of ASEAN, MaxDefense believes that the Indonesian Army is at the right time to get such assets for their armored formations.


The Philippine Army must prioritize filling the requirements of the infantry units first, especially with the limited budget given to the modernization of the Army. PA troops must be given proper protection, new infantry weapons, better logistics and support equipment and better armored vehicles to support them first.


Although MaxDefense supports the need for the PA to have main battle tanks as part of their assets and capability, MaxDefense believes that the Philippine Army must give priority to upgrade its most basic fighting unit, the infantry squad, before going up the ladder where the main battle tanks sits on top. This is also what the current planners in the Philippine Army believe as well, which could be seen in their modest modernization plans as part of the first 5 years. This dilemma could only be settled immediately if more funds are made available to the PA where they can both take in main battle tanks and support equipment while also upgrading other spectrum of the force structure. 

Tank buying spree? Yes there is, but it's more of an improvement of capabilities by respective ASEAN armies rather than a race to outdo each other. As usual, the Philippines is late in the game but everything's not lost yet.

========
UPDATES:
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March 5, 2014:
With the internal and external security issues confronting Ukraine, the T-84 Oplot tanks and other land vehicles ordered by Thailand may be affected. Delivery of the 1st batch of the tanks were completed a few weeks ago, but now the proceeding batches may be delayed. If a shooting war starts between Ukraine and Russia, or an ethnic civil war or war for independece of ethnic Russian areas starts, MaxDefense expects that the Thai orders will be cancelled indefinitely.

=========
July 1, 2014:
Indonesia is scheduled to receive the 1st major batch of deliveries of Leopard 2 main battle tanks and Marder infantry fighting vehicles. The Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) will receive 26 of each of the armored vehicles, which they expect to be available before its anniversary on October 5.

Singapore was also reported as the unnamed Asian country that will receive Kodiak armored engineering vehicles (AEV) before the end of 2014. No specific numbers were released in the report. The German Kodiak AEV is based on the Leopard 2 main battle tank. 

=========


Friday, September 20, 2013

PAF's Light Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft - Is there a Sure Winner?

The Philippines' Department of National Defense (DND) recently released the Technical Specifications for the Philippine Air Force's (PAF) Light Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft project, which is found here:

http://dnd.gov.ph/DNDWEBPAGE_files/BAC/2013/SBB/SEPTEMBER/Section%20VII-Amend-LLFWA05Sept%202013-.pdf

It specifically indicated their requirements, from aircraft configuration to paint scheme and logistics support. The aircraft will be assigned with the 220th Airlift Wing based in Benito Ebuen Air Base, Mactan, Cebu, and will work hand-in-hand with other airlift assets, specifically the elder N-22B Nomad, and will probably replace the Nomad in the coming years.


The seal of the Philippine Air Force 220th Airlift Wing.
Seal taken from DND.

The following is the summary of the aircraft's technical specifications:

- The project is for 2 brand new units, and will be used for Airborne Operations, Aero Medical Evacuation, Limited Maritime Patrol and Search & Rescue Operations, and for Passenger and Cargo Transport;
-  To be able to do these missions, the aircraft must be equipped with static line cables and paratroop seats, cargo drop/delivery system, pallets, cargo net, tie down straps, dual rails and rollers, capable of accommodating at least 4 litters, must have bubble windows on both sides of the fuselage, and have minimum of 12 forward seats;
- A range of 700 nautical miles and have a minimum payload of 2,200 lbs. with maximum fuel load, and an endurance of 5.5 hours at maximum take-off weight;
- Capable of loading and offloading at least 7x4x4 feet (Length x Width x Height) cargo;
- Rear cargo loading with assisted cargo loading devices is mandatory;
- Minimum cruising speed of 150 knots and service ceiling of at least 20,000 feet;
- Maximum take-off and landing distance of 2,500 feet at Maximum weight;
- Communications to include VHF-FM and AM, UHF and Marine Radios;
- Auto-pilot capable, with GPS, multi-function control display unit, Flight Management System,
- Twin Engine Turbo-prop with minimum rating of 840shp per engine;

Although not published in MaxDefense blogs or MaxDefense@Facebook site, initially MaxDefense believes that the possible contenders for this project include the following aircraft models:

- Hawker Beechcraft's King Air 350 (USA), which is currently also offered for the Maritime Patrol Aircraft requirement of the AFP. The company has been active in the Philippines lately as it also pushes the AT-6 Texan II to replace the ageing OV-10 Bronco in PAF inventory;


A Colombian Army Beechcraft King Air.
Photo taken from webinfomil.blogspot.com c/o Carlos Andres Lopez.


- PZL-Mielec/Sikorsky Aircraft M28 Skytruck (Poland), known in Poland as the Bryza. PZL-Mielec is now a company owned by Sikorsky Aircraft of the US, but we still don't know if who of the 2 entities will be assigned to enter the bid. MaxDefense believes this is the dark horse should PZL Mielec or Sikorsky Aircraft joins the bid;


A Polish M28 Skytruck, locally known as the Bryza. Seen here with its rear cargo door open.
Photo taken from flugzeuginfo.net.


- EADS-CASA/IAe C-212-400 Aviocar (EU/Indonesia), the strongest contender so far, and its stablemates are being offered for the Maritime Patrol Aircraft and Medium Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft projects as well;


The cockpit of the C-212-400 Aviocar, note the multi-fuction glass display, a requirement indicated by the PAF.Photo taken from Airliners.net.


- RUAG Aviation Dornier Do 228NG (Switzerland/Germany), a new generation version of Dornier's original Do 228 which went out of production several years ago. RUAG Aviation is now the new licensed manufacturer and supplier of the aircraft design;


RUAG Aviation's Do 228NG.


- Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otter (Canada), another contender for the Maritime Patrol Aircraft project. Previously made by de Havilland Canada (DHC), now the rights for all DHC aircraft was taken over by Viking Air. They have just recently authorized Philippine-based company Associated Defense Industries Corp. (ADIC) as their local representative to liaise with the Philippine armed forces;


The latest variant of the DHC-6 Twin Otter, the Series 400 Guardian, is also being offered to the AFP for different purposes.
Photo taken from Canadian American Strategic Review website.


- Both the Cessna Aircraft Company's 208 Caravan (USA) and Pilatus Aircraft's PC-12NG (Switzerland) were previously on MaxDefense's list, but with the requirement being a twin-engine, both aircraft are definitely out of the project.


Both the Cessna 208 Caravan (above) and Pilatus PC-12 (below) are not possible for offer due to the PAF's requirement for the light lift aircraft to be a twin engine model.
Photos taken from Wikimedia.



But with the specifications out, MaxDefense can somehow make a partial conclusion: the PAF must be eyeing the C-212-400 Aviocar. Here's why:

- Most of the specified requirements of the aircraft can be met by all potential contenders except for one thing: the mandatory requirement for a rear cargo loading requirement and the capacity to carry a 7x4x4 feet cargo. Only the C-212 Aviocar and the M28 Skytruck has that capability since it has a wide rear opening, while other contenders only have passenger hatches or double doors.


Blackwater Worldwide's C-212 making combat drops in Afghanistan.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

- Of all the aircraft possibly offered, the C-212 Aviocar was already announced by the PAF as their choice for the light lift aircraft project, which was made as early as last year 2012. Aviation Week's interview with DND's ASec Patrick Velez late last year and reports from ABS-CBN also specifically pointed on this aircraft together with other aircraft for other PAF requirements. If not for the bidding requirements as stipulated by Philippine laws, the DND could have already signed a contract with either EADS-CASA or IAe for this aircraft model.




The M28 Skytruck actually has a large rear cargo door, as required by the PAF specifications.
Photo from Strikehold.net

- There is a strong indication from MaxDefense sources within the defense agencies that Airbus Military / Indonesian Aerospace has a strong chance to bag at least one, if not all of the PAF's requirements for the Light Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft, the Medium Lift Aircraft and Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft projects.

Vietnam's Maritime Police (now Coast Guard) employs the C-212-400 for a variety of missions, including those indicated by the PAF for its Light Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

The C-212-400 Aviocar was previously offered by Indonesian Aerospace (IAe) which has the new assembly plant of the aircraft after Airbus Military (owner of CASA) decided the move the production line recently to Indonesia. The aircraft is a proven design, and is in use with several air forces including the US Air Force. 

Although MaxDefense does not find anything wrong with the C-212 Aviocar, it seems to be the clear winner in this bid. But can we really say that the project is a done deal with Aviocar as the possible winner? No, not yet.

The Do 228NG is another strong contender but may encounter difficulty due to the aircraft's lack of large rear door opening, with only a double door present on the fuselage's one side. Also questionable is its take-off and landing runway length requirements, which is slightly more than the 2,500 feet requirement indicated by the specifications while having a less payload of that the C-212-400 or even the smaller M28 Skytruck.

The M28 Skytruck is MaxDefense' perceived "dark horse" in this project, if and only if PZL-Mielec joins the bid and offer the aircraft to the PAF. So far there has been no public announcement if PZL-Mielec indeed offered the M28 Skytruck to the DND or PAF, although the latest success of Polish aviation industry with the recent sale of 8 PZL-Swidnik W-3A Sokol helicopters to the PAF may have bolstered PZL-Mielec's marketing group to push for a deal with the DND. 

MaxDefense is still waiting for the bidding process to proceed, wherein we can all see who are the contending bidders are, and we can make a better judgement of which aircraft is possible to win the project. It is also expected that other aircraft manufacturers may peddle their ware and try to get the bid document, but MaxDefense expects this bid to be short and fast in getting a winner.



=====================

Updates:

September 25, 2013:
Only two contenders submitted their bids for the PAF Light Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft project, named as PT Dirgantara Indonesia (Indonesian Aerospace / PT DI / IAe), and Sikorsky Aircraft (mother company of PZL-Mielec). The Indonesian company offered the NC-212-200 (Indonesian-made Airbus Military C-212-200 Aviocar) while Sikorsky offered the M28 Skytruck (rebranded PZL-Mielec M28 Bryza). But it appears that only the bid from PT DI was found to be qualified. Still wondering though why the Indonesians offered the older 200 series rather than the newer 400 series that they also have in their products list?

More of the updates here.
===

November 12, 2013:
The bidding for this project was considered a failure by the DND, and a new Invitation to Bid was released recently. The pre-bid conference is scheduled on November 15, 2013, and the bid submission and opening will is now scheduled on November 29, 2013. It appears that the PT DI / IAe (Indonesian Aerospace) failed to meet the documentation requirements of the bidding, which was previously highlighted in a previously reported news article

Whatever the reason is, it would be a chance for Sikorsky/PZL-Mielec to make a comeback and try to snatch the contract from IAe should they still give interest to the project. The pre-bid conference may be a peek of who's going in to battle with IAe.
=====

November 16, 2013:
According to the PAF's report on Status of Modernization Projects, the project was declared a failure after PT DI's offer was found to be non-compliant. It was declared officially a failed bid on October 11, 2013.

Let's see what happens on November 29, which is the new bid submission and opening schedule.
=====

December 16, 2013:
The DND released a new Supplementary Bid Bulletin Nr. AFP-PAF-LLFWA-(N)-13-01 dated December 12, 2013, which answers several queries and requests by two of the potential bidders Sikorsky Aircraft and PT Dirgantara Indonesia (Persero). They are offering their M28-05 Skytruck and NC-212i Aviocar, respectively.

More details can be found on the said Supplementary Bid Bulletin (link HERE) for further reading, but it appears that Sikorsky's requests are more on the documentary and provisions of contract while PT DI is more on clarifications on the aircraft itself. But MaxDefense believes that the chances that Sikorsky may submit a bid is slim considering that many of their requests were denied.
=====

April 17, 2015:
MaxDefense forgot to update this entry with regards to this project.

As early as 1st quarter of 2014, the DND has awarded the contract to supply 2 Light-Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft to PT Dirgantara Indonesia (Persero) / Indonesian Aerospace, with the winning aircraft being the NC-212i. The 2 aircraft are expected to be delivered to the Philippine Air Force within 2015.
=====

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Zamboanga City Crisis, a Photo Collection in Honor of the Officers and Men of the AFP and PNP


As the situation in Zamboanga City continues with the defiance of rogue MNLF units to stand down and surrender, it seems that this crisis will still take a few days, or even weeks more.

MaxDefense decided to tribute the people's champion, the soldiers and police officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippine and Philippine National Police, together with countless brave volunteers from the Philippine Red Cross, with this collection of photos taken from Zamboanga City.


Evacuating citizens of Zamboanga City trying to board vehicles bound for temporary evacuation centers. 

Residents running away for safety from the scene of fighting.

An army Simba armored vehicle positioned near Baranggay Rio Hondo in Zamboanga City.
Affected citizens evacuating after MNLF bandits burn their houses.
A Kia KM-450 vehcile from the Army's 32nd Infantry Battalion, troops responding on the first day of the crisis.

The first group of Philippine Army troops that responded on the first day. Note the number of onlookers.

Army troops securing the Zamboanga City General Hospital which is near the conflict zone during the 1st day of the crisis
1st group of Philippine Army soldiers deployed preparing to move in by foot to the conflict area. 
An Army soldier from Task Force Zamboanga armed with a recoilless rifle awaits instructions.
Army soldiers marching towards the conflict zone. Photo taken from TV11 Zamboanga.
Philippine Army troops marching to the conflict zone after arriving in Zamboanga City on the 1st day of the conflict.

Philippine Marine troops marching towards the conflict zone after being offloaded near the city center. Photo taken from Associated Press.

Army soldiers with Simba armored vehicle.
Simba armored vehicles from the Philippine Army Mechanized Infantry Division mobilizing upon arrival at Zamboanga City. 
Soldiers and armored vehicles moving in.


A column of Philippine Army Simba armored vehicles from the Mechanized Infantry Division. 

A group of Philippine Marine troops discussing their plan of action before moving in. A Philippine Army Simba armored vehicle in the background. Photo taken from Reuters, dated September 12, 2013.
Marine troopers pray before moving in. Photo taken from Reuters, dated September 12, 2013.
One of the Marine troopers from MBLT-3 responding to the crisis. 
Philippine Marine Corps soldiers from Marine Battalion Landing Team 3 (MBLT-3) take positions along the city center area.
MBLT-3 Marine soldiers moving in.
Marines from Marine Battalion Landing Team 3 (MBLT-3) moving in.

PNP Regional Public Safety police officers secures and take position at one of the buildings near the MNLF bandit's strongholds.
Soldiers found some hidden weapons stored in rice bags being moved around, one of them is this. Photo taken from Reuters, September 11, 2013.

A Philippine Marine gunner positioning to secure a checkpoint. Photo taken from Reuters, dated September 11, 2013.
An army sniper armed with an M24 sniper rifle and M16 assault rifle takes position along Lustre Street in Zamboanga City.
An Army sniper armed with a Stoner SR-25 Mk. 11 sniper rifle scanning for targets.

Philippine Army troops positioned at the back of Simba armored vehicles while awaiting for signal to move in.
Simba armored vehicles from the Army take positions along Sta Catalina Road opposite to MNLF strongholds. Photo taken from Reuters, dated September 12, 2013.

Marines positioned on one side, Army on the other side.
Marines taking position. Photo taken from AFP.
Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) troops march to the conflict area backed by armored Humvees from the Philippine Army and V-150 armored vehicles from the PNP-SAF. 
Fresh troops from the PNP Special Action Force together with Army armored Humvees and PNP V-150 armored vehicles.
PNP-SAF police commandos moving in while Zamboanga City police SWAT members looks. 
PNP-SAF police commandos moving in to the scene of fighting.



Residents scramble to fetch water to douse burning hourses. Photo and caption taken from Reuters, dated September 12, 2013.

Army soldiers at the intersection of Sta. Catalina Road and Lustre Street open fire on MNLF positions. Photo taken from Reuters, dated September 12, 2013. 




Army Scout Rangers preparing for an assault along Lustre Street. Take note of their appearance as compared to all other units from the Philippine military. 
Philippine Marine troops run across the street opposite positions of MNLF bandits. Take note of the M14 battle rifle carried by the soldiers.

Philippine Marine troops run across the street opposite positions of MNLF bandits. 



Inside the turret of a Simba armored vehicle.
A sniper armed with a Stoner SR-25 Mk.11 sniper rifle check for targets. Photo taken from AFP.
Philippine National Police Regional Public Safety police officers receives a surrendering MNLF bandit.
A Philippine Air Force MD-520MG gunship taking aerial reconnaissance of the conflict zone.
An Army UAV used during the conflict maneuvering for another pass at the enemy's positions.
MD-520MG gunships of the Philippine Air Force on ready for any sudden mission.
Bell UH-1H Huey combat utility helicopters stand ready at Edwin Andrews Air Base.
Army troopers secure chokepoints leading to the conflict zone.
Zamboanga City police officers securing the city center.
Zamboanga City police officers checking a vehicle as part of security measures.
Army soldiers and Simba armored vehicle posted near the conflict area.
Army soldiers take position at the intersection of Lustre and Evangelista Streets just near the combat zone. 
Some of the Philippine Air Force's UH-1H Huey combat utility helicopters providing support from Edwin Andrews Air Base.
Firefighters scrambling to take out the fire after MNLF bandits torched houses.
2 MD-520MG gunships at Edwin Andews Air Base, ready to fly in when needed.
A W-3A Sokol combat utility helicopter and a MD-520MG gunship on ready at Edwin Andrews Air Base while Zamboanga City's coastal baranggays are in flames.
PAF W-3 Sokol and MD-520MG attack gunship in Edwin Andrews Air Base while parts of the city burn after MNLF bandits torched houses. 




A Philippine Air Force C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft bringing in supplies at nearby Edwin Andrews Air Base.
Army troops and armored vehicles take position near Lustre Street in Zamboanga City, just opposite the MNLF bandit's positions. 
Residents evacuate as houses burn during the clashes. Photo taken from Reuters dated September 12, 2013.
A resident tries to douse water to burning houses. Photo taken from Reuters dated September 12, 2013.

Residents scrambling after houses were deliberately set on fire by MNLF bandits.

Residents desperately saving their houses from a fire using water buckets.
An army Scout Ranger giving instruction near burning houses.
An aerial photo showing parts of Zamboanga City in flames after MNLF bandits set these areas on fire intentionally. 
A Simba armored vehicle, with Baranggay Sta. Catalina burning. 
An Army Scout Ranger taking position under the cover of a Simba armored vehicle. Photo taken from Reuters dated September 12, 2013.
Snipers manning the roof take a shot at an MNLF target. Photo taken from Rappler.com
Philippine Marine troops engaged in a firefight with MNLF bandits. 
Army infantry (right) and Scout Rangers (left) with a Simba armored vehicle from the Mechanized Infantry Division. Photo taken from Associated Press.
Philippine Marine troops take cover, while a Simba armored vehicle gives cover fire. This is at the intersection of near Lustre Street. 
Army troops taking positions during a firefight with MNLF bandits.
Army troops and armored vehicles in a firefight with MNLF bandits. Photo taken from Reuters, dated September 12, 2013.
A Simba armored vehicle firing on MNLF positions at the end of Lustre Street in Zamboanga City. Photo from Reuters. 
Empty city streets of Zamboanga after citizens are forced to vacate their homes to safer areas until the situation settles down.
Police from PNP SAF and Regional Public Safety Office check on their colleague after being injured. 
Another injured army soldier awaiting medical attention. 
Philippine Red Cross volunteers moving in after taking a wounded volunteer after being injured from a nearby explosion. 
Philippine Red Cross volunteers evacuating an injured volunteer after being hit by a mortar round. Photo taken from Rappler. 


Philippine Red Cross volunteers evacuating wounded soldiers and fellow Red Cross volunteers after a mortar round was dropped in their location
An injured Army soldier awaiting evacuation after being hit by a mortar shrapnel. 
Soldiers evacuating injured troops and Red Cross volunteers. 

Army soldiers checking their injured companions while Red Cross volunteers move in to evacuate them.
An army soldier directing his companions after one of their comrades was injured. 


One of the injured Red Cross volunteers awaiting evacuation from the frontline. Photo taken from Rappler.


Soldiers carrying their injured comrade after being hit by mortar round from MNLF bandits. Photo taken from Rappler.
Mediamen taking cover behind a Simba armored vehicle from the Philippine Army to avoid being hit by MNLF snipers. Photo taken from GMA News.
A Scorpion light tank from the Philippine Army's Mechanized Infantry Division being loaded to a Philippine Air Force C-130 Hercules transport aircraft bound for Zamboanga City.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III assisting in giving relief supplies for distribution to the affected citizens of Zamboanga City.
Philippine Marine Corps soldiers taking some snack and rest from a hectic day. Photo taken from Reuters, dated September 12, 2013. 
A Marine heavy weapons trooper resting. Photo from Reuters.
An army trooper taking a break a some snacks.
After heavy fighting these Marine soldiers take some rest while their comrades take over their duties for the moment. Photo taken from Reuters, dated September 12, 2013.
Army soldiers securing a street rests under a shade while awaiting further orders. 
Soldiers patrol the main boulevard in Zamboanga City to make sure the area is secured.
Let us remember the sacrifices of our soldiers and police officers, those who died and got injured during the course of the crisis, for their bravery and service to the country and people. Prayers and support for our men in uniform, and to the people of Zamboanga City.

Philippine Coast Guard Modernization Projects