Wednesday, October 23, 2013

PAF's Medium Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft Program - A Simple Analysis of the 3 Contenders

With the pre bid conference started for the much anticipated bidding of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) Medium Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft worth Php 5.3 billion, it is worth noting that 3 contenders were present, and they have long been anticipated to participate in this project. The following aircraft manufacturers are:

1. Alenia Aerospace (Italy) with the C-27J Spartan,
2. EADS/CASA - Airbus Military (Spain/EU) with the C-295,
3. PT Dirgantara Indonesia / Indonesian Aerospace (PT DI / IAe) with the CN-235.

For the case of Airbus Military and Indonesia Aerospace, tt's surprising to see that they will be competing separately although these companies and their products are closely related to each other, MaxDefense didn't expect them to bid separately using 2 almost similar aircraft models.


The PAF is in need of a new medium-sized transport aircraft to complement and eventually replacement the venerable Fokker F.27 aircraft (above), which lacks the capability to fill-in transport duties from the larger Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules.
Photo taken from defense-studies.blogspot.com c/o sires9094.


Brief Summary of the Contenders:
Construcciones Aeronauticas SA (CASA) was a Spanish aircraft manufacturer which tied up with Industri Pesawat Terbang Nursantara (IPTN) of Indonesia to build a medium transport aircraft which eventually became CN-235 (C for CASA, N for Nursantara). Both aircraft manufacturers eventually made changes to their organizations, with CASA eventually changing its name to EADS-CASA (with EADS being a consortium of European aerospace companies where CASA is a member), which also includes Airbus and Airbus Military in the consortium. IPTN in the meantime was restructured and was renamed PT Dergantara Indonesia, or Indonesian Aerospace in 2000. Although both have rights to the CN-235, EADS-CASA and PT DI decided to develop and market the aircraft independently after the Series 100, which includes the division of marketing between the 2 countries for the aircraft. The Philippines is actually part of PT DI's jurisdiction thus they are the one marketing the CN-235. The CN-235 is a successful military aircraft with more than 26 countries operating them in military organizations plus a few other civilian operators.


The CASA-IAe CN-235 aircraft, photo above in Spanish Air Force colors.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

EADS-CASA further developed the CN-235 into a bigger aircraft, the C-295 (C for CASA, take note the missing "N" unlike the CN-235), which is actually a stretched and more powerful derivative of the CN-235. Being a different aircraft but almost in the same category of the CN-235, EADS-CASA's offer with the C-295 actually gives the Europeans a chance to challenge and provide an alternative to the Indonesian-built CN-235. Spain and 15 other countries operate the C-295.


The CASA-EADS C-295 aircraft, in Polish Air Force service.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

Alenia Aerospace's C-27J Spartan is actually a derivative of the older Aeritalia G.222 medium transport aircraft from Italy. Early G.222 aircraft were sold to the US miltary, and was called the C-27A in behalf of the US military requirements. Further development of the aircraft was made, with assistance of Lockheed Martin resulting to the C-27J Spartan. It uses the same engine, propellers and many systems found on the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules, thus the "J" designation. Aside from the US and Italy, 7 other countries use the C-27J, with more countries taking some interest on the aircraft.


The Alenia Aerospace C-27J Spartan of the Italian Air Force.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

The Acquisition Project:
The 3 aircraft being offered have their strengths and weaknesses as different platforms, and the DND will have to release it's specifications that will ultimately pinpoint to who will take the project. Here's why:

The C-27J has the largest cargo capacity with almost 3 times that of the CN-235, is the fastest, longest ranged, and most expensive of the choices. MaxDefense believes that the C-27J would lose the bid if the C-295 or CN-235 are all within the specifications of the project because of high cost. The only way this aircraft would bag the project is for the specifications to be high enough for C-295 and CN-235 to impossibly possess. This is by making the most of the C-27J's strengths in terms of capacity and power.


A Lithuanian Air Force C-27J Spartan with an aerial refueling probe.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

The C-295 is a cheaper alternative to the C-27J, but has less payload capacity and smaller fuselage size, operational range, and speed. The CN-235 has an even lesser capability than the C-295 due to its smaller size. But it is expected that the CN-235 will be the cheapest of the 3 aircraft being offered to the DND & PAF. 


Photo above shows the fuselage difference between the C-27J and C-295. The C-295 might not even be capable of taking in a Humvee which the Philippine military widely uses. This proves a disadvantage for the C-295 and CN-235 which are both smaller than the C-27J.
Photo taken from militaryphotos.net c/o Hyde.


MaxDefense believes that comparing the 3 different aircraft models is like comparing different fruits, lets say an apple to an orange and to a pear. Unlike the Light Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft Program where the competing aircraft models are closely similar, the aircraft models competing for the Medium Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft Program are not.

Ultimately the specifications will immediately say who will win as it will set the parameters into order for the 3 manufacturers. If the CN-235's dimensions and capability is enough to pass the set specifications by the DND, then it will surely win the bid due to pricing as compared to the C-295 and C-27J. Thus it would be easy to guess who will win the bid by just looking at the specifications to be released by the DND.


But MaxDefense believes that the C-27J has a lead in this project, based on previous announcements and press releases by the DND and PAF. Like the Light Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft and Surface Attack Aircraft/Lead In Fighter Trainer acquisition programs, DND's ASec Patrick Velez told Aviation Week late last year that they have already chosen the C-27J as the next medium lift transport aircraft for the PAF after evaluating it against other aircraft models like the C-295 and CN-235. This was also pointed out by reports from ABS-CBN in an earlier news report, thus making the C-27J's bid stronger compared to its competitors. Take note that so far, all aircraft models pointed out by the DND and PAF came out leading the respected bidding programs, except for the Attack Helicopter which reverted back to its original choice. If not for the bidding requirements as decided by the Aquino administration, the DND could have already signed a contract with either Alenia Aerosspace for the C-27J as early as 1st quarter 2013.


Photo showing fuselage comparison between a C-130, C-27J, Antonov An-32, C-295, CN-235. Take note of the size differences and capability to take in different kinds of expected cargo like vehicles, goods and fighter aircraft engines. These cargo are expected to be carried by PAF medium lift transport aircraft as well.
Photo taken from militaryphotos.net c/o Hyde.

Bid opening was moved from October 14, 2013 to October 29, 2013 as indicated in the 1st Supplemental Bid Bulletin, as expected like other similar procurement of major defense equipment. So it would be best to see who are the final contenders for the next week. MaxDefense will post updates upon availability as the acquisition program progresses.

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Updates:

October 26, 2013: The bid submission and opening was moved from October 29, 2013 to November 11, 2013. This is according to the new Supplemental Bid Bulletin issued by the DND on October 21, 2013. No word if bidders requested the schedule change or if DND's decision.

55 comments:

  1. In the first place, the Humvee should not be maintained as a regular vehicle of the AFP as it is very expensive, large sized but no commensurate payload both in volume and weight.

    The AFP should instead adopt and improve the former Philippine Marine Corp's jeepney design with 4 wheel drive, roll bars, winch system etc. In this manner, the AFP will not have to spend more to maintain its supply chain. Such a vehicle can also be locally manufactured as before during Marcos' times. The AFP has become just a buyer now instead of being an engine for development.

    In such a scenario, buying the cheaper Indonesian CN-235 will result in savings that can be used to revive 2 more C-130's by the PAF's 410th Maintenance Wing. The Fokker F-27's can also be maintained as personnel transports.

    The C-27J is an expensive plane to buy and maintain that even the US Air Force deleted it from its fleet, even getting it straight to the boneyard fresh from delivery. If the USAF cannot afford it, more so the PAF.

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    1. The US deleted it because the small fleet they had can be taken over by older C-130s which they have by the hundreds. Its more of a logistical and practicality move, unlike in the PAF's case wherein it only has a handful of C-130s in its fleet while there is no asset smaller than it or bigger than the Nomad.

      As for the Humvee, the AFP is actually becoming a receipient of ex-US EDA stocks, Maxadefense expects more Humvees to come in the near future, similar to those used in Zamboanga. So the AFP is expected to increase its Humvee assets.

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    2. i agree, , the jeepney is used by the MNLF and abu sayyaf in transport . so why not philippine army ?? we can upgrade those jeepney to carry bigger wheels, upgrade it with armor and mount by .50cal or .30cal machine guns . it looks also 10x cheaper than the Humvee . . this also carry more crew than humvee . even it is WW2 vehicle it can be cheaper and more reliable for our army . .

      but let's go to the topic . C-27J is good for transport its like C-130 with same engine but less crew to carry . . it's also faster than any other competitors in the bidding

      Max. is there any other choice for DND to buy C27J even in a limited budget ?? or can we get additional budget for it like getting money from malampaya fund or PNOY's PDAF ?

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    3. OFF TOPIC: Seriouly Jeep and Jeepney for the AFP? are we reverting back to the WWII & Vietnam War Era? I thought we are for the modernization the AFP?

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    4. Let the C-130 do the job in transporting vehicles and personnel. And let the cheaper C-295 do the transporting of personnel and supplies. C-27J is a versatile aircraft but do not fit the budget.
      Dennis

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    5. Hi Renzo, I also think your idea is also way beyond possible, the AFP is already moving towards mechanization of several of its infantry units, and jeeps or jeepneys are far below what is expected of the AFP.

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    6. Jendrich we have limited financial resources to stand up a credible external defense yesterday with a wide spectrum of needs. It's not modernization that has to be done but more accurately, capability upgrading. The biggest bang for the cents that we can muster. Correct me if I'm wrong, maybe you're thinking about MRAP's that will surely gets bog down in the boondocks while a 4WD PMC jeepney can easily be manhandled to continue on its journey. This is just the mindset that keeps the AFP from moving forward, continuously eyeing the candy in the Western military store, instead of providing local solutions to their actual needs. Kudos to the Philippine Marine Corp for providing local solutions to their actual needs that also strengthens our economy. The Best from the Toughest.

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    7. @ AnonymousOctober 25, 2013 at 1:59 PM, just to quote Max "jeeps or jeepneys are far below what is expected of the AFP"

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    8. OFF TOPIC @jendrich - . what about our air force ? the DND plan to purchase 21 secondhand huey(a vietnam war era helicopter)? if we are in modernization at least we should go buy some Chinook or Black hawk, so why not jeepney ? there are so many new generation of jeepney today, as i said earlier we can still upgrade them to be mounted by machine guns or armored. it can also help our economy and more jobs to filipino's .

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    9. @ Renzo Del Mundo as I posted above Quote from Max "jeeps or jeepneys are far below what is expected of the AFP" why keep pushing for the jeepney for AFP I don't understand the logic and the argument, there are several reason on why the Jeepney has been ruled out and phased out from service, I'm no defense expert, I'm just expressing my opinion about this OFF TOPIC entry, you can direct your question to Max if want to know more on why jeep and jeepney are phased from service.

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    10. Even the jeepneys are beginning to be replaced by the COMET e-vehicle. Why still push for jeepneys? Besides, this is OT already. Discuss the jeepneys in other blogs, not here.

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  2. EADS-CASA CN-235 Technical Review, pls download pdf file here :

    www.nifc.gov/aviation/av_documents/av_SASEB/CN235Report.pdf

    (page. 6)
    In the case of transporting vehicles, they are secured to hard points on the floor structure by means of cargo straps and cargo chains, with no need for floor shoring. The maximum wheeled vehicle weight per axle is 2100 kg which allows the carriage of most of the vehicles in common use by the Air Forces.
    Panhard VBL, Vamtac URO, Land Rover Defender 110 or Nissan ML-6.


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  3. The DND could tailor the specs accordingly with the Spartan yes, but the question is, did they allocate enough to get their choice. Hopefully they did. No one wants a failed bidding.

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    Replies
    1. Their initial push for the C-27J actually included the budget, the DND and PAF already knows how much it will cost them to get the C-27J.

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    2. Good for the PAF then, but to ask your opinion, wouldn't you rather have this budget go to the Navy? They are at the forefront of our external defense. This money could have jump started the need for OPVs for example. The Air Force already have the Hercs, I think they could have put the medium lift requirement in the back burner just like they did with the Tucanos. Anyways, you are right how on how inadequate the modernization budget is and yet it's the most ambitious it's been. I just wish we get more ships. They might not be as high profile as jets but they are what we need. Thanks for the blogs.

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  4. let see if we can make this for more two years..... drawing is always a habit of the PAF since I was monitiring this kind of PAF modernazation of Fixed wing/transport for two years already. but still were far beyond the expectation... lem1

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    Replies
    1. Good for you! You've only waited 2 years. I've waited for 18 years already.

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    2. sir max, retired na ba kayo?

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  5. pwede cguro chinook na lng..pag walang airport gaya sa bohol sira di mo mapapa landing yan dun..malaking helis na lng mas mura pa yata..=)

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    1. the medium lift aircraft can transport longer range, can transport more troops,cargo even vehicles ,chinook is good for Transferring large number of troops in action, and i also think that chinook's price is more expensive than C295 .

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  6. sir max do you have any news about the C-130 FMS to the united states or to our C-130 to overhaul by lockheed together with our 410th maintenance wing?

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    Replies
    1. There's one more C-130 scheduled for "resurrection" starting next year. As for FMS, nothing yet. Everything is getting suddenly slow.

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  7. Max im out in this exact topic anyway ill ask you, can dnd ask kai to use volvo aero engine in fa-50. The jas gripen engine

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    Replies
    1. nope. fa-50 is a collaboration between kai and lockheed (maker of f-16) definitely it will choose to have a US sourced engine.

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    2. Asking is 1 thing, shouldering development cost and waiting time is another. For such small order, it's not worth it.

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  8. C-27J was under the target of the former administration thru the leadership of National Security Adviser Sec. Gonzales . This project is one of the priority project but halted and cut off due to election period. I hope the Acquisition of the mobile and fixed radar is still rolling right now.

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    Replies
    1. The radar acquisition is rolling right under our noses, and will probably be purchased under a G2G contract, not bidding.

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    2. What about the SAMs? Are they still a GO?

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  9. Or ej200 or the new ge f414-400 with 98 kn maximum thrust for fa-50

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  10. Max I would like to ask if which of the three choices would be logical to procure? (in your own opinion)

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  11. You will never get a transport planes. Ever

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    Replies
    1. i doubt also. this fvcking government is "all show, but no go". they prefer to beg than to buy. they want the allocated money for the modernization transferred to their personal coffers. modesty wise, these people have none.

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    2. I always saw this kind of comment in every blog, "you will never get transport planes", "you will never have fighter jets" "you will never have tanks". i'm pretty sure you're malayshits,Chinks, or taewanese .
      and also this Anonymous October 25, 2013 at 3:28 PM, fine then, if you don't wan't here go to malaysia it's not really that far from here. you'll see so many filipino haters there and you're one of them .

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    3. hahahaha.. your right im sure they're foreigner..... I hate chinese government particular... i hate their attitude.....

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  12. Sir Max, out of the topic,,can the PAF if ever acquired the FA-50 Geagle, do they have the ability to upgrade it like our neighbors did to there F-5 freedom? I believe that the FA 50 is a good fighter, it only lacks a good radar.. Max range of the its current radar is just 150 km(ELM 2032).. much better if it can be upgraded to AN/APG 68 which has a range of 296 km( used by f-16). well we have the PADC? can they do it?? so it can match fighters like SU 30's of our neighbors, and so it can do BVR capabilities??

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    1. I believe the FA-50 is futureproof for the next 20 years. Most aircraft are designed to be nowadays.

      BTT.

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    2. Why would we need the BVR capability for our future FA-50? The PAF will not shoot any suspected enemy aircraft even from 20 kms. away. Doing so at the ____ for example would invite their rabid war dogs to attack us and give them the excuse to blow to smithereens our hard earned and prospective defense assets.

      Lets use the FA-50 to induct and train our future MRF pilots. For them to establish and check future Strategies / Tactics best suited for our limited forces in reacting to territorial advances by our potential enemy.

      Short and medium range AAM & ASM should be purchased for the FA-50 for self defense + SAMs for base protection. An AEW&C version of the EADS CASA C-295 if procured by the PAF can provide the AESA capability and enhance the interoperability of our limited air defense & naval assets.

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  13. To narrow down the advantages & disadvantages between the Alenia C27 J and the CASA C295 here are some published specification of the 2 aircraft.

    1. Cabin


    Length (m): C295 has 15.73 vs. C-27J has 10.53 --> C295 has the best mark
    Floor Area (m2): C295 has 37.12 vs. C-27J has 25.8 --> C295 has the best mark
    Volume (m3): C295 has 64 vs. C-27J has 58 --> C295 has the best mark
    Troops: C295 has 71 vs. C-27J has 46 --> C295 has the best mark
    Paratroops: C295 has 50 vs. C-27J has 32 --> C295 has the best mark
    Pallets (88" x 108"): C295 has 5 vs. C-27J has 3 --> C295 has the best mark
    Stretchers: C295 has 24 vs. C-27J has 18 --> C295 has the best mark
    Roller System: C295 has 4 row (like C-130) vs. C-27J has 3 --> C295 has the best mark

    2. PERFORMANCE

    Range (nm): C295 has 3000 vs. C-27J has 3000 --> Equal marks
    Runway required (ft / 5000kg / 1000nm): C295 has 2290 vs C-27J has 2750 --> C295 has the best mark, it has better STOL capability.
    Trips needed for deployment of Rapid Reaction Force - unpaved runway (800 troops / 200 t in 48h): C295 has 37 vs. C-27J has 89 --> C295 has the best mark
    Soft Runway Capability (CBR): C295 has 2 vs. C-27J has 4 --> C295 has the best mark
    Payload range (t): C295 has 9 vs. C-27J has 9 --> Equal marks
    Fuel consumption (max. ferry range / litre): C295 has 7700 vs. C-27J has 12300 --> C295 has the best mark, it offers fuel savings and therefore cost savings.
    Endurance: C295 has 12 hours vs. C-27J has 10 --> C295 has the best mark, it offers 2 hours more search and rescue time.
    MMH/FH: C295 has 1.14 vs. C-27J has > 7 --> C295 has the best mark
    FAA Certified: C295 YES vs. C-27J NO --> C295 is the only fully certified
    Maritime proven: C295 (and CN235) is used in more than 12 countries vs. C-27J not one--> C295 is the clear winner.

    Conclusion:
    According to the previous technical data, I think that is clear that C295 is superior than C-27J.
    This can also be supported by the different countries Air Force that are using C295 vs C-27J. Also one thing the PAF should also consider the multifunctional of the C295 from AEWC platform ,maritime patrol combine with ASW and one important function that surfaced during the Zamboanga Crisis is an air gunship similar to the AC 130 "specter gunship" which is suitable to our terrain type COIN warfare . We need this particular type of aircraft which was used and proven during the the " Muslim rebellion in the early 70s . I'm referring to the AC 47 spooky gunship.

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    1. this is just propaganda being circulated by EADS to support c295. C27j is a military aircraft fully designed and equipped to serve the Army. C295 is a civilian project adjusted to military reqs.

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    2. Objectively do we lose or sacrifice too much if we choose the capability of the $28M C295 vs the $50M C27J? This does not include the higher cost of operating the C27J.

      Wouldn't it be worth it to spend the savings to upgrading / modernizing the capability of our defense & public safety establishment? Such as the purchase and use of the AEW&C (which uses AESA radar for the PAF) and Maritime Patrol/SAR/ASW (for the PCG/PN) versions of the C295. This will leap frog our servicemen to the modern and high tech means of monitoring and protecting our EEZ.

      We still have the C130s for the heavier stuffs. To carry the Humvees and other vehicles & heavy equipment, we can use the commercial Ro-Ro or our naval transports. It is a waste of our meager resources to use airplanes in transporting such items.

      Even the use of AC-130 is not viable in our country. It will be a waste of ammunition, fuel & maintenance cost + collateral damages. We can make use of the A-29 Super Tucano for our COIN, CAP, light assault & aerial surveillance needs. Practicality & Operational Economy should be practiced in our defense needs.

      We need to take into consideration that we will not only pay for the procurement of these items but we will pay more for the operations and maintenance + service life extension of these assets.

      In the future, we may also opt to check the Airbus A400M as possible replacement to the C130.

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  14. budget is always the problem. i would like to express my appreciation of government will decide for c27j-spartan remember we have few heavy c-130 planes and they are not expected to serve our airforce for very long years since they are refurbished/re-activated so at least c-27j can atleast complement more than half the power and weight handling of c-130 planes?(i think). just like mr max pointed out that we can expect more humvees from US.

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    1. The PAF should not waste taxpayers money by loading Humvees into our few C130s....we can load them into Naval Transports or commercial Ro-Ro as much as possible.

      Also, is the extra capacity of the $50M C27J worth the extra price as compared to the $28M C295? This does not include the higher operating & maintenance cost for this type.

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  15. budget is always the problem. i would like to express my appreciation of government will decide for c27j-spartan remember we have few heavy c-130 planes and they are not expected to serve our airforce for very long years since they are refurbished/re-activated so at least c-27j can atleast complement more than half the power and weight handling of c-130 planes?(i think). just like mr max pointed out that we can expect more humvees from US.

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  16. Note: The C-295 is longer than the C-27J. This allows it to carry more troops or paratroopers than C-27J.
    Sources:
    http://www.c295.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011-06-28-DP-295-TT-DATA-POSTER-GEN-EN.pdf
    http://www.finmeccanicausa.com/Capabilities/PDF/g222.pdf

    Correction: The CN-235 payload in a transport configuration is 5950 kg. The C-27J's payload is 11500 kg (although the above PDF says 9842 kg). Thus the C-27J's cargo capacity is twice the CN-235, not three times.
    Source: http://www.airbusmilitary.com/Aircraft/CN235/CN235Spec.aspx

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  17. What ever happened to those eight attack helicopters that should have been bid out already? Anyone know?

    Osmond...

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    Replies
    1. Post qualifications has been completed, DND accepts AgustaWestland's offer. Final document for signing already with SecDef Gazmin per MaxDefense sources.

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    2. Thank you Sir Max for your update on this and I'm happy for the development and progress for our AFP modernazation.. Mabuhay ka President Pnoy!! thank you for the support to our AFP..

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  18. i think there is an indonesian commentor here.... for indonesian aerospace hehe. i hope paf choose c-27j spartan

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    Replies
    1. Due to its economy & versatility, i hope that the PAF will choose the MEADS CASA C-295.

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  19. I read about the award of the bid today to Augusta Westland. We now have 5 plus 8 for a total of 13, 109 power helicopters due for delivery.

    Osmond

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    Replies
    1. Actually only 3 orders from the navy are confirmed. The 2 others are still part of an option as follow-up, but have not yet been confirmed by the navy and AW.

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  20. wow..that's good news to our AFP.... thank you so much President Pnoy for the effort you gave to our AFP.. mabuhay po kayo !!! oppppssss sa mga paki alamero na mga anak bayan, anak pawis at kung ano ano pang mga walang naitutulong na mga organization sa ating bansa tumahmik na kayo ha..wag na kayo mangi alam please please...... ito na ang simula ng pag bangon ng ating AFP... Lem1

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  21. We can live with what the C-295's capabilities will provide our Air Force. Price is the higher factor for consideration at this point. C27-J's are priced at $53.3M while the basic C-295 is at $28M. A 2 for 1 advantage to the C-295 concerning budget and procurement numbers. It will more than fulfill a lot of roles in our military including relief operations and sea patrols. One of it's configurations enables it to carry anti-submarine and anti-ship missiles.

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  22. Hi, is this site true : http://flaps-aviacion-aviation-luftfahrt.blogspot.com/2012/01/comparing-airbus-c295-vs-alenania-c-27j.html

    c295 is better than c27J?

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