Thursday, August 14, 2014

PAF's Long Range Patrol Aircraft - Tech Specs, Post-Bidding Report and Updated Analysis

The Philippines' Department of National Defense (DND) released a Supplemental Bid Bulletin dated July 24, 2014 for the Philippine Air Force's (PAF) Long Range Patrol Aircraft Aquisition Project. It included the initial technical specifications, which would be the basis for the 1st stage of the 2-stage bidding for the project.

A Lockheed P-3C Orion dropping sonobuoys.  Refurbished and upgraded P-3C were originally eyed by the Philippines for acquisition via US government FMS. But the deal did not push through and the DND opened a competition for new build MPA.

The PAF was a user of Fokker F-27MPA Maritimes in the past, but a replacement was not made for several years until the current LRPA project.
Photo taken from Wings Pallete website.

A summary of the technical specifications are as follows:

Technical Specifications - Aircraft (Major):
Numbers: 2 units, brand new, factory new;
Engine: at least 2 turboprops using Jet A1 fuel, jet engine not acceptable;
Minimum Payload at Maximum Fuel: at least 11,000 lbs;
Endurance: 7 hours
Cruising Speed: at least 200 knots;
Range: at least 1,400 nmi;
Service Ceiling: at least 25,000 feet;
Engine Time Before Overhaul (TBO): at least 3,600 hours;
Seating: at least 3 at cockpit, at least 10 for cabin;
Communication: at least 2 High Frequency Communication radios, at least 2 UHF radios, at least 2 marine band radios, at least 1 Satellite Communications (SATCOM), at least 1 Encryption unit;
Other Features: lavatory, 2 optic observation glass window, crew rest area for at least 3 crew,  hardpoints for weapons and pods, and external stores.

Technical Specifications - Mission and Surveillance System:
Console: 4 operator multi-functional consoles, physically and functionally identical, software the same as consoles on ground stations. Must be able to show tactical situation window, live or recorded EO/IR and radar video, sensors window (radar, ELINT/SIGINT/COMINT, acoustics, MAD), and other special windows (navigation data, data link and communication, display management);
Airborne Tactical System (ATS): to integrate mission sensors, aircraft navigation, communications, weapons control system,
Sensors integrated to ATS: search radar, Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) turret, ESM/ELINT/COMIT, acoustics, Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD), Automatic Identification System (AIS), Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) integrator, SATCOM and line of sight communication/data link.
Search Radar: should have Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) mode, Wide Area Surveillance/Ground (WAS) mode, Sysnthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) mode.
Sonobuoy: to include Received and Processor, 100pcs. Active Sonobuoys, 100pcs. Passive Sonobuoys, and 30 Bathythermal Buoys;
Downlink System: Type and specification to be provided later on, should include 1 aircraft transmitter per aircraft, 1 airborne antenna per aircraft, 5 units of Fixed Station Receivers, 5 units of Line of Sight Data Link Antenna for Fixed Station Receiver, 17 units Ground Mobile Receiver with briefcase-type decryption unit, and 17 units Antenna.

There were 10 reported buyers of the Bid Documents for the LRPA Project, although only 8 companies submitted a query that were answered on the July 24 SBB. These are:

ARINC Aerospace (USA);
- CASA-Airbus Defense and Space (Spain);
- Elbit Systems Ltd. (Israel);
Field Aviation (USA);
- IAI Elta Systems Ltd. (Israel);
- L3 Mission Integration (USA);
- Lockheed Martin (USA);
- PT Dirgantara Indonesia (Persero) (Indonesia);
- Raytheon Company (USA);
- Saab Technologies Asia Pacific (Sweden).

IAI Elta System and Bombarider Aerospace's proposal for Q-400 maritime patrol aircraft. Bombardier might only supply the aircraft platform to some of the bidders who specializes in surveillance system manufacturing and integration.
Photo taken from Canadian-American Strategic Review website. 

Although Bombardier Aerospace of Canada submitted a query, it appears that they did not join the project as a direct bidding entity, but may probably supply their aircraft to some of the bidders, which will be explained below.

It is also worth noting that a major MPA manufacturer, Alenia Aerospace of Italy, did not even bother to acquire the bid documents. This may be due to their previous loss and accusations of irregularities against the DND for their award to Airbus Military to supply 3 C-295 tactical transports for the PAF's Medium Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft acquisition program.

A Nigerian Air Force ATR-42 maritime patrol aircraft. Alenia Aerospace did not participate in the PAF's LRPA acquisition project probably due to a negative position against the DND's award to Airbus Military for the Medium Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft acquisition.

Of all the bid document buyers, all except ARINC Aerospace, Field Aviation, and Raytheon Company did not submit a bid. Although MaxDefense still don't have any idea why ARINC and Field Aviation did not submit, Raytheon Company was reportedly teamed-up with PT Dirgantara Indonesia as a subcontractor for the mission systems integration part of their offer.

The following are the bidders and the findings made by DND-BAC, listed according to the sequence of bid opening made last August 11:

  • Saab Technologies Asia Pacific was found ineligible to bid due to missing Tax Clearance documents;
  • L3 Mission Integration was also found ineligible due to the eligibility document reasons; 
  • Elbit Systems' bid was considered eligible and was the first bidder to do so. They were found ineligible on the 2nd part of the bid opening for technical specifications and performance parameters because they "did not include fast moving items and consumables in the list of minimum deliverables", according to an interview with SBAC-1 Chairman Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo.
  • IAI Elta Systems was also found ineligible initially, but the decision was overturned after BAC found its submitted Financial Statement documents acceptable. They were found ineligible on the 2nd part of the bid opening for the same reasons as Elbit Systems.
  • Lockheed Martin was also considered ineligible due to documentation problems;
  • PT Dirgantara Indonesia (Indonesian Aerospace) was also found ineligible. 
  • CASA-Airbus Defense and Space was also found ineligible because of failing to meet certain requirements.

The bidders are given until August 14, 2014 to file for a Motion for Reconsideration with the DND-BAC regarding their concerns. Otherwise, the bid will be considered a failure if no single entity passes all the requirements.

Possible Offers:
Although the 1st stage of the bidding has proceeded, it was still not known what are bidders actually intended to offer to the DND and PAF. The project is actually composed of 2 main sections: the platform aircraft, and the overall mission and surveillance integrated system. The 1st stage of the bidding gave more importance to the aircraft platform rather than the mission systems which the DND indicated to give priority in the 2nd stage.

The platform aircraft was supposed to be provided by the bidders during the bidding, but MaxDefense believes that the following might be used by the bidders:

1. Airbus Military C-295
Already the PAF's possible leading choice due to its recent order for 3 units for its Medium Lift Fixed Wing aircraft requirement. MaxDefense believes that the technical specifications for the LRPA's aircraft platform was loosely based on this aircraft, thus it is considered as the benchmark aircraft.

CASA-Airbus Military's C-295 tactical transport aircraft.

2. Bombardier Dash 8 Q-400
There are a number of bidders which currently uses the Q-400 as its platform aircraft for their MPA and other Special Missions products. This aircraft is sleek, fast, and is also a very competitive special missions aircraft aside from being a proven turboprop regional airliner.  The Q-400 is Bombardier's latest Dash 8 Q-Series variant and is longer, more powerful and updated, and more competitive than its earlier variants. Its length can accommodate 4 or more console stations and space requirements compared to other aircraft. Due to its powerful but thirsty engines, a special mission military variant may feature an on-fuselage fuel tank.

The latest version of Bombardier's Dash 8 Q-series, the Q-400 NextGen.
Photo taken from Aviation News website.

3. Airbus Military-PTDI CN-235
An aircraft born on the partnership of Airbus Military subsidiary CASA of Spain and PTDI's forerunner IPTN. Although it is an Airbus product, a possible acquisition of the PAF of CN-235 aircraft may actually be from PTDI due to their agreement with Airbus on the distribution, sales, and support of the aircraft. The Philippines falls under PTDI's responsibility. The aircraft actually falls short on some details indicated in the LRPA's technical specifications. 

The Airbus Military-PTDI CN-235 tactical transport aircraft.

4. Alenia Aerospace ATR-42 or ATR-72 
Although Alenia is at odds with the DND over a previous project, some of the bidders may opt to use the ATR series aircraft as a base platform, considering that the aircraft was used by other countries for MPA duties. It is a proven turboprop regional airline like the Q-400, and also has special missions among its capabilities. Turkey uses the ATR-72 for its ASW-capable MPA, while other countries like Nigeria uses the shorter ATR-42 for MPA missions. 

An ATR-72-500 used by Cebu Pacific.
Photo taken from, copyright owned by Ryan Hemmings.

5. Saab 2000
This aircraft has some limited success as a special missions aircraft, although it was offered to several military forces as a MPA and AEWC aircraft platform. This aircraft also has to overcome one of the specification's requirements, which is to be a brand new, factory new aircraft. Saab stopped production of the Saab 2000 since 1999, and a possible offer to the PAF are probably refurbished units from Saab Aircraft Leasing company.
The Saab 2000.
Photo taken from Saab History website.

Special mention for IAI Elta Systems' earlier proposal to use the Gufstream G250 for their offer, which was turned down by the DND due to the specified requirement for turboprop engine-powered aircraft. The DND preferred turboprops due to fuel efficiency, easy maintenance, and less susceptible to foreign object damage. 

For those looking at the Lockheed Martin C-130J, MaxDefense needs to burst your bubble this early on. A brand new transport-configured C-130J costs more than the budget allocated for a fully-equipped MPA. Even the cheaper and simpler C-130XJ still can't meet the budget.

Mission Systems:
These are the integrated systems installed on the aircraft for it to conduct maritime patrol and surveillance duties. The DND and PAF has not been specific on this, and has announced in their SBB that it would be given more specific attention on the 2nd stage of the bidding. MaxDefense lists down what it believes to be the possible offers of the bidders:

1. CASA-Airbus Defense and Space C-295MPA or C-295ASW Persuader
Airbus has been offering the C-295MPA to several countries, and is currently their baseline offering for the maritime patrol aircraft market. It uses the Airbus-developed Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS), which is an "onboard suite of networked computers" that integrates the different surveillance and mission systems of the MPA. The entire system consists of a search radar, EO/IR sensors, ESM, ELINT, COMIT, MAD, an IFF integrator, SATCOM, and a data link. FITS can actually be installed in other aircraft platforms, but since Airbus also manufactures the C-295, it is not impossible that they are offering this tandem to the LRPA acquisition project. 

Chile's C-295MPA and C-295ASW Persuaders are equipped with Airbus' FITS.

Airbus claims that the endurance of the Persuader is at 11 hours, or 6 hours on station at 200nmi range. The FITS system is palletized, and enables the aircraft to do other missions when necessary. 

MaxDefense believes that this system is also what the PAF and DND used as a baseline for their mission system requirements.

2. Elbit Systems' Proposal
This is a tricky part. Elbit currently has no manned maritime patrol aircraft product on offer (as far as MaxDefense is concerned). But it currently offers the Hermes 900 unmanned air system in a maritime patrol configuration. Elbit may probably use their expertise to install the system into a manned aircraft platform while complying with other requirements indicated in the project's technical specifications.

Elbit Systems may transfer their maritime patrol system from the Hermes 900 UAS to a manned aircraft platform to comply with the PAF's LRPA requirement.

3. IAI Elta Systems' EL/I-3360 Maritime Patrol Aircraft
The EL/I-3360 is actually a modular suite integrating surveillance and mission systems for maritime patrol aircraft. IAI Elta actually chose the Bombardier Q-400 as their aircraft platform of choice for this suite, and may have also teamed-up with Field Aviation (which bought bid documents but did not submit a bid), but they could actually integrate the system to another aircraft type with the same space provisions. It is possible that they could make an offer based on both the Bombardier Q-400 and the Airbus Military C-295 to increase their chances. The ELI-3360 uses IAI Elta's EL/M-2022A surface search radar system, ESM and MOSP type EO/IR sensor, a COMINT array, aft mounted countermeasures dispensers and side-mounted containers, and a mixture of other surveillance and intelligence systems. 

IAI Elta offered the EL/I-3360 MPA using the Bombardier Q-400 aircraft for the UK's MPA requirements.
Photo taken from AIN Online website c/o David McIntosh.

4. L3 Mission Integration's Maritime Patrol Aircraft
In cooperation with Bombardier, Selex ES, Ultra Electronics, and also possibly Field Aviation, L3 Mission Integration has a current Maritime Patrol Aircraft design using the Q-400 aircraft platform. L3's system integrates the Selex Seaspray 7500 search radar or the Eagle AESA wide-area radar, and Ultra Electronics' Airborne Acoustic System.

L-3 Mission Integration's venture with Bombardier, Selex and Ultra Electronics produced this Q-400 based maritime patrol aircraft for the British requirements. L-3 may offer the same for the PAF.
Photo taken from L-3 Mission Integration's website.

5. Lockheed Martin's Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft
The US company was part of the US Coast Guard's HC-144 Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft, whose Mission System Pallet roll-on, roll-off electronics suite was used on a Airbus-supplied CN-235 aircraft platform. This same is equipment was used by Lockheed Martin on the USCG's HC-130 surveillance aircraft, thus it can also be used to modify transport variants of the C-130s into maritime patrol aircraft after some modifications.

Lockheed Martin may also modify the systems used in the USCG surveilllance aircraft to include those specifically required by the LRPA technical specificaions. These includes the addition of anti-submarine equipment, COMINT/SIGINT/ELINT systems, use of a more capable search radar, and capability to carry weapons.

Aside from the CN-235, Lockheed Martin may also opt to use the larger Airbus C-295 aircraft, or offer to use PAF's current C-130 fleet. Earlier Lockheed Martin did announced their intention to discuss with the PAF to modify some of the PAF's C-130 Hercules transports, which they claim would cost less than half of a new MPA. 

The US Coast Guard's HC-144A Ocean Sentry uses Lockheed Martin's Mission System Pallet electronics suite on an Airbus CN-235 aircraft.
Photo taken from Wikipedia.

The same Mission Pallet System was also offered by Lockheed Martin to be installed on some of the PAF's C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, although this might be a separate offer aside from bidding for the new LRPA.
Photo taken from Wikipedia.

6. PT Dirgantara Indonesia's CN-235MP Persuader
If reports are true that PTDI teamed-up with Raytheon Company for their MPA offer for the PAF, then this would be a departure from PTDI's previous team-up with Thales with their AMASCOS 200 system for the TNI-AL (Indonesian Navy) MPA requirement. 

Raytheon previously offered their AN/APS-134 surface search radar for the CN-235MPA Persuader, and also has the AN/APS-148 Sea Vue search radar. They have the capability to provide PTDI with the necessary surveillance and weapons systems and integration. Their recent experience was as the weapons integrator for Turkey's Meltem-III ATR-72 MPA program.

The CN-235's smaller size may compromise its bid as it cannot meet some of the requirements set by the DND. From the layout below, it shows the disadvantage of its tight interior space to provide the number of console stations and other provisions.

A typical layout of a CN-235MP Persuader aircraft.
Photo taken from

The CN-235-220 MPA from PT DI (Indonesian Aerospace) for the Indonesian Navy, but this specific aircraft uses the Thales AMASCOS 200 instead of a system from Raytheon. Take note of the modified nose to carry a search radar.
Top photo taken from PTDI website. Bottom photo taken from Mahdi News website.

7. Saab Technologies' Swordfish Maritime Patrol Aircraft
The Swedish company's current offering, the Swordfish MPA uses their own Saab 2000 aircraft platform. Saab claims that the Swordfish has a maximum endurance greater than 9.5 hours, and a typical on-station time of up to 5.5 hours while operating 200nmi from its base. It also has a maximum range of greater than 2,000 nmi, a maximum cruise speed of 350 knots, and a patrol speed of 160 knots. It has a service ceiling of 31,000 feet and needs 1,300 meters of take-off runway distance. It integrates Selex's Seaspray 7500 maritime surveillance radar, an active Acoustic System from Ultra Electronics, and a high definition EO/IR sensor pod from FLIR Systems. The aircraft is also equipped with an advanced C4I, AIS, IFF, ESM, Self-Protection System (SPS), SATCOM and Data Links.

Although there are no new Saab 2000s produced since 1999, so Saab needs to discuss this thoroughly with the DND to keep their product in the race. 

The Saab 2000 Swordfish MPA demonstrator.
Photo taken from AIRheads Fly website.
The Saab 2000 Swordfish's layout. Saab may need to adjust the layout to conform to PAF requirements should their offer be shortlisted.
Photo taken from Saab 2000 Swordfish datasheet.

The Verdict:
MaxDefense believes that this project is one of the most tightest competitions ever to be conducted by the DND and AFP, although the choice of the platform is biased on the Airbus Military C-295 due to its commonality with tactical transports ordered by the PAF earlier. The Bombardier Q-400 is a very good aircraft, and so is the Saab 2000 if only there are new builds for this aircraft. 

Although MaxDefense believes that Airbus Defense and Space has the highest chance of bagging the project, IAI Elta Systems and L-3 Mission Integration may have a strong chance of stealing away a win from the front runner. 

If the competitive bidding last August 11, 2014 will be considered a total failure, then the DND may opt to either have a re-bidding using the same or a revised specification and documentation requirements, a negotiated bidding, or a government-to-government (G2G) deal with a friendly foreign government, which is actually the fastest way to acquire the system. MaxDefense still hopes that the bidders will submit a Motion for Reconsideration, and the DND-BAC allows the bidders to proceed to avoid further delays on the project, since majority of the reasons for ineligibility was because of the slow processing time to acquire documents from Philippine government offices and agencies.

More updates will be made as MaxDefense awaits the outcome of the MFR deadline, which is supposed to be today, August 14, 2014.

April 18, 2015:
MaxDefense has not updated this entry for several month. It would be remembered that MaxDefense @ Facebook covered the report wherein the bid submission and opening for the project failed last August 11, 2014, and that the DND SBAC-1 has given IAI Elta and Elbit Systems until August 14, 2014 to file for a Motion for Reconsideration.

Eventually the bidding did not push through and was considered a failed bidding. According to government procurement procedures, the DND can proceed with a re-bidding for the project. But so far, the DND has not proceeded with a rebidding for still unconfirmed reasons, as no formal reason has been released by the DND.

June 25, 2015:
Aside from pursuing the acquisition of P-3C Orions, the DND also confirmed that the Long Range Patrol Aircraft (LRPA) project for the Philippine Air Force is still a go, although the bidding could not proceed because it was among those pending due to Malacanang's decision not to abruptly sign the Revised AFP Modernization Act for reasons still not confirmed by both the DND and the Office of the President. This project is said to run astride with the P-3C Orion acquisition, alhough the concept of operating two types of MPA aircraft is still questionable.


  1. Lockheed Martin outfits the US Coast Guard's Ocean Sentry (CN235) for Airbus. The C295 is a stretched CN235 with different engines. Because of commonality the C295 is the most convenient platform for LM but will Airbus cooperate?

    1. Thanks for the heads up. I got confused and thought it was Northrop Grumman that provided the electronic suite for the Ocean Sentry.

    2. sir max, which bidder offers the total package. the one who offers great value at a good price? are these bids excludes weapons systems?

  2. Process of Bidding in our Government is really tough. As expected C-295 has the greatest chance, but the ELI-3360 is also a good choice. Whoever wins would be great.

    Hope there would not be any re-bid process. This project is taking too long.

  3. Max, any detail on to why the P-3C deal collapsed?

  4. I wonder how Airbus and PT Dirgantara failed to submit some documents. They are participants in previous bids and won. Was there a change in the required documents? Any idea on this Sir Max?

    1. No confirmation yet. But from my own idea, most of the documents that they need to get from Philippine government agencies or local government offices got delayed, and might have tied their chances of getting eligibility.

    2. both companies did not include a complete list of ongoing projects and was actually excluded were contracts they won in the phili. that resulted into a faulty computation of nfcc.

    3. Irs funny that these large companies, with emphasis on Airbus, might be questioned for their financial capacity when the value of the company itself rivals that of a small country's GDP. If that's the case then they could file for reconsideration and submit the said documents.

    4. An explanation why some bidders failed..

    5. The report still admittedly said that their admission that the bid was a failure did not include the bidder's attempts to submit a Motion for Reconsideration. Question is, did any entity submit the Motion?

  5. I think this process should be changed. this should only be required when a bidder has hurdled the technical aspects. it is no use for a bidder to apply for govt documentation and only to lose later because of some technicality that has no relation to the performance of the product being bidded.


    1. This is intriguing. How can they be selected if a bidding for the project was started? This can only happen if there was a direct negotiation that happened, which is not possible at this time.

    2. Maybe this was the medium lift that recently awarded to them. Not the MPA.

    3. Serge, no. The medium lift transport was already awarded to Airbus for the larger C-295. I believe this is a misunderstanding of PTDI's earlier interviews. I believe they meant "shortlisted", not "selected" per se.

  7. It seems like there are numerous potentially good options here. While the C-295 and CN-235 likely are the front runners, any twin-engine platform that comes in at both a good purchase price and low lifecycle costs is interesting, as long as the platform also has decent capabilities.

    One thing that makes the C-295 especially interesting for the Philippines is its modular, swappable mission suite, ie. in case of a catastrophe like Typhoon Yolanda the MPA mission suite can easily and quickly be temporarily removed and the plane can then be used as a transport for emergency relief supplies and/or evacuation.

    That so many bids are being disqualified on the basis of technicalities is pretty embarrassing - the bidding process obviously needs some tweaking.


    1. Laurence, the primary reason why the C-295 was the conceived front runner is because of commonality. The PAF is getting 3 C-295 to replace the F27 and the plan is to get at least 10 in the future. Not only is the C-295 the best choice for a MPA, its also the beat platform for all other missions like AEWC which the PAF is eyeing as part of its next acquisition phases. This translates to savings in terms of training, maintenance, spare parts, and a a lot more advantages.

    2. Hi Laurence and Max, I agree on your basis for the opinions that PAF should consider the commonality and advantages...i.e getting 2 C295 Persuader with palletized ELBIT modular system for AEWC or in any case we can remove them for need of emergency or disaster quick response rescue/evacuation in our nation. Just like hitting 2 birds in one thes type of equipments and hopefully we can then sooner the better too.

    3. Hi, I dnt really like the idea having this aircraft a dual function from patrol aircraft to a cargo plane because of palletized system. Both missions (patrolling & cargo function) are important to our country’s need. Do we really need to remove the mission sensors all the time every time a disaster happens in a particular area because of the sense of urgency of delivering supplies to the victims? Or the idea happened for the lack of adequate transport aircraft we have? It’s funny that those who will operate the mission controls will become cargo master one day. What if one patrol aircraft is under maintenance and a disaster happen in one area and so we will force the other remaining aircraft to change its mission? Our unfriendly neighbor will be very happy for that because that aircraft wasn’t assign to guard our territories but other mission. I say invest more on cargo planes and spare the long range patrol planes to do other duties. IMO I prefer that this long range patrol aircraft being single mission only.


    4. Max - Well, the C-295 is a terrific, versatile, reliable plane that probably offers more bang for the buck than any other transport aircraft out there.

      Before we know the price and operating costs, however, I wouldn't consider it a shoo-in as an AEW platform, as the Saab Erieye system currently likely is the front-runner in terms of life cycle cost, even if there is no commonality. An AEW aircraft is a whole different ballgame, after all, as it doesn't make sense to use it for anything other than its mission and it is very expensive, with even the least expensive platforms coming in at 100 to 150 million dollars and having operating costs of around 10 million/year.

      It's good to hear that the PAF will be getting more C-295 transport aircraft. They're definitely needed. I read a study about military transport in Europe a few years back where they figured out that 75% of all transport flights carried less than 50 troops and cargo under ten tons, ie. 75% of all flights could be handled by the proper mix of C-295's, CN-235's, and C-212's. Since the PAF is going to have 5 Hercs, it obviously is going to need more smaller transport aircraft than it is currently in the process of acquiring in order to be efficient and minimize operating costs.

      PinoyMakabayan14 - Hi, I don't think the AEW aircraft will be used for transport. It's going to be far too valuable for that and the radardome on top isn't really good for drag. I agree that it can make sense with the MPA, though.

      renbios - Hi. I agree that it isn't the ideal situation, but in the case of a major natural disaster like Yolanda, where every available aircraft is needed and the speed of help is the difference between life and death, it makes sense for a cash-strapped nation like the Philippines. Furthermore, since the Philippines should hopefully have a one or two AEW aircraft at some point, they could take over MPA duties at that time.

      I definitely won't argue with you about the need for more transport aircraft.


    5. Laurence, an aircraft platform like the C-295 can be configured to carry the Saab Erieye system if the PAF chooses to. Saab does not currently produce any brand new special missions airfraft like the Saab 2000 and Saab 340. It is expected that any requirement by the PAF for an AEWC might be using factory new aircraft platform, except if a Saab JAS-39 deal includes the transfer of refurbished special mission aircraft like what they did with Thailand.

      Also, its too early to determine what the PAF may be looking at for such requirement. IAI Elta is also gaining ground in the AFP and DND so don't take them out entirely. We can't even tell yet if the PAF prefers turboprop or business jets like Gulfstream G550 like what Singapore uses.

    6. PinoyMakabayan14, AEWC aircraft, for most of what current users do, may not be used as dual use aircraft because of external modifications made to the aircraft. This includes the radome or long bar installed on the fuselage top. Even MPAs may not be fully utilized as transport aircraft also because of modifications. It coud only be used up to a certain degree of cargo, which could be less than standard transport variants.

      If the PAF has enough transport assets, the PAF may not opt to use the MPA for transport duties because it will also affect their mission requirements for MPA duties. They'll only be getting 2 for now, which may not be even enough.

    7. Renbios, I don't expect the PAF to use the MPA for other duties, except if really necessary. Example is if a massive disaster strikes the PH and the current transport assets can't cope up with the requirement. Nonetheless I don't expect 100% full utilization of MPA aircraft as transports, unlike what full transport versions can do and carry.

    8. Hi Max, as you probably have gathered from my previous comments here, as long as there's a lot of bang for the buck and the lifecycle costs are low, I'm pretty agnostic about which system is chosen.

      It definitely would be a smart move to get the AEW aircraft simultaneously with a MRF squadron, as it would better assure quality datalink systems integration. And yes, the JAS Gripen NG would be a great option.


  8. Max,

    Actually CN235 is not fully an AIRBUS product as you implied. CN235 was designed and engineered both by AIRBUS and PTDI. So patent wise the aircraft belongs to both companies. Marketing and production scheme were then agreed by both companies.

    1. Alvin, take a look at item #3 at the Aircraft Platform portion of the blog. Its clearly stated as Airbus Military-PTDI. It also tells the story that it was originally a CASA-IPTN collaboration.

    2. Hi for a better appreciation of the C295 MPA version check out this link: >>>

    3. Sigh...that's exactly the video I embeded on the blog under C-295MP Persuader

    4. why the PAF will operate the LRMPA

  9. Who will operate the LRPA is it the PAF or the PN Naval air group

  10. Hi Anonymous/renbios
    I implying only for emergency purposes if needed only for these MPA acquisitions by DND until such time new additional lift air crafts for acquisition arrives. That is why the govt have another additional requirement which were granted by the US govt for 2 additional refurbished C130T and with these includes brand new 3 additional Medium Lift Aircraft for the cargo and lift support aside with 2 brand new aircraft light transport operations. Mind you there is another desire for future requirements by PAF for at least 1 more additional C130's or C295 and 2 Sea do you think we have not invested enough for the aircraft for modernization?

    1. Hi again, PinoyMakabayan14. I agree with you that it is advantageous if the MPA's can be used as transport during extreme emergencies like Yolanda, where every available airframe is immediately needed in the beginning of disaster response.

      I don't think that the Philippines should get more than the 3 Hercs already in service plus the 2 c130T, since most of the tasks that the Hercs are used for can be performed by smaller, more efficient and less expensive planes like the C-295.

      The seaplanes will be a welcome addition, especially if it is the Twin Otter. The Twin Otters would be great for resupplying the Marines stationed at Ayungin Reef, as well.

      I don't know the exact breakdown of the PAF transport needs, but I'm pretty sure that an additional 2 to 3 C-295 or CN-235 will be needed in order to adequately fulfill transport needs.


    2. Laurence, the PAF's requirement actually is for at least 9 C-130s. That does not include any planned dual mission aircraft like aerial tankers. They also intend to have more C-295 and NC-212 for lighter transport duties. Compared to PAF TOE is the mid 80s which had a maximum of more than 10 C-130s, more than 10 Fokker F27, around 20+ Nomads and Islanders. You'll also have to consider that the PN also has a lot more assets then to help in transport roles, with more than 10 LSTs and some LSM. The PAF and PN's transport assets are nowhere now compared to then.

    3. What we're implying here is that the AFP is a growing organization, both in manpower, heavy equipment, logistics requirement, and mssion scope, to deal with larger threats and service a larger population and bigger economy. These assets are becoming more important than ever, and was greatly emphasized during the back to back to back (earthquake-Zamboanga-Yolanda) crisis the PH had last year.

  11. Hi pinoymakabayan. im aware of our govt modernization program. even the need to have additional transport aircraft in times of natural disaster. but i still stand (its only my opinion) that long range patrol aircraft should be intended only for its primary mission. it would be better for the long range aircraft to utilized its flying time to scan the area for survivors that were washed away out to the open sea or survey the extent of damage after a natural disaster or any maritime mishap instead of using the aircraft flying time for limited emergency purpose like cargo transport. there are other assets in which our govt can maximized during disaster like water, land and rotary assets.

    Sir Max, this is out of topic but what about medium size helicopters? Russian helicopters like the mi-8 are good for disaster response because of its lifting capacity.


    1. Renbios, there were offers from Russia, and the AFP has been looking at a lot of hardware from them, including medium lift helicopters, amphibious armored vehicles, MANPADS, shore based anti-ship missiles, and others. So far no definite acquisition plan for Russian wares.

    2. thank you for this response sir max. just now i noticed this one.


  12. pohang corvette:
    Create new as you donate to Philippine Navy.
    Replacement by a new restaurant, a bed, the bridge

    Donated to the Colombian corvette photos
    Do not forget the sacrifice of war, when Korea Philippines

    Before and after the change
    1 Dry Dock shaping
    2 wheelhouse
    3 crew Restaurant
    4 meeting rooms changed
    5 bedrooms soldier

  13. Kim young oh what do you mean by your post? What did that link mean? Those pictures refer to the corvette that will be given to the philippines?

    1. The new service, as the Pohang
      The end of December 2014 Philippine donate

    2. This is former ROKN Donghae-class corvette Anyang (PCC-755), which was donated to the Colombian Navy and renamed as the ARC Narino. It underwent refurbishing in Korea as part of the deal. The same may happen when the Pohang-class corvette that the Koreans intend to provide to the PN. The photos were to show the interior refurbishment made to the ex-Anyang.

    3. Sir max will there be a replacement deal for the La Tapageuse that did not push through? So sad that the deal was almost there, hopes were too high then all of a sudden we wont be seeing a fresh hull for the CG. Sorry out of the topic in this post.

    4. Hi Explore Dumaguete, compared to the navy, the CG's short, medium and long term plans are in a mess. I'm not really happy on the way they work. They could have done more, being a civilian agency that has easier access to financial support. Their role is not properly defined, we can't even use them to help patrol our EEZ which is now being done by the navy. So I don't really know what's on their mind.

    5. Regarding the CG - when will the 10 Japanese-built CG vessels be available ? I assume we Pinoys are capable of building our own CG ships ? What if instead of 10 vessels - we ask Mr. Abe to just provide 5 and kindly "lend" us one of their older Abukuma class frigate ? That's a pretty potent warship with stealth features. After all, they have just relaxed their restrictions on arms exports and they will probably be replacing those frigates pretty soon.

    6. Hi Max, the CG and PNP should be reorganized and placed under one civilian departmnt like an Internal Security and Safety Department where coordination will be more efficient. Part of it is to include the BFAR's maritine unit. I agree with you that CG is so dissapointingly managed by incompetent political appointees and considering that Abaya is a naval officer.

    7. PCG expects the 1st 3 units of the Japanese-built MRRV boats to be with them by late 2015, and the rest by 2016.

  14. Sir Max, I'm a bit disappointed that the acquisition of P-3 didn't push through. What are the reasons why they dropped the P-3 Orions?

    1. Pricing and delivery date, as what I was told by our contacts.


    2nd stage of bidding in November.

  16. Sir max what can you say about this?

    1. This is not a new issue. The M4 is not the best rifle out there, but it also is far from being the worst. It is probably one of the best in all around aspects of performance, which the article even showed some advantages of the M4 over newer rifles. Since the newer rifles did not provide a very large improvement over the M4, the positives of the M4 or AR15 family as a whole may still have outweighted the negatives.

      In the PH setting, the AFP evaluated the rifle with the idea of not alienatng the troops frm what they currently have. Although performance wise the M4 may not be the best, the AFP finds its performance acceptable and its cost requirements exceeded its expectations, while also allowing for a faster transition from the M16A1 and retaining of skills and support system that the AFP already have.

      The PH is an AR15 country, its military infrastructure and arsenal, and the civilian and private sector are all built along the AR15 family. Best if you could build on your strongest foundations instead of trying out something you're unfamiliar with.

    2. Like Max says better to look at the big picture before judging. Even the supposed 'best of the best' have their flaws.

  17. Max; Does the PAF have any plans of having a gunship like USAF c130 specter? using the c295 as it's platform for gunship used for CAS and armed reconnaissance equip with 40mm cannons.. i believe the Army have them in it;s storage..

    1. No. The PAF prefers using close air support aircraft and attack helicopters, while the PA uses 155mm howitzers.

  18. Ok Thanks a lot..

  19. Just wanna ask.. were did the US 40 million dollar military grant to Phils. go or spend? I haven't read any news about it that the DND/PAF uses the US military grant to purchase any equipment tru FMS.

    1. The amount is used for a variety of expenditures and not just on visible equipment. It could be used to pay for expenses on training, repair works, and other non-equipment expenses.

  20. Sir max, i have small technical query. Would it be possible to upgrade the fixed wing aircraft that we have (like the aero commander, islander and f-27) with capable naval sensors to compliment our LRPAs? It seems that these planes are being used for maritime surveillance albeit crudely without surface search radars and link to our coast watch system.


    1. Some of the Islanders were given some updates recently, but not to a point of being a capable patrol aircraft. I don't think these aircraft will last long enough in PN and PAF service, especially the PAF's F-27. Previously the PAF had 3 F-27MPA but were converted to utility aircraft when surveillance systems broke down and a lot of the transport variant F-27 were taken out of service. The PAF's upcoming seaplanes may be a good alternative, since they are to be equipped with AESA surveillance radar as well.

  21. What happened to the 10 patrol boats coming from japan any news

    1. These will undergo bidding, which is already underway. Only Japanese shipbuilders are allowed to join as part of the deal with the Japanese government, 4 shipbuilders are shortlisted according to PCG press releases: Japan Marine United Co., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Nigata Shipbuilding and Repair Inc. and Sumidagawa Shipyard Co. Inc.

    2. sir max, it says here that the bidding for 2 LRPA failed

      "Last month, the DND declared a failure of bid for a P5.9-billion contract to supply two new long-range patrol aircraft after bidders failed to meet the documentary requirements and minimum required technical specifications for the aircraft they are offering."

    3. That is for the LRPA, but so far, I am not able to truly consider it as a failure until the DND releases their findings on the Motion for Reconsideration filed by all the bidders. The DND may either continue with the bidding at a latter date, or close the 1st bidding as a total failure and opening and 2nd one.

    4. The LRPA Project is a failed bidding. There is no way for the DND-SBAC1 to give any favorable reconsiderations to any MR submitted by any of the bidders who participated in the bid.

      Saab, L3-Missions and Lockheed either lacked or is non-compliant to several material eligibility documents in their submissions. No amount of reconsideration without any valid grounds to anchor on can cure their defective submissions.

      PTDI and EADS-CASA failed to submit a complete Statement of On-Going and Awarded Contracts omitting in their submission their recently awarded projects from the Philippines. Much has already been discussed in the GPPB's Non-Policy Memorandums about the importance of complying with the submission of this document. In fact, EADS-CASA should even be slapped with a blacklisting proceedings since it submitted documents of SAAB and ELTA without the consent of these two companies who also participated in the bidding process which is a major violation of our procurement laws.

      IAI-ELTA and Elbit Systems Ltd. both have the same documentary deficiency in the Technical aspect and word has it that their respective filed MR's were already denied. As such, there is no legal grounds for the DND-SBAC1 to undertake a continuance of the first bidding or go into immediate direct negotiation or a G to G deal. To do so, will invite an Ombudsman case.

      What is left is for DND-SBAC1 to issue a new Invitation to Bid for a second round of bidding for the LRPA Project at the earliest.

  22. Sir max, what is the difference between the AEW aircraft and the MPA? as far as i have read, the AEW is a flying radar platform able to detect both air and surface targets. can the mpa be used to detect air targets as well? thanks.

    1. MPA are not designed to detect and track aerial targets. Its sensors are directed towards the ground/sea and has sensors to detect submarines.

    2. Correct me if I'm wrong, Sir Max, but the P-8A Poseidon is both an AEW and MPA although it is primarily an MPA? So, it must have detected (but could do nothing about) the Chinese J-11's approach near Hainan island.

    3. The Boeing P-8 Poseidon conducts anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and shipping interdiction, along with an electronic signals intelligence (ELINT) role. This involves carrying torpedoes, depth charges, SLAM-ER missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other weapons. It is able to drop and monitor sonobuoys. Pny

  23. P-noy mag acquire naman kayo ng sampung frigates kahit yung Incheon frigates ng south korea. Yung lima lagay nyo sa manila ung dalawa sa visaya at yung tatlo sa Palawan at ung mga luma pwede na sa Mindanao yan!

  24. Max, which among the LRPA's would you prefer? My choice is the refurbished P3C Orion but since DND opts for a brandnew airframe then my vote goes to Airbus C-295MPA. Max, any updates on M/V Susitna? PN should grab the chance to acquire this high-tech ship. We can use this to rehabilitate Pag-asa Island and this ship is very cheap considering it is unused. China wanted to buy it for $9M but US Navy wanted the PN to be its buyer and offered it for only $6M.