Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Philippine Navy Interested with US-made SWATH Vessel, and Proposal for Other Alternatives

News of the Philippine Navy showing interest in an Alaskan borough-owned ferry has surfaced recently on several defense forums and groups after news reports from Alaska identified the Philippine Navy as one of the possible buyers. Currently the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Borough owns the said vessel, M/V Susitna, and wanted to sell it off.


M/V Susitna during operational testing. Note the cargo hold is lifted during normal cruising.
Photo taken from Vigor Industrial website. 


The M/V Susitna:
M/V Susitna is actually a half-scale prototype for a proposed  Expeditionary Landing Craft (E-Craft) requirement for the US Navy, and was made by Alaska Ship & Drydock using a design from Guido Perla & Associates and concept from Lockheed Martin for the Office of Naval Research in 2010, and costed $78 million to build. It was reportedly planned as a "3-in-1" vessel, being a High Speed Catamaran that uses the SWATH (small waterplane area twin hull) design, with a variable draft system that allows the ship to shift from SWATH mode to barge mode by lowering or raising the center deck which carries the cargo, using an advanced hydraulic system. The ship was also designed with icebreaking capability (the first icebreaking SWATH ship in the world), and has the capability to beach and used on unprepared docks.


The MV Susitna is beachable, which is very important for use on damaged or unprepared docks.
Photo taken from gCaptain website.


Basic specifications of the ship are as follows:
Crew: 5 men
Range: 800nmi @ 16 knots, 1,600nmi @ 10 knots;
Length (overall): 59.54 meters;
Beam (overall): 18.29 meters;
Design Draft: 3.66 meters;
Design Displacement: 940 long tons (955 metric tons);
Maximum Speed: 20 knots;
Propulsion: 4 x MTU 12V4000 M70 (2,435hp each) Diesel Engines;
Radars: Kelvin Hughes Manta 30kw S-band, 10kw X-band;
Depth Sounders: Furuno FE700 echo sounder

The ship's payload details are as follows:
Center Barge (cargo hold): 160' x 35', approx. 5,400ft²  (around 501m²)
Capacity: 35 tons normal load
 * 129 passengers plus 20 standard vehicles or 1 tractor-trailer rig
 * No passenger, 1 M1A1 Abrams tank or multiple smaller combat vehicles


The lower and upper deck plans of the M/V Susitna.
Drawing taken from Mat-Su Borough Purchasing Division RFI document.


Most on the ship's basic specifications can be seen on the link HERE:

Although the ship was being evaluated by the US Navy, it was intended to be used as a civilian ferry for a local Alaskan government unit and service between the city of Anchorage to Port MacKenzie. But the ferry project failed and the ship was left with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, who currently maintains it until a buyer can be found. It is reportedly being sold for only $6 million, just enough to help the borough pay for their bills and free them of maintenance costs.


The M/V Susitna before launching from Alaska Ship & Drydock's facility in 2010.
Photo taken from Valor Industrial website.


Enter the Philippine Navy:
MaxDefense has been monitoring this development for some time, and so far no confirmation was made by the Philippine Navy or the Philippines' Department of National Defense if they will acquire the vessel or not. So far PN sources confirmed that they have sent representatives to Alaska to inspect the vessel together with US Navy representatives last August 29, 2014. No word yet regarding their findings and evaluation. The presence of US Navy representatives might mean that the ship could be acquired with US Navy or government partcipation either through FMS, or will be possibly be shouldered by the US government under a US defense grant or part of its annual defense aid it gives to the country. No confirmation though on how the acquisition will be done should there be an agreement between the PN and the US government.

According to the PN sources, they are looking at the vessel due to its versatility and capability to deliver men and materiel directly to the beach, or on unprepared docks which are essential features of a capable transport ship during peacetime Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations and military and civilian supply missions, and in support of wartime amphibious operations. Aside from the ship's capabilities, the reported $6-8 million pricetag plus logistics support, training and other expenses, with regards to the technology it possess and its age (the ship is only 4 years old and was barely used), was a major factor of the PN's interest on the ship. Also, the PN sources confirmed to MaxDefense that the budget to acquire the ship, should it happen, will be from other sources and not from the AFP Modernization program. 

It should be remembered that the DND and AFP are looking to increase their HADR capability during the aftermath of the back-to-back disasters the Philippines faced in 2013 (Typhoon Haiyan and Bohol Earthquake), with calls for the AFP to have better capability to quickly respond to emergencies. The situation in the Kalayaan Group of Islands, with the absence of prepared docks and presence of Chinese Coast Guard patrol vessels, make the ship an effective platform for resupply missions. This vessel, if acquired, will be one of these dual-use equipment that can immediately be delivered to the PN should a confirmation be made soon. 


Parts of Samar were destroyed after Typhoon Haiyan hit the island. Unprepared or damaged docks, or beaches similar to that shown in the photo, can still be serviced by ships like the M/V Susitna.


Aside from the PN, there are many other interested buyers on the ship, mostly private corporations and oil companies, so a decision to acquire the ship or not will probably be made in a few months.


MaxDefense's Analysis:
The ship is actually cheap for the technology and capability it possess: a variable geometry, variable draft transport ship that is beachable, with ice breaking capability, and speeds of 20 knots, and almost new and barely used for $6 to 8 million (probably without transfer and other ancillary expenses). Findings during inspection of 3rd party valuation inspector found the ship in excellent condition. And best of all, it is readily available for transfer to whoever buys it. It would be best to compare the ship to its nearest equivalent to the Philippine Navy: the BRP Tagbanua (AT-296).


The BRP Tagbanua (AT-296) (above), the PN's newest transport asset, is the best platform to compare the M/V Susitna as they have almost comparable capabilities.


1. Price and Age:
The M/V Susitna originally costs $78 million in US taxpayer's money to construct, and they're selling it between $6 to $8 million ++ after 4 years of moored in cold Alaskan waters, barely used only for tests and trial runs, and for maintenance. The BRP Tagbanua was acquired by the Philippine Navy for a contract price of Php 178,900,000.00 (around $4.2 million in 2011). Both are almost the same age, with the M/V Susitna only more than a year older, still quite young for a used vessel. Based on this, the Alaskan ship is actually cheap considering that the price is not much different from the locally made and less technologically advanced BRP Tagbanua. It is also worth noting that Tagbanua is also actually cheap if compared to similarly but foreign built vessels of the same class.


Looking at the recent photo of the M/V Susitna above, it really does look immaculate.


2. Speed, Range, and Sea State Level:
The design of the M/V Susitna's hull was supposed to cut through the water more efficiently than standard transport ships, the Tagbanua included. The Susitna's maximum speed of 18 knots is barely higher than the Tagbanua's designed maximum speed of 15 knots, although it is expected that the twin-hull design of the US-made ship is more stable and less drag than the PN's LCU. The catamaran has a designed range of 1,600nmi @ 10 knots and is certified to operate to up to Sea State 3 although there were claims that the ship operated well in higher sea states. No range and sea state certification was found for the AT-296, although it is expected to be in the same range as the catamaran.

3. Payload:
This is where the M/V Susitna fails to beat the BRP Tagbanua. While the Susitna has a larger cargo deck of 501m² compared to the Tagbanua's 250m², the LCU beats in payload capacity as it can carry up to 110 tons of cargo versus the catamaran's measly 35 tons. With the catamaran having a higher displacement than the LCU, the design of heavy icebreaking hull is actually be a disadvantage since there's no use for this capability in tropical waters, while increasing the total weight of the ship and reducing its payload capacity as well.


The BRP Tagbanua's cargo deck is narrow and smaller than that of the M/V Susitna, yet it can carry heavier equipment unlike the catamaran. But the Susitna's capacity is good enough to carry lighter loads.
Photo taken from Rappler.


In this case, the Susitna may not be a good transport vessel for heavy equipment like tanks and bulldozers, although it could be a good asset to carry light vehicles and relief goods, or using the large deck to transport people for short distances. 

4. Fuel Efficiency, Maintenance:
The heavier M/V Susitna is powered by four 2,400hp MTU 12V4000 M70 engines, while the 40% lighter BRP Tagbanua is driven by a single Caterpillar CAT C32 ACERT 1,600hp diesel engine. You decide who drinks more fuel.

With more mechanical parts than a standard military or civilian transport ship, plus the vaunted advanced hydraulic lifting system for the cargo hold, it is also expected that the M/V Susitna may require more maintenance checks, spare parts, and a more complicated maintenance program that equates to more costs. 


Conclusion:
The M/V Susitna is a very nice ship to have, with technological features and extra capabilities that the PN might be happy to have. Technology-wise, having it means access for the PN to study for its self-reliance programs, and with the ship already awaiting a buyer, it is actually the best to have if the need is very immediate. In the case of the PN, they might be in a hurry to acquire an HADR-capable vessel very soon as the super typhoon season is fast approaching. 

Politically speaking, it is also worth looking at the US Navy's involvement in the acquisition. While we do not know how the PN intends to acquire the ship should they be interested, the US Navy might be instrumental to the acquisition, and it might be possible that they would grant the ship just to help the Mat-Su Borough get though with the pain of paying for its continuous upkeep without generating anything for the local government unit.

But it is also worth considering the PN's track record in terms of paying for acquisition and maintenance expenses. At the reported offer price, it is actually cheap, and the national government may already have the budget ready and only awaiting for the PN's approval. But the expected maintenance cost, coupled with the possible high operating cost might be a strong reason for the PN to decline the offer. MaxDefense's proposal is for the PN to only maximize the use of this ship in emergency situations, where money is not an issue when time is of the essence and lives are at stake.

MaxDefense believes that the PN should study this offer very well, although they must do it fast as there are many other possible candidates who might be willing to acquire the ship. 


The Australians have started taking out their Balikpapan-class heavy landing crafts. The PN could take them in if they are still in good condition.
Photo taken from Wikipedia.


Other proposals include the acquisition of other readily-available assets from other sources. The Australians have recently decommissioned their Balikpapan-class heavy landing crafts, which could be sold for cheap due to their age, while the Koreans have already started disposing some of their older landing crafts, with one example already reportedly recently donated to the PN. Also, it is expected that the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) is about to take-out some of their Go Jun Bong-class landing ship tanks to give way to newer ships that are coming in soon. The PN should take advantage of these assets not only to for HADR operations, but also to replace the already delapidated World War II US-made LSTs sisterships of the BRP Sierra Madre that the PN continues to operate. For long term, the PN must continue to acquire new LCUs similar to its BRP Tagbanua, which is said to have some identified flaws that could be rectified in newer derivatives of the ship class.


The PN is scheduled to receive a used Korean-made Landing Craft Utility from the ROKN. There are more of these in ROKN's stocks that are expected to be taken out of service very soon.
The PN should also take a closer look at the Korean Go Jun Bong-class LST to replace the PN's WW2-era LSTs. These are good long term solutions to replace old PN transport assets.
Photo taken from Wikipedia.


===============
UPDATES:
===============
September 7, 2014:
A recent news report from the Alaska Dispatch News indicated that the Mat-Su Borough is really in a hurry to dispose the M/V Susitna due to mounting upkeep expenses, and is hoping that the recent visit by Philippine Navy officials will bear fruit. Due to the ship being a previous project by the US Navy, it is expected that any acquisition of the ship by foreign governments may require it to be done through their supervision. 

It was also indicated that should the PN acquire the ship, it would be modified from a day-only vessel to an asset that has provisions for all-day operations, including enclosed passenger compartments for troops or civilian evacuees. This means that the costs of acquiring the ship may go up from the original $6 million, with the additional costs going to logistics support and spare parts, training of ship crew and maintenance teams, modifications based on Philippine Navy requirements, and shipping from Alaska to the Philippines. MaxDefense believes that this would probably double the total acquisition cost of the ship.

98 comments:

  1. since our country is always battered by typhoons and all docks are crowded,this vessel will definitely be a big help. dual purpose asset at a good price. a musthave for our PN. just wondring if our PN have the eagerness like us to acquire this one

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    Replies
    1. The AFP just needs to use common sense and logic to quickly decide on this slightly-used 3-in-1 vessel. This $78 million ship on sale for only $6 million is already a bargain jackpot even if you think it will be costly to maintain in the long run. The AFP can already place it into commercial use as a domestic cargo/passenger ship to defray it's purchase & maintenance cost. Ano ba yan. Patumpik-tumpik pa ang gobyerno natin. Bilhin na!!!

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    2. Yes I agree with those positive impact on this ship...shall I add we can rent /lease this ship to private sectors needing them too in order to offset the maintenance and up keeping the ship worthiness. I hoping the PN will buy them while still been offer them.

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    3. We should buy this.its a jackpot...And it looks like a Lockheed Martin Sea slice.......

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  2. based on your assessment sir max its better for us not to pursue this hich-tech vessel for the meantime. the practical approach would be to acquire more lcu and tagbanua class in the future because of its cargo loading capacity. even the us navy stopped their interest on this ship. should we be the end buyer? its a no for me.

    renbios

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  3. Hi Max - Thank you for the updates. Just curious,let say we bought that ship,is it legal/possible to replicate it? And why didn't we tried producing more BRP tagbanua type ships, are there underlying issues that we need to address? Thank you.

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  4. Sir Max i think we can use this ship for replenishing the marines at Sierra Madre.

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  5. i think we should go for it ,it will be very useful for us

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    Replies
    1. Try ramming that, and nice for shoal landings,

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  6. Palagay ko sir max pag-isipan itong mabuti mataas kasi ang operational cost total marami namang available sa ibang bansa for long time use.

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  7. A very Interesting Type of Ship, even if this will not be used as a LST. We can learn from this type of Ship in the technological aspect of building innovative ships but in my opinion PN should focus on building up our Ships with much more reliable LST.

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  8. Sir max i think it is better to buy the decommissioned vessel from korea and australia due to low operational and maintenance cost.. Do you agree sir max?

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  9. just a question guys.
    pwd b mag beach landing ung tagbuana class? just curious

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  10. The M/V Sustina because of its twin catamaran design and technology would be an enticing incentive for the PN R/D . But, it would be more of a want rather than a need considering other options mentioned in this blog. In the case of the PN I would be more frugal in considering the purchase of the said vessel base on the history of the PN in maintaining certain assets and the cost involve in it. Like what Max said and which I've also stress in the past that there other sources which are more viable and would be the best interest for the AFP modernization program . The SK and possibly the RAN would be a better options . The SK would be the best option for us if ever the DND would decide in favor of the "Incheon class" frigate program of the PN . This would open a lot of doors to fullfill the much needed assets the PN recquires . As for the Aussies , they being in the same interest as the Philippines regarding the balance of power in the " South China Sea "would be a willing ally to assist the AFP in its quest for a minimum credible defence force . If the US Defense Department is willing to help boost the PN logistic capability why not sell or offer the PN the General Frank Besson LSV class . This would be a great addition to the PN counterpart which are the 2 Bacolod class LSV .

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  11. Hi Max, The Tagbanua and M/V Susitna is not comparable in my opinion. They are years apart from each other and we cannot always look all the time for humanitarian effort when it comes to purchases for the PN. The M/V Susitna, is a good addition for the rapid troop deployment capability. Though it is only rated at 18knots, I believe it go more, just by the mere size of its engine. Likewise, the new technology it carries would familiarize the Philippine Navy to operate and maintain those type. It should be noted that we are now in the 20th century using 19th century technology. Those new light frigates and future purchase of PN would be using technology with the same principle with that of the M/V Susitna, based on hydraulics and electronics. Of course it could also be used for humanitarian too. But, we have to balance those capabilities. Do we need rapid deployment capability? Of course, especially when the big red dog is in our front yard. If we are talking only of humanitarian effort and snail like troop deployment then they should go with the Tagbanua Type, it is Ok.

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    Replies
    1. The budget to acquire the M/V Susitna will be coming from other sources, as discussed in the blog. If the national government intends to use budget for HADR operations to acquire the ship, the PN must acquire something that they can indeed use for HADR, yet useful for combat operations as well.

      Technology-wise, comparison is difficult, but the case of comparison is based on what both ships can do, which is actually almost the same.

      The idea regarding maintenance is to reduce the number of parts that needs maintenance for as much as possible. If you can have something that does the same, costs the same, and is easier to maintain, and the effectiveness doesn't go far off the morr advanced product, then it would probably be a good choice.

      Rapid deployment capability is a broad spectrum, and the M/V Susitna can be an asset good for certain missions and conditions, but not all the time.

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    2. Hi sir max pwede rin bng lagyan ng armas un susitna?at pwd va cya mag land s shore ?

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  12. Off the topic sir max,any update on CAS project.

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  13. Good for relief & rescue operations during calamities in areas not reachable by land or air. Can be also used as a troop insertion platform to serve as reactionary force. Given that its design structure, im having doubts if it can be used during actual calamities but more of after its occurence.

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    Replies
    1. HADR operations are done mostly after the occurence of disasters, not during the calamity itself. You won't expect help coming in a typhoon area as that could also be disastrous the relieving forces.

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  14. It's a failed US Navy experiment with very complicated and maintenance heavy mechanisms. It will just muddle up PN modernization path. Better concentrate on Tagbanua path, and buy the Balikpapan of AU.

    Lapulapu

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  15. Four engines, four waterjets, and even the shafts are carbon fiber. I think this is too advanced and complex for our needs. This kind of procurement is justified if it can be delivered immediately to meet an existing very urgent requirement.

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  16. MV Susitna is a nice ship. But likely expensive to maintain and operate. The Go Jun Bong Class LST is ideal for our transport requirements either for Military or Civilian use. The Balikpapan Class LCH is older compared to the Go Jun Bong and heavily utilized by the Australian Navy. Not ideal considering the age and its possible expensive maintenance requirements.

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    Replies
    1. The Balikpapan-class is of a different class as the Korean LSTs. It would be closer to compare the Australian boats to the LCU recently announced for donation by the Korean government to the Philippine Navy.

      As for the Go Jun Bong, its more of an alternarive proposal to replace the remaining WW2 LST still operated by the PN.

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  17. Besides using it for HADR operations, the next biggest use for Sustina would be when refurbishing Pag-Asa and our other outlaying reefs and shoals in the Spratlys. It is for heavy duty use and is considered a warship with its multiple compartments and not built with commercial standards. And this we need now.....not 3 years from now.

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    Replies
    1. That's actually one of the main reasons for possibly acquiring the ship. Let's see if this project goes through the hole.

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    2. Hi Sir Max & Mr. James Sword, with US president Obama's planned visit to China this comming November 2014.... I doubt that this MV Sustina ship offered by the US government will push through and as what Mr. Sword mentioned aboved that this ship is capable of refurbishing the Pag-Asa. For sure there will be some close door meeting between two head of state's of the US and China and at all cost China will block the deal. I pitty for our beloved country the Philippines.......

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    3. Do we still have that status quo agreement with China and neighboring countries that we cannot make improvements on the disputed islands? If so, then we will be violating the status quo agreement if we make improvements on Pag-asa. Let's just build a new island near Palawan and we will offer the Island for rent to the Americans. We will earn money and at the same time increase our maritime security as well with the presence of an American Military Base.

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  18. Buy it. Reverse engineer it. Build a better one without the flashing lights and whistles.

    Cheaper than R&D.

    Alternative to the hydraulics design is to build a ramp (retractable or not).
    Alternative to littoral and deep water capabilities (swath or barge option of this vessel) is a ballast system.

    Instead of jet water propulsion, replace with diesel propeller.

    Build metallurgy expertise in our metal industries. Copy what made this SWATH capable of ice breaking (standard reinforced double/triple hulls are usually designed for icebreaking). So, what makes this design capable of breaking ice (we need this just in case WPS becomes a ramming arena where our supply to kalayaan group is being blockaded).

    SWATH is very efficient in cutting through water. It has also more stable on rough seas.

    But.................

    Actually, a lot of our local shipbuilders been building SWATH ferries for other countries. Why not just commission them to build one for us then with a capability for beach landing?

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  19. With the same money, dont you build your own LCU by local shipyard? More job created, economic multiply and technology experience to nation resources. For LCU or even LCT/LST no need hi tech application just like frigate, and I think most of major Philippines shipbuilder capable to build that. IMHO. Gombal@timawa.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Gombal, the PN probably identified the ship as for acquisition due to immediate need. This means they can't wait for a new ship to be built. Also, the PN probably knows something that we don't, including possible limitations of its current assets. So far the PN has already identified the flaws and missing capabilities of the BRP Tagbanua that they might incorporate to follow-up orders.

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    2. I am in agreement with Mr. Montero. Our Navy don't have the luxury of time, we have pressing need for this and many others equipments, ..if they are available now and meet the Navy need in term of spec & budget, then go for it.
      Thank you.
      Steelshot

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  20. In my humble opinion, I believed the interest in US-made SWATH Vessel have something more to do with catamaran higher "dash speed".
    At the moment the Philippine Navy have very limited capability in supplying personnel &/or equipments to her seven islands & three reefs she occupy in the disputed Spratly.
    With the addition of this Expeditionary Craft (E-Craft), our Navy will have a higher chance of "punching" through any Chinese blockage.
    Our Navy will be able to move heavy equipments ( not only military but also construction equipments & construction material ) for the purpose of shoring up our islands defence.
    I strongly support this acquisition and urge our Government to experdite the process.

    Thank you.
    Steelshot

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  21. Or try new design of landing craft...... stern landing vessel.

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  22. mas prefer ko kung small & medium size lang na ship dito nalang gawin, lalo na kung logistics lang ang purpose. naka tulong pa s ship industry natin. gamitin sana ng DND un US fund sa mga heli, aircraft or hisher technology equipment.

    just a thought kung twin hull lang, madami ng gumagawa sa pinas nyn, it just a matter of research malaman ang requirement ng DND.

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  23. the government should buy for inflatable landing craft unit. its more mobile and faster and can be fitted inside our strategic sealift vessel similar what the japanese maritime self defense force used to transport their relief during typhoon yolanda.. it can also carry more troops and a truck.

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  24. In other news US offers WHEC to Bangladesh (USCGC Rush).

    https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://photos.state.gov/libraries/bangladesh/621750/Press%20Releases%202014/USG_Offers_USCGS%20_Rush_to_Bangladesh_Sep_3_2014.pdf

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  25. hi sir max, what's your stand about this reply of Gen Iqbal Singha of UNDOF...http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/09/04/1365336/undof-commander-filipinos-defiance-unprofessional?nomobile=1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dati kasi 5/6 ang negosyo ni singha kaya me allergy ncya pg me nkktkas kc nalulugi negosyo. Lol

      Delete
  26. Hi Sir Max, I'm very glad to read and follow your latest updates on defense matters particularly on the AFP modernization at Maxdefense... I could really see the big difference the way you present in your blog entry is very systematic and factual. More power to Maxdefense!

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  27. No wonder why they cant get any military defensive weapons.

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  28. sir max what do you think about boat shop manilas viglitante assualt patrol boat

    http://boatshopmanila.com/400-vigilante/

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  29. Walang mangyayari sa interest.

    Philippine Modernization News:
    Philippine "interested"
    Philippine "plan" to xxxx
    Philippine "will" acquire xxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oo nga ang raming plano pero wla naman, hangang plano at balita lang.. nakakadisappoint!

      Delete
  30. News from our kapitbahay:
    malaysia acquire xxxx
    Indonesia bought xxxxx
    Vietnam new xxxxx ready for trial

    Tsk tsk tsk

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  31. The Philippines is imminent danger of being attacked by China at any time and time is of the essence & utmost importance for our government to consider in procuring every available battle-ready weapons systems on sale by foreign governments. We missed the opportunity to buy-out all the Israeli Kfir MRFs w/c can initially serve for our immediate PAF air defense and now we are missing out on the Pohang, Perry and Hamilton ships being decommissioned by S. Korea and the US for use as our immediate PN sea defense capability.

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    Replies
    1. This "super-ferry" offer came out of the blue. Did anyone else know about the Susitna before reading about it in this blog? If they can get wind of something like this it's a safe bet the PN knows all about Kfirs and Perrys. I try to stay grounded enough to remind myself the professionals tend to know things laymen don't.

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    2. I think what the professionals at the PN knows is that if the maintenance cost is high in the long run,don't buy it bec. the budget is tight even if the old item is cheap and highly sophisticated. They forgot to consider that time is running out for us in defending our territorial sovereignty against China. If the dispute escalates into a conflict this year and Chinese warhips. combat planes and missiles starts bombarding our military bases, maybe that will knock the sense out of Pnoy and AFP to think why didn't we buy the battle-ready weapons earlier. We are talking about our sovereignty here and probability of destruction of our cities here and not just about costs of money. China already made that threat and we should not take that lightly.

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    3. Our past & present government has already made the biggest mistake of allowing China to take control of Mischief Reef in the first place and still continued that mistake with Mabini Reef and Scarborough Shoal. And now Reed bank is in danger of being invaded. How far is the Pnoy government going to allow China to slowly give-in to China’s creeping invasion of our territories. Up to Pag-Asa Island or Palawan Island. If within this year before the ITLOS decision, China invades Pag-Asa Island and our other remaining reefs and shoals in Spratly Islands, what is the Phil. going to do now. Just let China occupy them while waiting for the AFP to have a credible defense capability for several years. This is pure stupidity bec. no matter how much we modernize the AFP, it will never match China’s military might. While we are still in the process of acquiring modern fully-armed Frigates for the PN, MRFs for the PAF and Coastal Missile Batteries for the PN, PAF & PA, our government should have turned-over all the PN small naval ships and patrol boats to the PCG, BFAR & PNP maritime police to confront and stop Chinese CG maritime ships & illegal fishing vessels coming in and out of our EEZ, extracting our marine resources and occupying our reefs and shoals no matter how few and weak our capabilities are bec. that is the solemn constitutional duty of our government and the AFP to defend our sovereign territory even if many Filipino lives will die for it. That is why our National Anthem has the words “…ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo”. Many of our political leaders either simply don’t understand or are totally ignorant of the real, true meaning of “dying for our country.” Japan is also weaker than China even if it has more capable military force than us but the Japanese gov’t. has the guts to confront China even if it leads to war

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    4. Hi Roberts2, the Japanese government had the guts to confront China militarily for reasons that it has a strong economy that will back its military spending....it's obvious that Japan's war machinery is a deterent to China. Japan licensed build it's own fighter planes even developes it's own and it's Naval ship building experience rooted and developed since the World war 2. The Philippines could only do is to balance it's military spending vis-à-vis its growing economy.

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    5. Hi Brontoc. The reality is our economy and our AFP modernization will never reach the level of China & Japan even in a hundred years. Regardless of whether we have a strong or weak economy, it is still our government’s constitutional duty to defend our sovereignty & territorial integrity through our law-enforcement agencies and not the AFP. If Pnoy had not withdrawn & instead increased the number of our CG patrol boats in a stand-off against China’s CG ships, Mabini Reef and Scarborough Shoal would not have been occupied by China. Vietnam’s government defended its sovereignty out of a sense of its constitutional duty. Even if they are losing the fight against China’s expansionist aggression, they deserve the praise for their gallant & heroic actions which gained more respect from China than us who is too easy to bully. Vietnam however learned an important lesson. They realized that they have to accelerate their arms procurement even with a small economy like us. Now, you can see Vietnam buying all kinds of missiles, submarines, missile frigates, corvettes and MRFs as fast as they can get them than us. The US is an unreliable partner & forget about ITLOS w/c China doesn’t recognize. The bottom-line is our government must also accelerate our arms procurements just like Vietnam (by temporarily quadrupling DND’s yearly budget for the next 5 years at least at the expense of other Departments, sad to say) and our law-enforcement agencies must engage China’s aggression. If our government has more priority to education, health, social services & public works than defending our sovereignty, then better let China extract our EEZ marine resources and give-away all our territories in Spratly Islands & Scarborough Shoal including the billion dollars of gas and oil reserves underneath the seabed

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  32. As it goes to saying let the PN decommissioned those WW2 eras LST and refurbish or reused the hulls of these old ships to a new locally designs ships that can be more useful as like HADR-capable vessels from our own local shipyards. And all they have to do look for foreign partners like HHI or Austal Shipyard company and others at the same time it can generates local workforces to our shipping industries.

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  33. Sooner or later enter into war khit iwasan ntin mangyayari ito sapagkat kinuha ng malaysia ang sabah tpoz tinotorture p nila mga pilipino ang tanong q lng may pAg asa vah tayo vs malaysia

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  34. Sir max sa navy museum ay my mini submarine dw meron pb hbng ngaun nito ang navy

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    Replies
    1. Its not a mini submarine but a SEAL delivery vehicle. Its like a torpedo with seats for 2 divers. An exmaple is currently in Sangley Naval Base's outdoor museum gallery.

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  35. its a lot of plan for the Philippine Navy and look what happen to those pending two new frigate and the SSV? better for Philippine Navy to finish first the other instead of making a new drawing in Public.

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    Replies
    1. These are simultaneous projects. The SSV is already an ongoing project. The frigate is just awaiting a final decision after bidders were given time to make their final proposals according to the revised specs and budget without the weapons systems.

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  36. I read from Yahoo news that the Vietnamese navy acquired several advance kilo class submarines from Russia and missiles that go with them. Should the Philippines follow suit as a deterrent to Chinese encroaching on our eez?

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    1. Vietnam acquired 6 Kilo-class subs from Russia. It has already received 3 if I'm not mistaken. The PN is looking to acquire 3 submarines in the near future.

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    2. Hi Mark, though I am optimistic of the acquisition of the three submarines. But I am pessimistic that it would happen in our lifetime. I maybe wrong, but, I have retired and returned to work waiting for the AFP modernization and it took a PNOY before it started happening and time is so short before somebody replaces him. And that's when the million dollar question will start whether the AFP modernization will push further.

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  37. Not a logical choice... we can bulid them locally at a fraction of the cost.

    Lets not spend more on something that we will barely use.

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  38. Maybe DND/ PN TOP brass change their focus this PERRY CLASS frigate HALYBURTON just retired/decommissioned last September 6, 2014. This is definitely worth of their time and our tax money.
    serge


    http://www.navytimes.com/article/20140909/NEWS/309090064/Frigate-Halyburton-decommissioned-after-30-years-service

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    Replies
    1. I believe Halyburton and Thach is being given to Turkey. We keep saying that we are not capable or it is too expensive to operate and all we can do is watch others snap up American toys and yet we complain of being bullied around. Are we that poor or that stupid?

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    2. The PN should not acquire a OHP class frigate. It will only complicate its logistics further. They better stick to the Hamiltons. And besides, its missile system is obsolete already and far worst is we might receive it like the hamiltons (no radar and weapon system) with its gun mounted amidships.

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  39. sir max,
    this is out of your topic but, is there any news about the planned acquisition of 155mm howitzer, CAS for the air force & shore based missiles system?

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  40. will this vessel help our pnavy?if yes then go for it. red tape is the issue not the price

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  41. never trust mainland China...never !

    http://www.angmalaya.net/nation/2014/09/11/4256-ancient-maps-show-disputed-shoal-in-wps-is-part-of-manilas-territory

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  42. Sir max ksma sa pag uusapan s pagbisita ni pangulo sa france ang pag bili ng submarine?

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  43. hoping that our Philippine Navy would avail for this one or more diccommissioning frigates of US Navy.

    http://www.navytimes.com/article/20130710/NEWS/307100033

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    Replies
    1. how old are they?

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    2. could be possible and worthwhile to replaced the engine of the Perry class with the same engine with Alcaraz?

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  44. If we have this tank position in Jolo and all other areas of Mindanao infested by the BIFF, let see if what will happen to those bandits. Hoping our Armed Forces will acquire this soon. Please see below link

    http://www.armyrecognition.com/europe/Espagne/National_Day/National_Day_2005/images/Leopard_2E__ES__1.jpg

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    Replies
    1. kung GUSTO,may paraan, pag ayaw, napakaraming dahilan

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    2. hi sir max.... is their any plans for our Government to procure this kind of main battle tanks?

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    3. This is an excellent example of a main battle tank. However, against insurgents, its like using a sledge hammer to kill flies. IMHO, what is suited for the army and/or marine is a fully amphibious highly mobile wheeled armored vehicle with big guns like the French AMX-10RC

      http://www.theworldwars.net/weapons/pictures/land/fr/photos/photo_fr_amx-10rc_1.jpg

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    4. light tanks are more suitable for our terrain

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  45. kinda of topic max,

    But is our AFP capable of producing hydra rockets? If yes pwede ba nila i upgrade to APKWS, the reason why im asking this cuz we lack precision munition to fight insurgents.

    We may have this capability when the FA-50 comes but those are expensive. We already have the MD500 and can carry the APKWS.

    BTW are the MD500 is going for upgrading? thanks ayan

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    Replies
    1. Currently the PAF buys from foreign suppliers, mostly from Korea. As for the MD-520MG, they recently got refurbished engines and airframes for extended serivce life.

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    2. The FA-50 can be mounted LOGIR Hydra rocket ..! (Low cost guided missile)
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-Cost_Guided_Imaging_Rocket
      http://photolog.blog.naver.com/PostView.nhn?blogId=mc341&logNo=70102613922
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kC4W11cVz3Q

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  46. Any update on modernization at shore base missile

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  47. The planner should abandoned ongoing modernization in the list and shift focus on what available budget for the anti-ship missiles and mrf.

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  48. Vietnam acquired high speed landing craft from Russia
    http://defense-studies.blogspot.com/2014/09/russia-to-handover-high-speed-landing.html

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  49. If it is free why not? We can use four good powerful engines to power four even more powerful and faster Tagbanua class LCUs.

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  50. anyone knows about this one.? pls see link below.

    http://www.philstar.com/education-and-home/2014/07/31/1352173/phl-satellite-project-scientists-leave-japan

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  51. And what happened to the frigates? I think its been more than a year since the news that the PN is interested of aquiring new ships but they keep on changing thier plans. I think their just interested in planning things giving false hope for the Filipinos. I woudn't be surprised if someday they will interested on another things and drop the plans for frigates. I've been following blogs after blogs about AFP modernizations since the chinese bullying action against us and in someway raised my sense of patriotism. This frustrating to hear droping of plans and drafts another one that soon also will fail.

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  52. Yes fellow bloggerz!in a sense chinas assertive acts in a way rekindled our patriotism!wphlsea is a given jst like sabah.water undr the bridge.no matter how we attempt to correct our mistakes diplomatically and politically we can no longer for instance reacquire sabah or scarborough shoal.the most that we can do is to protect whats left on us!particularly BENHAM RISE.this was already awarded to PH and is 3x bigger than luzon.unfortunately save for small BFar and CG shipz it seems we are again lazily lying in our comfort zone! Fil scientist frm UP has mapped and been in the forefront of BR.hence what the take now of our PN and CG? 1 day will again wake up that BH already has another chinese oil rig and that their reason for occupying it is allegedly the fishes inhabiting the BR speakz mandarin!if we can drumbeat support for gilas why not that for our AFP.Pinoys lets rise for BENHAM RISE!PUSO!! ramil

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  53. OO nga eh... di mo alam kung anong klase meron ang AFP natin particular sa modernization. Mga sinulngaling pa. Kung ano ano na lang ang naiisip basta may e bo broadcast lang for Public..kuno yung Frigate bidding malalaman daw nung July 2014 eh ano petsa na ngayon.. may pakuha kuha pa ng mga consultant at nagbayad ng milyones di mo alam kung ano talaga.. President Pnoy ano ba talaga? pano mo masasabi na credible ang defense natin eh ang mga binibitawang balita ng mga nasa AFP is in incredible and more lies..

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  54. puro na lang interested, procure, plan, in a hurry at kung ano ano pa mga naiisip nitong DND tapos drawing lang..Mga taga DND at mga Heneral na Graduate ng PMA bago kayo magbigay ng anunsiyo sa Publiko tungol sa mga modernization program nyo siguraduhin nyong d yan mga drawing kasi nawawala credibilidad nyo sa publiko..graduate pa naman kayo ng PMA pano..

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  55. Baka inaantay na naman nga mga matitikas ntng opisyal ung e dodonate ng south korea na frigate?haha.paging mr.ramos westpointer tabako!sir kaw nagpasimula nito!sabi m nuon benta m fort bonifacio pra sa afp modrnization!eh anu nbili m nuon sir para sa afp??

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  56. This is not to disparage our govt.yet in all honesty our situation today is largely due to corruption in our govt.wag n tayu pumunta sa dagat.sa mrt nlng.imagne kakasbi lng ni dotc sec abya,kulang daw tlaga ng train.ha??after all these years ngayun nio lng nlaman??eh kng ito nga mrt na araw araw gngamit ng halos hap milyun n cmmuterz eh hndi natutukan panu na kaya mga brko ng navy n d naman nkikta ng madlang pepol?pati n mga eruplanu ng airforce?yet check wat dragged the mrt train purchase and maintenance!jst rd colums of atty.bondoc of phlstar.andun lhat sandamakmak na nakawan.mula kay vitangcol pati na ung contract sa operation and maintenance ng mrt awarded sa wlang cptal at experience n cntrctor na siempre partymate at opisyal ng ruling Lakas Party!!thats it.kng hrap nga tayu bumili ng train panu na ng frigates??sana may firing squad para sa mga magnanakaw ng pera ng bayan.at ang ipambabaril sa mga guilty 12 gauge shotgun!!haha.FUEG0!

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  57. Our govt should take this oppurtunity to acquire this ship becauase this is a great boost to our armed forces especially in HADR Operations. Dont always think of High Maintenance Cost for as long as our Govt will provide the necessary budget for logistic and training to maintain the ship and will not end in total cannibalization pag walang pera sa maintenance.

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  58. Latest development for this curious ship, and it seems the Phil. govt has been completely out of the picture for quite a time already.

    http://ktna.org/2013/10/17/the-mv-susitna-hasnt-sold-but-should-start-costing-the-borough-less/

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  59. Bilhin na yan! Mura na yan! Panalo tayo dyan. Sana mabili natin yan. Bihira lang tayo magkaroon ng ganyang pagkakataon kaya let's grab it while it's still available. Sayang rin yan. Sir max, ano po yung latest update nito? Thanks sa info. :-)

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  60. Update ko lang po kayo, sa sobrang bagal mag decide ng AFP at DND nauna na po bumili sa kanila ang Philippine Red Cross under the leadership of Richard Gordon. Congrats Philippine Red Cross


    http://www.update.ph/2016/04/red-cross-acquires-mv-susitna-from-alaska/4634

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    Replies
    1. The PN decided not to buy it a long time ago. But Gordon saw the ship's potential and low price so he came back and offered to buy it for the PH Red Cross. Its not because thenDND or AFP was slow on deciding.

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