Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Is it Time to Replace the Philippine Air Force's S-211 Aircraft?

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is among the foremost organizations that has started its preparation for transition, with its manpower and organization, doctrine and training, and assets acquisition all pointing for a stronger emphasis to air defense, domain awareness, and maritime support capabilities. Among those that may require modernization are the training aircraft fleet, most notably the SIAI Marchetti AS-211 for fast-jet pilot training preparation, as the PAF is in the process of accepting more advanced fighters and fighter trainers.


The Philippine Air Force's AS-211 Warrior, a modified SIAI Marchetti S-211 basic jet trainer with limited attack capability.


SIAI Marchetti S-211 in Philippine Air Force: Currently the PAF's foremost asset is the SIAI-Marchetti (now Aermacchi) S-211 jet aircraft from Italy. It is the only jet powered combat and trainer aircraft in the PAF, and is only available in limited numbers due to poor serviceability and funding issues. Originally designed as a basic jet trainer, it was procured by the PAF in the early 1990s as the first step to improve the training capability of future PAF pilots. A total of 25 units were acquired, 9 units built by SIAI-Marchetti in Italy, 15 units assembled locally by the Philippine Aerospace Development Corporation (PADC), and 1 non-flying airframe. These aircraft were divided into 2 training squadrons, one each based in Fernando Air Base in Batangas and Basa Air Base in Pampanga.


PAF S-211s in flying school trainer colors, probably taken in the early 1990s.


Plans to acquire more sophisticated advanced jet trainers were made before 1995, with the PAF considering the BAE Hawk, Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatross, and Dassault Alpha Jet. But this plan did not materialize due to lack of funding and support from the national government. Instead, it was included in the 1995 AFP Modernization Program as part of the PAF's wishlist for around 24 Surface Attack / Advanced Jet Trainer Aircraft. And 17 years later on, nothing was acquired by the PAF for this role until the awarding of the SAA/LIFT acquisition project to Korea Aerospace Industries for its FA-50 Fighting Eagle.


Then PAF Gen. Loven Abadia (in orange) after conducting test flight with the Dassault Alpha Jet in the early 1990s, which was then offered to the PAF.
Photo taken from Lt. Col. Francis Neri (PAF) Facebook page on The Greats of the Philippine Fighter Force: Gen. Loven C. Abadia


The absence of an advanced jet trainer forced the S-211 to shoulder the role of transitioning pilots to the F-5A/B Freedom Fighter jets after the last T-33 Shooting Star jet trainer was withdrawn from PAF service in the early 90s. Then, with still no replacement for the ageing F-5A/B, the S-211 was again made to shoulder the role of being the PAF's only air defense asset and the entire working fleet were upgraded to AS-211 Warrior standards. Being an aircraft designed for as a basic jet trainer without radar, missile capability, internal gun, and enough power and size to match any of the Philippines' neighbors, it is only apparent that it is not the proper aircraft for the job. It was overused to do duties other than what it was designed for aside from lack of budget to maintain and repair the entire fleet, 


Current Training Aircraft Inventory of the PAF:
Currently, there are 2 aircraft models that all upcoming pilots will have to fly before moving on to specialist training. These are the Cessna T-41B/D Mescalero for Ab-initio / Primary Pilot Training, and the SF-260F/TP for Basic Flight Training. Pilot graduates that are going for advanced / specialized jet training will then proceed to the Air Defense Command to train with the AS-211.

Lacking enough aircraft, the PAF was forced to push the AS-211 to become its basic and advanced jet trainer, and combat jet all at the same time. With the FA-50 expected to enter service soon, the AS-211 may be given some rest on combat duties and might concentrate on advanced  training flights until a replacement is provided.


Why Replace the S-211?
The most obvious reason is that the AS-211 fleet is getting old, with the aircraft in service with the PAF for almost 24 years, its systems outdated, and is becoming a maintenance burden. The PAF, being the only remaining military operator of the type, was said to be experiencing difficulty in maintaining the remaining operational aircraft in its arsenal. The lack of enough operators of the type has made spare parts availability an issue, similar to what the PAF experienced with the F-5A/B in the past. There are several non-operational aircraft that are not being revived by the PAF even if budget can be made available for such move. Latest press releases by the PAF only indicated a plan to revive 2 non-working units to raise the total fleet to 6 aircraft.



A fleet of non-working F-5A/B and S-211 jets at Clark Air Base. Several S-211 airframes can be revived if the PAF wanted to, but the service is not making such effort. 


When Singapore retired their S-211, the PAF did not make any major effort to acquire them to beef up its current fleet, instead letting a private Australian firm have the priority to acquire most of the Singaporean aircraft. They were reportedly being sold at a very low price, and being a major operator of the type, the PAF was expected to push hard for its acquisition.  

MaxDefense believes that the PAF was already contemplating to find a suitable replacement for the aircraft, although budget is scarce as the PAF is prioritizing other aircraft requirements in their short term acquisition program.



The S-211 was preceded by the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star, like the one shown in the photo above now displayed in the Philippine Air Force Museum, which was the PAF's jet trainer from the mid 1950s to the early 1990s.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.


The need for a bridge between the SF-260 and FA-50
The PAF's SF-260F basic trainer aircraft is said to be categorized in a lower level than the basic-advanced trainers used by friendly air forces, like the USAF's T-6 Texan II, the RoKAF's KT-1 Woongbi, the RAAF's PC-9, and the RSAF's PC-21. A cash-strapped PAF, which will definitely do its very best to protect its FA-50 from unnecessary losses due to pilot error, will probably not risk SF-260F graduates to go directly to the FA-50. 

This is even evident with the pilots chosen by the PAF to train in South Korea for its first batch of pilots, wherein they chose the pilots with the most flying hours and experience with the AS-211.


Any move by the PAF to retire the AS-211 may include inducting a new platform to bridge the performance gap between the SF-260 and the FA-50. A good example that can be used by the PAF is that of the Italian Air Force's system, which uses the SF-260 in the basic training role, bridged by an advanced trainer (currently filled by the MB-339), and finally with a LIFT (currently using the M-346 Master).



Options for Replacing the AS-211:
A. New Advanced Trainer:
There are several trainer aircraft in the global market today that meets the PAF's requirement for an S-211 replacement that could slot in between the SF-260 and FA-50. A good example to look into is the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), which is a former S-211 user, and the like the PAF, used the S-211 for basic to advanced flight training purposes. The RSAF replaced the S-211 with the Pilatus PC-21 turboprop aircraft, under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) contract awarded to Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training & Support in 2006, which in turn acquired 19 units together with flight simulators and maintenance. RSAF's first aircraft delivered by 2008. RSAF pilots finishing their training with the PC-21 moves up to the M-346 Master LIFT, which is in the same level as the PAF's FA-50.


 
The RSAF replaced the S-211 with the Pilatus PC-21 advance turboprop trainer.
Photo taken from Victor Pody c/o Planespotters.com
                              

Aside from the PC-21, other designs available in the market today include the  jet powered Alenia Aermacchi M-345 HET, a modern derivative of the PAF's S-211. Unlike the S-211 which did not enter service with the air force of its country of origin, the M-345 is slated to enter the Italian Air Force in the next few years to replace the ageing MB-339 in its arsenal including those of their famous aerobatic team the Frecce Tricolori.  


The PAF could also consider replacing the S-211 with its modern derivative, the Alenia Aermacchi M-345 jet trainer, which will see service with the Italian Air Force soon, and replace the MB-339 with the Italian aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori.


B. Adjusting the PAF's trainer fleet role:
Although MaxDefense believes that options "A" above is a better option, the PAF can look at adjusting the roles of its current trainer aircraft fleet. This includes retiring the Cessna T-41 Mescalero from the Ab-initio / primary training role and replacing them with the SF-260F. To fill in the basic to advance trainer, the PAF could opt to acquire more advanced turboprop trainers like the Pilatus PC-9MBeechcraft's T-6C Texan II, and Korea Aerospace Industries' KT-1 Woongbi

With the PAF currently in the market for Close Air Support (CAS) aircraft to compliment and eventually replace the venerable OV-10 Bronco with the 15th Strike Wing, the PAF can look at the trainer versions of the CAS candidates. As discussed in previous MaxDefense blog entries, possible candidates include the Embraer EMB-314 /A-29 Super Tucano, Beechcraft AT-6C Texan II, Korea Aerospace Industries KA-1 Woongbi, and IOMAX Archangel. Except for the Archangel, all are based on basic-advanced turboprop trainer aircraft, with the EMB-314 being a further development of the successful EMB-312 Tucano, the AT-6C and KA-1 being an armed variant of the T-6 Texan II and KT-1, respectively.


Beechcraft's T-6 Texan II can be a good replacement, especially if the PAF opted to get the AT-6C Texan II for its CAS aircraft requirements.
Photo taken from Beechcraft's website.



MaxDefense believes that the PAF could consolidate its CAS and basic/advanced trainer platforms to allow better and simplified logistics, training, and maintenance commonality. But this could be a problem if the PAF and DND's baseline specifications for the CAS aircraft allows for a specific model that doesn't have a trainer derivative like the IOMAX Archangel.

(Originally MaxDefense believes that the specifications indicated in the CAS project is very close to the A-29 Super Tucano from Embraer.)

According to MaxDefense sources, the EMB-314 Super Tucano (which MaxDefense believes is most possible choice for the CAS requirement) has disadvantages in being a platform for the training requirement, as the aircraft was design more for light attack use and have features that are not needed for training duties (examples are the rugged terrain landing gears, strengthened airframe to carry ordnance and additional armor, etc.) and may push the aircraft's cost higher than the competition. Although converting them to purely training aircraft by removing vital equipment used for armed missions can be done.


C. Send PAF pilots to get advance training with Air Forces of Friendly Countries:

The lack of enough aircraft to train upcoming pilots or keep its pilots in high operational readiness may require the PAF to get the assistance of friendly air forces for its pilot and even ground crew training requirements. AETC-graduate pilots may be sent to countries like the United States, Australia, or South Korea and train under their system. Although this is not a permanent solution, this might be needed to meet the PAF's training requirements in the shortest possible time. Not only are PAF pilots being trained, they are also immersed in a different and probably more advanced training system than what the PAF currently offers. These pilots could then pass on their knowledge and experience to the service by becoming PAF instructors later on to younger batches of pilots.

Whatever option the PAF chooses, it is inevitable for them to find a replacement for the aircraft, or acquire a new aircraft that could work in tandem with the S-211/AS-211 in the basic to advanced training requirements. The PAF expects the number of pilots ready for fast-jet training to increase in the coming years, and the current fleet number may not be enough to reach the required target. It is expected that aside from the S-211 getting older and more difficult to maintain, the PAF must upgrade its training curriculum to improve its pilot's capabilities and prepare them to fly more advanced aircraft like the incoming FA-50 Fighting Eagle and the expected new MRF the PAF plans to acquire beginning 2017.

Until then, the PAF should provide adequate budget to keep the AS-211 fleet in tip-top condition, provide the best maintenance support it can give, and make efforts to improve the fleet numbers and operational readiness of the fleet.

108 comments:

  1. i agree sir max our aiforce needs to replace or acquire aircraft to compliment these s211's
    id like your opinion sir max what is the best 5th gen MRF to suit the PAF's budget not that we can acquire one anyway
    thanks sir max more power

    -ace

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    Replies
    1. right now, we don't have the capability, manpower and facilities to use, maintain and effectively utilize fifth-generation MRFs, even if we do acquire them.

      if you ask me right now, the JAS-39 Gripen, F/A-18 Super Hornet, hell even the F-15Es are more suited for us.

      Delete
    2. oh sorry i meant 4th gen MRF's i thought th super hornet was 5th anyway sir anonymous thanks for ur opinion

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    3. no problem.

      as much as i want us to acquire NATO-ized versions of the MiG-35 and the Su-30, but given the political climate right now.. the DND would definitely pass on those.

      Delete
  2. wonder question: why dont we refurbish all s211 and use them to train pilots and immediately procure MRF's instead of the FA-50?
    not that im against the FA-50 thanks sir max

    -clark

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    Replies
    1. Base on the here, wala ng operator ang as-211 so wala ng available na spare part for maintenance. Kung meron man magiging mahal.. like nang nagyari sa F5-A/B.

      More power sir max

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    2. 1. Like what he said wala ng operator ang S-211, tayo nalang

      2. Walang defense contractor ang magbebenta sa atin ng MRF kung alam nila na mahina ang training regiment ng mga PAF pilots at groundcrew natin for the reason na ayaw nila na may crash history ang mga produkto nila dahil lang sa human error or mismanagement. Kaya tayo may FA-50 ay para matrain ang mga piloto natin kung paano magpalipad at mag-ayos ng mga bagong aircraft.

      2a. Kahit bentahan tayo for sake of sales, say Saab for example lang; sayang ang binayad natin kung hindi naman marurunong yung magpapalipad at magmaintain niyan. Halos lahat ng mga modernong AF, pudpod sa simulator saka primary pilot trainers bago pa man sila humawak ng mga jet trainer.

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    3. Ughhh....FA-50 can be used to familiarized our pilots with jets like MRFs and Air Superiority Fighters. Plus the FA-50 is somehow related to F-16 which is good fighter.

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    4. Just compare the cockpit of the s-211 and of the fa-50 or any mrf. You'll realize the need of filling the gap between s211 and fa50 or any mrf. The picture will tell you right away.

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  3. I only realized by now that our government acquired the FA-50 without addressing first the need of PPT and BFT aircraft. I think we missed the chance of acquiring the KT-1 Woongbi alongside the FA-50, budget and internal politics be damned.

    Very informative, thanks for the info Sir Max

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  4. Hi Max, I find it difficult to accept that we cannot maintain our aircraft due to lack of or no budget. The budget is a bottom up process and if the military will no allocate and push for this definitely they will never get the mission essential funding they should have.

    We have leadership issues as well.

    Freddie

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  5. I say get these M-345s.

    The PAF's need for trainers is almost immediate. I'm no expert for sure but I could see the M-345s as better training platforms than turbo propeller planes. For one thing, it's a new plane and I'll assume it's tech is better than any of the turbo propeller - CAS planes the PAF is considering. Second, we can say all we want that AirForces everywhere are using turbo-props as their basic-advanced trainers, but at the end of the day, turbo-props are still -- not jets. The M345s are, which makes the jump from M-345s to FA-50s much smoother. And lastly, if the cost for acquiring and operating these M-345s are the same as turbo propellers (like what Alenia claims), then it's a no-brainer. The PAF has to get these birds (and build them here too if possible like what they did with the S-211s).

    Now, if the PAF wants to consolidate the CAS project with the trainer, I can see a work-around. I'm pretty sure, Alenia will launch an armed variant of the M-345 if someone wants it. And with the way the PAF has used the S-211's, I'm pretty optimistic that the M-345 is going to be a capable aircraft for the PAF.

    I hope the PAF would squeeze out what it can from our remaining S-211s, complement them with at least 12 M-345s for trainers. And acquire 12 armed variants, to go with our legit combatants: the FA-50s and the Gripens.

    - Neo

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  6. Hi Max,

    Good to see your blog again...in my opinion its high time to replace aside from being "too old already" its a maintenance nightmare also due to high cost and hard to find spare parts or lack of it not to mention its already been outdated also. Lets just say PAF embark more to newly turbo prop aircraft the likes of option A as you made mention the cheaper version of PZL Orlick and KT1 Aircraft how about the new aircraft like the Scorpion ISR/attack craft as for jet powered trainer at the same time for border ISR?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The PAF can explore this and possibly have the Scorpion made here under a licensing agreement. The plane maybe new but very promising.

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  7. Yeah, replace them with mothballed A-4 Skyhawks from Davis-Monthan AFB near Tucson AZ. It's about the same size.

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  8. nakakaiyak tingnan ang Military natin. Puro "planning" at "interested" ang mga nababasa ko. Mga lumang "paasa words" ng politico natin. Sana matupad lahat ang mga wishlist ng Modernization Act katulad ng 4 squadron fighter jets at 3 submarine later in 2020

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  9. Hello Max, I'm a long time reader and this is my first comment. As always, you wrote a good, in-depth article. However, the one analysis I'm looking forward to is your take on the future MRF candidates and recommendation for PAF. There's been numerous other blogs that has started threads on this topic; whether, its best that PAF acquires Gripen, vs. F-16, or vs F-18. I'm looking forward to yours. Is it too far in advance to tackle on such a subject, when the 2nd phase of modernination is not until 2018 and we have yet to receive one FA-50?

    Thank you for this blog!
    Cezar

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  10. Hi Sir Max, the PAF got stuck with this turbofans trainer since the last action of the F-5's in the 90's. Would be better that the top brass of the AFP consider an advance trainer in relation to it's CAS project in a followup order in a downgraded version dedicated for training purposes. Its practical to allot more funding for additional CAS, Flight Simulators and then the much awaited MRF in the near future. Too much waste of money on this s211 project before in fact many other nations air force abandoned this crapy basic trainer jet.

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    Replies
    1. I would not call the S-211 a crappy trainer jet. The fact that the Air Force was able to use this jet for 24 years attest to the usefulness of this aircraft. Also, the basic design was good enough that it was developed further to M-311 and M-345. I hope that the Air Force can allocate more funds to maintain this aircraft and revive mothballed airframes in order to increase the operational inventory until PAF decides to purchase replacement trainers be it a turpo prop or a jet trainer like the M345.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. To Anonymous (October 7, 2014 at 4:04 PM),

      We should further observe the Italian Air force of which themselves were not an operator of these S-211 trainer jets that has it's national origins to Italy. Why still embraced the old production model historical jet trainers which drain the PAF on issues of maintaining planes with limited support for spares. I think it's time for the PAF to secure assets for a long term use not as a stop gap measures....it could save financially in the long run.

      Delete
  11. From my understanding, the FA-50 is acquired for the role of Lead-in fighter trainer/light attack, for our Pilots to be trained to operate more advanced aircraft's like the Grippen NG, Rafale, EF, F-18 and etc,. in the future (Whatever PAF would acquire in the Future "SANA"). It is a replacement for the S-211. So it's like

    1. SF 260 - basic trainer (Needs also replacement in my opinion.)
    1a. PC-21, KAI woongbi, AT-6 texan II (Sir Max in pointing out.)
    2. FA-50 - AJT/LIFT/Light attack (This Aircraft would be the Bridge) for 3
    3. Future MRF (Grippen NG, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter, F-18 and etc.)

    That's my opinion..

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  12. is it possible to revive the F5 A/B as trainer? Will it be costly sir Max to do so? I think we have a lot of spare in our inventory? South korea and Taiwan has a lot of F5 that we can use as advance trainer sir max...what do you think?

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    Replies
    1. No. Not only are they not trainers, but they are a risk as well. The PAF already retired its F-5A/B due to poor condition and lack of spares. The Taiwanese and South Koreans are experiencing the same with theirs. The Thais also retired their Freedom Fighters recently.

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  13. Huwag n lng i-revive yun hindi kasi tatagal airframe nun gagastos din lang tayo yung pangmatagalan n at safe para sa mga pilot natin.

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  14. Not sure if there is an Advance Training Simulator that PAF can utilize to assist or complement the needed training our future aviators need?

    I think the PAF can access a number of IT Software Companies in the Philippines to developed this kind of software.

    Simulator for Trainer Aircraft, LIFT and MRF.
    If this is implemented we can save the service life of these aircrafts.

    And my vote is a total replacement of old Aircraft.
    Ideally a Trainer version of future CAS due to commonality with parts and training for the crews

    - Paul

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  15. Sir Max what will be the new role of T-41 Cessna in case of take over by SF-260 by the by the PAF as the primary trainer? Would it be possible to transfer the Cessna to the Army because I believe the army has this type and maybe more useful to them. I think it can be use for reconnaissance and to compliment the UAV we have. Or it can be a light strike aircraft for the army.

    Renbios

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    Replies
    1. Giving them to the Army's Aviation Battalion is a good idea. Currently the PA also operates the civilian version of the T-41 as aerial recon and forward air controller assets for the Mechanized Infantry Division, so that won't be a problem for both parties.

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    2. Student pilots need to learn with a basic trainer like a C172 (T41). The SF-260 is considered a complex/high performance airplane in pilot training meaning it has 250+hp and a retractable landing gear. You cannot start a zero hour student in a complex airplane. It's counter-intuitive. Reason being is that student pilots earning their wings whether civilian or military are prone to mistakes and hard landings. I can't imagine the PAF letting it's newbies slam the landing gear on their SF-260. That will be a maintenance headache. Hence the reason why air forces and civilian flight schools start with basic trainers like a C172 or a Diamond DA-40 non-retractable plane or equivalent. I got my wings on the DA-40. They need to earn their wings first i.e learn to be proficient in basic flight maneuvers, ground reference maneuvers, stall and spin recovery, communication and basic navigation in VFR environment. Once they earn their wings then on the same basic trainer they learn how to navigate using IFR which is the hardest of all pilot training. From there they can go to a complex/high performance plane in the case of the PAF, the SF260. Pilot transitioning to multi-engines will also need to learn in a multi-engine platform. That's the reason why air forces and civilian flight school uses Cessnas or Diamond or Piper aircraft for basic flight training. You have to start with a simple plane first that's easy to fly, maintain and operate and most of all forgiving. With that said the PAF cannot really get rid of their basic trainer. They can buy a new Cessna or just outsource their basic training to a local reputable flight school. Not only it is going to be cheaper in the long run, they also don't have to keep an inventory of basic trainer planes which they have to maintain and operate.

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  16. Hi sir Max, are there plans to provide additional air assets to the Army Aviation Battalion? I believe that it is time to increase the aircraft used by them aside from the Cessna aircraft they have in operation.

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    Replies
    1. According to Phil. Army sources, there are "plans" but mostly for light aircraft and helicopters. If the PAF's T-41 are replaced, the idea above your comment (by Renbios) is a good one.

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  17. I agree sir max in sending our pilots to be trained by our allied country. This is what other asean countries doing. Exposing them to more advance training and use of advance hardwares.

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  18. sir, max this is out of topics, but is there any info or news on the bidding of the two (2) brand new Frigates for PN? Also any news on bidding of 6 Attack aircraft for PAF....

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  19. As a temporary gap measure the PAF should utilize the remaining S 211 for training purposes. If we can have six so much the better. Repair and upgrade this aircraft and ensure that the aircraft are all airworthy.

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  20. Yes we need to replace them. They will become a danger soon to our pilots ie: airframe and engine failures. A budget must be allocated for choices like 8 M-346s, Hawk 100s or Dornier Alpha jets or old israeli TA-4 Skyhawks.

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    Replies
    1. There were earlier plans to acquire a half squadron of used Hawk trainers from a friendly country but no new information came out afterwards.

      Delete
  21. For me, theirs no need already to purchase a trainer aircraft such as M-345 and their is already the FA-50 which serve as a jet trainer and light attack as well. This will be a good chice for Philippine Air force to choose the FA-50 in preparation for the real MRF. What will the government do right now is to make all those detachment of Army assigned in the rural areas to make and build made of concrete block which serve as protection from ambush made by the pest (NPA and BIFF). I notice that most of the detachment of those Army battalion is made of wood and some are of Nipa hut. I am worried of the situation of those brave soldier. Hope that Aquino administration will see this.

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    Replies
    1. Lem1, the issue here is how to bdige the gap between the SF-260 and the FA-50. The gap is too wide without the AS-211 in the middle. But with the AS-211 ageing fast, thus the raising of this topic's main question.

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    2. So Sir Max, we need 3 types of trainers?

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    3. The SF-260F is our current basic flight trainer, although according to PAF sources, it should actually be replacing the T-41 in the primary training role. It can't do more advanced pilot training for which can be provided by the T-6 Texan II and the like. Thus the gap between the SF-260 and FA-50 is huge, which might be a problem for the flight training program.

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    4. Currently the T-6, KT-1, PC-9M, and EMB-314 exceeds the capabilities of the SF-260, and can equal or probably even exceed the performance of the S-211 / AS-211, The RSAF also found the much more advanced PC-21 turboprop trainer aircraft to be several steps higher in terms of capability, technology and performance from their S-211 as well.

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  22. KA-1 Woongbi, would be the perfect aircraft to bridge the gap between SF-260 and FA-50. It is an an armed advanced trainer aircraft which can also be stretched as a Close Air Support. The Phil. Air force has the habit of using aircraft in various tasks because of limited budget, so I think KA-1 Woongbi fits the job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chito, currently the ROKAF uses the Ilyushin Il-103 for Ab-initio and primary flight training, and the KT-1 Woongbi for basic to advance training, and pilot candidates for fighter aircraft then go through the T-50.

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  23. i'm no expert in these topics but they should retire them. if it is to fill the gap, i think modern turboprop planes to FA-50 to future MRF would be good idea

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  24. Another option would be to lease Jet trainers. PAF could lease the aircraft on a per flight hour basis. This could be on a short term period until the government has decided to purchase its own training aircraft. Other countries has been leasing aircraft to save on cost. One example is Royal Canadian Air Force.

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  25. Buy the retiring French Alphajets, as the FA-50 is the S-211 replacement

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Alpha Jets, being prepared for retirement, is not a good candidate to replace the S-211 as well. They are also old (even older than the PAF's S-211), which will not really help well, although they can be used for other purposes like light attach aircraft similar to what the Thais did with their Alpha Jets and L-39s.

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  26. sir max, i thought the FA-50 is a MRF variant of the T-50 or are they they same?

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    Replies
    1. The FA-50 is a LIFT with a higher degree of combat capability that equals light fighters like the Indian Tejas and Pakistani-Chinese JF-17, while the T-50 is more of a pure-bred advanced trainer & LIFT. The middle model, the TA-50, has limited combat capability compared to the FA-50 but is also considered a LIFT.

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    2. think of the FA-50 as a lightweight version of the F-16 FIghting Falcon. most of the design cues and the tech used in them are based off the F-16.

      we we're supposed to get the TA-50s first, but the DND decided to go for the FA-50s. i'm guessing we're gonna be one of the first countries to operate that variant once deliveries start.

      Delete
  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  28. sir max if we may get your idea, what is the best and cheap jet trainer you envision for PAF for there consideration?......

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    Replies
    1. No specifics yet. It would best for the PAF to evaluate first all possible candidates IF THEY are really in the process of replacing the S-211. So far it appears this is not a priority due to lack of enough aircraft, so it is expected the PAF will shoulder on with the S-211 for basic training and even air patrol missions.

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  29. I hope makinabang kahit sa anong paraan ang Armed Forces natin dito -

    http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/10/09/1378229/60-us-navy-air-force-deployed-asia-pacific-2020

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  30. Hi Sir Max, are there any plans from PAF to replace the AS-211. Looks like the current leadership overlooked that this airplane is getting old and needs replacement. But then, if they decide for a replacement, we are in a peculiar situation where our LIFT aircraft comes ahead of the advanced trainer jet.

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  31. The way things are with the PAF it's a dilemma that could lead to a major problem for our future MRF. Given the limited resources of their current assets it would be better to send their future pilots for their advance training to South Korea until they could find a better solution as some selected pilots for the FA 50 program. There are too many factors involve and a lot of them are major concerns. Namely the lack of advance basic to advance jet/turbo prop aircraft. Their current flight doctrines are they up to the current standards for 4 & 4.5 generation MRF. The S 211 & AS 211 have endure a lot of flight time and air frame stress that there is a question on their reliability and safety. Perhaps, if the DND could allocate more funds to the PAF they could enhance their defense agreement with SK to include further defense acquisition through their defense contractors that would include training as well and perhaps help us in rebuilding the PAF current status. Or we could also wait for the outcome of the USAF replacement for their T 38 jet trainer. Possible candidate is the "Scorpion " advance trainer and light attack jet aircraft from Textron Airland which IMHO is a worthwhile advance trainer and recon/light attack aircraft suitable for third world air force budget. If this would be the next jet trainer for USAF we could use the FMS agreement to acquire this aircraft. There is also the used T 38 jet trainer to consider if they are in a tight budget.

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  32. Hi Max, according to this news http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2009/04/205_43236.html ROKAF already retired their Bae Hawk Mk.67, and offered to Indonesian Air Forces as sweetener of T-50i Golden Eagle deal.
    BUT
    Indonesian Air Forces reject that gift (also F-5 E/F Tiger ex. ROKAF offer), I think that is an opportunity go Philippines Air Force to ask this. Bulk quantity of aircraft at one,

    Hawk Mk.67 can be replacement of S-211.

    -- gombaljaya @Timawa.net ---

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  33. http://defense-studies.blogspot.com/2009/06/korea-may-offer-hawk-mk-67-for-free-to.html

    -- gombaljaya @Timawa.net ---

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gombaljaya, there were some claims that some of the Hawk 67 from RoKAF were already sold to a private company. Not sure if all were sold.

      Delete
    2. How many Hawks are we talking about here? If that private company bought it all, I'm just curious -- for what purpose are they buying it?

      - Neo

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    3. Neo, it could be a aerospace company planning to upgrade them and resell them to a third world country or it could be PMC that specializes in flight training or in offering air combat training support. Check out the websites for companies like ATAC USA, Apache Aviation, Discovery Air Defence Services, Draken International, and Skyline Aviation.

      Delete
  34. The Bae Hawk Mk 67 trainer aircraft is a good candidate to replace the AS-211. This aircraft is still in production and actively used by a lot more countries. I hope the PAF considers the Hawk mk 67 from ROKAF.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Out of topic sir max, I think the goverment should prioritized the replacement of our WWII era patrol ship like the Miguel Malvar and Rizal class which is much older to the ship captain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Old ships still float. Defective aircraft crashes. Old aircraft don't fly. So which is more dangerous to AFP personnel?

      Delete
    2. retiring those admittedly old, but still useable ships would shrink our already small naval fleet. so right now, it's a bad idea.

      Delete
    3. Hopefully those WWII era ships will be replaced by 44 or 60 meter fast missile boats. Perhaps sourced from Indonesia. I'm sure export versions of KRI Clurit or KRI Sampari is cheaper than euro hulls.

      Delete
  36. To replace the S211 is a must and I'll go for Pilatus PC-21.
    http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/pc_21/pc_213.html

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi Max. will it be cost effective to have a turboprop aircraft for replacement of S.211 or i would be better to have jet powered trainers? i don't have any knowledge about aircraft's. does it have any disadvantages between turboprop compared to jet powered?

    hiblood

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    Replies
    1. hiblood, GENERALLY turboprops tend to be cheaper in terms of acquisition, maintenance, and operation costs. Not very sure though if the M345 HET from Alenia Aermacchi can beat turboprops in terms of cost.

      Delete
    2. PC-21 seems to be the best choice. Pilatus said each aircraft costs 1/4 of a LIFT. That would be P400 million or $9 million each. Not bad.

      Delete
    3. At that price, it sure is good for a trainer, but if the PAF would consolidate the CAS and trainers, how's the Pilatus plane as a CAS? With PAF's limited budget, I can the PAF converting some of it's trainers to CAS planes, and I am curious to know how this plane will perform.

      - Neo

      Delete
  38. I have a question, would it be better if we upgrade our s-211 aircraft to m-345 standard, or is it much better and affordable if we buy new basic jet trainers to replace our s-211 aircraft?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the S-211 airframes we have are way too used up by now. converting them to M-345 standards would be uneconomical as hell.

      it's better to acquire newer BJTs.

      Delete
  39. THE DND AND THE POLITICOS ON OUR GOVERNMENT DOES NOT WANT TO PROTECT OUR COUNTRY. SO DON'T BOTHER WAITING FOR THE FA-50, BRAND NEW FRIGATES, ASW HELI'S AND MANY OTHER PROJECTS. ONCE PNOY TERM ENDS, ALL OF THOSE WOULD BE CANCELLED.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. calm the fuck down.

      alarmist shit like this won't do any good.

      Delete
    2. ONCE BINAY BECAME PRESIDENT ON 2016, PREPARE FOR A DARK FUTURE! HAHAHA...

      Delete
  40. why don't we use/increase the order of S.Tucano(if won) for the S-211 and OV-10 replacement?, and how much it costs for maintenance to be a burden?. there is also a report that PAF will recommissioned more S-211 this year..

    ReplyDelete
  41. I think the PAF should consider buying brand new aircraft. New built aircraft like the Scorpion jet should be considered

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  42. I think the first 2 aircraft of the PAF from KAI that will arrive next year will be a T-50, the training variant. The next 10 aircraft will be the FA-50, the multi-role variant. Just my 2 cents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. care to cite any sources regarding this? i remember reading and confirming reports that we get 12 FA-50s, not a pair of T-50s and 10 FA-50s.

      Delete
  43. Hi Max. can you enlighten me? I'm a little bit confused why PA maintains its own aircraft? I've read YOUR previous post above that (`PA currently operates the civilian version of the T-41 as aerial recon and forward air controller assets for the Mechanized Infantry Division'). why is it, that PA have their own aircraft? does the PAF CANNOT provide them with aerial recon and forward air controller assets for the Mechanized Infantry Division? but instead they would have their own aircraft? Is their any problem with both AFP organization in terms of coordination? i thought PA is more focused on ground operations and PAF could provide them aerial recon, air cover and lift transport. by the way thanks for answering my question above.. more power!

    hiblood

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Obviously I'm not max, but I just want to say, it's normal for any army to have its air unit/group, just google it up and you can see aircraft operating under foreign armies, the Philippines is no different.

      - Neo

      Delete
    2. I agree with Neo. even the US army has its own Army Aviation branch, utilizing black hawks and apaches in their arsenal. The Phil Army with its own aircraft will not have to always depend on thr Phil Air Force for support. Just my two cents.

      -Art

      Delete
    3. If my memory is right, US marine was one of the first to have air component. This was due to their experiences in first and second world war that Air force was not fast enough in providing air cover. If the Phil. Army has it own air force.. it is better if the not the best.

      Serge

      Delete
    4. Hiblood, yes there is a slight problem with the coordination between the ground troops like the PA and PMC with the PAF. The problem is lack of quick response. Sometimes it takes too long for the PAF to mobilize its rescue helicopters especially when encountering ambush attack operations by the NPA. A friend of mine from the PA told me this. Some of the wounded soldiers died in battle due to loss of blood and should have been saved if only the rescue helicopter was quick in responding. PAF reason for this is usually the place is still not secured and they find it unsafe to land the rescue helicopter which is sometimes true. I hope the AFP should also focus on this problem regarding the effectiveness of our rescue helicopters. Despite this, i still believe that the PAF should continue operating our aircrafts and helicopters. The only problem is coordination which can be solved. Maybe we need more training on how to quickly rescue a wounded soldier.

      Delete
  44. What about the Grob G120TP? It's a plane in the class of the SF-260 size and cost-wise, but can replace a Texan II or KT-1 in the advanced training role. A recent report also mentioned Alenia starting work on an SF-260 replacement much like the G120TP in philosophy: one aircraft type to take a trainee from basic through advanced in preparation for the LIFT stage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actuallt the G120 is very much like the SF-260, I dont think it is enough to use as an advance pilot trainer.

      Delete
  45. We are so far behind. Do you think we can still catch up with even our asean neighbors? Of course with China, thats far from possible.

    http://youtu.be/CY-h-nBTdns

    ReplyDelete
  46. Sigurado mananalo na naman yong mahal. Ayaw sa surplus, walang pabaon. Kaya tuloy ang pagpasok ng mga Amerikano, preparasyon sa pag gerra sa intsik.

    ReplyDelete
  47. it would have been better if the PAF can acquire Russian made aircrafts like the SU31 or even just the SU27. this are advanced MRFs comparable to the west and yet much cheaper and reliable. but I know this is a political issue with the US being our sugar daddy. the US will be against this move. This is what happens when we are too dependent from another country like the US and this what happens when our politicians are not interested or believe in strong external defense. that's why China is able to take anything they want in the Spratlys.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. consider the political climate. back then, Russian tech would've been considered, to be honest.

      but with the Ukraine clusterfuck and the MH17 mishap, it's gonna be political suicide if we even dare consider any Russian tech right now.

      Delete
    2. This is geopolitical alliances...with the sanctions (economic) that Russia right now, it is impossible to get Russian technology. France did not push through the delivery of Russian ordered warship. This was one of the effect Russia's annexation of Crimea and meddling in Eastern Ukraine.
      As we watched the event unfolding, the only positive thing that happened was all the NATO ALLIED countries were received robust aid and training from U.S. specially countries neighboring Ukraine.
      This is goes to say, United States will protect and obliged to help any treaty countries including Philippines.
      Ukraine is not a member of NATO..


      SERGE

      Delete
    3. Yes, it is much more cheaper than Europe and Western aircraft, but the maintenance cost is too high for a dual engine aircraft. And from the news, Russian engines only lives half the life of Western engines. That is Russia's problem in the past and until now. Better if we consider SAM's from them. Like the Strella, S-300 or the more advance S-400.

      Right now the best MRF we could get is the Grippen NG, but it will not be available until 2023. That is the problem of Brazil, so the solution is lease some Grippen C/D.

      Delete
    4. I was wondering when did the PAF decided that the FA-50s (TA-50s were the original plan) are going to be the PAF's next birds? How long was the planning stage, the study, the negotiations? I don't know how long it usually takes to open the LOC and the contract signing, maybe I'm just impatient but even that was a long wait before the PAF was done with both of that. If we're expecting full delivery of FA-50s in 2017, then it 2023 wouldn't seem too far a delivery date for the Gripen NG.

      - Neo

      Delete
  48. Off topic, but I would just like to share pic of what the PAF 109s might look like.

    https://41.media.tumblr.com/fbe4d0d8d6acd86b0bc062e148514654/tumblr_naq9wf0AXz1rda7nto1_500.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  49. off topic sir max. Are Brp Gregorio del Pillar and Brp Ramon Alcaraz part of the "Philippine Fleet Desired Force Mix" ? or all the desired frigates are all brand new?
    -Jdn

    ReplyDelete
  50. GDP class are not part of the DFM.. they are acquired to secure the malampaya gas field.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i see, so in other words DFM are/will be brand new and refurbished ones not inluded
      -jdn

      Delete
  51. In terms of cost effectiveness the best thing we could have is the PC-21. It might be just a turboprop, but it is one of the most advanced and could even reach speeds of turbofan aircraft.

    The AT-6 comes next. Who would not want (essentially) the same aircraft (airframe) for many roles? Ease of logistics and support plus a discount for purchasing many at once. However, it would be still dependent on the requirements for the CAS program.

    At the higher end of the spectrum is the M-345. Reminiscent of the S-211 but with more advanced avionics, the M-345 would be a welcoming sight in the PAF "again".

    -paul for PC-21

    ReplyDelete
  52. Another nice one on this ,Max.
    However, reading such blog heightened my frustrations with regards to how the HHP sunk to such abysmal situation - all air, no force. Living here in Makati, i have seen the glory days watching the Blue Diamonds perform their antics and experienced hearing those good old J85s screaming from the tails of the F-5As flying from the nearby Villamor AB. Today, the most noticeable presence of the HHP was the chop-chop sound of the Huey.
    I have heard from a recent newscast that the Dept of Budget slashed away the DNDs budget proposal for FY 2015. I am very much confused by this action from Pnoy's administration. Moreover, if the DND/AFP can't be allotted the budget needed for purchasing its hardwares, can't the gov't lease for its defense needs? Enlighten me on this one , Max.

    ReplyDelete
  53. its mid October 2014 already, whats the news regarding those brand new frigate? I think this was already forgotten by the Aquino Government.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Ang dapat atupagin ng PAF ay ang pagkakaroon ng tunay na combat aircraft. Hayaan mo na mga trainers na iyan at i outsource mo na lang ang training para mag concentrate sa combat aircraft. Pwede ka ng makabili ng Gripen A, Rafale A, Typhoon, Kfir, F1 Mirage etc. Anong ginagawa ng gobyerno at militar natin, umaasa pa rin sa kano. Kaya nga pinapatay na mga kababayan natin ng mga kano.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. eh how you can fly a combat jet kung hindi dadaan sa trainer aircraft? You don't directly fly sophisticated and million dollar jet without going through a process of training. Eh di nagbagsakan naman mga binili natin na gamit.

      Delete
    2. you obviously don't know what you're talking about.

      AND WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT INCIDENT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS? you leftist fucks make me sick.

      Delete
  55. Why is it that our government has not preserve the F5 fighter aircraft that we had in the PAF inventory? Wherein there are other coutries have done preservationn their F5 then later on had undergone upgrade by the Israel Aircraft defense industry. Since we have a limited resources aside from acquiring new FA50 it is better to upgrade our existing F5 as a multiplier force as part of our maritime domain awareness in relation to our AADS.

    ReplyDelete
  56. When it comes to planes intended for training purposes only, we must choose the plane that offers the lowest operating cost. Most trainer jets consumes more than 100,000 pesos worth of fuel per hour. If we choose the right plane that consumes the least amount of fuel per hour then we could start saving money to buy other valuable assets in the future. Let's be smart and practical in our acquisitions because the AFP might lack the funds to operate and maintain these assets in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  57. I was looking for the AB Initio Online Training courses and your website really help me in finding my needs. This site contains all the stuff which i was looking . Thanks for this great work and i hope this will help a lots of users to achieve their goals.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Sir Max, may this air force cretin have the privilege of summarizing what you have been saying here. To show that your blog does it job of converting cretins like me into informed know-something with regards to PhAF jets in particular and the AFP Modernization in general.

    Just read it again today (01/07/2016) and I was enlightened even more. Thank you for your blogs, Sir Max. Appreciate it very much. God bless you!


    ***********************
    PhAF's Training System:
    1. Ab-initio/Primary Pilot Training – the Cessna T-41B/D
    2. Basic Flight Training – the SF-260F/TP
    3. Advanced/Specialized Jet Training – the AS-211**
    4. Lead In Fighter Training – the FA-50PH
    5. MRF – !??

    As compared to Italian Air Force's System:
    1. Ab-initio/Primary Pilot Training – the T-346A
    2. Basic Flight Training – the SF-260
    3. Advanced/Specialized Jet Training – the MB-339
    4. Lead In Fighter Training – the M-346 Master
    5. MRF – Eurofighter, AMX, Tornado, etc.

    Note:
    ** - the AS-211 are "getting old, with the aircraft in service with the PAF for almost 24 years, its systems outdated, and is becoming a maintenance burden." Thus, the need to retire them.

    ReplyDelete