Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Upcoming Balikpapan-class Landing Crafts-Heavy for the Philippine Navy - A Good Addition to the Fleet

The Australian Defence Minister Mr. Kevin Andrews announced plans to donate two former Royal Australian Navy landing crafts-heavy (LCH) to the Philippine Navy. This is in support of their commitment to improve the Philippines' humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) capabilities. The ships involved are the recently retired ships of the Balikpapan-class, the former HMAS Brunei (L 127) and HMAS Tarakan (L 129). According to the Australian Ministry of Defence, the two ships will be refurbished and installed with a new safety and navigation equipment before handing them over to the Philippine Navy. The expected hand-over of these ships can be made as early as May 2015.


One of the ships to be transferred to the Philippine Navy, the former HMAS Brunei (L 127).
Photo taken from worldwarships.com


Aside from the transfer of the said ships, the Australian MOD has offered three other Balikpapan-class landing crafts for sale to the Philippine government. They are the former HMAS Balikpapan (L 126), HMAS Wewak (L 130) and HMAS Betano (L 133), which were decommissioned by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in 2012. Recent media reports quoting Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) officials that they are indeed interested in acquiring the ships for US$16.5 million, including refurbishing works prior to delivery.



The Balikpapan-class Landing Craft Heavy (LCH)
The Australian-made Balikpapan-class landing craft heavy were first built and commissioned in 1971 for the Australian Army (later handed-over to the Royal Australian Navy). A total of eight (8) units were built as a replacement for the World War II era Landing Ship Mediums that Australia operated. Two of the LCH were later handed-over to the Papua New Guinea Defence Forces when the country became independent from Australia's administration in 1975.


Five Balikpapan-class ships during an amphibious landing exercise by the Royal Australian Navy.
Photo taken from RAN website.


Each ship is 44.5 meters long, 10.1 meters wide, a draught of 2.0 meters, and full load displacement of 517 tons. It has a 16-man crew, a carrying capacity of 180 tons of cargo, and is powered by two Caterpillar 3406E marine diesel engines propelling the ships to a maximum speed of 10 knots.



Comparison to Philippine Navy's Current Landing Craft Assets:
Compared to the Philippine Navy's lone Tagbanua-class landing craft utility (LCU) BRP Tagbanua (AT-296), the Balikpapan-class ships are smaller and slower (10 knots vs 15 knots maximum speed), but has a larger carrying load capacity than the Tagbanua (180 tons vs 110 tons). The Balikpapans also have a smaller internal space for passengers, and is mostly suitable in transporting vehicles and goods rather than people or troops, as compared to the Tagbanua which has a large internal capacity and seating for troops and shelter from outside conditions like sunlight, heat, or rain. Being old ships, expect the performance values of the Balikpapan-class to be less than written in sources, and it is expected that safety measures will be made which includes capping the maximum capabilities to a lesser degree than originally designed.


The Philippine Navy's BRP Tagbanua (AT-296) is larger and faster, but can carry less payload than the Balikpapan-class.


It would be almost similar in capability and design as the other locally-made Landing Craft Utility of the Philippine Navy, the lesser known BRP Manobo (BU-297). It has the same large open cargo deck suitable for bringing in vehicles just like the Balikpapan-class, although it appears that the Manobo is a longer ship. There is not much available information on the performance values of BRP Manobo although a source confirmed that it has even less capacity than the BRP Tagbanua although it also costs less to operate.



The BRP Manobo (BU-297) bringing in people and relief goods on unprepared ports.
Photo taken from the Philippine Navy's FB page.



The LCH in Philippine Setting:
There were several queries from MaxDefense readers in our Facebook page about the capabilities of the Balikpapan-class LCH.

Operating in the Kalayaan Group of Islands: Being a low-draft, flat hulled ship, the Balikpapan-class LCH are suitable for beaching operations that can be used during combat amphibious operations, or landing of equipment on unprepared ports or beaches. This could be very useful for HADR operations, as emphasized by the Australian MOD for its reason to grant two ships to the PN. Emergency vehicles such as construction equipment, lorries for transporting goods, and military vehicles like tanks and armored vehicles can easily be moved around the archipelago using these. But its design is not suitable for deep water operations on high sea states. 


The HMAS Betano (L 133) carrying several M113 armored vehicles of the Australian Army.



Being so, technically it can deliver supplies to the outposts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the Kalayaan Group of Islands (KIG), but due to its slow speed and design it may not be advisable to do so without support. At only 10 knots maximum speed, it would take 2 days for it to reach the KIG from Palawan, and another 2 days going back, plus the time it spends around the KIG delivering supplies. Although it takes almost the same time for an old Landing Ship Tank (LST) to do the same, it doesn't have the size and design to stay too long at open sea without the risk of getting into unfavorable weather conditions, unlike the larger LST.

It would be optimal to use the LCH on coastal waters or shallow waters, which include the territorial and archipelagic waters of the country, or in missions to nearby countries like Malaysia. This was proven by the BRP Tagbanua during its mission to Malaysia to bring in Filipinos fleeing Sabah a few years ago.


Docking Inside the Strategic Sealift Vessel's Well Deck:
Due to its high superstructure design and size, it is also not possible to dock the LCH inside the well decks of the upcoming Strategic Sealift Vessel / Landing Platform Dock. Although the SSV has its own landing craft, these are different in design and size. The Balikpapan-class is very much larger than those integral LC, and are actually capable of independent operation without reliance on larger "mother-ships" like the SSV. 


The Balikpapan's size won't even fit inside well decks of major US Navy amphibious vessels like the one above, more so on smaller LPDs like the Philippine Navy's SSV.



Weapons to be Installed:
Previously the Royal Australian Navy installed two 12.7mm machine guns as self-defense weapons of the ship. It is expected that the Philippine Navy would retain these guns, and might even fit each ship with either more machine guns, or install it with larger caliber guns like old 20mm Oerlikon guns previously installed on old PN ships and are now stored in the Naval Sea Systems Command warehouses.


A RAN crewman from the HMAS Balikpapan operating one of its 12.7mm machine guns.
Photo taken from the RAN website.


Don't expect missiles or other more advanced weapons to be installed other than the guns mentioned above.


LCH in the Desired Force Mix:
The Philippine Navy's Desired Force Mix whitepaper states that they need around 18 units of landing craft utility or similar designed ships for inter-island transport and as a smaller alternative to the service's Landing Ship Tanks and the upcoming Strategic Sealift Vessel / Landing Platform Dock. This acquisition fits in to this requirement, and would be a fast way of beefing up the fleet while the navy restarts any building program for more landing crafts like the BRP Tagbanua which takes time from planning to construction to commissioning. Other upcoming assets like Landing Crafts-Utility from South Korea is also another addition that could improve the short-term capabilities of the Philippine Navy. 



MaxDefense's Suggestion:
Since I have seen these ships upfront in the past, MaxDefense believes that these assets are still capable of use for at least 15 more years with proper maintenance and care. It is a good design that can even be used by the Philippine Navy and local shipyards as a basis for future landing craft design requirements.

Aside from landing crafts, MaxDefense suggests that the Philippine Navy acquire assets that could replace the ageing World War II era Landing Ships-Tank, which should be larger than the LCH and LCU, has the same beaching capability, and can be slotted in-between the landing crafts and the upcoming SSV/LPD. There are LST designs offered by friendly countries like Korea, India, and Indonesia that could be worth looking at, and is expected to be cheaper than the $42 million SSV. With the South Korean Navy upgrading its amphibious forces assets, it is also expected that they might be releasing their Go Jun Bong-class LSTs in the near future. LSTs have been proven to be an effective transport asset in the past, and even used by the PN for different duties including as patrol vessels, HADR assets, and even as helicopter platforms.


The ROKS Bi Ro Bong, one of the Go Jun Bong-class LSTs of the Korean Navy.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.


Another alternative to new LSTs are more Logistics Support Vessels similar to the Bacolod City-class of the Philippine Navy. These are simple-designed transport vessels, possibly cheaper to acquire than an LST, and its design is so simple that it can even be easily built in the Philippines. If the US Army would take them out of service anytime soon, MaxDefense suggests that the PN take a look at them. 




MaxDefense welcomes the impending addition of these assets for the Philippine Navy, and as an Australian, I am proud and thankful to the Australian government for its generous support to the Philippines.


63 comments:

  1. another points to our President Pnoy and Sec. Gazmin for your continuing effort in modernizing our AFP. Mabuhay po kayo. Hope this will continue till we reach the minimum credible defense.

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  2. The BATRAL of France that they will soon decommission will be a good addition to the Navy. The Navy should not have bought the 2 SSV's and should have instead used the money to upgrade the Naval Shipyard, and buy all the many surplus naval vessels available that they can afford.

    Aside from not having all your eggs in so few expensive assets that can only cover so much area and capabilities, we could have for a long time already good presence and deterrence in the WPS.

    The DND and AFP should now amend its assumptions and doctrines as after more than 4 years of full budgetary support, they still have to show results for even just presence 24x7 in the WPS. They have to junk their US mode of thinking as we do not have the money that they have. Even the Indonesians, Thais, Iran and North Korea can teach us a thing or two on affordable and immediate defense.

    Their MPAC's with MANPADS and ATGMs is a good start. These can possibly be even deployed from the LSVs, LSTs even the PF's

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    1. The Batrals are actually very interesting ship. The French still have 2 units that they intend to replace probably next year, so let's see if the PN will take advantage of the chance. With the French having a defense cooperation agreement with the Philippines, this is not impossible.

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    2. i saw in one of the defense forums a pic of Vietnamese lch with two cranes (big and small) in the forward part of the vessel. The PN could adapt an lch or even lst into an mpac or rhib carrier and probably with a heli deck to make enforcement patrols in the wps more efficient and sustainable.

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  3. Sir max as of now how many lcu/lch or transporting ships does the PN have? Including the upcoming ones.

    Does the PN still have plans of building another tagbanua or manobo ship? I agree to you sir max why they don't they try building bacolod class ship, the design is simple yet it is very useful.

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    1. The Philippine Navy has 7 landing crafts of various sizes right now. When the Balikpapan-class landing crafts arrive that will be 12 total. When the LCU from South Korea that they promised arrive, that's 13. When all the landing crafts from WW2 era in the PN are retired, subtract 5. The SSVs are supposed to come with two small LCUs inside them each, but I don't know if we should count them since they are part of the SSV's complement.

      We don't know if the PN plans on buying more Tagbanua/Manobo. The PN wants more landing crafts, but the PN has not said anything regarding what model or from where.

      Max has a point regarding LST. The PN has two LST from WW2 era. They are 71 years old now. They really need to be retired. Yet none of the upcoming landing crafts are of that size. If Indonesia does a good job with the SSV I suggest buying new LST from them. Otherwise used ones from South Korea will do.

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    2. There will be an upcoming MaxDefense blog discussing the amphibious capabilities of the Philippine Navy.

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  4. I dont know exactly where does the PN go right now they cant go away the old habits of acquiring old hulls.From what i understand is that BRP Tagbanua is much cheaper to construct at roughly $4.2M. Whats wrong with the Tagbanua Program that they cannot continue? If the stipulated cost of the 3 Balikpapan Class LCH is at $16M why dont just the PN continue the Tagbanua Class instead of purchasing old hulls. Indeed Tagbanua Class is much better for PN than this Balikpapan LCH. What seems to obvious is that this class of vessel is already old regardless it will be refurbished.

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    1. I'm sure the PN has plans for local construction. I would not be surprised if they release bids to locally construct an LCU this year.

      But I'm also sure PNoy or the Navy do not want to get caught under equipped when another super typhoon strikes again. That's why we're getting LCU starting in May 2015.

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    2. I'm seeing this as a "BUY 3 - GET 2" deal, which is a bargain by the way. I like the Tagbanua, as it helps the local shipping industry but this deal is too good to pass.

      PN gets 5 ships immediately that wouldn't come by way of bidding (and we all know how long the process of acquiring almost anything for the AFP when it goes thru bidding).

      Second, the sooner PN meets its quota of HADR assets, the earlier will the acquisition of combat assets begins. I know the PN is keeping a balanced spending on HADR and territorial defense, but having the HADR nearing it's quota of assets, then this would only mean the PN can focus more in territorial defense.

      The third reason relates with my second one. Do you spend more on HADR? or spend more on Territorial defense? Both are needed, and sadly PN lacks both. But given the chance to get two ships (one old and one new) and your choice is one LST and the other a corvette. Which one would you chose as new and which would be the old one?

      Support ships just needs to be functional, whereas, combat ships need to be competitive. That said, I would rather have old support ships than old frigates/corvettes.

      So, yeah, the Aussie deal is sweet.

      - Neo

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    3. Its because of time issues. See my other posts within this commentary section.

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  5. I didn't know you were Australian, sir Max. Sorry if this is off topic, but I just wanna ask if our Fighting Eagles have already started construction? If so, when did it start? Because I was taken by surprise at how fast the C 295 was assembled. Not that I'm expecting the first FA-50 to be made just as fast.

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    1. Not yet. Although there were previous discussions of transferring 2 ROKAF-bound birds to the Philippines as the first 2 birds of the PAF. If this happens, it could be possible for the PAF to have at least 2 birds before the year ends, or by early next year.

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    2. Also, compared to the C-295 production line, the FA-50 line is very busy right now filling out orders from ROKAF, Iraq and the Philippines. Iraq confirmed their order earlier than the PAF so it is expected that they will get theirs earlier than the PAF.

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  6. I think it’s a goodbye already for the Tagbanua class. The trend for this present admin is to go for foreign made because I think its diplomacy and friendly ties comes first and local shipyards are last. Almost all projects of the last admin were cancelled or changed. The Tagbanua class lcu is the latest victim of this politics. I hope the next admin will eventually prioritized local ship building instead of foreign ones. Indonesia is a good example. They build their own naval vessels even stealth too. Renbios

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    1. Renbios, the PN is making evaluations on what changes can be made on the Tagbanua's design which they will incorporate on succeeding ships of the class. MaxDefense is expecting additional orders of this class soon, especially that the ships are actually affordable and the PN can make adjustments to their budget to give way to producing a couple of these.

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    2. Sir Max the Tagbanua class has been sailing for 3 years already. If there are changes or modifications to the design I think the navy has already submitted their report long ago. Take the case of the MPAC vessel the navy have. Batch 2 was delivered I think 3 years after the first batch arrived and that is with modifications in the design already. If they can implement this MPAC project successfully by building batch 1 & 2 within 3 years then there is no reason why they cannot apply this to the Tagbanua class (which is just a cargo landing type craft) . Again for me this is politics in military procurement and sacrificing local industry for the sake of foreign ones. Renbios

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    3. As far as I know there are already reports on their findings of design issues that can be corrected on succeeding ships. They just haven't started any new program to acquire or build additional ships of the class yet.

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  7. Time to beach another lst in the ayungin shoal. This time the beached lst should have a helipad or reinforced platforms for helicopters to land. The current lst is too rusty already.

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  8. Hi Max, can PN later on upgrade the powerplants to increase some knots for these ships?

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    1. Powerplants are not the only things you need to consider. Higher output means the engine might be larger thus requiring larger space and may affect weight balance. Fuel consumption will also be affected. The hull also, since its alresdy more than 30 years old it is possible that the hull can't handle higher speeds.

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  9. I think it’s a goodbye already for the Tagbanua class. The trend for this present admin is to go for foreign made because I think its diplomacy and friendly ties comes first and local shipyards are last. Almost all projects of the last admin were cancelled or changed. The Tagbanua class lcu is the latest victim of this politics. I hope the next admin will eventually prioritized local ship building instead of foreign ones. Indonesia is a good example. They build their own naval vessels even stealth too. Renbios

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  10. Hey Max, I totally agree that the PN should get more LST type ships. Nice suggestion. But when I look at the Desired Force Mix, I don't see any ships of those type. I'm assuming that since LST type ships are generally getting phased out by developed nations, the PN wants replicate over the horizon amphibious landings with the SSVs. Korea's LST replacement looks more like our SSV. From what I'm seeing the PN want's to replace its current LSTs with SSVs too and at the same time acquiring more LCUs. Personally, I prefer your recommendation more.

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    1. I thought the "desired force mix" are suppose to be all brand new?

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    2. No necessarily. The DSM is a guideline for the PN of how the future fleet should look like. Eventually all the used ships the PN acquires will need replacement in 15 years at least, so before that happens, the PN should already be preparing for a replacement, most probably new build.

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    3. THE replacement should be done the earliest possible time even if PN should acquire second hand hull Because if Pn will not hasten its procurement we will wake up one day that all the island are lost to China. LOOK whats happening with the frigate acquisition its been two years now when it was conceptualized unfortunately nothing has been decided

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  11. Max is the three second hand balikpapan too expensive for the PN to buy. Hindi ba marunong tumawad ang PN o marunong mambarat. For the 16 M USD you can have 3 Brand new BRP TAGBANUA CLASS which is USD 4.2M. Tawaran na lang ng USD 6M Including the refurbishing. What is behind this deal. will Australia put new weaponry and new navigational equipment for each of the boat Ano ba ang mga kasama sa package to make it worth $16 M . Baka naman may BUKOL ang PN. MAX do you have pictures of the bridge or command control and staff quarter para naman makita ng readers mo the said ship

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    1. Although it would be better if the PN bought new ones, time is of the essence. The ships are readily available within this year. But do not worry, the PN will still have to build new LCUs very soon as their requirement is way higher than what they currently have.

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  12. Do you know why our military industries have difficulties growing/expanding? Because 'sweet deals' like these are always available.

    The classic arguments are :
    "why wait to be built if you can get it now?"...
    "it's more expensive to build one".....
    " your local industries just doesn't have the capability".

    If Philippine keeps accepting these kinds of sweet deals, our military industries will never grow. Let's admit, no country wants to see Philippine to have it's own military industry to ANY degree. No country... not even the friendliest ones.

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    1. The issue on why the PN accepted the donation and bought these old ships because they need the ships immediately. Building a single LCU could take years, as what happened when the PN asked Propmech to build the BRP Tagbanua. But ultimately, the PN will need more large landing crafts that could be built locally. These old landing crafts from Australia may only be in service for a decade or more, so it means the PN must prepare to build something to replace them by that time.

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    2. The AFP should buy and procure (either in cash, loan, grant, deferred payment, donation or whatever) all available used and brand new weapons systems our government can put it's hands on and as soon as possible because we need them immediately as long as our economy and military budget can afford it. Our sovereignty is already under imminent danger. If Japan was in our present situation, it will not hesitate to go to an all-war against China, the muslim rebels and the communist NPA. That is how patriotic and nationalistic the Japanese are and you can see that in the aggressiveness of their prime minister unlike our president just like Obama who are both weak and easily bullied & intimidated by China and Russia.

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    3. Alvin, if your only reason for stunted growth of PH's military industry is these "sweet deals" (strangely quoting myself on those words) - then I must say no. It's a variety of things and not just these "sweet deals" per se. I guess what you truly are pointing at -- is the "lack of commitment / lack of support which is in itself - has more than one factor to consider.

      And NO, these "sweet deals" are not always available. If they were, and you are right, we should have at least a decent AFP.. old, yes, but still decent.

      - Neo

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    4. Propmech took years to build a single LCU? Here's what I found out from wiki about BRP Tagbanua "The contract was awarded on 16 March 2010 to Propmech Corporation....... She was commissioned together with other naval assets on a ceremony in Manila on 14 December 2011". That's only about a year and nine months from contract signing to commissioning. If the order continues, by the end of 2014 PN would have maybe 3-4 locally built LCUs. Brand new as well ! That's also a bit more "immediate" than Balikpapan-class which will come somewhere in 2015.

      From other forums such as Timawa and Googling around, there are no negative reports or accidents regarding BRP Tagbanua. So I think BRP Tagbanua is a good quality LCU.

      I'm not anti sweet-deals, but it must be taken selectively with local engineering brains first in mind.

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    5. It took years for the entire procurement process to complete, from planning, bidding, awarding, fnalizing the design, constructing, and hand-over of the ship to the Philippine Navy. If the PN decides to build another one and will only do minor changes to the ship and award it directly to Propmech, it may take shorter. But still longer than buying refurbished assets like the Balilpapan-class.

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    6. "It took years for the entire procurement process to complete, from planning, bidding, awarding, fnalizing the design..." That applies only for the first craft/ship. The second and onward orders are almost a copy & paste process from the first craft/ship even with minor changes.

      This is from wiki about Balikpapan class "All eight Balikpapan class vessels.....were laid down during 1971 and 1972, with lead ship Balikpapan entering service with the Australian Army Water Transport Squadron at the end of 1971." Australia can produce 8 LCUs in less than 2 years. It's just a copy & paste thing from the first craft. In this stage, complicated initial processes can be by-passed.

      This is also the case with Indonesia's 60 meter fast missile boat project. The procurement process and finalizing design for the first boat took years, but after commissioning the first boat, and the navy is satisfied with it, the onward procurement to commissioning doesn't take years. The dock now produces 3-4 units per year.

      BRP Tagbanua was commissioned in December 2011. If the PN is satisfied with it within 6 months ( and I think they are ), follow-on orders would result in PN to have 3-4 brand new LCUs by end of 2014. Still faster than buying 44 year old Balikpapan class, and Philippine's shipbuilder has gained more experience. Australia can sell the LCUs to the Burmese.

      I'm not blaming Australia for this. When it comes to building national industries, it's about national political will. And when it comes to politics, it is subject to foreign influence and pressure. This political will is what I question.

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  13. Bago masakop ng China ang natitira pa nating mga reefs sa Spratly Islands ay dapat permanently ipuwesto na ng PN ang mga natitirang landing crafts natin na may helicopter pad sa lahat ng reefs at shoals natin tulad ng BRP Sierra Madre sa Ayungin Shoal. Mahirap yung binibisita-bisita lang at baka masulot tayo.

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    Replies
    1. tama..correct ka dyan brod. wag yung bisita bisita lang

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  14. Tama na palakasin natin ang ating bansa sa pamamagitan ng paggawa ng mga missile, eroplano, barko, armas, electronics at mga iba pang pandepensa. Tulad noong panahon ng Katipunan at Pres Marcos na astig ang Pilipino sa paggawa ng mga gamit depensa. Ang mga ibang bayan ayaw nila tayong lumakas para patuloy na aapihin at pagka perahan tayo tulad ng Tsina at America.

    Sa maigting nating pangangailangan at kakulangan ng salapi, kailangang bumili muna tayo ng mga surplus na gamit ng mga iba, at ayusin at palakasin dito sa bayan natin gamit ang mga eksperto natin. Lalakas ang teknolohiya at ekonomiya natin sa pamamagitan nitong pagkukumpuni, at tutungo sa isang malakas na defense industry na hawak nating mga Pilipino, hindi ng mga dayuhan at negosyanteng Intsik at Kano.

    Naging mahina ang diskarte ng mga taga gobyerno, AFP, DND etc at hanggang ngayon wala pa tayo ng mga malakas na pang depensang gamit. Ang pinagkakaabalahan ay ang paghuli ng mga wanted 'terrorist' ng Amerika na kumitil sa lampas 60 magigiting na Pilipinong mandirigma. Pinapanalo na naman natin ang kolonyalistang kano.

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  15. hi sir max,
    Is fremantle class is still available for transfer? how many unit are still feasible for transfer.

    thank you sir

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  16. Has DND/PN already signed the deal for the three LCH? As published by Australian embassy, the 2 LCH will be turned over to PN on or before May 2016 (probably in time for PN Anniversary), do you have any info if Brunei and Tarakan are now being refurbished? Thanks

    Allan

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  17. Hi Max, what's next after the two frigates? Are we expecting the bidding for corvettes this year? Also, it seems you are very confident that there will be succeeding orders for Tagbanua LCU, are this going to happen within the term of PNoy?

    Allan

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    1. Not max, but.. I believe next in line would be the OPVs, It could have been these LCUs (since we're focusing on HADR), but since we're getting a few already, the OPVs are next.

      But honestly, I'm not really all giddy about "what's next" when there's a lot of procurement in the pipeline that has not been realized yet.

      Let's exclude the frigates/SSVs/FA-50s/C130s in this, what's really next would be the ASW choppers,CAS planes and Missile systems (Coastal Batteries,shoulder-fired, ship based, aircraft fired)

      Saved from he missile systems (and radars) which I do believe are DND's top priorities) those projects I mentioned are long overdue. And they should really be next - and given attention.

      - Neo

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  18. Sir Max,
    Since our Aussie allies have decided to provide us with defense/HADR articles would it be a farfetched to presume that the soon to be retired Adelaide-Class frigates of the RAN can be procured by our navy?

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  19. I wonder if those Landing Ships from Australia can be converted into offshore bombardment platforms, which means putting howitzers (similar to ATHOS) onto the ship and put cover over the open area of the ship.

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    1. I believe this is not a feasible idea.

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    2. This will be similar to some US landing crafts in the past, WW2 to Vietnam War. And it can use the STANFLEX concept of the Danish Navy. In order to do this, 105mm or even 155mm artillery pieces must have a platform to absorb the recoil energy when firing while at the same time provide some stabilization. A robust but simple fire control system is also a must.

      Other possible uses of the Balikpapans are
      1. Mother/supply ship for the many patrol boats
      2. Patrol
      3. Rescue
      4. etc
      The negatives are low speed, rough sailing, inadequate berthing, etc. Some of these can be solved by installing shipping containers containing needed facilities, thereby lowering the center of gravity and buoyancy..

      As with all the other ships of the Navy, they can all provide monitoring functions while underway. They can all also provide deterrence to the degree of their sensors/weapons mix. Actually I am quite perplexed why the Navy does not use the formerly-named Ang Pangulo as an OPV platform.

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    3. military ka ba? grabe ka naman mag isip Dre.

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  20. What the PN need are LOGISTIC SUPPORT VESSEL which could bring supplies construction and military materials not only in far flung Mindanao but to WPS PHIL OCCUPIED ISLAND and KALAYAAN ISLANDS. Our PN researchers can have a glimpse on the DSME Korean shipbuilder LSV constructed for the NORWEGIAN NAVY. OUR phil shipbuilder could also contruct this new design because we also have the technology resources and manpower at reasonable price. Given the chance we could also build our own COAST GUARD OPV of 100m in length. what we need is s STRONG POLITICAL WILL

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    1. Yes I agree with you Sir..Government must prioritize ship which could bring construction materials to Ayungin Shoal. This would be one of the great challenges to our Armed Forces the construction in Ayungin Shoal. Let see how our Armed Forces work on this. Tingnan natin kung ano diskarte meron ang Navy, Air Force at Coast guard natin. Ito sa lahat ang inaabangan ko kung pano dididskarte ang pamahalaan natin. Pag nanalo tayo sa UNCLOS, tingnan ko kung ano mangyari. Laki ang tiwala ko sa Armed Forces natin.. Go! Go! Go!

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  21. OT and just wanting to share something I read a while ago:

    Renato De Castro has written that "The elite exercise their influence on the country’s defense affairs and armed forces by: a) wielding power and influence over the state’s principal means of coercion through legally controlling the military and police force, which, in turn, hold in check non-state armies, militias and insurgents; and b) formulating decisions that reshape, ignore, or circumvent the strategic interest of the military establishment. The Philippine elite dictate defense reforms through their control of the Philippine Congress. Through their power and influence over appropriation and budgetary matters, these legislators are able to affect defense programs. On the issue of defense spending, the legislators generally concentrate on the acquisition of the requirements for their electoral success — public works projects and patronage — while remaining suspicious of the military by subjecting defense budgets to minute scrutiny.

    As evidenced by their behaviour in the National Assembly prior to World War II, the Philippine elite generally feel that “money ought not to be squandered on the army but could be spent on more constructive projects.” ... The traditional political elite in the Philippine Congress have little interest in military or strategic affairs. They instead focus their attention or efforts on accumulating resources and patronage—two crucial components of their control over local and national politics. The elite also see internal security as a primary strategic concern and view external forces as veiled threats that can be handled by the country’s superpower ally, the U.S. "

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    1. The PHILIPPINE ELITE should have a "military ethical lifestyle" similar to the BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY. The young princes must undergo military training when young. This way you can get an useful, practical appreciation of the military National Security needs of the PHILIPPINES.

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  22. If this is article is true, welcome to our new ally :D
    http://pacificsentinel.blogspot.com/2015/02/news-story-royal-navy-prepared-for.html

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  23. Nice atleast the PN has its HADR and transport capabilities upgraded.
    Two birds with one stone.
    just build 10 more tagbanua class and youve got a an all round mobile transport and HADR capable fleet.

    Also sir max when is the frigate bidding? is it done? if so what company was chosen to make the frigate? also any update on the ROKN corvette donation?

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  24. Hi Max, what happened to the LRPA Project? All of a sudden it has been quiet on this front.

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    1. I will not be surprised if DND/PAF will revert to original procurement plan, either by G2G or US FMS. There's a great chance that US is lobbying for the sale of refurbished P3 Orion, since the PAF is already familiar with this aircraft.

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  25. Anything new? Like brand new?

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  26. Hi Sir, It would best to discuss about the Ayungin Shoal situation right now a days since it is the most talk topic on most Chinese and Vietnamese website. According to one of a site,
    http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20140403000017&cid=1101
    Marines deployed in Sierra Madre will be remove in some ways or by force as mandated that it lies under Chinese territory before UNCLOS will give their decision. It also mentioned in one of Chinese website that they will invade the Sierra Madre this 2015 with new tactics to be use by their Paramilitary forces.
    How should Philippine Government and AFP handle this situation? Are those Marines prepared just in case China will action to take this Sierra Madre? How equip is our Marines who stationed in that Area? Do they have Manpads and RPD-7? How about heavy Machine gun?
    May nabasa pa ako na they will restrict the flying of any plane along Ayungin shoal. What will happen to the supply of our gallant marines?

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    1. Ang counter diyan pag nilusob ng China ang BRP Sierra Madre ay dapat lusubin na rin ng PCG, maritime police at BFAR ang mga territorial reefs natin inside our EEZ na ginagawan ng reclamation ng China. Huwag nang mangatuwiran na wala tayong puwersa para lumusob. Wala lang tayong sapat na puwersa pero nagagawan ng paraan yan kung may alam sa tactics at strategy ang mga law-enforcement at military planners natin. Ang advantage natin ay malapit ang Spratly Islands at Scarborough Shoal sa Pilipinas kaysa sa China. Kailangan lang natin ay gamitan ng close-combat at swarm tactics ng maraming lightly-armed (machine guns at bazooka) RHIBs (1,000+ at least) supported and accompanied by supply ships para mapaligiran yang mga reefs at Chinese Frigates at CG maritime ships. Huwag na nating ipilit na iilang PN Frigates at Corvettes ang iharap natin dahil wala silang laban.

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    2. Ang concern lang dyan brod. Ni Lem1 ay yung dapat may sapat na defense equipment ang mga marines na naka deploy sa Sierra Madre and just in case attack will rise on that area, at least marines can protect and even fight using those manpads, RPG and heavy machine guns on their own. I know for sure those marines stationed right now a days only equip with M-16. Only a few meters away those marines can seen the Chinese Mongoloid Coast guard standby around the shoal. Sana may plano na ang Gobyerno natin kung ano gagawin na taktika nila para magawan ng concrete structure ang area ng ayungin shoal. Sana lang!! kasi pag nangyari na makuha na ng China ang Ayungin shoal nay an, ako mismo uuna pupukpok sa ulo ng mga heneral na in charge para mabantayan ang Ayungin shoal nay an. Pati si President Pnoy. You see how fast is those Chinese structure of airfield and wharf in Renai shoal than those our procurement of two new frigates???? Grabe napaka bagal talaga ang dami ng dahilan ng gobyernong Aquino. Mr. Gazmin gising po, Mga senador at mga kawatang congressman ano ginagawa nyo dyan? Gising po kayo! Ako lang, blangko yung ballota ko sa congressman kasi alam ko walang magawa to sa pag papa unlad n gating ekonomiya at modernization. Sa senator naman pili lang sa o hanggang tatlo lang….

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  27. Nakapagtataka lang. Bakit itong LCH may nakalaan kaagad pondo e wala naman sa listahan na bibilhin ngayon taon. walang kagatol gatol APPROVED kaagad. Samantalang ang frigate, Embraer 29 , Soltam howitzer na nasa budgeted acquisition ang daming BUSISI PANAY RESCHEDULING AT PAULIT ULIT ANG BIDDING. BAKIT KAYA? Ano kayang hokus pokus ang ginagawa? At sino nanaman Ponsio Pilato ang sumasawsaw dito.? Tanong ng maraming pilipino na sumusubaybay sa modernidasiyon ng AFP. KUng gusto ng Pinas ng Malalalaking AMPHIBIAN SHIP na SURPLUS at pwedeng EDA AT G2G . Ang USS PELELIU na sinakyan ni Pembleton at DUE for DECOMMISSIONING ng US NAVY kayang BILHIN NG PINAS YAN. AT BAKA MALIBRE SA US

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  29. Hi sir, any news about the transfer of the vessels? it is already july but no news yet regarding the transfer to phil. navy.

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    1. They are delayed, they would probably arrive this month or next month.

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