Your 1st for Philippine Defense

Austal leads Philippine Navy's OPV Acquisition Project!

SecDef Lorenzana confirms Austal is still the preferred OPV supplier for the PN

The Philippine Navy commissions its 2nd Jose Rizal-class frigate!

The Philippine Navy welcomes BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), its newest frigate!

The Philippine Navy selects Shaldag Mk. V for Fast Attack Interdiction Craft!

The DND has awarded the FAIC-M Acquisition Project to Israel Shipyards

The Philippine Air Force wants more Black Hawk helicopters!

The Philippine Air Force asks for more Black Hawks to allow the retirement of their Bell UH-1 Huey fleet

The Philippine Army orders the Sabrah Light Tank System from Israel!

Israel's Elbit Systems was declared the winner to supply light tanks to the PA

The Philippine Air Force receives full order of Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 UAVs!

All 9 Hermes 900 and 4 Hermes 450 MALE UAVs have been received by the PAF!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fulfilling the Immediate Needs for Additional C-130s for the Philippine Air Force

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft has shown its versatility to the general public recently after being the main aircraft in use to deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)'s wrath in the Visayas. As discussed in an earlier blog, C-130 aircraft from the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and other military air units from other countries joined together to support the massive HADR operations. 

A PAF C-130H Hercules arriving in Tacloban City in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.
Photo taken from the Armed Forces of the Philippines. c/o UN News Center.

Questions arose on why the PAF only had 3 C-130 transport aircraft, and with calls from the general public and government officials to acquire more of these aircraft, MaxDefense decided to look back and update the blog with the plans of the government and the military to acquire more of these useful behemoths.

Commissioned PAF C-130s:
Currently there are 3 C-130s in PAF service: 2 C-130H models and a single C-130B model under the care of the 220th Airlift Wing based in Benito Ebuen Air Base in Mactan, Cebu. The "B" model with tail no. 3633, was recently recommissioned with the PAF after refurbishing by the 410th Maintenance Wing under the assistance of Lockheed Martin technicians, while one of the "H" model with tail number 4704 was recently recommissioned after undergoing a Periodic Depot Maintenance by BAE Systems in the US. The other "H" model with tail number 

A PAF C-130H Hercules being prepared for to return to the Philippines after a Periodic Depot Maintenance was done by BAE Systems in Nevada, USA.
Photo taken from The Philippine Embassy in the USA.

There are also 3 more C-130s in Benito Ebuen Air Base that are parked on the apron for still unknown reasons: 2 C-130B models and a single L-100-30 civilian variant of the stretched Hercules.

Each of the C-130s can deliver almost 20 tons of goods and equipment that can fit its cargo hold of around 12.3 meters (length) x 3.1 meters (width) x 2.74 meters (height). Its versatility was shown as C-130s took in vehicles, relief goods, equipment, and evacuees to and from disaster areas. Not only are they good for HARD operations, but are also primarily design to transport high volume of military supplies, light vehicles, troops and paratroopers to and from the front lines. The PAF once had dozens of these assets but dwindled due to lack of financial support from the government and poor maintenance by the PAF in keeping them in good shape, or at least in proper storage when mothballed.

Mothballed C-130s in Cebu:
MaxDefense indicated in an early blog that these 3 mothballed C-130s in Cebu are said to be candidates for refurbishing and re-commissioning to the PAF's transport fleet. Although it is still unclear if all can indeed by refurbished and put back to service, MaxDefense's sources already indicated that at least 1 unit is being prepared for refurbishing by the 410th Maintenance Wing, and is already funded by the government. There are also some conflicts in information regarding the status of the 2 other C-130s, with some open sources and defense forums with PAF sources saying that they are not suitable for revival, while some information gathered by MaxDefense from other PAF sources say that all can be refurbished and revived but will require a varying degree of refurbishing that will also require varying budget allocations. The only thing certain is that they are all in poor condition as the PAF was unable to put the airframes in proper storage.

The 3 C-130 Hercules transport planes in Cebu, currently mothballed and awaiting for its fate.
Photo taken from Mr. Jake Nelson @ Pinoy Daily Journal. 

Recently Sen. Ralph Recto supported the plan to provide funding to refurbish the mothballed C-130s, although he did not give specifics if he was referring to the 3 units in Cebu. According to him, a PAF source provided an estimate that the cost to refurbish a C-130 run at around Php 500 million, thus refurbishing 3 mothballed C-130 could cost at around Php 1.5 billion which he supports to be added in the 2014 National Budget. MaxDefense believes that due to the poor condition of the 3 aircraft plus the varying level of refurbishment needed for the 3 aircraft, it may even run higher than the value Sen. Recto was pushing. Also, it would take more than a year toc complete refurbishing of a single C-130, and 1 unit may only be available by 2015.

The men of the 410th Maintenance Wing was able to refurbish a C-130B in house with the help of specialists from Lockheed Martin. It won't be impossible for them to do it again to further enhance their skills and to save on cost rather than sending a mothballed plane to a private aircraft company for revival.
Photo taken from Mr. Thomas Diez's Facebook page.

PAF to Buy 2 More C-130s:
With the questions raised on why the PAF only has 3 C-130s in its fleet, the Department of National Defense (DND) through Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, announced that they the PAF is in the process of procuring 2 more C-130 aircraft for Php 1.6 billion ($37 million) starting next year. This was also echoed by AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista in a separate interview

Excess C-130s of the US military stocked in the "boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. The Philippine government could negotiate with the US for sale and/or grant used C-130s and other military aircraft to fulfill its immediate requirements.
Photo taken from the Tucson Sentinel.

The budget would be Php 800 million or $18.5 million per aircraft, and will probably include and integrated logistics support (ILS) package, training and some spare parts. With that amount, the PAF could only afford to buy a refurbished legacy C-130 model, and not a brand new or even used new generation C-130J Super Hercules version. This would probably be sourced from a friendly country, and MaxDefense believes that if negotiations will be completed by 1st quarter of next year, the C-130s could only be commissioned with the PAF by either late 2014 or early 2015. This option is still faster to complete as compared to refurbishing the mothballed C-130s in Cebu.

Even More C-130s?:
There was also a report from a local news organization saying that according to their source from the AFP, there was a plan by the US government to grant 3 legacy C-130 Hercules aircraft to the Philippine government that was supposed to be announced during the scheduled visit of US President Barack Obama last October. Although the visit was cancelled, such program can be revisited by both governments, especially that US Secretary of State John Kerry is pushing through with his visit to the Philippines before the end of the year. But MaxDefense believes that finalizing such deal doesn't need Sec. Kerry's presence so it would be a matter of how the Philippine government presents its request.

This runs similar to an earlier MaxDefense blog on PAF C-130s wherein MaxDefense sources from DND indicated that at least 3 units are planned to be transferred from US Excess Defense Articles (EDA) stocks. Latest information from these sources confirm that there is a standing request from the PAF for additional C-130s, and may be sourced from friendly countries.

There are reports that the US was to grant 3 C-130 aircraft to the Philippines as part of the agenda of President Obama's cancelled visit to the Philippines. Although there's no confirmation yet, this can be a welcome addition should it happen.
Photo taken from Philippines Today.

Aside from this, the PAF still has plans to get additional C-130 planes in the next phase of the AFP Modernization Program after 2017. This may include the option of getting new birds, which may include the new generation C-130J Super Hercules to complement the legacy Hercules in PAF service and probably replace them in the long term. No numbers for now though.

C-130J Super Hercules in the future? Not impossible if the government is consistent in putting emphasis to a stronger and better responding Armed Forces of the Philippines even after the term of President Aquino.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

If all these negotiations are indeed happening and becomes a reality, the PAF will end up with a minimum of 6 to a maximum of 9 working C-130 aircraft by the time President Aquino steps down, which is close to MaxDefense's earlier estimate in an earlier blog entry. According to CSAFP, the PAF is "happy" to obtain 9 more C-130s. While all this is not entirely impossible, it is up to the government's political will, backed by the DND, AFP and PAF's effective lobbying that will ultimately bring this to reality.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Building-up the AFP's Equipment Needs for Disaster Response and Military Operations

It took a massive storm and devastation in the Visayas region to expose the government's inability to respond and provide government services and delivering massive volumes of personnel, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) goods, light and heavy equipment and temporary facilities to a wide coverage area due to several reasons. One of them is the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) lack of these necessary tools and equipment, which is an issue that has not been given much attention for several decades now.

The scale of devastation brought by Super Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda) was unprecedented in Philippine history, and is nowhere near the dozens of storms the country experiences in a year. Normally the Philippine government has contingencies and preparations for disasters, and this includes bringing in the capabilities of the AFP with its men, materiel, experience and capability in rapid deployment and handling rescue and relief operations. But as the sheer coverage of the disaster was known, so is the inability of the AFP to reach out on these areas all at the same time.

The typhoon showed how military forces can be used in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. Shown above are USMC MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft bringing in relief supplies from Cebu to Tacloban then returning to Cebu with evacuees.
Photo taken from Lt. Col. Francis Neri's Facebook page.

It exposed the AFP's capabilities, or the lack of it, to the general public, and brought it closer to the attention of our citizens and lawmakers alike. People became aware on the military's lack of assets to transport large amounts of aid to a large area of responsibility like almost the entire Visayas region.

What does the AFP have?
Currently the Philippine Air Force (PAF) only has 3 C-130B/H Hercules heavy tactical transport planes, 3 units of the smaller Fokker F-27 Friendship tactical transports and N-22B Nomad light utility aircraft, and a few dozen UH-1H Huey and W-3A Sokol utility helicopters in its inventory, and not all of these assets can be used for a single air operation due to requests for air assets for other purposes. The Philippine Navy has the same dilemma, with only a handful of naval transports in the form of the 2 Bacolod City-class logistics support vessels (LSVs), a few World War 2-era landing ship tanks (LSTs), and a couple of large landing craft utilities (LCUs), and a few BN-2 Islander and BO-105 utility aircraft at its disposal. In this type of situation, these assets are not enough.

PAF's lack of C-130s was exposed during the relief operations after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Visayas, The 3 units were working hard for 2 weeks now, and was lucky to be reinforced by more C-130s and C-17s from several foreign air forces.
Photo taken from Lt. Col. Francis Neri's Facebook page.

Not only is the military lacking in air and naval transport capabilities, it also lack the ground assets and support facilities that are both needed for normal military operations as well as humanitarian and disaster relief missions. The Philippine Army and Marine Corps, like the rest of the Armed Forces, does not have enough trucks and utility vehicles, engineering and construction equipment, and amphibious vehicles It also does not have or only have minimal temporary facilities like power generation, water treatment equipment and tanking, mobile hospitals, temporary airfield facilities, and communications equipment. It is surprising that there are still calls by many people to bring in relief aid to communities accessible by land transport until more than a week after the storm hit, but was not aided due to lack of these assets.

The AFP recently received several ex-US Army surplus trucks, like those above still in desert paint scheme after being used in Middle East campaigns. The AFP can continue getting more of these, or even new trucks, classified as civil defense equipment that can also be used for military operations.
Photo taken from IPMS Philippines website.

Thankfully, all these shortages were filled-in by the international community's contributions to the relief effort, as seen on the capabilities they brought in to assist the AFP and the Filipino people as a whole (a special MaxDefense blog article was made specifically to showcase the international help provided, see HERE). But this international aid is a temporary solution and will only be available until the Philippine government musters enough capability to stand alone to provide its people the necessities and return to normalcy. The capability brought upon by the international community can be a template for the Philippine government, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), other related government agencies, and by the AFP as it build up its own capability for future disasters. The Philippines cannot always just rely on foreign aid every time a similar unfortunate event happens; it must be prepared to face similar threats in the future, and it must also be prepared to answer the call to aid of other countries in need just as they answered our call for help.

Lawmaker's Questionable Solutions?
There are already earlier calls by a certain congressman who used to be the AFP's Chief of Staff to purchase more helicopters and transport planes in expense of purchasing fighter jets and territorial defense assets like the KAI FA-50 Fighting Eagle, and recent calls by another neophyte senator calling for the same route of purchasing more transports for the AFP by cancelling the FA-50 and AW109 acquisitions.

MaxDefense believes that both lawmaker's intentions of increasing the capability of the AFP to respond to civil defense duties is correct and commendable, but the plan to cancel the procurement of fighter jets and other territorial defense assets to divert the funds is absolutely wrong and irresponsible. These lawmakers did not take into consideration the importance of having a minimum deterrent that will give the Philippine government some semblance of capability to enforce its territorial and foreign affairs policies. The fighter jets are not just for shooting down enemy aircraft, but are also meant for air policing duties and enforce our territorial jurisdiction from foreign aircraft. It's not about the numbers, but the willingness of the Philippines to be responsible of its territorial integrity that matters.

Purchasing the FA-50 should be left untouched by those pushing for more dual-use military equipment that can be used in military and disaster relief operations. Both are equally important and must be funded by the national government altogether.
Photo taken from

The Compromise:

The best compromise to avoid undermining every AFP capability from another is to increase funding of the armed forces, as well as strengthening the mandate and capability of the NDRRMC (which is also under the Department of National Defense). This can be done through separation of the systems being procured by the AFP: defensive weapons systems like fighter aircraft and frigates can be financed through the AFP Modernization Program, and dual-use equipment like transport planes, trucks and utility helicopters can be classified as HADR equipment and financed by a separate funding scheme, reinforced by the AFP Modernization Program budget. It is expected that public opinion will be calling for the improvement of disaster relief capability of the government, and although lawmakers are not very keen on military capability improvement but will have no choice but to definitely support improvements in the military's ability to respond to HADR operations.

Recommended HADR Purchases for the AFP: The following are MaxDefense's recommendations on what the government and AFP must improve to cope up with similar disasters in the future. Instead of relying on the AFP Modernization Program budget, the DND and AFP must push for another funding scheme that will solely focus of acquiring capabilities that can be used for both military and civil defense/disaster response purposes. Due to the special nature of disaster response, the DND and AFP can make use of this loophole to request for further funding using alternative sources to improve disaster response capability while also improving the military's overall transport and mobility capability. This can be divided into several sub-programs:

Philippine Air Force:
  • The PAF can request for expanding the aerial transport capability improvement, which includes increasing the budget for its current procurement on the following projects: Combat Utility Helicopters (CUH), Light & Medium Fixed Wing Transport Aircraft, Search and Rescue Seaplane, and used UH-1H Helicopters. The PAF currently has a standing requirement for at least 100 CUH available at any time, and will require more or less 130 units of CUH in their inventory. There are plans to increase the number of air assets in the next round of AFP Modernization Program budgeting for 2017 and beyond, these programs can be accelerated by increased funding. The PAF can also make use of procuring more interim UH-1H helicopters from US military stocks which can be made available faster than new helicopters. The PAF could opt to go for more than 21 units.
  • The PAF could also include the request for the following: Procurement of additional new or used (or both) C-130 Hercules transport planes and procurement of Medium Lift Utility Helicopters which can be used to enhance the transport capability of the PAF; Emergency Airport Facilities (mobile air traffic controllers and radar systems, temporary lighting and signalling equipment, and mobile air monitoring radar systems) which can be deployed to immediately re-activate damaged or disabled airports and air bases; Cargo handling ground equipment like rough terrain and heavy forklifts; and even Firefighting Buckets and slinging equipment for helicopters. 
Additional C-130 aircraft, which are used not only for military transport but also for bringing in supplies and relief goods, and evacuation of victims and even trapped OFWs abroad. The operations after the typhoon are testaments to the importance of C-130s and other transport aircraft even in peacetime operations.
Photo taken from Lt. Col. Francis Neri's Facebook page.
  • Modernization of current assets can also be included, which may include installation of rescue winches on the W-3A Sokol helicopters (which are already transferred to the 505th SAR Group) and remaining S-76 helicopters; upgrading of several CUH to be able to carry firefighting water buckets;
One of the PAF's W-3A Sokol helicopter delivering food aid to affected citizens. The PAF require at least 100 combat utility helicopters operational at any point in time. The current numbers are far from that requirement.
Photo taken from Lt. Col. Francis Neri's Facebook page.

Philippine Navy:
  • The PN can opt to request for a separate funding to accelerate the purchase of more landing platform docks (LPD) or strategic sealift vessels (SSV) in addition to the 2 units already on the pipeline. Originally the PN plans to have at least 4 SSVs in its future inventory and accelerating this program can hasten the availability of these ships as early as possible. It can also do the same for the LCU acquisition project, which also requires more that a dozen more in the next Modernization Program phases.
  • To support the SSV/LPDs, the PN must also request for medium lift helicopters to be procured at the same time as the ships they are intended to be used with. 
Additional assets that can bring in supplies and disaster relief aid like amphibious vessels (photo shows PN's LSV) can be funded by a separate program that focuses on disaster preparedness.
Photo taken from US Navy.

Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps:
  • The need for more mobility assets like cargo and utility trucks to bring in troops, people, goods and for other purposes can be requested through this funding. These can either be used assets from the US military, or new trucks similar to the ones bought from Korea recently;
  • Amphibian transport vehicles, similar to the GKN Aquatrack that  the PMC and NDRRMC currently operates. These vehicles can be used during floods and has a large capacity for carrying people or goods; 
The GKN Aquatrack being used by the PMC is an example of equipment that can be used for HDMR operations, as shown above. The PMC is operating 2 units of behalf of the NDRRMC.
  • Rescue equipment like search robots, personal protection equipment for rescuers, additional K9 units, first aid kits, heat signature scanners, and other related equipment that are also not available or not enough numbers within the Philippine ground forces;
Search and Rescue robots similar to the one above, can be used to look for victims underneath rubble and debris, and can reach areas that are inaccessible to humans. They can also be fitted with camera to access dangerous places.
Photo taken from Robocup 2009 website.
  • Requirements for field hospitals, power generators, water filtration systems, field kitchens, satellite and high frequency communications, tents and field shelters, portable water and oil storage facilities, first aid kits, meals ready to eat (MRE), and water supplies.These items are actually needed by our ground forces during long deployments outside major camps, and are also not even available on minor army and marine camps. It would be best to acquire such capability and to allocate enough for HADR operations;
The lack of field hospitals in operation areas are always brought out whenever there are major military operations involving the AFP, resulting to unnecessary deaths. It can be improved if these are provided to the AFP via funding for civil defense and dual-use equipment as they can also be used for peacetime operations like disaster relief.
Photo taken from Wikipedia.
  • Engineering and construction equipment like payloaders, backhoe, loaders, dump trucks, and also mechanical handtools like chainsaws. These can be used in clearing and rebuilding, and even during normal civic-military operations which the Philippine military already specializes even in non-crisis times. It would be best to expand and improve in this matter;
  • Combat engineering equipment like pontoon bridges can also be classified, and also materials for erecting temporary bridges to replace destroyed ones.
Water filtration equipment similar to those used by the Canadian Forces in Iloilo, are actually needed by military ground units even for military operations outside major camps.
Photo taken from Combatcamera / Canadian Forces website.
Engineering equipment like backhoes and loaders are also necessary for disaster relief and reconstruction operations, and are also needed by the army's engineering and construction battalions for their usual missions.
Photo taken from Combatcamera / Canadian Forces website.

Government Response:
Although its too late for the government to react for this specific calamity, it is not too late for the government to prepare for the future. There is already a call from Senator Ralph Recto to include the funding of reactivation of at least 3 mothballed C-130s of the PAF with the 2014 National Budget, and even considering the purchase of new C-130 aircraft using multi-year funding schemes. He also supported the purchase of more naval vessels including strategic sealift vessels and logistics support vessels. 

The DND has also recently announced the purchase of 2 more used C-130 aircraft from an "unspecified source" with a budget of Php 1.6 billion, and has plans to start a acquisition program for a new Combat Utility Helicopter to replace the W-3A Sokols. And there is mounting support from the public as well as local government units for the national government to increase funding for the purchase of more military equipment that can be used for HADR operations. There are even calls by some lawmakers to create a separate Cabinet Office for Emergency Response.

These C-130s in Mactan, Cebu, previously discussed in another MaxDefense blog, can be the proposed candidates for refurbishing as brought out by Senator Ralph Recto.
Photo taken from Mr. Jake Nelson @ Pinoy Daily Journal.

But these plans are not enough. It must be pursued immediately without being caught up with the usual red tape and politics affecting military and civilian expenditures, as these are emergency items that are needed as soon as possible without waiting for a new crisis to arrive. The Philippine government has the capacity to fund for these requirements if it wants to, and will only need political will of the national government and cooperation from the different sectors of government. Money can't be a reason anymore for the government, as disasters won't wait for a chance for the Philippines to be wealthy enough before it strikes again. Not only will it improve the AFP's capability to respond to HADR, it will also improve the AFP's capability to respond to the internal security and territorial defense posture of the country. 

Opportunity to Return the Favor:
It must also be taken into consideration that the Philippines now owes the world for the aid and assistance they gave to the country in this time of need, even if they do not ask anything in return. The best way for the Philippines to return the favor is for it to be better prepared in the future to minimize the need for another massive foreign assistance. At the same time, the country must be prepared to assist other nations that will encounter similar crisis in the future. 

The PAF's C-130s working hand-in-hand with C-130s of other nations. It would be best if the PAF could return the favor in the future by participating in delivering aid and support to other countries should the need arise.
Photo taken from Lt. Col. Francis Neri's Facebook page.

Having a well prepared and well equipped military and disaster response teams that has the ability to be deployed in times of calamity anywhere in the world would bolster the Philippines' relations with the international community, improve its foreign policy standing, and can be a source of pride to the Filipino people. Just look at Indonesia: In 1963 the Philippines provided them with aid and medical assistance delivered by several C-47 transports of the PAF when Mount Gunung Agung erupted. Now they have returned the favor by sending several tons of relief aid brought in by several TNI-AU (Indonesian Air Force) C-130s, a shipload of Red Cross aid, equipment and personnel, and an LPD from the TNI (Indonesian National Armed Forces) is on the way to bring in more aid and more medical teams with their respective equipment (further discussed HERE) This is a source of pride for Indonesians to be able to help a friend in need even if they are also facing disasters in their own country and is also coping with financial issues. Can the Philippines do the same in the future? Yes, it can.

Indonesia is not a wealthy country as compared to its Western counterparts, and is almost in the same political, economical and military dilemma as the Philippines. But it has the willingness to help a friend in need, whatever it's situation it is. We are indebted to the international community, and must be ready to stand up to assist others in need in the future as well.
Photo taken from website.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Massive Combined International Aid Sent to Assist Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda Victims in the Philippines

The Philippines experienced being hit by the largest storm to make landfall in recorded history, the Supertyphoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda, and suffered severe death and destruction of homes, livelihood and infrastructure. As of this writing, there are already confirmed deaths closing to 4,000 people. According to news reports, most of the death and destruction was from the storm surge that brought in up to 5 to 6 meter high water to coastal communities, with emphasis on those in Samar and Leyte provinces.

Destruction in Tacloban City (above) as well as many other cities and communities in the Visayas. The storm displaced millions of people in the entire region, and they are in need of immediate aid.
Photo taken from Reuters.

The Philippine government, although lacking in men and materiel to immediately assist the affected communities, used its air assets to reach these cities and municipalities but fell short to reach all these communities as fast as it can. Several military bases and units were also rendered out of action by the storm, including the destruction of Philippine Air Force's Tactical Operations Group - 8 (TOG-8) based in Daniel Z. Romualdez airport in Tacloban City when it was engulfed with storm surges. The first flights of PAF UH-1H and C-130 coming in to Tacloban's airport arrived in the morning of November 9, the day after the stom hit the city, but initial efforts were not enough due to overwhelming need of aid that the Philippine government and military cannot provide immediately.

The 1st batches of humanitarian aid came to the people of Tacloban City in the form of PAF C-130 Hercules, W-3A Sokol and UH-1H Huey helicopters bringing in food and water. It was not enough considering the extent of damage to the city and high number of affected citizens.
Within the next 48 hours, international support arrived, with the United States military being the first to arrive from US bases in Japan. Small teams of rescue and medical experts arrived via civilian flights to Cebu and Manila that were brought in to the affected communities by the PAF. Comprehensive international media exposure, as well as request for assistance by the Philippine government saw strong pledges of support from the international community, which provided aid of either financial and humanitarian relief goods, personnel, equipment, medicine and temporary shelters. 

What remains of the PAF's TOG-8 base in Tacloban airport after storm surges destroyed the base and killed many of the unit's personnel.
Photo taken from PAF Public Information Office c/o Col. Francis Neri's FB page.

Below are the countries that answered the call, that made the initiatives to send aid in form of medical and rescue teams, military vessels and aircraft, and engineering equipment, in addition to financial and humanitarian goods aid:

United States - was one of the first countries to send aid and aircraft to assist in the relief and transport operations. The US government initially pledged more than $20 million of humanitarian aid plus a massive military effort. Another $10 million was provided by USAID later on. Under Operation Damayan, the first to arrive are C-130J Super Hercules and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft from US military bases in Japan, which brought supplies from Manila and Cebu to Tacloban City. These aircraft also were the first to reach the airfield in Guiuan, Eastern Samar. The George Washington Carrier Strike Group was also immediately sent from Hong Kong, consisting of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73), the Ticonderoga-class cruisers USS Antietam (CG-54) and USS Cowpens (CG-63), the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Mustin (DDG-89) and USS Lassen (DDG-82), the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship USNS Charles Drew (T-AKE-10), the Pathfinder-class oceanographic vessel USNS Bowditch (T-AGS-62), and the Emory S. Land-class submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS-39) , together with its compliment of aircraft and helicopters that include MH-60 Seahawks and C-2 Greyhounds. Around 600 troops are now on the ground, plus more than 6,000 ship crew on the naval fleet supporting them. The US government is also sending around 1,000 more troops from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit with 2 amphibious assault vessels, the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ships USS Germantown (LSD-42) and USS Ashland (LSD-48), plus the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) which will greatly enhance the medical capability of the relief effort. Another ship, the Austin-class amphibious transport dock USS Denver (LPD-9) is ordered on stand-by as well. More US troops, aid and assets are coming in the next few days, including additional MV-22 Ospreys and C-130 Hercules. For aerial reconnaissance and survey the US also sent 2 P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft. 

Several groups from the US also deployed to the Philippines, including medical teams from Team Rubicon and Mammoth.

A C-130J Super Hercules and a MH-60 Seahawk from the US Military bringing aid to the Tacloban City airport.
Photo taken from the US Navy.
People lining up at Tacloban City airport while 2 US Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft unloads more relief supplies.
Photo taken from the US Navy.
The USS George Washington being met by the Philippine Navy patrol vessel BRP Mariano Alvarez.

United Kingdom - pledged and provided an initial aid of $37 million, then 1st batch which were brought in by C-17 Globemaster III flying in from Europe arriving on November 16 which includes relief goods, medicines, small loader/excavator machines and Land Rover vehicles. Another pledge of $48 million was made recently on top of the initial aid, which include delivery of forklifts, cutting equipment, 4x4 vehicles, temporary shelters and household equipment, sanitary items and water purification tablets. The UK government also sent the Type-45 Daring-class destroyer HMS Daring (D32) from Singapore to assist in the relief efforts and provide clean water through its desalination facility. She will be replaced later on by the Invincible-class aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (R06) which was in the Middle East, and has several helicopters with her and can be more effective than the destroyer in assisting the relief efforts. A 12-man emergency team was also deployed. Scotland also pledged to provide GBP500,000 as well.

The UK sent a C-17 Globemaster heavy airlifter to bring in supplies, medicine and Land Rover vehicles, which arrived in Cebu on November 16. More flights are expected in the next few days.
Photo taken from Royal Air Force Twitter page.
The UK government is also sending the HMS Illustrious, which is currently in the Middle East. It has several helicopters with it which can enhance delivery of relief to far flung areas.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

Japan - recently increased their aid amount to around than $37 million, and sent an initial medical team from the Japan Self Defense Forces (JSDF) of almost 40 men. The Japanese government is also sending a contingent of more than 1,100 troops and includes 3 self defense forces ships, the Hyuga-class helicopter carrier/destroyer JDS Ise (DDH-182), the Osumi-class dock landing ship JDS Osumi (LST-4001) and the Towada-class replenishment ship JDS Towada (AOE-422). It will also be sending around 10 aircraft and helicopters to complement the relief distribution and transport efforts.

The JDS Ise, a Hyuga-class helicopter carrier//destroyer.
JSDF relief aid team headed by Col. Nakanishi (right) surveys the damage at Tacloban City.
Photo taken from Reuters.
A JASDF C-130 giving a lift to evacuees going out of Tacloban City.
Photo taken from AFP.

Australia - pledged a total of $30 million in aid, and sent an intial team from the Australian Medical Assistance Team (AusMAT) flown in together with an initial aid of relief goods and medical supplies by a Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster III and a C-130J Super Hercules. Another batch from the Australian Defense Forces of around 200 troops, with more relief aid, water purification and desalination equipment, power generators and road clearing equipment is also being prepared to be sent soon. They are using at least 2 C-130Js for logistics support between the relief hub in Cebu to Tacloban, and a C-17 for logistics support between Manila and Cebu. A heavy landing ship, HMAS Tobruk (L 50) was also diverted to support the efforts in the Visayas and is expected to arrive soon.

Volunteers from AusMAT arriving at Tacloban after being flown in by a RAAF C-130J Super Hercules.
Photo taken from Philstar.

Canada - pledge an amount of C$5 million, and will match all the donated amount by Canadian citizens and NGOs to double the total amount. Under the Canadian Armed Forces' Contingency Plan (CONPLAN) Renaissance - Operation Renaissance 13-1, an initial team from the Disaster Assistance and Response Team (DART) arrived on November 11 using a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-144 Challenger VIP jet. A 2nd batch of members of the Canadian Armed Forces and DART arrived via CC-177 (C-17) Globemaster transport aircraft in 2 flights from November 13, and a 3rd batch was flown in by RCAF Airbus transport planes. Focus is on Roxas City and outlying municipalities, and they were able to set-up their base there on November 15. At least 2 of 3 CH-146 Griffon helicopters are also scheduled to arrive by November 19 together with water purification equipment, and a planned total of 200 DART members are expected to complete their deployment. The helicopters are to take part in delivering supplies and moving people in the affected areas around Iloilo. There was also an additional donation of C$30,000 made through the International Federation of the Red Cross. An additional funding worth C$15 million was announced recently by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for emergency relief activities. Updates of the Canadian mission can be found HERE.

A Royal Canadian Air Force CC-177 Globemaster heavy airlifter, used to transport members of the DART and Canadian Armed Forces to Iloilo on November 14.
Photo taken from Canadian Armed Forces
Royal Canadian Air Force CC-150 Polaris transport plane with DART members arriving at Iloilo airport on November 16.
Photo taken from Canadian Armed Forces.
Canadian soldiers clearing trees and fallen power lines in Panay Island using a multi-purpose excavator.
Photo taken from Postmedia News.

Israel - one of the fastest team to arrive in the affected area, sent a 148-man contingent from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), together with 100 tons of supplies and a field hospital flown to Cebu by an El Al Airlines Boeing 747 aircraft. They are then sent to Bogo City, northern Cebu where they have reported early success in terms of medical assistance to the people there. A possible reinforcement of at least 100 more IDF members are being considered to further assist the displaced victims. A Twitter account was also made by the IDF specifically for the mission.

An IDF officer talking to Cebu locals upon arrival. They have set-up a field hospital in Bogo City, northern Cebu.
Photo from IDF Facebook page.
IDF members with young residents of Bogo City.
Photo from IDFrescue Twitter account.

Belgium - sent a team of doctors and nurses including a field hospital, a water purification unit, and relief goods. They will be focusing on medical work and are assigned in Tacloban City.

The medical team from Belgium discussing upon arrival at Tacloban City's airport.
Photo taken from Reuters.

China - $100,000 financial aid, $100,000 from Chinese Red Cross, and a pledge to bring in $1.6 million worth of humanitarian aid, with the first and second batch arriving in Cebu on November 18 and 19. It also sent rescue teams to the Philippine government, as well as sending their hospital ship Peace Ark, which is expected to arrive in the waters off Samar between November 23-24. Several Chinese companies, including those based in the Philippines, have sent their assistance through financial and humanitarian aid.

First batch of humanitarian aid from China consisting of tents and blankets arrived on November 18.
Photo taken from Government Arsenal-DND's Facebook page.
People's Liberation Army Navy hospital ship Peace Ark is expected to arrive off Samar between November 23 and 24. 

France - An initial aid of 10 tons of humanitarian goods were delivered for the Philippine Red Cross and arrived on November 12 comprising of tents, tarpaulins, cooking equipment and jerry cans. The French government will also send 40 firefighters, 2 officers from the French Government's Crisis Center, 16 security officers from the Action Internationale contre la Faim (AICF), and 2 civil security experts. Several French NGO and French Red Cross members are already in Tacloban, including members of the Pompiers de l'urgence International, and the Veolia and Eurocopter Foundations. 100 tons of equipment, including water purification systems, materials for shelter and medical kits are also pledged by the French government as part of their ongoing assistance. 

Germany - An initial aid package of more than EUR500,000 was provided, and was increased with an additional EUR4 million more soon. German airline Lufthansa together with World Vision and Aktion Deutschland Hilft sent a cargo aircraft with 5,400 blankets, 3,000 tarpaulins and tents along with medical supplies and first aid kits, water, food and hygiene kits. Rescue teams from German relief organizations like CARE, HelpAge, Malteser International are already working in Samar and Leyte, and additional teams from ADRA and Johannieter Unfallhilfe are on the way. ISAR Germany were deployed a medical team and 2 tons of medical supplies and a field hospital from Action Medeor arriving on November 11.

Ground crew at Ninoy Aquino International Airport unloading relief aid cargo from a Lufthansa cargo aircraft, as provided by the airline in partnership with World Vision and Aktion Deutschland Hilft.
Photo taken from Lufthansa Facebook page.

Hungary - several members of the Hungary Emergency Response Team have been deployed in Tacloban City, which include search dogs and medics. Also on the ground are members of the Hungarian Baptist Charity Service and Hungarian Reformed Charity which also carried medical equipment and $15,000 in aid consisting of medicine, bandages and infusions.

Members of the Hungary Emergency Response Team unload their gears after being brought in by American MV-22 Osprey aircraft to Tacloban City.
Photo taken from Getty Images.

India - an Indian Air Force C-130J Super Hercules delivered 15 tons of needed relief supplies in Tacloban City on November 16, consisting of hygiene chemicals, drinking water, tents, blankets, tarpaulins, water purification equipment, ready-made meals and powdered milk. There are also plans to send more aid and an Indian Navy ship as soon as they can.

An Indian Air Force airman guiding the unloading of relief supplies from a C-130J Super Hercules.
Photo taken from the Associated Press.
"From the people of India to friends in Philippines".

Indonesia - the first country from ASEAN to bring in relief goods to Cebu, provided $1 million worth of relief goods of about 75 tons of food, water, power generators, medicines and blankets which were brought in by 3 Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) C-130 Hercules flying in several sorties, plus $1 million financial aid provided to the Philippine government. As of this writing there are still reports of more Indonesian Air Force C-130 flights coming in with more aid, and it is planning to send a navy ship, the landing platform dock KRI Makassar, together with 2 helicopters and members of the Indonesian Armed Forces to assist in humanitarian work.

The Indonesian Red Cross is also making their own initiative, and is bringing in more relief volunteers of around 50 men and aid worth IDR 2.8 billion, which will be sent on November 20. This includes hygiene kits, blankets, family tents, and instant noodles. They will be sending water tankers, 2 rescue helicopters and 2 all terrain vehicles. 

An Indonesian Air Force C-130 being loaded with supplies bound for Cebu during one of its sorties.
Photo taken from Associated Press.
An Indonesian Air Force C-130 arrives at Roxas City airport, and goods are being unloaded by Armed Forces of the Philippines troops.
Photo taken from website.

Luxembourg - provided EUR 400,000 in aid coursed through their humanitarian partners, and also sent 4 rescue experts as part of the UNOCHA's International Humanitarian Partnership Team and 2 Emergency experts embedded with the Danish and Swedish teams.

Malaysia - also one of the first ASEAN countries to send aid, has provided $1 million in financial aid and $1 million worth of relief aid which includes 14 tons of emergency supplies and medicine. Members of Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART), Malaysian Army doctors and medical personnel and volunteers from the 1Malaysia Putera Club (KP1M) were brought in by 2 Royal Malaysian Air Force C-130 Hercules. They were the first foreign team to arrive at Burauen, Leyte and also provided aid to residents at Palo, Leyte.

Relief goods being unloaded from an RMAF C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
Photo taken from defensetalk forums.

The Malaysian contingent bringing in supplies to Burauen, Leyte.
Photo taken from New Straits Times.
The Netherlands - an initial financial aid of EUR 50,000 was coursed through the Red Cross, and another donated EUR 2 million through the Red Cross and the United Nations. A Royal Netherlands Air Force KDC-10 transport aircraft flew in to bring 29 tons of relief supplies from non-profit and relief organizations and arrived in Manila on November 16.

A Royal Netherlands Air Force KDC-10 transport aircraft similar to the above shown arrived in Manila on November 16 to bring in 29 tons of relief goods.
Photo taken from

New Zealand - the government provided NZ$2.5 million in humanitarian assistance through the Red Cross and other agencies. It also sent 2 Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules transports to bring in relief goods, as well as use for transport of goods, personnel and evacuees for at 4 to 5 days.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules being unloaded of relief supplies.
Photo taken from RNZAF Facebook page.

A RNZAF C-130 Hercules being used to airlift people from affected areas going to Cebu City.
Photo taken from RNZAF Facebook page.

Qatar - also sent 2 flights of C-17 Globemaster from the Royal Qatari Air Force, with 80 tons of medication, food, blankets, tents and clothes. The Qatar Red Crescent also sent $70,000 immediate aid through the Philippine Red Cross.

Russia - the Emergency Situations Ministry sent 56 tons of humanitarian aid flown in by 2 Russian Air Force Il-76 transport planes to Cebu City. The aircraft arrived on November 14. The goods include canned goods of fish and meat, and sugar. Russia is also planning to send at least 200-men team from EMERCOM if a request is made by the Philippine government.

A Russian Air Force Ilyushin Il-76 transport plane leaves for the Cebu City, Philippines.
Photo taken from Russian Information Agency.

Singapore - initially provided S$200,000 in aid plus S$120,000 worth of relief goods from the Singapore Armed Forces. These relief goods were transported to Cebu using 2 C-130 Hercules from the Republic of Singapore Air Force. These planes were also requested by the Philippine government to assist in moving in personnel, goods and people from Manila to Cebu and Tacloban City. A team from Singapore's Civil Defense Force will also sent to Tacloban City to help coordinate in relief operations. There are also several pledges from the Singapore Red Cross and several Singapore-based companies and non-profit foundations and agencies for more financial and humanitarian goods aid.

Relief goods being unloaded from an RSAF C-130 Hercules aircraft in Mactan-Cebu Airport.
Photo taken from the Straits Times/Associated Press.
Evacuees from Tacloban City taking a queue to hitch on an RSAF C-130 Hercules bound for Manila.
Photo taken from defensetalk forums.
Spain - provided $1.8 million in humanitarian aid, and sent 2 Spanish Air Force transport planes bringing in relief goods.

South Korea - pledged to provide $5 million in comprehensive humanitarian aid and teams of emergency rescue workers, composed of 20 medical personnel, 14 paramedics and 4 staff members of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and 2 Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials. These aid and rescue teams are now in Tacloban City were assigned on disinfection work. A Republic of Korea Air Force C-130 Hercules was also sent to bring in the said personnel and 20 tons of relief items composed of blankets, tents, sanitary kits, and food.

Relief goods are loaded to a Republic of Korea Air Force C-130 Hercules for delivery to the Philippines on November 14, 2013.
Photo taken from Yonhap News.
The Korean Disaster Relief Team from KOICA already on the ground.
Photo taken from Yonhap News.
A ROKAF C-130 bringing in evacuees for a flight out of Tacloban City.
Photo taken from

Sweden - sent a Swedish Air Force C-130 Hercules full of relief supplies, and $3 million was also provided coursed through the United Nations. It also allowed the use of its C-130 aircraft to transport supplies and personnel to and from Tacloban City. The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency also sent its personnel, together with base camp equipment for UN use, and a joint team and equipment coming in from Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark, Estonia and Finland. It has also pledged to send in more communications equipment.

A Swedish C-130 being loaded with humanitarian aid supply bound for the Philippines.
Photo taken from TT News Agency.
Switzerland - allocated $6.6 million for humanitarian assistance. A 1st batch of experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit arrived on November 10 to assess the requirements on the ground. A total of 20 personnel from the SHA are already concerntrating their efforts in northern Cebu and in Ormoc, Leyte. It has also shipped 21 tons of relief aid containing water purification and disinfection equipment, high capacity water reservoir, and distribution systems. It has also pledged to support the institutions like the International Committee of the Red Cross and United Nations by sending Swiss experts to these organizations and bringing in more financial contribution.

Taiwan - although recently embroiled with the Philippines due to territorial disputes at sea, the Taiwanese government provided relief assistance to the affected communities. The Taiwanese government provided $200,000 in aid and pledged to provide 99 tons of relief goods that will be brought in by 2 Republic of China Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft in several sorties.Relief aid includes food, water, blankets and tents. The Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC) also sent a medical team on November 14 to coordinate with the Taiwanese communities in the affected areas. Another team from the Taiwan Root Medical Peace Corps also arrived to provide medical services.

RoCAF C-130 Hercules aircraft being loaded with relief goods earmarked for the typhoon victims.
Photo taken from defensetalk forums.
RoCAF officer welcomed by Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, Commander, Central Command AFP, upon arrival in the Philippines to deliver relief goods and supplies for the typhoon victims.
Photo taken from defensetalk forums.
A ROCAF C-130 being unloaded of relief goods provided by the Taiwanese government.
Photo taken from Want China Times website.

Thailand - the Kingdom of Thailand pledged  $200,000 in aid, and sent several batches of airlifted aid. The 1st batch under instructions from Prime Minister Yingluck carried a field hospital facility and rescue sniffing dogs and a team from the Medical Emergency Response Team. The 2nd batch through Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn sent 2 Royal Thai Air Force C-130 Hercules transport planes to bring in 1,000 relief packages which arrived on November 12. The 3rd batch of relief aid coming from the Thai Royal Family upon the instructions of Princess Soamsawali, consisting of mechanical and powered water purifiers, tents, ready to eat meals, powdered milk bottles, personal toiletries, and pre-fabricated roofing materials and will arrive on November 18 and 20. The Ministry of Public Health also pledged to supply saline solutions, medicine, and other medical supplies worth $670,000. A standing offer was also made to send 2 Royal Thai navy ships, composed of the landing platform dock HTMS Angthong (LPD-791) and landing ship tank HTMS Sichang carrying rice, water, food items, medicine, water purifiers, and a Royal Thai Marines mechanic corps, 2 medical teams, heavy engineering equipment and support vehicles.

An RTAF C-130 Hercules being loaded with relief goods bound for the Visayas.
Photo taken from the Bangkok Post.

Turkey - the Turkish Red Crescent sent 65 tons of humanitarian aid consisting of tents, blankets, kitchen utensils, and other aid. It also sent a rescue team that will help in medical assistance works. The team and aid were brought in by a Turkish Airline Cargo Airbus A330 on November 12. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay also personally met with Philippine officials to discuss how Turkey could further help, and is expected to ship more aid in the coming days.

A Turkish Airline Cargo A330 similar to this was sent to bring in humanitarian aid and a rescue team.
Photo taken from

Besides the arrival of foot on the ground, relief aid and equipment, there are also countries which provided financial aid, listed as follows:

Bangladesh - pledged to donate $1 million to the Philippine government;

Brunei - provided 8,300kg of rice and 33,500 bottles of drinking water;

Cambodia - $100,000 pledge;

Czech Republic - CZK 4 million pledge;

Denmark - $2 million pledge through the United Nations;

Finland - EUR 1 million through the Finnish Red Cross to supply vaccines and medical packages;

Italy - made several donations, with EUR 300,000 coursed through the Red Cross, EUR 300,000 through the World Food Programme's Emergency Food Assistance, and also provided EUR 350,000 worth of humanitarian relief aid consisting of tents, blankets, water bottles, and water purifiers.

Ireland - EUR1.5 million from emergency funds;

Kuwait - $10 million through the Red Crescent Society;

Mexico - $1 million through the Red Cross;

Norway - NOK 20 million via the United Nations and Red Cross; recently increased to NOK 205 million;

Panama - $200,000 pledge;

Saudi Arabia - $10 million pledge as decreed by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud, in addition to the $10,000 pledge from Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud.

Slovakia - EUR20,000 pledge;

Slovenia - EUR60,000 through UNICEF;

Ukraine - provided relief goods consisting of food, water filters, power generators, mattresses, pillows, and disinfectant kits;

United Arab Emirates - $10 million worth of assistance ;

Vatican - $150,000 to be distributed to the local church;

Vietnam - $100,000 in financial aid

On behalf of the Filipinos all over the world, MaxDefense would like to thank all the countries and people that contributed for the victims of this unfortunate disaster, for the prayers and sacrifices made on behalf of the dead and those who survived, and the efforts to help rebuild the families and homes, the communities and livelihood for them to live renewed lives.

MaxDefense will try to update this blog page once in a while to cover the aid drive provided by nations around the world, as well as other updates regarding the disaster and relief / rebuilding operations.

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