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Understanding the Concept of “Deterrence”

Everyday I see some sh*thead saying that our modernization is useless because we can never match China toe-to-toe. These idiots, I believe know nothing about warfare or geopolitics, tactics, or strategy. You don’t need to be an expert or a professional at any of these to understand “deterrence”. I myself am a plain armchair general.

What is “deterrence”? In our position, deterrence is being able to shoo the big bullies away. “Speaking softly and carrying a big stick.” We do not necessarily need to match them toe-to-toe.

The concept of deterrence is best likened to the German Navy’s “riskflotte” or “risk fleet” during World War 1. Back then, Germany was in the same position as us, facing a superpower. The Germans realized that they could never hope to match the British Royal Navy. However, Britain had a superpower status to retain. The Royal Navy had to maintain a fleet of 2:1 against any potential adversary. The German Kaiser (emperor) and his admirals simply realized that if their fleet was strong enough to just break the 2:1 standard, they did not necessarily need to match the British as long as they were capable of breaking the 2:1 standard as the British, while being stronger would think twice about engaging the German fleet as any engagement while would ultimately lead them to victory, would ensure that the 2:1 standard would be broken.

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Germany’s riskflotte during World War 1

The point of deterrence for a country like the Philippines is to build up a force that could inflict heavy casualties on a potential OPFOR threat. While we would in the end be ultimately defeated, we would inflict heavy casualties against said OPFOR threat. Knowing that a war with us would result in heavy casualties on their side, potential OPFOR would think twice before waging war on us.

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We don’t necessarily need to match the OPFOR threat toe-to-toe, we just need a force capable of giving them a bloody nose

The problem with these idiots is that they keep ranting China has blablablablablabla… Well f*ck that. China has more than a thousand jet fighters (I can’t find a decent figure so let’s stick to that) But among them the only they can actually USE against us are their new 4th Gen fighters with long-range such as the SU-27, SU-30, J-11. I only counted the long-range fighters by the way as sending an interceptor sized bird to hit us would be stupid of the PLAAF, given they are thousands of miles from us and even if their J-10 for example would be stationed on an artificial island, it would not have meaningful range and endurance to be used against us effectively.

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The SU-27

So counting only their SU-27’s, J-11’s, SU-30’s, we can thin the number from the 3000 these idiots keep jacking off to to a few hundred.

Next, how many of these can they station on disputed islands and on their sole carrier. You can say 20 on the islands and 30 on the Liaoning. That’s 50 enemy jets, can we still NOT fight China if that were the case?

In the concept of deterrence, I actually like to use Vietnam and Singapore as a basis.

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Vietnam has a large fleet of SU-30/27’s yet they aren’t shooting at China

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Singapore also has a fleet of F-15SG’s yet they do not have any enemies or realistically possible OPFOR threats at the moment

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Vietnam’s Kilo-class submarine, one of the deadliest subs in the world, yet the Vietnamese haven;t fired at China

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Singapore’s Formidable class frigate, the most powerful warship in Southeast Asia, yet Singapore is not going to war

What can we learn from Singapore?

First of all Singapore has no enemies at the moment. However they possess the most powerful frigate and arguably the best fighter in Southeast Asia.

In simple terms, buying war-fighting equipment does not mean a country is going to war. However, when war comes, Singapore is ready to defend itself. Weapons do not materialize overnight. The Philippines can’t simply wait for the day for China to attack us before we start spending on weapons, and besides, weapons take long to deliver, we can’t just go to War-Machines R’ Us when sh*t hits the fan, if China attacks us, it’ll be over before any weapons we order arrive. So we SHOULD NOT wait for sh*t to hit the fan before we start buying weapons.

What can we learn from Vietnam?

Vietnam unlike Singapore is faced with an OPFOR threat. China. However, unlike our ridiculously slow modernization, Vietnam has fast-tracked the acquisition of assets.

Vietnam has the new SU-30 Mk2 and several older SU-30 models and SU-27’s. They also have the Kilo-class submarine, one of the deadliest in the world. They have mesayls. Yet, they haven’t attacked China with any of these assets.

So, what should we learn from Vietnam?

F*cking simple. Buying weapons does not equate going to war or attacking China as so many of these idiots think.

“But COIN is more important now. We need attack helos with cool helpayer mesayl and 20mm gatling gun! IFV! Tenk! Terrorist in Mindanao more important problem than China!”

Wrong again sh*thead.

Quantifying COIN assets does not mean solving terrorism. We can buy as many attack helos as we want but we won’t end terrorism. Blowing up rebels and insurgents will only make them hate the government more. I honestly believe that we can do everything in our power but the Abu Sayaff and NPA will still exist. Unless we can finally make peace with them (which I doubt is possible) we will not have peace in Mindanao. No amount of spanking brand-new COIN assets will solve the problems of the South.

“Unkel Sam will seyb us!”

No. The Philippines whould not rely 100% on its allies. We should fight WITH our allies and not let them fight FOR us. It makes no sense for America to defend a country that does not even want to defend itself.

In all here’s what the fanbois and retards or just plain sh*theads need to understand.

Buying war-fighting equipment DOES NOT mean we are going to war.

COIN is not to be prioritized over territorial defense. Both should go hand-in-hand.

When war-fighting equipment is delivered, they ARE NOT immediately going to be shooting at the Chinese.

We do not need to match China toe-to-toe. We only need a force that can give them a bloody nose.

Do NOT rely on Unkel Sam as a magical force field that will protect us.

 

 

 

Featured post

What the Hamilton-class WHEC can do for the Philippine Navy Without Missiles

“Walang mesayl, sera yan sa China”; “Useless pag walang mesayl”; everyone is looking for missiles on the Hamilton-class cutters. Naval assets seem to be useless to these fanbois if they don’t have missiles. They’re pissed at Uncle Sam for selling us missile-less Hamilton-class cutter, yet they don’t understand the extent to which these ships have helped the PN.

So what do these missile-less ships do for us? A lot.

First off, they give the PN very-long-range patrol capability.

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A USCG Hamilton on patrol

The Hamilton-class ships have a range of 14,000 nautical miles and an endurance of 45 days. Giving them the range to patrol our entire EEZ for 45 days at a time.

This long-range patrol capability gives the PN the capability to patrol and show the flag in our EEZ, in something that isn’t a World War II vessel.

Second, they train the PN on gas turbines and CODOG propulsion configuration.

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A diagram of a CODOG configuration

The Hamilton-class cutters run on a CODOG or Combined Diesel Or Gas configuration. In CODOG, the diesel engine is run during slow cruise speeds, whereas the gas turbine is used to reach maximum dash speed.

The PN has never operated a ship with a CODOG configuration, or a gas turbine before the Hamilton-class ships. With the arrival of the Hamilton-class cutters, the PN now has more exposure and training on operating CODOG configurations and gas turbines.

Third, they allow us to slowly retire our old World War II ships one by one.

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BRP Rajah Humabon is a World War II era Canon class destroyer escort, with the Hamiltons entering service, the Humabon and her other World War II era sisters in the PN have a hope to finally get their long-awaited and much deserved rest

The PN still has World War II era ships in service. The venerable BRP Rajah Humabon, the Rizal-class corvettes and the Miguel Malvar-class corvettes. All of these ships are of World War II vintage and veterans of World War II. Even if they are also old, the Hamilton-class ships are still way more modern and younger than these World War II ships by decades, and are still a viable option to replace them. With the arrival of the Hamilton-class cutters and the prospect of even more coming, hope is high for these old veterans to finally get their long-awaited and much-deserved rest.

Fourth, they give us more experience on the Oto Melara 76mm gun.

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The 76mm Oto Melara Compact Cannon of one of the Gregorio del Pilar-class ships

Although the PN has previous experience with the Oto Melara 76mm Compact Cannon on the Jacinto-class corvettes. The Hamilton-class ships allow us to train more personnel to operate them.

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The Jacinto-class corvette, the PN’s previous source of training, exposure, and experience on the Oto Melara 76mm Compact Cannon

With the arrival of the Hamilton-class cutters and their Oto Melara 76mm Compact Cannon main guns, the PN has more opportunities to gain experience on these weapons and train more personnel in operating these guns. The PN previously had trouble with the Oto Melara guns on the Jacinto-class ships, and more training and exposure to these weapons will help make our crew more proficient with them.

Fifth, they train our naval aviators on ship-borne operations.

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An AW109 on a Gregorio del Pilar-class frigate

Before the Gregorio del Pilar-class there were only 3 vessels (not including modifications on some World War II era ships) in the PN with helipads and none with a hangar. With the arrival of the Hamilton-class ships, the PN got exposure to allowing helicopters to stay in a ship’s hangar safely tucked in and not just chocked and chained to the flight deck. They also provide more opportunities for training and exposure to ship-borne helicopter operations to train our naval aviators to operate in future helipad and hangar equipped vessels.

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The Bacolod-class LSV, the two ships of this class were 2 of only 3 ships of the PN built with a helipad (not counting the modifications done to the older Andres Bonifacio class and other modified World War II vessels)

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The BRP Ang Pangulo, the presidential yacht, 1  of only 3 ships of the PN built with a helipad

So that’s five things the Hamilton-class cutter can do even without missiles. Not really useless just because it doesn’t have missiles.

 

 

Conspiracy Theory: The A-29 Super Tucano and the Problems with the PAF’s CAS Project

Before we get started, this is merely a theory, speculation. And no, I don’t have a tinfoil hat on.

So, as you probably know, the PAF has a CAS aircraft for 6 CAS planes. The program has however, been delayed several times and has hit a lot of speed-bumps.

Among the candidates for the competition are the EMB 314 A-29 Super Tucano, the AT-6 Wolverine, the KA-1 Woongbee, and the IOMAX Archangel.

Among the four, the three leading candidates are the Super Tucano, the Wolverine, and the Woongbi.

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The EMB 314 A-29 Super Tucano

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The KA-1 Woongbi

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The AT-6 Wolverine

Among all the candidates however, the PAF has expressed on multiple occasions that they are very keen on the Super Tucano. With its stellar combat record, and its ridiculous capability as a CAS bird. It’s rather obvious that the PAF would naturally want the Super Tucano.

It can even be said that the Super Tucano is the PAF’s favorite for the project.

And that’s where we start with our conspiracy theory.

To ensure that no corruption takes place, Philippine law requires procurement be made via a bidding. The winning bid is not the one that officials choose, or the one that means a given set of factors. To ensure that there is indeed zero corruption, the winning bid is the lowest.

While the PAF has provided enough money in the budget to acquire the Super Tucano, its opponents, especially the South Korean KA-1 are cheaper, meaning that even if Embraer joins the bidding, they will not be able to compete with the lower price of the other aircraft. Meaning that the Super Tucano would lose the bidding, and the PAF won’t be getting the bird of their dreams.

Now, Embraer has gone to the extent of sending a trial aircraft here for our pilots to test out, making the PAF want it even more.

So my conspiracy theory is; what if all the delays in the CAS project are just excuses conjured up by the PAF in order for them to get the Super Tucano?

Philippine law states that if a bidding fails multiple times, a direct procurement may be made with the PAF’s choice of contender as long as it fits the budget. The bid for the CAS project has already failed multiple times.  Now, what if the PAF has intentionally made the bid fail to allow them to conduct direct procurement of the Super Tucano?

First, the PAF has expressed its interest in the Super Tucano multiple times. To the point that we could logically assume that the Super Tucano is indeed the PAF’s favorite. To support this, the PAF has repeatedly delayed the project and adjusted its timeline to meet Embraer’s requests.

Second, Embraer seems to be pushing its luck and is trying to get the PAF to adjust its acquisition schedule through its numerous requests and the PAF has ineed adjusted its schedule, none of the other bidders requested adjustments, making Embraer the only bidder needing this adjustment. The same happened in the Navy’s frigate project in which only one bidder requested an adjustment in the schedule, as the sole bidder requesting the adjustment was only one out of six competitors, the request was not approved, Embraer’s request for an adjustment is only one request out of four competitors, so why was Embraer’s request approved while STX France’s (the bidder requesting an adjustment for the Navy’s frigate program) was not?

Overall,  my theory is as follows:

The PAF really wants the Super Tucano. However, as they are restrained by procurement law, they intentionally make the bidding fail in order for them to be able to conduct direct procurement for the Super Tucano.

But hey, it’s just a theory. If any of you guys have something to say, be it agree or disagree, feel free to express it in the comments section.

Note: Photos of Embraer’s request for an extension and STX’s request for an extension are not with me as of now, I will update this blog with the photos when I can get my hands on them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPYDER SR SAM Systems for the PAF’s GBAD units?

Lately, the PAF has expressed desire to acquire SAM’s or surface-to-air missiles. The PAF intends to have its own GBAD (ground-based-air-defense) unit.

The Israeli SPYDER SR system is being offered by Rafael to the Philippines for our GBAD units.

The SPYDER SR is a short-range air defense system with a maximum range of around 15km and a maximum  flight altitude of about 9 km. What makes this system very nice is that its very mobile.

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The components of the SPYDER SR ADS system

A SPYDER SR battery consists of 6 Missile Firing Units, the Missile Supply Vehicle, the Service Vehicle, and the Command & Control Unit which also carries the radar.

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The radar for the SPYDER SR mounted on top of the Command & Control Unit.

The radar for the SPYDER SR is mounted on the same vehicle as the Command & Control Unit. It takes no time to set up making the SPYDER very mobile. This is pretty neat because other SAM systems would take time to set up its radar and illuminators (for previous generation SARH SAM’s like the MIM-23 HAWK). The Command Unit can control the six Missile Firing Units from up to 10km away enabling the Missile Firing units to spread out and maximize the radius of the area it can protect.

The radar of the SPYDER SR that is mounted on the Command & Control Unit is the EL/M- 2106 ATAR. The radar is a fourth generation air defense radar developed by ELTA. It operates in the L-band wavelength. It can detect targets with similar RCS to fighter aircraft, non-stealth 4 to 4.5 generation ones at ranges of around 70-110 km, targets with RCS similar to those of military helicopters in the league of the UH-60 and Mi-8 at 40km, and UAV’s at 40-60km. It is claimed to  be rugged and has operated successfully in undesirable environments. The radar can guide the SAM’s from up to 10km away from the Command & Control Unit. It also features commonality at some point with the other air defense radars the PAF is acquiring as they come from the same manufacturer, ELTA.

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The EL/M-2016 ATAR radar that the SPYDER SR system uses.

Another neat thing about the SPYDER is that it fires the Python 5 and Derby AAM’s.

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The Python 5 AAM

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The Derby AAM

The Python and Derby missiles that the SPYDER fires as SAM’s are actually AAM’s.

The PAF is also looking at the Python 5 and Derby to equip our FA-50PH fighters (to be discussed in the next blog). Having the same missiles for both our SAM’s and fighters would be very nice.

The Python 5 is one of the most advanced AAM’s in the world. It is equivalent to the American AIM-9X Sidewinder being sold for a lot cheaper. It has a range of more than 20km and is rumored to be able to chase its target even to beyond-visual-range. It has lock-on-after-launch capability (LOAL) and all-aspect/all-direction attack capability even rearwards. It features an advanced electro-optical infrared homing seeker that scans the area for the target then locks on for terminal homing. The missile is combat-proven, being used by Israeli F-16’s during the 2006 Lebanon War. The Python 5 is also hardened against countermeasures.

The Derby is a BVR version of the Python 5’s little brother, the Python 4, which is an equivalent to the AIM-9L and the Derby being an equivalent of the previous generations of AMRAAM’s though it pales in comparison to the new generation AMRAAM’s. It has a range of around 50km and features an active radar seeker.

On the ground, the Python 5 and Derby combination of the SPYDER SR features a range of around 15 km and the maximum flight altitude for the missiles is 9 km, which places it in the “short-range” category.

While 15 km seems short, it serves the SPYDER’s purpose of defending a specific area such as a PAF airbase or the SBMS the PA is looking at buying. 15 km should satisfy the requirements of defending small areas like airbases or areas where SBMS would operate.

While being short-ranged in nature, the SPYDER is still no doubt a very nice air-defense-system to have, considering that we even have two neighbors, Vietnam and Singapore using it.

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A SPYDER SR system of the RSAF. (c) xtemujin

Overall, the SPYDER SR system would be very nice for the PAF to have on the points of it being able to bring commonality for both the SAM and AAM requirements and its high mobility. To sum it up, the SPYDER SR is a very good choice for the Philippines should we acquire it.

 

Using the AGM-65 Maverick in the Maritime Strike Role with the FA-50PH?

As of now, there is only one Air-to-ground/air-to-surface missile integrated into the FA-50PH. That missile is the AGM-65 Maverick. If the FA-50PH will ever get a chance to perform the maritime strike role, it would be nice to discuss if the AGM-65 can be used for this purpose.

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The AGM-65 Maverick

The AGM-65 Maverick is an air-to-ground missile. It is commonly carried by the venerable A-10 Thunderbolt in CAS missions. However, it has recently been tested recently by the US against naval targets. So far, the AGM-65 is the only air-to-ground/air-to-surface missile integrated into the FA-50PH’s weapons systems.

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The AGM-65 is commonly used by the USAF’s A-10 Thunderbolt for CAS missions

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An A-10 Thunderbolt firing an AGM-65

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So far, the AGM-65 is the only air-to-ground/air-to-surface integrated with the FA-50PH

Ideally, we’d want the FA-50PH to have a long-range AshM like the AGM-84 Harpoon or the air-launched Exocet missile. However, such missiles are not yet integrated with the FA-50PH, so if the FA-50PH will ever perform the maritime strike role, it will have to use the AGM-65.

The AGM-65’s given range is 40km, which is short compared to the range of missiles like the Harpoon or Exocet which can reach 200km.

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While the FA-50PH should ideally carry a long-range AshM such as the AGM-84 Harpoon which can do 93-200 km or more than twice to five times the range of the AGM-65 Maverick, such missiles are not yet integrated into the FA-50PH

But is the using the AGM-65 in the maritime strike role still a good idea? It could possibly be. Considering the range of the SAM’s on China’s warships, while their destroyers such as the Type 52D and Type 52C carry the HQ-9 with its long-range of more than 100km, or their older Type 51C with the S300 that also has a range of more than 100km, attacking these with the 4okm range Mavericks would NOT be the best idea. Their frigates on the other hand, are a different story.

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Chinese destroyers such as this Type 52D or even its predecessor, the less improved type 52C carry the long-range HQ-9 or S300 SAM’s that would make attacking them with the 40km AGM-65 a very bad idea.

Their frigates on the other hand, do not have the same AAW capability as the destroyers. The most advanced, the Type 54A carries the HQ-16 SAM with 42km range, while the HQ-16 outranges the AGM-65, this is only a 2km difference, making it still possible for the FA-50PH to cross that 2km and then turn back after firing their missiles. The Type 54A carries 32 HQ-16’s in their 32-cell vLS, the Maverick being a non-sea skimming missile could be an easy target for the HQ-16, however, one deficiency of the Type 54A is its fire control radar that can only guide 3-4 SAM’s at once, making saturating it with  a decently large number of AGM-65 Mavericks possible.

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The Type 54A frigate of the PLAN, while its SAM has a range of 42km, the FA-50PH can cross that 2km, fire the Mavericks and turn back

The other two “modern” frigate classes of the PLAN that would likely be a target for an FA-50PH in the maritime strike role would be the aging and soon retiring Type 53 frigates and her more modern derivative, the Type 54, which is the predecessor to the Type 54A.

The Type 53 and Type 54 frigates have the HQ-7 SAM which is fired from an 8-cell launcher mounted on the deck (not a VLS). They have the same fire control radar problem with the Type 54A and have an even less-capable SAM. The HQ-7 is a copy of the French Crotale SAM, and has a range of 15-17km. The Maverick’s 40km range would put the FA-50PH way out of range of the HQ-7 making it possible to use the AGM-65 to saturate the Type 43 and Type 54 frigates from “standoff” distance.

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The older Type 53 and Type 54 frigates are not even as capable as the Type 54A, and using the AGM-65 Maverick against them  is very possible with their HQ-7 SAM’s having a range of only 15-17km at best

Overall, while the AGM-65 Maverick is not really an AshM and was not really meant for this role, it could still be used, especially against the older Chinese frigates. If the DND does finally get the AGM-65’s for our Geagles, then we will at least have something that can pose a threat to the PLAN.

 

 

Building Warships Locally

There’s always going to be somebody asking why we don’t build our frigates/LPD’s locally. Always.

The opening statement of most of these people is mostly the ridiculous “Philippines is the 4th Largest Shipbuilder in the World” then they follow that up with why not use Pinoy innovation and resourcefulness to design warships, then they say its cheaper and back it up with ridiculous bullsh*t explanations.

First of all, the “4th Largest Shipbuilder” thingy is not exactly, completely true. We are 4th largest in terms of GROSS ORDERS in tonnage. However, almost half of these orders are never completed as they are overrun by delays. If not overrun by delays as the yards are all tied up, it’s either due to a lack of steel or engines. None of which we produce locally.

So yes, while we build hulls, we import the steel and engines from all places, China.

Now why the hell would China export steel to us if they knew it was being used to build warships to be used against them?

It would be prudent to discuss why building warships locally is near-impossible. The lack of steel.

You need steel to build warships. Not just any steel. Marine-grade steel that’s certified as military-grade. We can’t even produce civilian spec steel, how much more military spec?

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The most important aspect of ship or warship building is steel production. We do not have adequate facilities in the PH to produce steel for our shipbuilding industry and cheap steel is imported from of all places, China. If we can’t even make steel, how much more warships?

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Another thing crucial to ship or warship building is engines. Most of the engines we use for our local shipbuilding industry are also imported, from all, places, friggin’ China.

So two of the most important things you need to build a warship are already un-present in the PH. What next?

You should also consider the vast difference between military-spec and civilian spec ships.

All ships built here are civilian spec.

The thing is, civilian spec ships are basically giant floating hulks of thin-skinned steel.

In effect, civilian ships are not built for the frontline.

If you folks still don’t want to believe that, I wonder how many of you can recall the Falklands War.

During the Falklands, the Royal navy, lacking logistics assets, rented civilian tankers to transport their Harrier jets and Chinook helicopters to the frontline. The civilian ships carrying important British assets, proved, however, to be easy targets for the Argentine Mirages armed with Exocet missiles.

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Here is the S.S. Atlantic Conveyor, after being hit by two Exocet missiles, the ship stood no more chance and sunk.

The lesson from the S.S. Atlantic Conveyor during the Falklands War should pretty much explain why the hell civilian grade designs should never be in the frontline.

However, military spec ships are built to take beatings.

A milspec ship is built to be able to survive missile hits and sail home for repairs, or delay sinking long enough to evacuate all crew. Milspec vessels have better armored warship-grade steel and better compartmentalization to ensure that the ship doesn’t sink easily.

An example is the USS Stark. An Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate.

The USS Stark was hit by a missile. Yet the damned ship limped all the way home for repairs, and was back in the fray immediately. The Stark is an example of how resilient a military spec vessel is.

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The USS Stark, even after getting hit by a missile, the ship limped home for repairs, a testament to how resilient military spec vessels are.

The thing is. The designs for the compartmentalization for military spec ships along with the kind of steel you need to make them isn’t really available. You’d need to pay a high price to get the designs you need to build a milspec warship. Unless we want our ships to sink as fast as the Atlantic Conveyor, we’d need a milspec design which sadly does not exist yet in any Filipino shipyard.

Next is design. We have dozens of shipbuilders here in the Philippines. But only one has actually built a warship and has a design for a warship in its portfolio.

That company is the Australian company Austal. And there’s one little probem with the design they have in their portfolio…

The design for a warship that Austal has in its portfolio is the Independence class LCS. The thing about the Independence is, that while it uses a very stealthy and fast design, it is overpriced (or ridiculously expensive to be more optimistic and positive), underarmed (nearly toothless to be frank, the base design doesn’t even meet the PN frigate specifications yet already costs more than twice the budget the DND has allocated), and is a ridiculous gas guzzler.

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The sole warship Austal has in its portfolio, the Independence-class littoral combat ship. This ship is overpriced for us, underarmed, and is a gas guzzler, making it unideal for the PN on all three fronts. 

Oh and the fact that Austal’s shipyard in Cebu at only 80m long is too short to build the Independence or any of its variants being offered.

Transfers of technology to help us with design?

This seems the most probable and realistic way to get a design that we can build locally. Transfer of technology or ToT.

Transfer of technology for navy ships works like this. A country i.e. Indonesia or Singapore contracts a company i.e. Damen or DCNS to build a frigate class for them, however, to provide jobs back home and to take pride in building warships locally, the deal works like this, the company sells them the design along with the first delivery of the ship/s in the class. So now, the TNI or the SAF owns the blueprints for the design to their frigate, and they make the rest locally.

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Indonesia got a ToT from DAMEN for PT PAL to  locally build its SIGMA class corvettes and its soon to be completed SIGMA class frigates. 

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Singapore’s Formidable class frigate. Singapore got a ToT from DCNS of France to build the Formidable class frigate locally. The first ship RSS Formidable was built by DCNS in France while her five sister ships were all built locally in Singapore by ST Marine.

Our own Tarlac-class LPD (blog about that will follow soon) was based from the Makassar-class that Indonesia built under ToT.

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Our own Indonesian-designed Tarlac-class LPD (above) is based on a design derived from the Makassar-class LPD  (below) built by the Indonesians under ToT from South Korea.

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And here’s the good news. The Philippine Navy’s frigate program requires a ToT from the bidders! So we might just get the design for a modern warship!

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We might just get the design to build a modern frigate like the Incheon-class!

However, we need to remember that having the design from the ToT isn’t enough. If the PH ever dreams of building warships locally, it will take a massive upgrade for our shipyards, and a government-owned shipbuilder like PT PAL or ST Marine might even need to be started. Industries like steel making and metallurgy will have to be upgraded as well.

Progress and mistakes with building naval warships?

Oh yes. There is progress, and we’re only at the beginning. Recently we’ve built two LCU’s, the BRP Tagbanua and the BRP Manobo locally.

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The LCU BRP Tagbanua is locally designed and built. This could be the start of our warship building industry.

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The Tagbanua’s sister ship, the BRP Manobo is also of local build and design.

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The  three Multi-Purpose Attack Craft Mk2 boats or MPAC Mk2 boats were also built locally

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The missile-armed MPAC Mk3’s will also be built locally, making them the first locally built warships of the Philippines to be armed with a missile (it will probably also be our first warship in service to be armed with a missile).

However, our local shipbuilding industry has also made a few screw-ups in the past.

Way back, long ago, the Philippine Navy’s shipyard in Cavite built the two Emilio-Aguinaldo class gunboats.

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The not-so-successful Emilio Aguinaldo-class gunboats

The PG-140’s or Emilio Aguinaldo-class were not so successful. They tend to roll in even the slightest waves, and they are underpowered and overloaded. They were originally designed to carry an Oto Melara 76mm and AshM’s, and if this pushed through we would have an equivalent of Singapore’s Seawolf-class missile gunboat. However, being underpowered and overloaded, she could not accommodate the 76mm or the missiles to reach her speed of 25 knots. As such, she languished in the shipyard for years until they finally armed her with old Bofors 40mm cannons and machine guns. In fact, one of them, the BRP Antonio Luna PG-141 has been decommissioned due to damage in the hull that was deemed beyond economic repair, and I believe PG-140 BRP Emilio Aguinaldo will follow suit.

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The BRP Antonio Luna was recently decommissioned. Hoping this name will be used for a bigger badder surface combatant someday.

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The hull damage, the reason PG-141 was decommissioned.

We need to learn the lesson from the sad fate of the PG-141’s, we shouldn’t build an unproven or bad design. In the case of the PG-14o’s they derived them from the earlier German built Kagitingan class which also had poor performance. So when we build a design, it’s best to build a proven, good one, to avoid mistakes like this.

Overall, while it will be a future prospect in the not-so-far future for the PH to start building warships locally. At the moment, it is best we import them until our shipbuilding industry and other associated industries catch up and have the capability to build a modern warship.

 

Oliver Hazard Perry-Class Frigate for the PN?

Before we even begin with this blog. My answer here is a simple NO.

But let’s start with a brief background of the Oliver Hazard Perry or OHP class frigate.

The OHP ships entered service as ASW frigates for the US Navy. They were ORIGINALLY equipped with an Mk13 missile launcher for the SM-1 and RGM-184 Harpoon missiles, an Oto melara 76mm Compact cannon, a Phalanx CIWS, and Mk32 launchers for Mk45 or Mk50 torpedoes. In addition, they had a hangar for two Seasprite or SH-60 Seahawk helicopters. The ships are equipped with a sensor suite consisting of an SPS-49 2D air search radar and a Mk92 fire control system, the sonar suite consists of the SQS-56 and the SQS-19 towed array.

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An old picture of USS Oliver Hazard Perry with her Mk13 missile launcher for firing the SM-1 and RGM-184 Harpoon. The Mk13 launcher that made the Perry an FFG in the first place was however removed a few years back.

That’s how they were originally armed and equipped back in the day anyway. Here’s the thing, the only thing that made them an FFG in the day was REMOVED by the USN in 2003. The USN removed the Mk13 launchers from the Perry’s back in 2003 with the retirement of the SM-1 missile in USN service. Yes, these ships have no mesayls.

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The Mk13 missile launcher. The one thing that made the OHP ships a guided missile frigate in USN service was removed in 2003.

So in retrospect, if we ever got an OHP it’d end up as an unstripped Hamilton.

But we should still get them, keep them in FFBNW config. like the Hams?

No. The sole reason is simple. Like all ships of the USN, the OHP is a gas guzzler, using two LM2500-30 gas turbines in COGAG configuration. In COGAG the gas turbine is used even at economic cruise speeds. The Perry’s are equipped with COGAG because there is no way in hell a ship weighing 4100 tons, carrying 40 missiles, a 76mm gun, torpedoes, a powerful (back then anyway) sensor suite and two ASW helicopters can dash 29 and above knots on a diesel engine. To give you a figure on how the COGAG configuration of the OHP compares to the CODOG configuration of the del Pilar,  the total annual cost to keep a single Perry’s COGAG running is more than twice and nearly thrice what it costs to keep a del Pilar’s CODOG running.

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The maintenance hungry, gas guzzling LM2500-30 engine employed in COGAG configuration on the Perry class frigates

Let’s face it, our budget-conscious Navy will never be able to maintain a Perry class frigate.

That’s the primary reason anyway why most disagree with getting a Perry for the PN. Why are we going to buy a gas guzzler that doesn’t even carry missiles?

Another thing, if any of you guys noted, the OHP’s 76mm gun is in the most oddball position imaginable, for one reason or another, the Perry’s 76mm gun is mounted amidships. Meaning that to fire off a shot from the 76mm, the ship has to manouevre rather awkwardly and expose its side to get a shot off like in that scene from the movie “The Hunt for Red October”.Sort of like an old WW1 era German Navy Moltke class battlecruiser. Or the majority of battleships and battlecruisers built during that era anyway. But let’s not stick to this issue, I believe it isn’t much of a problem anyway.

The real problem with the Perry class is not the ship itself. The real problem is the Philippine navy’s maintenance culture and shoestring budget. The shoestring budget is definitely not enough to keep operating a gas guzzler like a Perry. Another thing is our maintenance, we don’t exactly have the best history in terms of our maintenance culture, and our overly bureaucratic procurement process would delay any acquisition of parts to keep a Perry in the sea. At best, they’d see limited action in patrols. At worst, pier queens.

Overall, even if Uncle Sam would be willing to give us a Perry, which they have never done, mind you, all Perrys that were transferred to other navies were paid for. The latest is Taiwan paying 80 million dollars for a Perry class ship. At only 40 million dollars higher than that price, we could also get the missile-armed Maestrale from the scrapped Italian deal (which I will try to discuss in a future blog). So if you ask me, the Perry class frigate is NOT ideal for the PN.

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Let the dreams of Perry class frigates for the PN rest people. These ships are simply not ideal for the Philippine Navy.

 

 

 

Hi-End Attack Helicopters for COIN in Mindanao?

There’s always going to be an idiot that wants an AH-64 Apache for use in Mindanao.

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The AH-64 Apache, the gold standard for an attack helicopter

The question is, is the AH-64 Apache the best asset for COIN in Mindanao?

First of all, I’m pretty sure where the people who keep jacking off to the AH-64 Apache for acquisition of the PAF to use in Mindanao base their reasoning on the fact that the US uses them against terrorists in the Middle East.

But is the AH-64 Apache or any likewise hi-end attack helo the best asset for use in our Southern COIN ops?

First, we have to put in mind that the AH-64 like most  modern attack helos such as the AW-129 or the Eurocopter Tiger are made not to kill insurgents but to attack OPFOR ground units such as armored formations.

In simple terms, modern heavy attack helos are meant for killing OPFOR threats such as their APC’s, IFV’s, infantry, and most of all tanks.

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Attack helos like the AH-64 Apache are more suited for killing tanks such as this T-55 here

But the US does use them against insurgents right?

Yes they do. But here’s the thing, we are not the US.

Using the AH-64 Apache with its expensive munitions and maintenance cost against NPA or ASG rebels hiding in a kubo is overkill.

Yes, we can arm an Apache with only its 30mm gatling gun and Hydra rockets. But we have to see the tactics the PAF uses, the attack helos we’ve had in our inventory only use few rockets and 7.62mm MG’s. Why? Because we don’t need to fire dozens of rockets to blow up a kubo nor do we need a 30mm gatling to kill rebels. It doesn’t matter how many bullet holes our helicopter makes as long as the insurgent is dead. It also doesn’t matter if it’s a 7.62mm or 30mm bullet hole as long as it’s in a dead insurgent.

And if we ‘re just going to arm it with a gun and rockets anyway, what’s the difference between it and our AW-109AH?

Another thing, that 30mm gatling gun fires 625 rounds per minute of 30mm ammunition. The Government Arsenal does not make 30mm ammo yet and at a rate of 625 rounds per minute, we’d go through our stocks pretty darn fast. Whereas we have 7.62mm ammo in bulk already. The rate of fire of a 7.62 is slightly higher at 725 rounds per minute, but it’s a smaller caliber and is a LOT cheaper than 625rpm of 30mm.

Another thing is the cost. Compared to each AW109AH we have that was purchased at 10 million $ a piece, a helicopter in the range of the Apache or AW-159 costs around 30 million $ a piece! Nearly the price of an FA-50 Golden Eagle! At that price what do you think would be more prudent, an AH-64 Apache or additional Geagles?

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Our AW-109 AH’s cost barely a third of what a hi-end attack helo can cost, yet the PAF thinks they can get the job done in Mindanao
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At nearly the same price, wouldn’t it be better to get more FA-50’s to improve our fledgling air defense capabilities than expensive attack helos?

If we were to get a dedicated attack helo anyway, I’d rather go for EDA AH-1 Cobras. These were actually designed for use against guerillas. And at the moment seems more realistic and a better choice than dumping money on an expensive Apache or Mangusta.

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If tacticool is all we’re looking for and not practicality we might as well get EDA Cobras.

Overall, a hi-end attack helo is NOT the best asset for use in Mindanao right now. The PAF thinks the AW-109AH can get the job done. They are a lot more qualified to make judgements than the fanbois. If we ever get 30 million bucks for an attack helo, better spend it on more fighters instead.

M113 FSV of the Philippine Army

First things first. This is NOT a tank. Not even a LIGHT tank. It’s a fire support vehicle or FSV. So yeah, you know what to call it the next time one of the tangke boyz starts squealing.

So what is the M113 FSV? This is basically the hull of an M113 APC, but with a turret from our Alvis FV101 Scorpion umm light tanks, armored reconnaissance vehicles, whatever they’re called. I honestly don’t know.

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An Alvis FV101 Scorpion of the Philippine Army

The M113 FSV we have was modified in the Philippines. With our fleet of aging Scorpions nearing the end of their service lives, the PA saw that the turrets were still functional and it would have been a waste to throw away a working piece of equipment. So the PA decommissioned the Scorpion vehicles, but kept the turrets.

At the moment, the PA has a number of these FSV variants, however, I am unsure of the actual number. But, to add to the already present number of M113 FSV’s, the PA plans to convert more M113 APC’s into FSV’s.

The PA recently acquired 142 M113’s from US Army stocks. Of this number, 14 are to be converted into FSV’s.

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PA officials inspecting the M113’s we’re receiving 

So we can assume that 14 or more Scorpions are scheduled to be decommissioned as we are taking the turrets for the M113’s from the Scorpions.

So the 14 turrets will be refurbished before being installed on the M113 hull. They will be upgraded by Elbit (the same company installing remote weapons stations on our other M113’s) to include the installation of a new fire control and thermal imaging system. I assume that due to this modification, the M113 will’s that will receive it will carry less troops as the turret would take extra space for the turret operator and for ammo storage.

Overall, I think these FSV’s are really useful in their role as the M113 has proven itself to be able to traverse around Mindanao and the 76 mm gun on-board provides good fire support for our troops on the ground when artillery isn’t available. They also act as “tanks” in urban warfare situations like during the Zamboanga siege as we don’t have MBT’s. They are also more capable than the Scorpions as they not only have a 76mm gun for fire support, but also carry troops. In all, I believe that having more of these FSV variants is good for the PA.

 

 

 

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