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