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.