The Joneses…Philippine Air Force Receives Three Aircraft

A group picture following the formal acceptance ceremony of the TAI T129 ATAK helicopters and the single Airbus C295 airlifter. PAF

SHAH ALAM: The Philippine Air Force (PAF) took formally delivery of three aircraft – two TAI T129 ATAK helicopters and a single Airbus C295W airlifter – at the Villamor Air Base, Pasay City in Manila yesterday (April 6 2022).

The two TAI ATAK helicopters are part of six aircraft deal signed by the Philippine and Turkish government announced in July 2020. The ATAK deal is worth US$269 million (RM1.1 billion). The Turkish made helicopter is a twin-engine, tandem seat, multi-role, all-weather attack helicopter based on the Agusta A129 Mangusta platform and is designed for advanced attack and reconnaissance missions in hot and high environments and rough geography in both day and night conditions.

The Airbus C295W which PAF took formal delivery. Airbus

Meanwhile, the single C295W Airbus has handed over the fifth of seven C295 aircraft to the PAF in a ceremony held today, reinforcing its military transport capabilities. From Airbus

PAF ordered a fleet of new-generation C295 tactical airlifters as part of its medium-lift aircraft acquisition programme. These new combat proven C295s will be dedicated for troops and equipment transportation across the country.

PAF has been successfully deploying the C295 for a variety of transport operations, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, thanks to its access to short unpaved airstrips in remote areas, while carrying heavy payloads over long distances. With this new aircraft and the other two soon to join the fleet, the air force will be utilising the aircraft more extensively to enhance its air-lift operations.

Congratulating the Philippine Air Force on the new C295, Airbus Defence and Space Head of Asia-Pacific Johan Pelissier said: “We celebrate with you the delivery of this fifth C295 to the PAF, underscoring the air force’s trust in our military aircraft. We are confident that it will be a capable addition to PAF’s fleet, playing a critical role in the country for many years to come.PAF’s extensive use of the C295 for various critical missions has fully demonstrated it as a reference user of the tactical airlifter in Southeast Asia.

With nearly 30% of the global orders acquired by military agencies in the Asia Pacific region, the highly versatile tactical airlifter is a benchmark for military and civic missions in all types of environments.

Taking delivery of the C295 airlifter. Airbus

Airbus announced the order for three new C295s in early in 2021, though it did not announced PAF was the recipient. PAF already operates four C295Ms.

— Malaysian Defence

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25 Comments

  1. Philippine also need to invest more in training, simulator etc because recently a lot of their new assets crashed or damaged mainly due to human error. Not to mention other old assets that also crashed recently.

  2. It is sad to see that Philippines, a country formerly notorious for corruption are now buying equipment for their military with reasonable costs that went through multiple of transparent publicly shown processes.

    While here in malaysia, majority of our equipment are bought at ridiculous prices. Especially those so called “locally developed” products.

    If we continue with our corrupt and wasteful ways, we will swap places with the Philippines, and we will continue sliding down the path of dysfunction.

  3. gonggok – ”It is sad to see that Philippines, a country formerly notorious for corruption are now buying equipment for their military with reasonable costs”

    The things they have going for them is a large level of questioning authority by various means; a press which reports more on defence and a manpower with a better command of English [making it easier in a large way to absorb certain gear]. It also helps that some Senators/Congressmen are ex military are know the issues faced. Similar to the TNI and the Thai military; how the AFP is viewed a national institution is somewhat different from how the MAF is viewed within Malaysian society; due to historical, social and other factors. The way they handle the local industry and the part the industry plays is also less ingrained and politically driven with a more sober assessment of what can or can’t be achieved.

    As it stands they ae making up for lost time and despite all the recent buys funding remains a key issue; they are like us; ”buying a bit of everything but not enough of anything; with the key exception of the PAF’s rotary fleet which is something of great importance for them and something they always kept at a certain level even when times were bad.

    gonggok – ”a country formerly notorious for corruption ”

    Corruption is still a major issue as I can personally attest to.

  4. Things started to go downhill for them in the 1980’s; funding and other issues which had a major adverse effect. We also need to bear in mind that the rotary fleet was operating at a high tempo [troops spread out across the breath of the archipelago required support] in adverse weather; over rough terrain; on only IFR and in areas with poor ATC. We on the other hand even at the height of the 2nd Emergency never had to operate to such a high tempo and the CTS were confined to a few areas. Like the MAF the PAF still faces manpower issues; attracting and retaining the right people for various highly technical roles.

  5. I am guessing that the current defence secretary who was a former general realised from past experience that it was better to buy direct either via government to government deal or directly with the companies instead of buying through local agents as with our practice

  6. It is good for them to have a defence secretary that puts their nation’s security above all else.

    While here in Malaysia…

  7. The C295W is meant to shoulder the role which is supposed to be filled with C-130. I guess they’re willing to go with smaller aircraft if that meant they would get a brand new ones

    In our case, I think we should get at least 2 more A400M considering we use them pretty extensively despite having pretty large transport aircraft fleet

  8. As Azlan mentioned it goes beyond just having a nice defence secretary.

    The arms forces of the Philippines modernization is an official gov act thus put the gov in legal binding position to acquire according to the plans with procedure according to the act.

    The act prohibits them from buying prototype something we here so fond of doing. the Jose Rizal class fiasco is not to dissimilar to our own LCS fiasco.

    Philippines has no meaningful manufacturing going on in their country, the economy is mostly service base thus industrial lobbies is far weaker then over here. The downside is like ID, weapon buying is used as foreign affairs instrument and thus they bought a lot of things in small batches from everywhere.

    As for ATM, it does seem they focus more on commonalities to reduced operation cost even if it took them a long time to acquire a specific equipment.

  9. gonggok – that puts their nation’s security above all else.

    While here in Malaysia”

    Let’s take a more balanced and less sensationalist look.

    The Philippines Defence Secretary is part of a government which is in near absolute agreement on the need to modernise the long neglected AFP. The opposition is also in general agreement. On top of that whilst being very worried about healthcare, education and rising prices; most Filipinos are supportive behind the moves to modernise the AFP in the face of widely reported Chinese assertiveness.

    Over here the Defence Minister is part of a government which [like others before it] is indifferent to defence. There is also an opposition and voter base who couldn’t care less about defence. Whilst the Defence Minister can lobby and try to push for funding; ultimately he direct drive policy or make certain decisions.

    Ultimately direct comparisons – whilst tempting and,easy for Antoine to indulge – can’t be made given the varying political dynamics in both countries.

  10. The Jose Rizal class procurement was the only project that had a small smell impropriety on it but it was a small one mainly on the decision to buy the South Korea CMS.

  11. We followed the British parliamentary style which favours the dominant party. It was the dominant party had no time for ex military men in politics.

  12. Congratulation to the Philippine Air Force on their recent defense acquisition. That T129 Atak helicopters are definitely formidable in the region. Much respect!

  13. “As for ATM, it does seem they focus more on commonalities to reduced operation cost”

    What commonalities? If commonalities are important, why do we have 3 different MRAP (Lipanbara, Guardian Extreme, Ejder Yalcin) right now? Why are we getting expensive custom-bodied jeeps when off the shelf ones can do the same thing?

    “Let’s take a more balanced and less sensationalist look”

    I am for lets take a lesson of the biggest differences. Why they are getting so much more for less.

    For the same money we spent on 12 EC725 (600+ million dollars), they got 32 blackhawks. Even the thais got a much higher specced EC725 than us for less than 30 million dollars apiece.

    For the budget of our LCS Gowinds, we could have paid for 12 Jose Rizal frigates.

    We all know where most of those markups will end up. Corruption and bribes. Philippines are utterly destroyed because of that, and we are heading towards the same direction (or worse) if we still continue with our current way of doing things.

  14. We also learned from our regional history not to allow too much political power & influence by these ex-military bigshots. And for very good reasons as we see what’s going on currently within ASEAN….

  15. gonggok – I am for lets take a lesson of the biggest differences. Why they are getting so much more for less.”

    Right. To understand why the “biggest differences” occur one has to look at the overall context; the driving factors. I’ve given you the main reasons which enable them to do what they do [inclufing the role the Defence Secretary plays] and why they can and are doing it… Different dynamics at play which need to be factored in rather than generalised sweeping statements.

    gonggok – Philippines are utterly destroyed because of that”

    It was never “utterly destroyed”… “Utterky destroyed” signifies a failed state when the government can’t govern and when it can’t provide basic services. Things when downhill starting in the 1970’s due to a combination of factors related to politics, the civil war, social factors and of course corruption but it was never “utterly destroyed”..

  16. gonggok – We all know where most of those markups will end up. Corruption and bribes”

    Ultimately it goes back to the point I’m always pressing;our defence policy; a highly flawed and self defeating one which has resulted in a MAF whose capabilities don’t reflect the investments we’ve made on it. The very system we have in place enables all the cockups to occur and we [or rather the politicians] lack the ability to learn from previous cockups.

    Until deep fundamental changed are made things unfortunately will remain. There is no incentive or the will to change things – our defence policy is a reflection of various highly flawed things in this country.

  17. While our neighbors are arming, we are very vulnerable. It’s better for us to be part of other countries province.

  18. The Philippines doesn’t actually have any ex-military big-wigs in the civilian government, at least none that were voted in power. It is enshrined in our 1987 constitution that the “Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State.” As stated on Article 2, Section 3. That is because we acknowledged that the AFP is the protector of the state, but it must never become the state. At all times, members of the AFP and PNP aren’t allowed to endorse or show their sentiments to a particular political party or candidate, because their loyalty ultimately belongs to the three branches of the government, not the president nor the CSAFP. Duterte’s foray into appeasing the AFP because of his pro-China policies include putting ex-CSAFPs and generals into various positions in his cabinet, but they weren’t voted into power and depends solely on Duterte’s choice.
    And Azlan is totally correct– the modernization of the AFP came forwards with the unanimous decision that we should change the focus of the AFP from an Counter-Insurgency role to External Defense; the PNP’s Regional Mobile Battalions and PNP-SAF should take over the role that the PA and PMC is doing right now for the most part, at least in the areas that are relatively quiet with communist activity. And the neglect of the AFP as well.

  19. Gonggok – What commonalities? If commonalities are important, why do we have 3 different MRAP (Lipanbara, Guardian Extreme, Ejder Yalcin) right now?

    Because Military acquisition is a highly corrupt industry where big global player are often cough red-handed paying bribe. Retired general enter private firms to pressure their juniors, contractors open factory at key constitution and threaten unemployment etc etc

    Even if MAF try hard to push for commonalities it doesn’t mean like in Jose Rizal or LCS or even Abram case would’t cave under intense political pressure.

    Why are we getting expensive custom-bodied jeeps when off the shelf ones can do the same thing?

    Why not? US did the same thing didn’t they?

    If ISIS has a functional gov, taxes collector, bureaucracy, access to tech, equipment & factory, workers union, MPs, voters. They probably do the same thing as well rather than go around mounting gun on a barebone Hilux.

    You could say Hilux is the equipment ISIS has rather than the equipment ISIS wanted.

  20. @FF-150
    It is commendable your country now have laws to prevent repeat of a Ferdinand Marcos perpetuating rule thru the military, although from the looks it won’t be stopping a Marcos back in power. But omission of such laws, we take lessons not to give too much political power or authority to the ex-military men, as we seen to the detriment of many Asian countries.

  21. Akmal – ”It’s better for us to be part of other countries province.”

    What an astute observation ….

    Zaft – ”As for ATM, it does seem they focus more on commonalities”

    Achieving commonality has always been a priority for the end user because it knows how expensive and difficult things get when one acquires a large logistical/support footprint. Thanks to the policy introduced by a an EX PM however; national interests takes precedence over the needs of the end user and taxpayer; the reason we got the Fulcrums, Flankers, Jernas, Laksamanas and other things which the end user strongly recommend against. In the case of the Laksamanas the RMN tried and failed more than once to scuttle the deal but was told to keep quiet; I know this from a personal friend who was on the evaluation team. Same reason why place priority on the local industry because national interests comes first.

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