Latest Update of the Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force modernization program - Maestrale Warships, T-50 fighter jets, and more

Latest Update of the Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force modernization program

Philippine spyplanes -our version of Drones

It's been a while that we haven't updated our articles regarding the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program. It's not that there is no progress of the program but it's just because I was quite busy within the last few weeks dealing with some personal stuff. Another thing, I don't like to publish this type of article without thorough research and investigation. But anyways, I am ready to bring to you the latest development of the Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force modernization program.

So, what's the current status? Are we heading to a better future?


Let's start with the development of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) which recently celebrated its 65th founding anniversary on July 6 at the Fernando Air Base. During the celebration they showcase their newly acquired assets like the SF-260 trainer planes among others. We received a bad news coming out of the accident in May 2012 where one of its new planes from an Italian supplier Aermachi crashed in Mariveles. But I still find few reasons to brag our air force defense mechanism and accidents can happen anytime.


There are two (2) C-130 planes which are expected to be in operation this year as quoted from the SONA of our President Benigno Aquino III.  Philstar also published an article about this in May 2012. However, don't expect too much yet. These two C-130 planes aren't brand new. These are refurbished but still it could augment its heavy-lift capability. C-130 is used by the military to transport troops and supplies. It has also been used to transport relief goods and other supplies for victims of typhoons and other forms of calamities.


The Air Force is expecting by November four additional Sokol helicopters from Augusta PZL Swidnick, an Italian and Polish firm, which signed a P2.8 billion ($65.6 million) contract with the AFP for the delivery of eight Sokol combat utility helicopters (Philstar).

Okay, I know majority of the Filipinos and that might include you who are dragging down this topic because it looks like we are just relying on refurbished equipments from other superior countries. Just to satisfy what you are looking for, please continue to read.

Philippine Air Force to beef its fleet with supersonic jets

Twelve (12) supersonic jets known as surface attack aircraft lead-in fighters TA-50 are expected to be delivered by 2013(ABS-CBN news). These planes are currently being developed by Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. Each jet costs P1.25 billion for a total of P25 billion for the dozen jets. 

These are "full-fledged attack platform" that can carry precision-guided weapons. Once deployed in our air space this could boost our stunt in defending our lands located in the disputed waters in West Philippine sea know as the Spratly Islands


By the way, you may ask why is it that Php 1.25 billion multiplied by 12 jets equates to Php 25B. In my assessment, there might be some additional items and services that will be included. From Interaksyon news, it has published that those 12 jets would only cost Php 14B.

Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol, PAF spokesman said the jets can be used to monitor the country's air space, including intrusions from foreign aircraft. This will be a great complement to the radars that will also be purchased soon. Aside from the jets, the PAF eyes more acquisition under the defense acquisition system. These include of three medium lift transports, eight light lift transports, 10 attack helicopters, three air defense radars and two long-range patrol aircraft (interaksyon news).

Still in doubt the capability of this plane? Check wikipedia for its full specification. And let me remind you, even if these planes aren't that powerful, our Philippine Air Force can make it a fearful bird on the air. Do a quick research on our Blue Diamond aerobatic team.

Enough with the Air Force and lets go to the Philippine Navy

Currently, BRP Gregorio del Pilar is already patroling the Philippine waters. The second decommissioned US hamilton class cutter is named BRP Ramon Alcaraz which was acquired by the Philippines under the Excess Defense Articles and the Foreign Assistance Act will soon dock in yards of Philippine Navy. It costs us around Php 450M.

Some said that this not enough and I agree. Hence, the AFP decided to buy two more warships. This time not from the United States but coming from Europe. Speculations regarding the planned purchase of two (2) Italian warships is now materialized and due for signing of contract next year. These Italian warships, Maestrale class frigates are  armed with surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles and capable of hunting down submarines in the West Philippine Sea are set to strengthen the Philippines' maritime defense capabilities. Gazmin said the Philippine Navy is buying the P11.7-billion Maestrale-class frigates , which have anti-submarine and anti-aircraft weaponry(ABS CBN news and PDI news).

When I read the article from PDI news it says "At last, the Philippines will be getting real warships." Is this a sarcastic comment? I don't think so. I believe that the writer has shown his/her appreciation about this latest development. Just like us here in, we really appreciate small details of our defense modernization program as it slowly progresses.

Apart from a third warship, the Philippine Navy said it was planning to purchase three "marinized" naval helicopters to complement its available warships. No definite date has been set, but Navy chief Vice Admiral Alexander Pama told reporters Friday the plan is to buy these using funds generated from the Energy department's Malampaya project(Interaksyon news). The three will eventually be attached to the Hamilton-class cutters purchased from the United States.

But wait, our friends from Japan won't leave us without any valuable offer. The country offered twelve brand new patrol vessels to our Philippine Navy too, according to a top official of the Japanese Embassy in Manila.  Shimizu said, “ Tokyo has yet to decide which of the vessels will be built and transferred to the Philippine government on official development assistance or grants(PDI news).” These could be the 12 Multi-purpose Attack Crafts which has been a rumor for quite a while now.

“They’re considering 10 40-meter boats on official development aid and two larger ones as grants,” Del Rosario said (PDI news).

“It is cooperation for the purpose of dealing with various maritime safety and law enforcement issues, such as piracy and search and rescue,” said Minister Shinsuke Shimizu, head of the Japanese Embassy’s chancery (PDI news).

To sum it up:

1. 12 T-50 fighter jets from South Korea (all brand new)
2. 2 C-130 planes
3. 4 brand new Sokol helicopters and more attack helicopters to come
4. 2 Maestrale-class frigates (Italian warships)
5. 3 naval helicopters
6. 10 40-meter boats and two larger boats coming from Japan (all brand new)

Wow! More to come, and believes that credible defense can be achieved faster than expected.

Oh reminder generals, colonels and to all public officials, please don't pocket the allocated funds for these modernization program. We are almost tired paying our taxes and most of these tax payers are getting too old and have not seen the fruits of our labor. Stop corruption please!

Related Article: Philippine Navy locally made gun boats (MPACs) and Landing Craft Utility

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