Tag Archives: Philippine Air Force

First “new” Philippine C-130T finally made it

Later than we – and some say even the Philippine Air Force expected – the first of two “new” Lockheed C-130T Hercules aircraft joined the Asian country’s military this week.

The aircraft landed at almost midnight on 5 April 2016 on Brig. Gen. Benito N. Ebuen Air Base in Lapu-Lapu City at Cebu. A full Philippine Air Force 12 persons strong crew manned the aircraft during the four day journey from Tuscon, Arizona (USA), where the plane left on 2 April. The airlifter was actually expected roughly a month earlier, but what caused the delay is not known.

Travelling along legs

Herc 5011 was travelling along legs typical for so many other flights that were flown without in-flight refuel in the past: first a short hop to one of the airbases in California (to test the systems), then to Hickam AFB/Honolulu IAP on Oahu (Hawaii), followed by Wake Island and Guam before entering Philippine airspace.

220th Airlift Wing

At BGNEAB – as the home of the 220th Airlift Wing is called in short – the Hercules gets additional interior fittings before becoming fully operational. The wing already flies older B and H models, as well as the Airbus C295 recently acquired by Manilla.

Pasay City

The offical public blessing of the former US Marine Corps KC-130 as C-130T is planned for 12 April at Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base, Pasay City.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, based largely on PAF press release
Featured image: The first of two C-130Ts arriving in the Philippines on 5 April 2016 (Image © Philippine Air Force)

Not Orions, but ageing TC-90s will patrol Philippine islands

The Philippines have taken a step away from leasing some of the 100 Lockheed-designed by Kawasaki produced P-3 Orions from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). In stead Manilla will lease five Beechcraft King Air TC-90s from the JMSDF.

Although the announcement was made by Philippine president Benigno Aquino on Wednesday, no details have been released on the time frame of when the aircraft will start operations.

The JMSDF operates 34 TC-90s as trainers, mostly for P-3 crews, while it retains an additional five LC-90 transport versions and one UC-90 for photoreconnaissance. The Philippines are in desperate need for a capable aircraft for patrolling the island and seas of the much spread-out nation, while big China is increasingly military active close by in the Spratly Islands archipelago.

Just yesterday it was confirmed that the first of two ex-US Marines Hercules aircraft will arrive in the Philippines within a few days.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
All images: The Beechcraft King Air TC-90 in action in Japan (Images © JMSDF)

A Beechcraft TC-90 of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force (Image © JMSDF)
A Beechcraft TC-90 of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force (Image © JMSDF)

First ex-Marines C-130T expected in the Philippines

The first of two ex-US Marines Lockheed C-130T Hercules military airlifter/tanker aircraft is expected to arrive in the Philippines next week. Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado confirmed the upcoming delivery, which will seriously boost the island nation’s military and humanitarian respond capacity.

The pair of four propeller Hercules’s will be delivered with two reserve Allison T56-A-16 engines, parts, training and logistical support for a US tax payers price tag of 61 million dollars. Designated KC-130R/T within the US services the C-130T has underwing pods for probe-and-drogue (basket) in-flight refuelling of other aircraft.

Mid-air refuelling

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) currently don’t have aircraft that can be refuelling in mid-air, but the function can be added to the dozen KAI FA-50 light attack/fighter aircraft Manilla ordered from Korea.

Airbus C295M

Currently the PAF already flies a single C-130B and two C-130Hs. Meanwhile to improve airlift capabilities even further, all three ordered Airbus (CASA) C295Ms are now in service. Moreover three Fokker F27s (F27-200MPA, the F27-200 and the F27-500F) soldier on.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Philippine forces unload food and water from a Philippine Air Force C-130 for transfer to waiting US helicopters, which will delivered the goods to remote locations throughout Panay Island in June 2008. (Image © Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Spike Call / US Navy)

Philippines started arming their Korean light fighters

As expected the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has started to arm their new FA-50PH light fighter and close-air support aircraft with the purchase of 93,600 rounds of ammunition for the onboard General Dynamics A-50 3-barrel 20-mm rotary cannon.

Although only two of the twelve ordered fast jets from Korean Aerospace Industries have arrived, Manilla seems eager to get them up and running. Apart from the gun ammo chaffs and flares are being procured from Israeli Elbit Systems.

FA-50 payload

The FA-50s are also capable of carrying up to 8,250 lbs (3,740 kg) of payload on 4 underwing, 2 wingtip and one centreline pylons. Plans exist to equip the PAF’s FA-50 with at least AIM-9 Sidewinders and free-fall bombs, but at this stage it is not known yet if those weapons will be newly bought or come from existing stock.

Northrop F-5

The Philippine Air Force used to have combat jets with air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons until 2005, when the last of the Northrop F-5A/B Freedom Fighters were retired. The nation required 37 of those jets between 1965 and 1998. With China projecting its military might and tensions rising over the Spratly Island, the Philippines have restarted a re-weaponizing program, but with limited funds.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The first two Philippine Air Force T-50s take off from Sacheon in South Korea (Image © KAI)

Philippines Airbus C295 fleet complete

The Philippines Air Force Airbus C295M fleet is complete. The third and final tactical airlifter landed at Clark Airbase on 11 December 2015, the country’s military confirmed.

Having the third C295M considerably boosts the Philippine Air Force’s (Pilipinas Hukbong Himpapawid; PHH) transport capability. Each of the C295M can carry up to 71 troops. It the airborne role it can carry 48 paratroopers. As medevac aircraft it accommodates up to 27 stretchers. Moreover, with the C295M the PHH has the ability to quickly move around three light vehicles or other cargo.

C295M vs C-130

The big advantage of the three C295Ms compared to the three larger Lockheed C-130 Hercules planes on strength is the smaller size of the Airbus aircraft. Both planes have a good record for relatively short take-off and landing, but tinier airfields are a better option with the two-engine C295M than the larger four engine C-130. The Airbus C295M needs 2,200 feet (670m) of runway to take off, and 1,050 feet (320m) to land. The C-130 normally keeps a safety take-off length of 3,600 feet (1,100 m), although empty it can run from as short as 1,400 feet.

Kalayaan Islands

The PHH is likely to use the C295Ms also to patrol and (re-)supply the Kalayaan islands, part of the Spratly Islands that many nations in Asia claim as theirs. The main island, called Pagasa or Thitu island, has been expanded with a short runway and was solely a military installation until 2002. Moreover, the Philippines military needs to move troops around to combat rebel groups in several parts of the country.

220th Airlift Wing

For now the PHH has no reserve crews for the C295Ms, but six pilots (2 for each plane) and a 19-people strong maintenance crew did train in Spain at the Airbus plant in Sevilla for their new job. The C295Ms are part of the new 220th Airlift Wing, which has Mactan-Benito Ebuen Airbase in the central part of the island nation as its main location.

C-130 and Fokker F27

The wing also flies the C-130B, C-130H and L-100-20 Hercules aircraft (220th Airlift Squadron) as well as the three Fokker F27s (F27-200MPA, the F27-200 and the F27-500F) from 221th Airlift Squadron at Ninoy Aquino IAP near the capital Manilla. The 220th Airlift Squadron at Mactan-Benito Ebuen is to gain another ex-US Marines C-130T tanker/transport aircraft.

© 2015 Airheadfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The first Philippines Air Force C295M arrived in March 2015 (Image © Airbus Defence & Space)

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The first two Philippine Air Force T-50s take off from Sacheon in South Korea. (Image © KAI/Facebook)
The first two Philippine Air Force T-50s take off from Sacheon in South Korea. (Image © KAI/Facebook)