AN UPDATE from the Philippine Star Website:
DND plans to purchase Indonesian spy plane
MANILA, Philippines – The government plans to procure a spy plane from Indonesia and a troop transport aircraft from Italy, the Department of National Defense (DND) said yesterday.
Peter Paul Galvez, DND spokesman, said the long-range maritime patrol and surveillance plane is manufactured in Indonesia under a joint venture agreement with Spain.
“On our shortlist is the Indonesian aircraft,” he said. “The long-range patrol aircraft would be devoted solely to conducting maritime surveillance.”
The DND is also scouting for a medium lift aircraft from other European countries at a lower cost, Galvez said.
Once President Aquino approves the acquisition, the spy plane would strengthen the country’s maritime domain awareness.
For a long time, the Armed Forces has been relying mainly on a small number of islander planes for maritime and territorial patrol.
The spy plane is the CASA/IPTN CN-235. The CN-235 surveillance aircraft can double as a military transport plane. Its largest user is Turkey with 61 aircraft.
The surveillance plane has a crew of two, a pilot and co-pilot, and can carry 44 passengers and a payload of 13,120 pounds with a cruising speed of 454 kilometers per hour and a range of 2,730 nautical miles.
The Department of National Defense has been quiet these couple of weeks regarding the progress of the AFP Modernization. The news about the Harpoons was mentioned by a Naval Officer who refuses to identify himself. But since this news about the Maritime Patrol Aircraft came from the mouths of the DND officials themselves, then this could be a real thing.
It was announced before that we might be asking the U.S. to conduct Maritime Patrols using the P-3C Orions on the West Philippine Sea. But that action could agitate China and it could also spark some issue with the militants here in the Philippines because they would likely say that it is a violation of our sovereignty. So what our Government did was to acquire a Maritime Surveillance Aircraft instead of asking Uncle Sam to do the patrolling for us. Buying our own MSA? Why not, right? It’s a win-win solution for both the Philippines and the United States. The Philippines wont have any headaches about rally and demonstration of the communist militants, and the United States wont need to make diplomatic moves just to justify the patrolling to China.
The CN-235MPA Aircraft of the Indonesians is armed with Exocet Anti-Ship Missiles and Torpedoes for Submarines. Since there have been some news that we will be getting Harpoons, my assessment will be that these aircraft (in case acquired) will be certified on carrying and firing Harpoons as well. Having two kinds of Anti-Ship Missiles on our inventory is kinda expensive, so I think it will just be certified for Harpoon (Air-launched version). It also have an option to put in countermeasure pods. So just in case that a SAM was fired from a Foreign Naval Warship, the Aircraft can defend itself then retaliate.
This aircraft is a good choice for the Defense Department. It’s relatively and obviously cheaper compared to the P3-C Orion of the United States. It is also a STOL aircraft, which means it could take-off and land in a short runway like the one on Pagasa Island in Spratlys.
Cheers for the DND, and looking forward for more updates to come. I just hope that the Senate will pass the AFP Modernization Bill right away and they will stop stalling the Bill since we need the funds that will be generated by that law for us to buy these equipment.