Tracking the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization program


Another PAF C-130 due to undergo Scheduled Maintenance Program (SMP)

An unidentified Philippine Air Force C-130 is due to undergo its 24th Year Scheduled Maintenance Program (SMP). On August 1, 2012, the PAF Bids and Awards Committee invited suppliers to bid for tools and equipment related to the SMP on PhilGEPS. The project, PB-PAFBAC-110-12, had an Approved Budget for Contract of P2,109,965.00.

Neither the actual cost of the SMP itself, nor the identity of the aircraft are currently known. However as of writing, the Air Force only had one operational Hercules: #4726, making it the logical object of this effort.

Two other PAF C-130s are undergoing maintenance programs. The long suffering #4704, which had been the AFP's lone operational C-130 for years, is currently in the United States for a protracted repair effort. The second, #3633, is nearing the end of its maintenance cycle at the 410th maintenance wing hangar.

The text of the bid invitation appears below:

Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base, Pasay City

Invitation to Bid

The Armed Forces of the Philippines, through the PAF Bids and Awards Committee (PAFBAC), invites suppliers/manufacturers/distributors/contractors to apply for eligibility and to bid for the hereunder project/s:

Nomenclature/Activity: PB-PAFBAC-110-12 Procurement of Tools and Equipment for the 24th Yr SMP of C-130 Aircraft
Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC): Php2,109,965.00
Price of Bid Documents (non-refundable): Php3,000.00

Pre-Bid Conference: August 7, 2012 at 11:00 PM PAF Procurement Center Conference Room, Villamor Air Base, Pasay City
Submission/Opening of Bids: August 23, 2012 at 9:00 AM PAF Procurement Center Conference Room, Villamor Air Base, Pasay City
Issuance of Bid Documents: August 2-21, 2012 at 8:00AM-12:00NN & 1:00PM-5:00PM, Monday to Friday, PAFBAC Secretariat, PAF Procurement Center Bldg., Villamor Air Base, Pasay City: Tel Nr: 8546701 Local 6051 & 6057

Prospective bidders should have an experience in similar project within the last 5 years in an amount at least 50% of the ABC of the project.

The Pre-bidding Conference shall be open to all interested parties who have purchased the Bidding Documents.

All particulars relative to Eligibility Statement and Screening, Bid Security, Performance Security, Pre-Bidding Conference/s, Evaluation of Bids, Post-Qualification and Award of Contract shall be governed by the pertinent provisions of RA 9184 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).


Chairman, PAF BAC

Timawa discussions on this, an other C-130 maintenance efforts, is available here.

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PAF 65th anniversary

@ 11:47: "We are not expanding to be a ground force rather we are powering up to project air power in service of our country and our people."


Upgraded C-130 acquisition project

Last year, and other fora, were eagerly awaiting the reported arrival of an additional C-130H c/o an ex-Tunisian AF Herc that had suffered a runway mishap but had been refurbished by Derco Aerospace. The Timawa discussion for this project can be found here.

The wait was apparently for nothing. As per the latest DND Performance Monitoring Report, this deal had actually been cancelled.

August 26, 2010 Pre-procurement conference Approved budget for contract (ABC): P1,769,000,000.00
August 31, 2010 Posting/Publication of ITB Publication of ITB at PDI and posting at G-EPS and DND Websites

September 10, 2010 Pre-bid conference
October 11, 2010 Bid opening Only one bidder, Derco Aerospace Inc. submitted its bid
October 11, 2010 DND BAC Resolution No. AFPMP-PAF-C130H-10-001 Resolution declaring DERCO Aerospace Inc., as the Single Calculated Bidder for the project and directing the conduct of post qualification
November 11-12 & 15-17, 2010 Post qualification Post qualification teams were sent to the following locations:Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Milwaukee, USA

December 1, 2010 DND BAC Resolution No. AFPMP-PAF-C130H-10-002 Resolution declaring Derco Aerospace Inc as the SCRB for the project and the issuance of a NOA in its favor
December 8, 2010 Issuance of Notice of Award in favor of Derco Aerospace Inc Approved/signed by SND
March 17, 2011 DND BAC Resolution No. AFPMP-PAF-C-130H-11-001 Resolution declaring the bidding for the Upgraded C-130H Acquisition project of the PAF a failure after the winning bidder failed to post performance security
June 8, 2011 Declaration of failure of bidding Approved/signed by SND


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Facebook group for PAF C-130s

The following article is the rationale for the following Facebook group:

The Lockheed (not Lockheed-Martin) C-130 Hercules transport aircraft is the largest airlift asset in the Philippine Air Force (PAF). It is the Philippine government’s most capable means of moving personnel and material for everything from combat deployments to disaster response. It provides the “timely” in “timely response”, therefore it is in the public’s interest that they be properly funded, operated, and maintained.

These aircraft, however, have proven to be problematic to operate in significant numbers. The loss of foreign aid as a result of expulsion of the US bases in the early 90’s has had a detrimental effect on the PAF’s budgetary condition as a whole with a corresponding impact on the Hercules fleet. For extended periods in recent post-Clark/Subic history the PAF’s tactical lift capabilities, particularly those of the 220th Airlift Wing, have hinged on solitary C-130s. This is an unacceptable state of affairs.

If the PAF, particularly the 220th Airlift Wing, is to expect the long term political and fiscal support it needs to operate these aircraft sufficient numbers, it must make its case to the Filipino voters. It must effectively articulate its needs, and inspire the people’s trust and confidence.

That trust must be earned. If the PAF is to be entrusted with the billions of pesos it needs to fulfill its mandate – money that must be taken away from roads, schools, health care programs to serve the competing BUT EQUALLY IMPORTANT defense needs of the Republic  -- it must be able to show the Filipino taxpayer that it is a responsible steward of those funds.

This page was created to help foster that trust through frank, unvarnished, discussion about the following:

  • Facts about this category of aircraft and the challenges in keeping them operational
  • Accounts of existing problems surrounding these aircraft
  • Solutions . . . solutions . . . solutions

The underlying belief behind this page is that there remain honorable, competent, personnel within the Armed Forces of the Philippines that seek do to what is right. They need our help.

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The PAF’s piecemeal acquisitions

The 305th Contracting Office of the AFP Procurement Service currently has  P7,928,421.13 worth of bid invitations on PhilGEPS that dramatically illustrate the challenges that AFP logisticians face.  Instead of establishing service support agreements with aircraft suppliers, the service is inviting potential suppliers to 18 individual bids for C-130 components. These appear in the table below.

For discussions about the difficulties that PAF has been experiencing with establishing logistical agreements and using GPPB mandated Order Agreement Lists, see here.

Reference # / Solicitation # Amount  Description
1695835 / CP-11-547 400,063.00 Procurement of 1 ea landing Gear Edge Cargo Ramp 353617-5 & 10 other L/I for use of C-130 arcft
1695834 / CP-11-546 373,169.00 Procurement of 1 ea Hose Assy, Hydraulic Suction Pump 698243-1 & 9 other L/I for use of C-130 arcft
1695833 / CP-11-543 490,597.00 Procurement of 2 ea tube Assy 370742-321 & 5 other L/I for use of C-130B arcft
1695832 / CP-11-545 499,163.00 Procurement of 1 ea Nuts, Vertical Stabilizer 68457-1812 & 17 other L/I for use C-130 acft
1698265 / CP Nr S-11-251 705,000.00 Procurement of 6 ea Fuel Nozzles 6890918/ 5232105-5H/ 6809611/5232212-7B for use of C-130 Acft
1698264 / CP Nr S-11-250 394,606.25 Procurement of 1 ea Ignition Unit, APU 899580-2 & 1 other L/I for use of C-130 Acft
1698263 / CP Nr S-11-249 451,702.50 Procurement of 2 ea Troop Seat ACA3102-17R & 4 other L/I for use of C-130 Acft
1698262 / CP Nr S-11-248 422,206.25 Procurement of 1 ea Ignition Unit, APU 899580-2 & 2 other L/I for use of C-130 Acft
1698261 / CP Nr S-11-247 215,682.50 Procurement of 4 ea Gasket Engine Generator LS35377-01 & 6 other L/I for use of C-130 Acft
1698260 / CP Nr S-11-246 379,601.25 Procurement of 1 ea Vane Segment Assy, Turbine 1st Stage 6847957/ 6847961 & 1 other L/I for use of C-130 Acft
1698259 / CP Nr S-11-245 462,448.75 Procurement of 6 ea Seal Labyrinth Rear Turbine 6844617/ 6897646 & 2 other L/I for use of C-130 Acft
1698258 / CP Nr S-11-244 472,120.00 Procurement of 3 ea Ring Air Seal 2nd Stage Vane 6844620/6892269 & 2 other L/I for use of C-130 Acft
1698257 / CP Nr S-11-243 494,201.25 Procurement of 6 ea Saddle Turbine 1st Stage 6852237/6856654 & 1 other L/I for use of C-130 Acft
1698256 / CP Nr S-11-242 497,023.75 Procurement of 7 ea Vane Segment Assy, Turbine 1st Stage 6847957/6847961 & 1 other L/I for use of C-130 Acft
1698255 / CP Nr S-11-241 336,177.50 Procurement of 1 ea Connector Plug MS3126F22-55PW & 2 other L/I for use of C-130 Acft
1698254 / CP Nr S-11-240 353,513.75 Procurement of 1 ea Wiring Harness 43631-1 & 2 other L/I for use of C-130 Acft
1698253 / CP Nr S-11-239 481,562.50 Procurement of 1 ea PTT Switch 421510 & 3 other L/I for use C-130 Acft
1698252 / CP Nr S-11-238 499,582.88 Procurement of 2 pails Lubticating Oil MIL-L-7808 & 16 other L/I for use of C-130 Acft



Updated assessments of F-16 airframe life

At the turn of the 21st Century, as the USAF found conducting combat operations over Iraq and Afghanistan with increasingly aging aircraft that were leftovers from the Cold War it took stock of its aircraft inventory and came to the following observation

As a system’s cumulative operating time increases, the probability of its failure tends to increase, decreasing the system’s potential reliability. Reliability also decreases when the conditions under which the system was designed to operate change. Many of these aircraft are at critical points in their life cycles. For example, by 2001 many F-16s had reached 2,400 hours flying time, a significant point in an 8,000-hour service life. As these aircraft age and operating conditions changed, the reliability of systems and components decreases, and failures occur more often, which increased maintenance costs. Increased failures affect aircraft maintainability, requiring more maintenance and often increasing repair times when more hard breaks occur. In the case of the F-16, operational usage had been more severe than design usage (eight times more), resulting in the acceleration of its airframe service life at a rate that may not let it reach its expected overall service life.

Also at this point in history, the fate of its next generation stealth combat aircraft, the F-22 and F-35, hung in the balance. It, therefore, became politically expedient to highlight pessimistic projections about the future prospects of the USAF F-16 fleet.

Fast forward to the present day. The F-22 production line is complete, but with fewer aircraft than originally projected. F-35 development is moving ahead, but slowly. Faced with the prospect of reduced capability as a result of the latter aircraft's delays, the USAF re-evaluated it fleet again, and came to the following conclusions which were published in Aviation Week magazine.

< Edited >

However, the U.S. Air Force, which operates more than 1,000 F-16s of varying blocks, has no plans to procure more F-16s. Rather, the service is exploring options to extend the life of its fleet until the F-35 is introduced into service in enough numbers to handle the suppression and destruction of enemy air defense roles.

Originally designed for 4,500 flying hours, a previous upgrade extended the lifespan to 8,000 hr. But after conducting a monitoring program on the fleet, Air Force officials have found that they are flying the aircraft 15-20% “less hard” than planned, meaning pilots are not flying the jets to their maximum limits regarding such elements as speed or g-forces. This is partly because in the decade since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the F-16s have been used largely to support ground forces or patrol the skies in permissive airspace, missions that do not require the taxing maneuvers seen while operating in hostile environments, says Maj. Luther Cross, F-16 program element monitor for Air Combat Command.

This has prompted the Air Force to calculate what officials call equivalent flying hours for each airframe, just as they do actual flying hours. Using the equivalent-hour metric, service officials are able to estimate the projected life, taking into account lighter use of the fleet in recent years, says Cross. This practice is also being applied to other fleets in the service.

This alone adds “several years” of life to each aircraft, he says. Still, the Air Force is considering a structural service life extension program (SLEP) to the newest Block 40/50 F-16s, with a 12,000-hr. goal per airframe.

The prospects for the availablity of suitable aircraft for the PAF's needs, therefore, are not as bleak as the earlier would have pictured.

This article was also published on the following FaceBook group: F-16s for the Philippine Air Force

To discuss the article shared above, see the following discussion.


Preparing for F-16s: “Peace Carvin” in reverse

The Office of the President, Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Philippine Air Force have all publicly declared the Aquino administration's intention to acquire 12 surplus F-16C/D aircraft from the United States. These are interesting times for the Philippine Air Force, whose prevailing skill-sets are still geared towards equipment that is decades behind the Falcons.

It's been six years since the PAF had operational fighters in its inventory. Its last F-5A Freedom Fighters, which were day-time-only interceptors, were decommissioned in 2005. Over two decades had passed since it operated true all-weather fighters -- its F-8 Crusaders. The 60's era Crusaders proved to be a handful for the PAF (see the following Timawa discussion for details), and by the late 80s were relegated to a grass field at Clark field, where ash fall from Mt. Pinatubo eventually sealed their fate. While the handful of S211s allows the service to maintain a modicum of competency in jet-aircraft operations, the PAF Air Defense Wing is a shadow what it once was when its aircraft intercepted Soviet bombers in the South China Sea.

If we are to keep the hoped-for F-16s from becoming hangar queens, or become the latest recipient of the Philippine media's favorite moniker for PAF aircraft: "flying coffin", its ability to operate aircraft at this level of sophistication must be elevated without delay.

The following is a summary of a discussion that seeks a way to fast-track the upgrade of PAF skills . . . should the request for these aircraft be granted.

How does this exercise seek to accomplish its mission statement and objective?

Learning by example

When Singapore replaced their Hawker Hunters with F-16A/Bs in 1987, they opted to have them delivered to Luke AFB AZ instead of direct to Singapore. Thus the first incarnation of Operation: Peace Carvin began. For two years, from 1987 to 1989, the USAF trained 100 RSAF pilots and maintenance personnel to operate and maintain their new birds. Subsequent Peace Carvins trained additional personnel in F-16C/D aircraft and more recently the F-15SG.

These Singaporean operations can be broken down into the following elements:

Aircraft – the RSAF stationed as many as 12 aircraft at the air base as training platforms
Trainees – these are the 150 Singaporean personnel, including 15 pilots, are that undergo training at the base. These personnel and their families live on-base for the duration of the training cycle

Trainors – these are USAF personnel that are seconded to the RSAF and have operational control of the unit. Personnel management, however, remains with RSAF officers

Budget – Singapore was responsible for the following items:

• Salaries of all personnel involved, to include USAF personnel
• Maintenance and operations expenses
• Ordnance

This training arrangement afforded Singapore access to the full range of training facilities that the USAF established for its own pilots (e.g., bombing ranges, etc.) and maintenance crews (e.g., AFTOs, training mockups). Although the US and Singaporean governments refuse to publicly declare the annual cost of the program, it would arguably be safe to assume that it would be prohibitive.

While some overseas training will be required for the initial batch of pilots and maintenance crews for the planned F-16s, what if alternative arrangements could be made to permit training in advance of MRF delivery?

Peace Carvin in reverse

This proposal seeks to gain the benefits of Peace Carvin, but without the attendant costs.

Key elements of this proposal:

• Task force
• Use of subject matter experts
• Training opportunities

While there is no avoiding sending PAF personnel overseas for training, why not work to build-up in-country training capabilities in preparation of the arrival of aircraft? Training, therefore, can begin well in advance of the actually transfer of equipment.

The “reverse” in this proposal is that foreign training resources are brought to the Philippines, where training can be done all year, instead of sending personnel overseas for a few months at potentially great expense. It will not, however, preclude overseas training opportunities.

Task force

PAF HQ, ADW, and AETC will establish a task force to identify skills gaps related to operating aircraft at the F-16 complexity level, and develop both fast-tracked and long-term training programs to address these gaps. This task force will function as a training directorate that will have overall responsibility for the program.
The mission statement for the effort:

“Create a maintenance, operations, and logistical culture that is conducive to effective, efficient, sustainable use of 4th Generation combat aircraft”

These training programs will be conducted in the Philippines.

Use of subject matter experts

The task force will be empowered to retain the services of subject matter experts who will be responsible for administering key aspects of training programs either as a whole or in part.
These subject matter experts can be:

• Technical advisers seconded or assigned to the Philippines by a foreign country
• Private contractors
• A combination of both

Subject matter experts will be responsible for the following in their respective areas of concern:

• Familiarize PAF personnel with relevant AFTOs or their equivalent
• Impart best-practice information and techniques
• Aid in forecasting

When selecting contractors, preference will be given to entities that are willing to lease key maintenance and/or training equipment, that are relevant for their training programs, to the PAF using a BOT scheme. Contractors can include companies such as Sikorsky Aircraft Services or be entirely new companies that are setup as Public-Private Partnerships.
Whenever practical, the BOT scheme will be used to acquire support and training equipment (e.g., APUs, simulators, training mock-ups, etc.)

Training opportunities

This is the “core” of the reversal concept.

To provide practical learning opportunities for prospective PAF F-16 crews, the task force, in cooperation with the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) board and the DFA, will work to establish high-frequency exercises with foreign armed forces that operate F-16s.

Having operational F-16 units in-country will provide PAF personnel, who complete pre-requisite training modules designed by the task force, the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge, and acquire practical best practices information from experienced air crews.

Small-scale, temporary, basing of foreign assets is preferable. Forward-basing for the receptive foreign country results in a training opportunity for the PAF.
The task force will have a hand in selecting personnel who will be sent to the US for training on F-16 maintenance and operations. These personnel will be selected not only for their qualifications, but also for their ability to serve as mentors / team leaders who will then form the leadership foundation for a new jet-qualified work-force.

Other interim training opportunities

Indonesia reportedly takes up a significant amount of Singapore’s simulator resources (see here). Could a similar arrangement be setup with our non-US allies? South Korea perhaps?


PAF to spend P27M on Huey maintenance

On the 1st of December, the Philippine Air Force will be accepting bids for various required for maintaining UH-1H helicopters.  The five bids, listed here and all published on the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS), amount to P27,101,263.11.

Bid documents will be available starting on November 15, and the pre-bid conference is set on the 17th. The opening of bids is scheduled on the morning of December 1, 2011. All five projects are administered by the Philippine Air Force Bids and Awards Committee under COL Gerardo D Jamorabo, Jr., PAF (GSC)

For an ongoing account of Huey-related maintenance acquisitions, see here: Keeping UH-1s in the air.

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Modernizing the PAF helicopter force

Since 2006, the Philippine Air Force has been attempting to expand its helicopter fleet beyond its existing stable of Hueys, S-76s, and MD-520s. It focused on two classes of helicopters: transport and attack. There have been three aborted attempts at acquiring an attack platform, and one effort for troop-lift that had to transition to negotiated procurement because of two failed bids.

The following table is an updated version of an acquisition status table (see here for original) that the author prepared for the community to facilitate differentiation between the various acquisitions.

Project IAETB Qty Budget Status
Attack helicopter Night Capable Attack Helicopter (NCAH) TBA 6 P1,200,000,000 Initially awarded to Asian Aerospace for MD530F. Award decision on January 7, 2008 cancelled due to irregularities. See here for details.
Attack Helicopter (AH) acquisition projectProject# AFP-MP-PAF-00-08-42 14 P3,213,040,000SARO# D-0706412 FY2007
SARO# D-07-05905
Failed bidding declared
Attack Helicopter (AH) acquisition project (modified)Project# AFPMP-PAF-00-06-042 7 3,213,040,000 Initially awarded to PZL Swidnik for the attack version of the W-3 Sokol. Award decision cancelled in September 2010 due to suspected anomalies. See image below.

Transport helicopter Combat Utility HelicopterProject# AFPMP-PAF-01-03-041 8 P3,000,000,000 After two failed bids, acquisition shifted to negotiated procurement. Notice of Award issued to PZL Swidnik for W-3 Sokol utility helicopter. See herefor details.



Philippine defense-related social networking sites have been awash with informal fighter aircraft recommendations for years. Many are simple collections of photographs of fighter aircraft with a mimimum of commentary, while others are assemblies of motherhood statements that make little, if any, effort into understanding the costs and complexities of operating modern aircraft.

Two discussions, however, standout for their depth of analysis and brutal attention to verifiable detail: the “VOX threads”. Both are off-shoots of long-standing, but cordial, debates between two protagonists: Horge and Ignatius1 (now Ignatius1@TMW). Ignatius is a Filipino officer in service with a non-Filipino army and is an air defense professional. Horge is a businessman with an above-average passion for research and attention to detail. These two are largely credited with elevating the overall quality of aircraft discussions on the  forum.

The resulting threads remain the most detailed analysis of aircraft of affordability on the forum, and arguably anywhere else on Philippine-themed discussion sites:

VOX POPVLI, VOX DENARII? (a comment on the Jet-Pool thread)

Created on April 7, 2010

VOX POPVLI, VOX DENARII expanded: additional thread

August 20, 2010

Both are voluntary post-mortem threads for a "Jet-Pool" that sought to get the forum membership's pulse on what they thought would be the most likely candidate for the PAF's F-5 replacement. These threads subjected the crowd favorites on the pool to financial analysis that included the following considerations:

  • Expected life of the airframe based on published sources
  • Projected annual operating cost
  • ROI
  • Credit considerations

It is worth noting that the principal movers of the threads caveat their claims to remind readers that their assertions are merely based on whatever is available from open-sources and faithfully cite these to support their points. This is in-keeping with the forum's policies.

While it is very possible, even likely, that there will be errors in the analysis because of the lack of direct access to the PAF's actual acquisition data, the logical journey that the protagonists take readers through remains an interesting exercise that benefits both laymen and professionals alike. For laymen, it broadens understanding of aircraft purchasing considerations. For professionals, on the otherhand, it presents insights into how to justify multi-billion peso acquisitions to the Philippine legislature.

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