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300,000 Page Views!!!

300000

That was fast, only less than 3 months and my “rhk111′s Military and Arms Page” blog already hit its 300,000th Page Views. I used to have a widget that shows the total Page Views thus far on my WordPress.com site, but upon moving to a WordPress.org site I found that things are not as user-friendly and I could not get a similar widget to work.

I plan to take a short break, I may release only 1 blog for the month of August 2014, unless the PhN releases the results of the new Frigate bidding then I may release another one. At any rate, I highly appreciate having all these people reading my blog, will continue to blog as long as there are worthwhile topics to write about, thanks to all again as usual …
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New Frigate Bidding Candidate: Modified HDF-3000 class

Side view of an HDF-3000-class Frigate. Photo courtesy of the Republic of Korea Navy thru Flickr
Side view of an HDF-3000-class Frigate. Photo courtesy of the Republic of Korea Navy thru Flickr

After my discussion with the Navantia representative about the Avante 2200 Combatant Frigate, their entry into the new Frigate bidding of the Philippine Navy (PhN), I proceeded to the Hyundai display area at the Asian Defense and Security (ADAS) 2014 exhibit at Pasay. Navantia’s area was already sizable, but Hyundai’s was even more so, approximately 50% bigger than Navantia’s, and they had more scale models on display, around half a dozen or. I really wasn’t sure which of the ships they entered into the bidding, so I looked for a Hyundai representative to ask about it.

There were 3 Hyundai reps wearing business suits in the booth, one of them was talking to another attendee while the other one was not so friendly looking, in fact he was kinda constantly scowling, so I turned to the third person who looked like a newbie and thus seemed more accommodating. I called his attention and asked him which of the models they entered the bidding, and he promptly took me to the model of the HDF-3000 Frigate.
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New Frigate Bidding Candidate: Modified Avante 2200 Combatant class

Front view of the Avante 2200 Combatant. Photo courtesy of Navantia Official thru Flickr
Front view of the Avante 2200 Combatant. Photo courtesy of Navantia Official thru Flickr

I was lucky enough to have had the chance to attend the Asian Defense and Security (ADAS) Exhibit at the World Trade Center (WTC) in Pasay last July 18, 2014, and after spending about an hour or so ogling the exhibits and taking pictures, it finally dawned to me that there is one important thing I could do during this event, and that is to confirm with the manufacturers which of their ships they entered into the Philippine Navy’s new Frigate bidding. This information was never revealed by the Department of National Defense (DND) or the manufacturers to the public, so I quickly proceeded to the Navantia display area.

Upon arriving at the rather sizable Navantia area, I saw a couple of people who looked like they were part of the company, but they were talking with other attendees. So I stood around for awhile, trying to ascertain if there were any other Navantia representatives I could ask around. Finally a Spanish gentleman in a business suit whose name I never got asked me nicely if there was something he could help me with, and so I asked him directly which ship they entered the bidding. He then motioned me to one of the models on display and confirmed that it was one of they had entered in the bidding. We talked for a couple more minutes, and I will slowly divulge below some of the details he mentioned about their candidate ship.
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The US Will Not Help the Philippines Defend the Spratlys

US President Barack Obama conferring with Philippine President Benigno Aquino during Obama's visit to the Philippines. Photo courtesy of Getty Images
US President Barack Obama conferring with Philippine President Benigno Aquino during Obama’s visit to the Philippines. Photo courtesy of Getty Images

President Barrack Obama’s visit to the Philippines last April 28-29, 2014 was very important because it more or less answered one of the most important questions in the minds of Filipinos right now which is, will the United States (US) help the Philippines retain its territories in the Spratly Islands? Sadly, the answer is a clear … NO. There are a couple of indications on why this is so, let me try to enumerate them one by one.

‘Historical Position’
Historically as early as 1975 the US had already outlined its position on the Spratlys Islands, specifically in a telegram sent by the then US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet that was declassified in 2006.[1] In it, Kissinger outlined that they consider the ownership of the Spratlys as “undertermined” and that they take a “neutral” stance in the claims of various countries in terms of ownership. This means that the US does NOT recognize our ownership of territories in the Spratly Islands, this is because they say NONE of those territories were ceded over to them in the “Treaty of Paris” in 1898 when Spain surrendered some of their colonies (including the Philippines) to the US. So all the while we’re telling the Americans that those Spratly Islands are ours, they are saying back, “Oh no they’re not, nobody owns those yet.”
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Brahmos Missiles for the Philippines?

Brahmos missiles on open ground lauchers, showing good detail of the missile's physical characteristics. Photo courtesy of World News.
Brahmos missiles on open ground lauchers, showing good detail of the missile’s physical characteristics. Photo courtesy of World News.

Ever since China raised tensions in the West Philippine Sea by cordoning off Panatag Shoal in 2012,[1] there has been a LOT of talk about the Philippines acquiring the Brahmos missile for use against China’s naval fleet, with some of these talk even coming from some prominent politicians. Although the Department of National Defense (DND) never seem to seriously consider the Brahmos (at least not publicly), I thought it would be a “fun” blog to explore the merits and demerits of the missile as far as the Philippines using it.

‘The Brahmos’
The Brahmos is a supersonic Anti Ship Cruise Missile (AShCM) that could be launched from ships and land vehicles, with new versions under development that could be launched from aircraft and submarines. It is made by a company called “Brahmos Aerospace” which is a joint venture between the state institutions of India (Defence Research and Development Organisation or DRDO) and Russia (NPO Mashinostroeyenia). It first entered service with the Indian armed forces in 2005, and since then approximately 364 missiles have been produced, all used by India as the Brahmos has not yet been officially exported to any other country. The name “Brahmos” was derived from the main rivers of the two countries involved in the joint venture of its production, the “Brahmaputra” of India and the “Moskva” of Russia.
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A Bonanza of South Korean Warships?

The Ulsan-class Frigate FF-956 Kyong Buk. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
The Ulsan-class Frigate FF-956 Kyong Buk. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

‘A Second Pohang?’
The Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said recently that the Pohang-class ship that will be donated to the Philippines by South Korea will arrive on October, 2014.[1] While reading around about the Incheon-class Frigate, I noticed that a new such Frigate, the “Gyeonggi” will also be commissioned on the same month.[2] Putting two and two together, it looks like the South Korean Navy (SKN) in this case will be making a straight swap, retiring a Pohang and commissioning in a new Incheon vessel at just about the same time.

The more interesting prospect though is the fact that the SKN also intends to commission another Incheon-class vessel, the “Jeonbuk”,[2] by December 2014. The big question is, will the SKN also retire another Pohang? No news yet from South Korea on this, but if so, what will happen to this ship? And more importantly, will the Philippines have a good chance of getting this vessel also? Right now we can only speculate, and time will tell if another Pohang will really be retired, and as to what its possible fate will be.
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Pohang-class Flight II Corvette for the Philippine Navy

The Pohang-class Corvette PCC 758 Geyongju. Photo courtesy of the Poder Naval website
The Pohang-class Corvette PCC 758 Geyongju. Photo courtesy of the Poder Naval website

The relative stillness of my late afternoon was jolted by the announcement that the South Korean government was going to donate a Pohang-class Corvette to the Philippines, and that it is going to arrive by the end of 2014.[1] There had been a couple of rumors about this since around 2011, but nothing official has come out of it … until now. The Philippines highly appreciates this “gift”, the Korean government said it is a token of appreciation for the sacrifices made by Filipino soldiers during the Korean War.

This donation came after we bought a dozen FA-50 Fighting Eagle Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT) and 8 Armored Amphibious Vehicles (AAVs) from South Korean defense companies,[2][3] and there’s also the issue of the upcoming bid for the 2 new Frigates where South Korean companies are involved. France sent a demonstration ship in the Prarial to help STX France’s bid using an upgraded version of the Floreal-class ship,[4] and this donation will also help foster a lot of good will between the Philippines and South Korea.
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First Year Blog Anniversary and the Future of the AFP Modernization

Photo courtesy of The Facey Family thru Flickr
Photo courtesy of The Facey Family thru Flickr

My “rhk111′s Military and Arms Page” blog celebrates its first year anniversary this month. I can’t exactly recall when I founded this site, and WordPress doesn’t have the tools to let me find out. Anyway, I first started blogging about military stuff again one after the other on my “rhk111′s Blogspot” site before finally spinning off this blog dedicated to military stuff and matters.

The biggest reason for me writing a lot again about military topics is because of President Benigno Aquino’s (or PNoy) decision to start buying brand new military hardware for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and buying a LOT of it. For the longest time under the 3 different administrations of Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Arroyo, we hardly bought any meaningful stuff. They were always saying, “… there’s no money … there’s no money … there’s no money …” And then PNoy comes along and makes a fool out of all of them by buying all of these stuff.
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New Frigate Bidding Candidate: Upgraded Floreal-class

A front view of the Prarial, a ship of the Floreal-class. Photo courtesy of the French Hong Kong Consulate website.
A front view of the Prarial, a ship of the Floreal-class. Photo courtesy of the French Hong Kong Consulate website.

We got a rare glimpse of what is being offered in the bidding for the Philippine Navy’s (PhN) new Frigates when the French ship Prarial made a 5-day stopover in Manila. The Captain of the ship, Frederic Daumas, revealed that one of the missions for the visit was to demonstrate the Prarial to Philippine officials as it turns out that an updated version of it is being offered as one of the candidates for the bidding.[1]

Spain’s Navantia and South Korea’s Daewoo actually also stated the ships they wanted to enter into the bidding earlier,[2][3] but they released their statements before the actual bidding itself and before they knew what the technical specifications for the ships were going to be. France is the first country to publicly declare the design of the ship they are offering after the start of the bidding, and is being represented in the bidding by STX France.[4]
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Philippine Arms Procurement Summary (1950-2014)

Benigno Aquino Jr., the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines
Benigno Aquino Jr., the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines

All these military equipment bought thus far or are planning to be bought by President Benigno Aquino Jr. got me into thinking as to how his Administration compares with the other past Presidents of the Philippines in terms of military arms procurement, and it just so happens that an excellent tool to do the comparison is available in the form of the Arms Procurement Database of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).[1]

‘SIPRI Database’
SIPRI describes itself as “… an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.” This to me means that they are gathering these data in order to find ways to be able to push thru their agenda for arms control and disarmament. That’s not exactly very promising if you don’t favor total arms control or total disarmament, but nevertheless their database is the best available out there right now if you want to research about arms transfers per country. You won’t be able to find a database as comprehensive as what they have now that is available or open to the public.
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