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Philippine Air Force Horizon 2 Project

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    Philippine Air Force Horizon 2 Project

    Philippine Air Force Horizon 2 Project

    The philippine air force is being provided with php139.319 billion (around 2.73 billion usd) for their part of the Horizon 2 (2018-2022) defence plan.

    There would be 16 projects under the new Horizon 2 for PAF. Some of it are:

    - Maritime patrol aircraft. Probably 4 medium MPAs. C-295? CN-235?

    - Surface Attack Aircraft (SAA) / Lead Fighter Trainer Aircraft (LFTA). Thia would probably be additional 12 FA-50s

    - Multi-Role Fighter (MRF) Aircraft. 12 units. Gripens? Tejas? used F-16s?

    - attack helicopters. 24 units. HAL Rudra? Z-19E? used AH-1Ws?

    - Additional light transport. Most probably additional C-295s

    - 1 air tanker. Most probably KC-130 variant.

    What do you think is the best combination based on the political consideration, budget and timeframe available?

    My take

    - MPA. 4 C-95MPA. 200 million usd.

    - SAA/LIFT. 12 FA-50. 450 million usd

    - MRF. 12 F-16. With SLEP to 13,856 flying hours and general upgrades. Upgrades to F-16V only in Horizon 3. With weapons package. 750 million usd.

    - attack helicopters. 24 AH-1W. 200 million usd.

    Total around 1.6 billion usd, with lots to spare for other projects in horizon 2, ground radars, ground based air defence, bombs and missiles for the fighters etc.
    Last edited by alexz; 30th January 2018, 08:12.

    You need to account for the current administration's loud declaration of buying only new stuff. Now, this does not cover "free stuff", and I place very little faith that they will actually follow the "no buying secondhand" policy to the letter, but it does add uncertainty to the used F-16 idea which otherwise would have been the obvious candidate.

    Anyway, other candidates are Gripen C and FC-1. FC-1's chance in particular can not be assessed simply by comparing its supposed price and capability. China can easily just give away a dozen FC-1 Block 1 and ruin everyone else's chance. The fact that it will couple poorly with the Philippine Air Force logistics and has little interoperability with current and near-future Philippine defense assets and that it is less capable than Gripen C or F-16 MLU are of concern to the Philippine Air Force but Malacanang's priorities are not the same as the Air Force's.

    "Free" FC-1 doesn't even have to be free. The cost can be partially recouped by selling upgrades to Block 2, selling logistical support, and selling armaments.

    FC-1's chance will have to be assessed politically.

    Mind you, used F-16 can also be given away "for free". Heck, I thought up the "free" FC-1 because of the precedent of "free used F-16" for other countries.


      I really think the FC-1 and Gripen C does not give significant performance difference compared to the FA-50. Brand new F-16s are still available, but that is probably beyond what PAF can afford.

      Most USAF F-16s are retired after 6,000 hours and with the latest SLEP, it can still fly for a futher 7000 hours easily. That is like more than 40 years worth of flying hours. It is really the default choice for PAF. A program something like Indonesian Peace Bima Sena 2 could be requested, free EDA F-16s with the upgrade costs paid for by indonesia.


        Originally posted by alexz View Post
        I really think the FC-1 and Gripen C does not give significant performance difference compared to the FA-50. Brand new F-16s are still available, but that is probably beyond what PAF can afford.
        The Gripen C "does not give significant performance difference compared to the F/A50"?!!
        The F/A50 is data linked, does mach 2 and fields the MBDA Meteor and the RBS15?


          Gripen C > FC-1 >>> F/A-50

          Unless KAI makes some serious advances in integrating a greater variety of weapons on their jet and make it faster.


            The Gripen C is exactly twice the price of the FA-50.

            The FA-50 comes with Link-16 datalink.

            Its max weapons load is also similar to the gripen c. There is now plans to integrate more weapons to the FA-50.

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            As the Philippines already has the FA-50, it is better for them to go for something in the F-16 class of fighter. Anyway all new gripen c are cobbled up from used parts taken off canibalised gripen a anyway, so why not used F-16s?


              Alexz, I understand that you really really want the F-16 to become Philippine Air Force's multi-role fighters, but
              1. I already argued that this is a political question, not a cost-and-capability question.
              2. Your data is irrelevant anyway because the A-50 does not exist, and the FA-50 Expanded Weapons and Avionics brochure is not a binding document or even something with a timetable. With the possible exception of AIM-9X, none of them have actually been done, and the only one that might get done in the near future is the AIM-120, and I stress again that there is no timetable. And goodness gracious, do you realize how ridiculous your arguments about the Gripen C sound?

              You don't need to push the F-16 narrative here. We are all familiar with that narrative. But if you are not familiar with the current political situation in the Philippines, go do an internet search for the Philippine Frigate Acquisition Project and read up. Then realize that while the Armed Forces of the Philippines may have preferences, in the end Malacanang Palace goes for political expediency. Because if it's good enough for the Palace it's good enough for the soldiers and they'd better say, "SIR THANK YOU SIR MAY I HAVE ANOTHER SIR!"

              So watch for envoys visiting the US and China, and watch whether President Duterte says "new jets" or stays silent. Because what's important is not technical capabilities or logistical cost or any of the things we usually talk about, but whether President Duterte can spin it as getting the best from his bestest friend, be it Xi or Trump.


                Prople are too blinded by the glossy advertisements that saab put out. Kudos to saab for the brilliant marketing plan. They blatantly put out max numbers with different setups. Max range is actually with 3 drop tanks, max speed was at high altitude in winter, max weapons load will mean limited internal fuel by weight etc etc. Things they highlight like datalink, low operating costs are also applicable to the FA-50 (same engine, same fuel consumption, with link-16 datalink). So why is the gripen 2x the price of the FA-50?

                But when you compare all the hard technical specifications, the gripen c, and the golden eagle are basically a similar class of fighter, with similar engine thrust and similar internal fuel capacity.

                Carrying more loads with the same sized airframe and same powerplant performance will incur performance penalties, which obviously not pointed out by saab.

                Basically what im trying to say is, PAF had its FA-50, so for MRF, go for something that is more potent than just a very expensive tarted up lightweight fighter pretending it is a medium fighter that is the gripen c.


                  FA-50 does't have the same engine as any model of Gripen. Gripen A-D has the RM12, an upgraded, slightly higher-thrust, Swedish-modified F404. Gripen E has a version of the F414, which is significantly more powerful. The T-50 & derivatives have the F404.

                  Gripen has its own datalink (with capabilities I don't think link-16 has) in addition to link-16.
                  Gripen A-D has the PS-05/A radar. New build aircraft will have an improved version (also available as an upgrade for existing airframes). Gripen E has the ES05 Raven AESA radar. T-50/FA-50 is offered with the EL/M-2032, though I think the T-50 is fitted with the older AN/APG-67. The Gripen E radar is clearly superior to any of these, & the PS-05 clearly better than the APG-67. I expect SAAB would claim it's also better than the EL/M-2032.

                  Gripen is praised for being aerodynamically 'clean', & low drag. The current FA-50 is still using the two-seat trainer configuration.

                  Gripen has AIM-120 & Meteor missiles integrated. FA-50 has no BVR missiles, last I heard. AFAIK, nor does it have air-air refuelling.

                  And so on . . . FA-50 is cheap largely because you get what you pay for.
                  Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.



                    I am comparing the FA-50 specifically with Gripen C. Why are you bringing in the Gripen E in this? As they already have the FA-50, I am pointing out that the Gripen C does not give double performance of the FA-50 for double the price.

                    The total budget is just 2.73 billion usd for everything, including a second batch of FA-50, MPAs, Transports, Ground radars the lot. You would clean up all the budget if you go with the Gripen E.


                      Swerve and Tonnyc is correct.

                      you need to separate what haves from what we want.

                      The Gripen C is already flying with BVRAAMs and Meteor, as well as being integrated with a variety of weapons. In other words its operational.

                      the FA-50 has the POTENTIAL to fly with BVRAAMs, its posed next to mock ups with BVRAAMs, but it hasn't completed integration tests with it. As far as I can tell, the FA-50 is only operational with basic short range missiles and dumb munitions (rockets, bombs). Unless a customer is willing to pay for it, it will never reach that same level of operational status as a Gripen or F-16.
                      The Koreans probably have no intention of doing so since they have plenty of other planes tasked for that. It will have to be up to an export order. And why would they do that when there are plenty of F-16s, Gripens, etc going around.


                        For the Philippines

                        They already have the FA-50, and they are planning additional batch of FA-50 in Horizon 2, giving a total of 24 FA-50s. Why do they need a second lightweight fighter too? No matter if it is gripen c or even FC-1, other than political (in FC-1 case) reasons? In gripen's case, it is double the price of FA-50, is that worth it? If you want to say cheap operating costs, that is also already applicable to the FA-50. Other than things like BVR missiles, AAR capability and other weapons that can be added in the future to the FA-50, what is the advantage of the gripen c compared to the FA-50? Does it have a longer internal fuel range compared to FA-50? Does it have significantly higher weapons load than the FA-50? Is it really better than the F-16?

                        The quoted cost for 16 gripen c/d for botswana is around 1.4 billion usd. You could have refurbished F-16 to the F-16V standard with AESA plus plenty of missiles and bombs with that price.
                        Last edited by alexz; 30th January 2018, 08:05.


                          FA-50 refuelling studies.

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                            ^ again, something Gripen already has and KAI would like to have (but will not build unless some one pays them to do it).
                            Please learn the difference.


                              I fully understand the difference. Are those little difference that can easily be implemented worth the more than twice the cost difference? Also understand PAF is already a FA-50 operator, the MRF needs to have a big difference in capability for it to be worthwhile.

                              Simple, Gripen C costs more than twice of the FA-50 but does not give twice the performance capability.
                              Last edited by alexz; 30th January 2018, 09:52.




                                  Alexz, you keep focusing on the wrong thing. Let's go back to your very first post.

                                  The Philippine Air Force is not being given PHP 139 billion. That number is what they are asking for the Horizon 2 modernization program. The government is free to deny part or even all of it. Heck originally they had a 500 billion peso program and the government said Hahahaha, no, try again. The Philippine Air Force actually need 500 billion to be a credible Air Force, but they'd be lucky if they get the 139 billion.

                                  The Armed Forces of the Philippines has a special fund that they use for the modernization program. This fund gets money from the general appropriation allocation, which is pretty much whatever the state gives them, and the BCDA. What the BCDA is is not important for this discussion, but last year they put about PHP 5 billion into this fund, and historically they have given anywhere between 2-4 billion peso into the fund. Last year's 5 billion was a record. Given the economic outlook, okay, let's say that they can continue to give 5 billion peso yearly on average. Now, the general appropriation allocation for the fund is PHP 25 billion for 2018. This is not expected to increase significantly for the remainder of Duterte's presidency.

                                  What this means is that the expected modernization funding for the six year period of Horizon 2 for the entire armed forces is 180 billion peso. Even if we assume a modest increase, of what, 10%, naw, call it 25%, that's only PHP 216 billion. And this has to be divided over all three branches.

                                  The situation is such that the MRF acquisition is not planned on being sourced from the modernization fund, but rather from "the good graces of the government". Now, look at the current Duterte administration and the track record of past Philippine governments. You think they will be willing to create a special allocation for the MRF? Me, I don't think so. Call me a crank, but the question of future MRF for the Philippine Air Force is not about which aircraft is best. It's about who is willing to give Philippines "free" stuff.

                                  Oh, Gripen can be considered too. Sweden will have to provide a loan with a twelve year grace period or longer. The important thing is that some other president is the one who gets stuck with the bill, not Duterte. Frankly I don't think Sweden will be willing to do provide the loan, but stranger things have happened.




                                    So that is just a wish list, and that includes budgets for 16 projects, not just the MRF.

                                    More reasons for not getting the gripen c then. The best platform for MRF IMO is still the F-16. Unless they go and pick up the remaining ex IAF Su-30K in Belarus LoL!


                                      Other than things like BVR missiles, AAR capability and other weapons that can be added in the future to the FA-50, what is the advantage of the gripen c compared to the FA-50?
                                      "What have the Romans ever done for us?"

                                      BVR capability, Ashm capability, an EW integrated suite, a vastly more capable sensor suite, etc, etc, etc...

                                      You are downplaying the problems and COST of integrating new weapons, sensors and capabilities on a massive scale. Its not cheap to integrate new weapons, Great Britain forked out the best part of one billion pounds in order to have Meteor, Storm Shadow and Brimstone integrated into Typhoon, France had to forego eight Rafale airframes in order to fund an AESA antena and so on. Unless the ROKAF funds the integration of new weapons on the FA-50, theres no chances of that particular airframe receiving whatever new hardware on the kind of budget that Philipines can fund, just integrating the AIM-120 and its datalink on the FA-50 and you would be looking to a bill of a pair of hundred million US$.
                                      The weapons, pods, EW equipment, etc, that youve posted on post #6 are from a 2011 ppt and have not being contracted by anyone, right now the FA-50 is a AIM9/Maverick "only" capable light fighter, stick (and pay) a BVR, Ashm and an LDP capability and you are looking of a price tag of multiples of what the Philippines Air Force payed for their first batch, if (a mighty big "IF") the ROKAF foots the bill for their own units then we can discuss its capabilities versus the Gripen (whatever version of it), untill then its an F-5E (non upgraded) equivalent.
                                      Last edited by Sintra; 30th January 2018, 19:33.


                                        Think of it this way - what exactly is the primary threat profile for the Philippine Air Force? And then examine which airplanes fit that role and are then affordable. The Gripen C is a lot more capable than the FA-50 for sure, but its a lot costlier too and that is something that any small air force will have to worry about. And a FA-50 can, like the T-50TH (Thai variant) perhaps perform the role of a LIFT as well, which is a useful capability for smaller air forces that may find it too costly to buy dedicated fighters in large numbers.

                                        the FA-50 versus the Gripen C will always result in the Gripen C out-performing the FA-50, but what does the PAF's threat profile include? Fighting off hordes of PLAAF or PLANAF fighter jets? Or being able to carry out long range CAP and reconnaissance missions over the hundreds of islands of the Philippines and disputed islands in the South China Sea? Being able to attack surface warships from a stand-off distance? I think that anti-shipping missile capability would be extremely valueable to the PAF and there, the Gripen C has a clear advantage with the RBS-15, whereas the FA-50 would need to get in close and use AGM-65 Mavericks.

                                        Anti-radiation missile capability may be a useful capability- even though the PAF is unlikely to go over land into enemy territory and take down radar stations, they may in the future need to deal with China building artificial islands and putting up no-fly zones around those islands thanks to mobile radar installations with SAM batteries.

                                        Tejas Mk1 is affordable and would bring in more Gripen C level capability than the FA-50, but it needs to mature a bit and that will take some more time. the IAF has now invested in the type and will make sure that it is going to be a very capable 4th gen light fighter. But for an export to be successful needs a lot of other things to work out and that I don't see happening any time soon.

                                        Used F-16s, like the ones that the Indonesian AF procured, are not cheap and won't last anything like 13,000 hours. the Indonesian upgrade cost ~$32 million apiece and will give the jets another 15 years worth of flying life.