The President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, said earlier this year, that Manila has no external enemies and do not needs F-16’s, because he doesn’t intend to fight any country.
The South Korean alternative on the market, the FA-50 is also a waste of money, because they cannot be used for anti-insurgency, which is the problem for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at the moment. Duterte explained that these FA-50’s can only be used for a ceremonial fly-by.
Now, one of the weakest military forces in South East Asia is looking towards Russia to beef up its defense. Manila’s primary security threats are land-based, identified as CIA proxy insurgents and so-called Islamic (ISIS-style) groups who have been running a separatist movement for decades.
What the AFP requires are light ground attack aircraft that can be deployed against these type of terrorists in the dense forests of Southeast Asia. The cheap and Syrian War tested Su-25 is ideally suited for this role. It is a heavily armored aircraft that would provide Filipino troops close air support and is almost invulnerable to small arms fire from the ground. NATO calls the Su-25 Frogfoot a flying tank.
If Moscow can not spare sufficient numbers of the Su-25, its future replacement is already here in the form of the Yakolev YAK-130. At just $15 million per unit, this subsonic fighter is the friendly fighter for countries with limited budgets. The YAK-130’s multi-mission capabilities in training, air policing and counter insurgency make it an attractive option for some customers beyond Russia.
The operational effectiveness of the Philippine Navy and the country’s Coast Guard has suffered accordingly, leaving the nation’s sea lanes largely unprotected. Having the 8th longest coastline (36.000 km) in the world, the Philippines is subject to porous borders and coastlines.
Russian short-range missile boats, which performed spectacularly in attacking ISIS targets in the ongoing Syrian War, could address this issue. The Philippine government has also approved for purchase Mi-17 and Mi-35 gunship attack helicopters, long-range patrol aircraft and radar.
In radar technology, Russia has developed an insanely large variety of platforms for tracking everything from cruise missiles to stealth aircraft. Manila’s urgent requirement of assault rifles can be easily met, because Russian rifles are known to be among the most reliable, especially in the damped Southeast Asian environment, where the AK-47 has proven itself in battle.
In the end there are two clear advantages Russian arms sales policies have over the West. One, Russian arms are more competitively priced. The other is that little to no conditions are attached to these Russian arms sales!
Russia Beyond the Headlines / AA Magnum News 2017.