The Philippine military modernization under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is very complex and challenging when President Duterte announced on Tuesday that he was considering acquiring defense equipment from Russia and China.
Military defense analyst believes that the modernization under Duterte administration is going to be pretty exciting as compared with the previous administration, which relies only on refurbish or donations with 3 to 4 decades old military equipment from its allies.
For the benefit of the doubt, few of the military equipment were procured by the Aquino administration, brand new, just like the Korean made FA-50 fighter jet, but still an underdog with fewer capabilities in terms of technology and performance as compared to others.
According to a Military defense expert at the Moscow-based Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST). The Philippines should seriously be more focused when purchasing military equipment and weaponry, specifically in acquiring a multirole fighter aircraft that can perform multiple role missions simultaneously.
“The Philippines should not just rely only on western military fighter aircraft which is so expensive such as F-16V and Jas 39 Gripen worth approximately $60million each. The F-15SE at $100million per unit, but should also look to other sources and suppliers,” Defense expert said.
Note that the Philippines already acquired 12 units, Korean made FA-50 trainer jet with a price tag of US$402 million or US$32.5 millions per unit. Defense expert added.
The Russian fighter Jet such as the MiG-29 SMT Fulcrum, the Sukhoi Su-30SM, and the latest Sukhoi Su-35S Flanker-E fighter jet are the best option. It’s not just only cheap, but it also combat proven, a defense expert said.
1. Russian MiG-29 SMT Fulcrum Multirole Fighter Aircraft
Price tag – US$29 million average cost per unit
MiG-29 SMT designed and produced by Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG (RAC MiG), which is a part of JSC United Aircraft Corporation. It is equipped with high-precision air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons to deliver high combat efficiency against aerial, ground, and sea-based targets.
It incorporates enhanced cockpit and avionics, additional fuel tanks, upgraded engine, and increased weapons carriage capacity.
The reinforced structure of the MiG-29SMT Fulcrum multi-role fighter aircraft results in increased flight endurance and a longer range. The aircraft has two fixed, rearward-swept wings with square-cut wing tips. Two vertical stabilizers are fitted at the rear.
A retractable landing gear allows the aircraft to perform safe take-off and landing. Meanwhile, the nose landing gear consists of a single two-wheel bogie, and the two main landing gears featuring a single wheel each.
The length of the fighter jet is 17.32m, whilst the wing span is 11.36mm and the height is 4.73m. The normal and maximum take-off weights of the aircraft are 17,000kg and 22,000kg respectively.
The aircraft is equipped with a bolt-on retractable refueling probe and different in-flight refueling systems. It can be fitted with additional fuel tanks for more fuel.
Cockpit and avionics
The new glass cockpit of the MiG-29SMT fighter aircraft is equipped with a data display system consisting of two wide-screen MFD-10-6 multifunction color displays and hands-on throttle and stick control (HOTAS). It also incorporates an INS-GPS navigation system.
The aircraft is installed with a multifunctional, multi-mode, lightweight pulse doppler airborne radar Zhuk-ME, which was developed by Phazotron-NIIR.
A slot antenna array is fitted on to the radar. This offers an increased detection range and enhanced target recognition than previous generation radars. It is capable of tracking up to ten air targets while engaging four targets simultaneously in air-to-air mode.
The aircraft features an open architecture mission computer with a data exchange multiplex channel for integration of different avionics systems, based on the customer requirements.
The optional equipment includes an electronic countermeasures (ECM) pod, radio stations, upgraded infrared search and track system (IRSTS), as well as a variety of identification, friend or foe (IFF) transponders.
MiG-29SMT weapons and armament
The multi-role fighter jet features six external hard-points to carry a variety of modern high-precision weapon systems.
It is armed with two R-27ER1(R1), two R-27ET1(T1) and six RVV-AE medium-range air-to-air missiles; six R-73E short-range air-to-air missiles; four KAB-500Kr / KAB-500L guided bombs; and a 30mm Gsh-301 built-in air gun.
The aircraft also carries two Kh-29TE, two Kh-29L and four Kh-25ML air-to-surface missiles; two Kh-31A anti-ship missiles; and two Kh-31P anti-radar missiles.
Engine and performance
The MiG-29SMT Fulcrum is powered by two RD-33 series-3 engines, which generate a take-off thrust of 8,300kgf each. The power plant ensures a maximum air speed of 1,500km/h near the ground and 2,400km/h at high altitudes.
The ferry range of the aircraft is 1,800km, without any external tanks. The range can be extended up to 2,400km with one drop tank, and up to 3,000km with three drop tanks.
The aircraft can reach a maximum range of more than 5,000km when fitted with three drop tanks and one single in-flight refueling. Service ceiling is 17,500m, the maximum G-load is nine, and the maximum M-number is Mach 2.25.