Author Topic: PAF to retire F-5 fleet  (Read 18767 times)

opus

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PAF to retire F-5 fleet
« on: September 28, 2005, 04:39:03 PM »
http://www.philstar.com/philstar/news200509299901.htm

PAF to retire F-5 fleet
By Ding Cervantes
The Philippine Star 09/29/2005

FLORIDABLANCA, Pampanga — Goodbye, "Freedom Fighters."

The Air Defense Wing of the Philippine Air Force at Basa Air Base here is retiring this Saturday the remaining fleet of F-5 supersonic jet fighter-bombers, referred to as "Freedom Fighters," in ceremonies befitting their historic 40-year role in the country’s air defense.

The "Freedom Fighters" were also flown by the Blue Diamond aerobatics team, captivating the public in spectacular air shows during public events, including presidential inaugurations, since they were first acquired by the government from the United States on Aug. 27, 1965 under the Philippine-US military agreement. Their last air show was in 2002 at the Clark special economic zone.

Capt. Ephraim Suyom, spokesman of the Air Defense Wing, said the decommissioning rites will be held at the 431st maintenance hanger at Basa Air Base, with Lt. Gen. Jose Reyes, Air Force chief, as guest of honor.

Highlighting the ceremonies will be the final taxiing and engine shutdown of F-5 No. 191 by Brig. Gen. Manuel Natividad, commander of the Air Defense Wing, Suyon said.

To be decommissioned are 10 F-5s, the only ones which have remained operational out of the 37 acquired by the government from the US from 1965 to 1998, he said.

Suyom said Philippine authorities agreed to decommission the F-5s due to difficulties in maintaining the single-seater supersonic aircraft.

He said the "freedom fighters" were involved in "interceptor and air reconnaissance missions" over the disputed Kalayaan group of islands and the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea.

Though primarily fighter aircraft, Suyom said the F-5s were also used in the campaigns against the Moro National Liberation Front, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Abu Sayyaf as well as in counter-insurgency operations in Luzon and the Visayas.

Suyom added that the F-5s also played a historic role in thwarting the coup d’etat against the administration of former President Corazon Aquino in December 1989.

"The F-5s neutralized the military rebels by bombing Sangley Point in Cavite, which (they) used as a staging area for their T-28 attack planes," he said.

Suyom recalled that the entire fleet of "Freedom Fighters" was grounded when an F-5 crashed during the Philippine-US joint military exercises on May 2, 2001, although "recovery efforts" were done to make them operational again.

These efforts, however, did not accomplish anything. Suyom said, "Due to changing national priorities, resources were channeled to support internal security operations, thereby relegating external defense requirements, such as the F-5 recovery program, to the realm of secondary importance."

"As a result, the F-5 never flew again and was later placed on mothball status," he said.

Suyom said the subsonic Augusta AS-211 jet trainer and light attack aircraft will fill in the gap with the F-5s’ decommissioning "until the real fighter aircraft arrive."

While the F-5 can carry a bomb and ammunition load of up to 6,000 pounds, the AS-211 can carry up to only 2,000 pounds. — With Jaime Laude
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Christerdom

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Re: PAF to retire F-5 fleet
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2005, 09:01:20 AM »
better find a suitable replacement for our F5 fleet, need not compromise the external security over political destabilisation in the government. 


btw, it's nice to see this forum is back though on beta release,  welcome back!!! thanks Opus!

Manokski

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Re: PAF to retire F-5 fleet to fund OV-10 Replacement
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2005, 09:09:22 AM »
Nice to be back home guys!

On a sadder note, too bad about the F-5s, but think about the good side.  This frees up money for a replacement!  Most likely, the money will be used to do a full upgrade of the OV-10s  but it could also mean fudning for am OV-10  replacement.  Maybe some Korean KT-1s or  Super Tucanos.  Sure some sources are saying "more Hueys" but that's already funded so...
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xyz

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Re: PAF to retire F-5 fleet
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2005, 03:01:58 PM »
Money are most likely to supplement the S211s even more.

I wonder how long does the PAF have to wait until the next modern fighter?
Warfare is based on deception.

Christerdom

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Re: PAF to retire F-5 fleet
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2005, 04:37:39 PM »
Another piece of sad story from INQ7

F-5 takes last flight; RP external air defense down and out

First posted 01:21am (Mla time) Oct 02, 2005
By Tonette Orejas, Fe B. Zamora
Inquirer News Service

BASA AIR BASE, Pampanga – As music from the soundtrack of the movie "Top Gun" blared, the fighter jet taxied toward a hangar in this air base to mark the retirement of the country's 37 F-5s, once dubbed the kings of Philippine skies.

Shortly after, retired Brig. Gen. Angel Okol Jr., who was the first to fly the twin-engine supersonic plane for the Air Force in 1965, and Maj. Carlos Evangelista, the last to steer it in 2002, stood beside the aircraft, giving it a last look and posing for posterity.

Called "Freedom Fighter," the 46-foot-long F-5s arrived in October 1965, launching the Philippines into the supersonic age. It was the first Asian country to acquire the planes and, until the '70s, the Philippine Air Force would be the envy of its neighbors.

With the sun glimmering on the plane's wings, Okol (known by his call sign "Cobra 30") and Evangelista ("Cobra 389") lingered and exchanged memories of combat missions.
 
 But their memories were tinged with sadness for their poorly equipped Air Force.

"I feel very lucky to have flown it because to me it played a key role in defending the country's sovereignty," Okol said.

F-5s, he recalled, saw action against secessionists in Mindanao, where he was chief of the then Regional Air Command.

"The F-5s saw big combat operations. They carried all kinds of armaments, except napalm bombs. They carried more weapons like 20-mm cannons," Okol said.

"I feel sad that this major fleet is retired but [economy-wise], it is a correct move because I learned that the imported parts are very difficult to obtain now," he said.

They defended Cory

It was an F-5 piloted by Maj. Danilo Atienza that on Dec. 1, 1989, defended the administration of then President Corazon Aquino against a coup attempt, by bombing and strafing a Sikorsky helicopter, seven T-28s and a fuel depot in Sangley Point to deprive rebel soldiers of air power.

Atienza died in the assault.

The F-5s, too, turned the tide of battle against Abu Sayyaf bandits in 2001.

Brig. Gen. Manuel Natividad, who made the final flight as chief of the Air Defense Wing, said the decommissioning rites for the F-5s-attended by other retired pilots-also symbolized uncertainty for Basa Air Base and the PAF in general.

Fightertown without fighters

Without the F-5s, Natividad said, "Fightertown" – the label airmen had given the base – was now without its mighty wings.

"Comparatively, we are really down as far as air defense is concerned," Natividad said.

The air strength and role of Fightertown in external defense would have to be addressed, he said.

"If not, [it] will affect the air force significantly," he said.

Natividad also expressed concern over the transfer of skills and knowledge from one generation of pilots to another.

He said he was envious of other Southeast Asian countries that were not cutting defense spending and were maintaining air defense superiority amid the economic crisis.

Decision makers, he said, should realize the "need to keep a fighter force."

His voice cracked as he talked of the F-5s: "From Basa it first flew. To Basa it flew last."

End of an era

The meaning of the occasion was not lost on Lt. Gen. Jose Reyes, PAF commander.

"We have just witnessed the end of an era in the Air Force," he said, adding this was "met with a heavy heart at Fightertown."

The arrival of the F-5s ended the bi-winged, fabric-covered, hand-cranked airplanes in the PAF.

From 1965 to 1998, the government received 37 F-5 jets from the United States.

The five S-211 Augusta, which the 5th Tactical Fighter Group operates, are a poor match to the F-5s, Natividad said.

Okol, 75, and his five fellow pilots [he identified them only as Maj. De Leon, Major Franco, Capt. Alegarbes, Capt. Andrews and Capt. Laquindanum] helped the PAF achieve mastery in flying F-5s.

Together with a 50-member maintenance crew, Okol's team trained as combat pilots and instructors at Williams Air Force Base in Texas in 1965.

Pining for F-5

Natividad said the lifespan of an F-5 was 15 years but the PAF was able to lengthen it by diligent maintenance and repair.

The 36 fighter planes needed to replace the F-5s cost $35 million (P1.96 billion) each, Reyes said.

Okol retired in 1982 and moved to Philippine Airlines where he worked until 1995. All those years, he said, he yearned to fly the F-5 again.

His son, Miguel Ernesto, a PAF captain, also flew the aircraft.

Evangelista, 39, said that although the F-5s were old, they flew fast and high during good weather.

His last flight was in May 2002. His wingman, the late Capt. Daniel Policarpio, lost control of the machine and crashed into a school in Mabalacat, Pampanga, while on a training maneuver in the Balikatan exercises.

All the 10 F-5s at that time had since been grounded.

'Older than me'

Their gray paint fading and chipping off, nine F-5s stood solemnly side by side at the air base. Tin foil covered their cockpit canopies, protecting them from scratches.

Save for an occasional visit from a mechanic, who would "cannibalize" them for parts to be used to keep other F-5s flying, these planes here had been left untouched since 2002.

"I have no orders what to do with these. We are just here to guard them," Lt. Elesio Asistol, maintenance officer, told the Inquirer.

Lack of funds and a shift from external to internal security have been cited as reasons for finally removing the F-5s from the PAF's inventory of air assets.

"Yes," Evangelista smiled sheepishly, "the plane is actually older [than me]."

Christerdom

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Re: PAF to retire F-5 fleet
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2005, 08:31:13 PM »


THE FIRST, THE LAST: Retired Philippine Air Force Brig. Gen. Angel Okol Jr. (left), the first Filipino to fly the F-5 fighter jet in 1965, and Maj. Carlos Evangelista, the last to fly the jet, salute at the formal decommissioning of the aircraft at the Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga yesterday. - Photo By AP

Christerdom

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Re: PAF to retire F-5 fleet
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2005, 01:51:18 AM »

gritpaladin

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Re: PAF to retire F-5 fleet
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2005, 03:24:29 PM »
According to the Sundays Newspaper (MB), 5th Fighter Wing has 10 F5 aircrafts left but 5 out of 10 are still serviceable. It can be activated once there is war.

Does it mean, those 5 aircrafts can be ready for any necessary Flights for air interception?

GKB02

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Re: PAF to retire F-5 fleet
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2005, 05:05:21 PM »
they still look shinny new, and they even loaded them AIM-9 sidewinders..
sayang talaga.....
AM+DG

Wushu

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Re: PAF to retire F-5 fleet
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2005, 08:17:21 PM »
nice to be back!

sleek look too! me like!

anyway, to repeat what i said in pdff, i agree with what the airforce did..... i may not like it, and i'm pretty sure they themselves don't like it, but it makes more sense....

instead of using the money to maintain 3-5 supersonic fighters to "intercept" a "possible" military invasion from another country (a task that it is incapable of doing anyway since we don't have search radars and working missiles).....

use the money instead to buy more helicopters that will be used against existing enemies that are actually killing our soldiers as we speak......

THIS DECISION WILL SAVE MORE LIVES

that's why i support it...... its unpopular, but the right thing to do.....

8thGen

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Re: PAF to retire F-5 fleet
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2005, 10:55:03 PM »
In our dimension , we dont have the need for airplanes as air defense..we use  e cold plasma field to cloak us from  radar and surviellance satellites or planes and to defelct energy based weapons. We use particle shields for physical projectiles or missles..our defense may be extensively advanced..but our 'offensive' capabilty is based on ancient art of meditation and prayer...we go to 'war' with only a handful of 'ultra special forces'..with mind-based armaments- mind control, multi dimensional cloaking, levitation, and most useful of all- natural healing capabilites which can be applied and shared with other injured people. But we do have an ultimate , 'doomsday' weapon.. (when all else fails)...embedded in our neigbouring star..an antimatter bomb which when activated will trigger our sun to go to hyper mode- from medium to a supernova..until all matter near it  will burn...and that supernova will exhaust its energy...turning to dwarf..to a blackhole....sucking all elements and thoughts of the  abusive, corrupt, pagan and wreckless beings that once existed near this system...sana magkaparehas tayo ng lugar ..       

Wushu

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Re: PAF to retire F-5 fleet
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2005, 11:31:33 PM »
ahhhhh i really missed this forum!  :lol:

The Reaper

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Re: PAF to retire F-5 fleet
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2005, 05:33:19 PM »
It'll save some money. I hate to be an *ss, but I don't really know what a handful of old structurally fatigued, Sidewinder armed F-5's could do against our neighbor's Sukhois, Falcons, and Hornets. Good for show, good for pride, but not very practical.

raven333

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Re: PAF to retire F-5 fleet
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2005, 09:39:31 AM »
Well....there goes my dream of becoming a fighter pilot....T.T.....well...no choice talaga e..... At least sana.... nakapaghanda na ang gobyerno sa pag replace sa F-5's natin.... And I agree...sorry.... wala magagawa ang mga F-5's natin laban sa mag BVR's missiles ng fighter planes ng ibang bansa....I suggest the goverment to look for some surplus F-16's, as long as it has plenty of flying hours,  then why not? F-16 MLU or ADF would do fine, I guess...May binebenta ang Dutch....F-16MLU,  $5million each, binebenta sa Chile kaso pumapabor yung chile sa France..(resource:F-16.net) baka pwde mag offer ang government natin. Kung ayaw tayo pag bilhan ng US then makipag negotiate na lng tayo sa Russia. SU-30MK's are pwoerful aircraft... up to 10 missile, it can perform a pugachev cobra manuever, long range with its NIIP N-001'slot back' pulse doppler(actually sa SU-27 to, don't know much about the SU-30, halos parehas lang siguro. Base naman ang SU-30 sa SU-27 e.). It can carry AS-17 Krypton supersonic anti ship missile. Multi-role aircraft pa......kung di pwde look for other sources...basta.....the goverment must do something about it....Our air force needs fighter planes.... not because for vanity...but because its the first line of defence....... air force must always be prepared........
« Last Edit: October 14, 2005, 05:51:52 AM by raven333 »

The Reaper

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Re: PAF to retire F-5 fleet
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2005, 05:34:31 PM »
We couldn't even afford to keep the Freedom Fighters flying; so how in the world would we be able to buy, arm, and maintain newer fighters in significant numbers? By significant I mean at least two dozen, not a handful which really wouldn't be of any use since they're gonna be spread too thin. And if you wanna use them effectively instead of letting 'em wander pointlessly, you'll need an AWACS or AEW platform which'll cost some bucks too. My point is we don't have any money!!!

And if there is, it should be spent on trying to improve the economy first instead of trying to get a cure for a nonexistent problem (Like a foreign invasion). Then spend it on COIN equipment like what OPUS suggested on another thread. WTF are Falcons, Flankers, Fulcrums, etc. going to do against the rebels besides the ocassional thousand pounders? Absolutely nothing. Helos, transports, and COIN/mod. gunships are what's really needed. That's beside good basic equipment like radios and body armor.