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GMA Shopping List Aircraft Ground Forces Naval Vessels SSMs


Ayres V-1-A Vigilante

V-1-A Vigilante

Top speed: 230 mph level at optimum altitude; economical cruising speed 170 mph at optimum altitude

Range: 1,750 miles ferry range with drop tanks; 900 miles with internal fuel; 7 hour endurance on standard fuel

Powerplant: one Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A-65AG Turboprop

Weight: 4,900 lbs empty, 10,500 lbs max. take off

Ceiling: 25,000 feet

Armament: Up to 4,200 lbs. of stores which may include 500 lbs bombs, 2.75 inch rocket pods, machine gun pods up to 20mm caliber, anti-armor missiles, sea mines and torpedoes

Thrush/NEDS/Vigilante Operators: USA (State Department: NEDS, US Border Patrol: Vigilante); Over 2500 Rockwell/Ayres/QA Thrush agricultural aircraft have been sold to over 65 countries.

(fr. Encyclopedia of World Military Aircraft, Amber Books, 2000)

AYRES V-1-A Vigilante as COIN Aircraft

"But it's a crop-duster!!"

Yes... but it's armored, can carry 4,200 lbs of weapons, can stay airborne for 7 hours, and is highly responsive since crop-dusters have to be able to avoid telephone lines and vehicles at the ends of fields when they make their low-level runs. It is also cheap, uncomplicated and easy to maintain.

In the 1980s the United States faced a worsening drug problem and adopted a policy of spraying coca plantations in South America and parts of Asia through the US State Department in cooperation with the respective countries' governments. Surplus OV-10 Broncos were modified and used for these roles but the growers threw considerable resources against them, including machine guns, anti-aircraft cannon and even shoulder launched anti-aircraft missiles. It was later realized that the Broncos were vulnerable in the high-threat, low altitude environments they had to operate in. There were also problems integrating the various ducts and spray-bars to the Bronco and the resulting drag compromised performance and degraded handling.

In the interim, the US State Department approached Ayres Corporation of Albany, GA to help develop a new "drug eradicator." Ayres specialized in making crop-dusters and owned the rights to the Rockwell Thrush Commander. The resulting aircraft, rolled out in 1983, used an uprated Pratt and Whitney PT6A-65AG turbine engine offering 1,376 hp driving a 9-foot-3-inch five bladed propeller and had an armored two-seat dual control cockpit, an armored back-up fuel tank and provisions for sophisticated communications and navigation equipment. Nine aircraft were delivered to the US State Department inder the designation Turbo-Thrush S2R-T65/5400 NEDS (Narcotics Eradication Delivery System) and were reportedly used in Burma, Thailand, Columbia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize.

The US State Department and the US Army Electro-Optical Survivability Program funded development of a modified NEDS for strike duties. The resulting aircraft, dubbed Ayres V-1-A Vigilante, was identical to the NEDS except that it was equipped to carry weapons instead of spraying equipment. There are 11 hardpoints (four under each wing and three tandem pylons under the fuselage) with a combined ordnance capacity of 4,200 lbs, possible weapon fits including 2.75-in. folding-fin aerial rocket pods, napalm canisters, Stinger missiles and a variety of bombs. The aircraft can also be fitted with a variety of surveillance equipment including FLIR an LLTV night vision cameras, video recorders and digital data-links for transmitting images to ground stations.

The US Border Patrol successfully tested the Vigilante in the nocturnal border-surveilance role but funding for the aircraft was not available and the program ended.

The NEDS and Vigilante have a maximum spead of 250 mph and an economical cruising speed of 170 mph. Stall speed with flaps extended is 58 mph. With light loads the aircraft can take-off in 395 ft. Fully-loaded it will take off in 1,250 ft.

The Vigilante is said to cost only $1 million each and has an existing worldwide support network, since over 2,500 Thrush crop-dusters have been sold to over 65 countries. An added benefit to using the Vigilante in COIN duties is its low political visibility. It is harder to for the propaganda arm of an insurgent group to demonize before the world press a low-tech modified crop duster than purpose-built military aircraft. The type is also simple enough and may be suited for local production, both for internal security and in the aircraft's primary configuration for agricultural spraying and aerial fire fighting.



Note: Quality Aerospace acquired the assets of Ayres Aerospace in 2001.


Other companies also offer crop dusters which could be suitably modified for COIN operation.



Royal New Zealand Air Force A-4 Kahu Skyhawks

USMC A-4 Skyhawk

A-4M Skyhawk

Length: 40 ft. 3.5 in.

Wingspan: 27 ft. 6 in.

Top speed: 685 mph level, "clean" at sea level; 645 mph level, "clean" at 20,000 with 4,000 warload

Range: 2,055 miles ferry; 345 mile combat radius with 4,000 lb warload, 497 miles on a hi-lo-hi mission with sx1,000 lb bombs

Powerplant: one Pratt and Whitney J52-P-408 turbojet

Weight: 10,465 lbs empty, 24,500 lbs max. take off

Ceiling: 42,000 feet

Armament: Up to 9,155 lbs. of stores: various free-fall bombs and rocket pods, cluster bombs, AGM-65 Maverick, AIM-9 Sidewinder, GBU-16 laser guided bombs, 2 20mm cannon

A-4 Skyhawk Operators: USA, Argentina, Israel, Brazil, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia (in storage), New Zealand (in storage)

A-4 SKYHAWK as Interim Fighter and Strike Aircraft

Regarded as a "classic" by any measure and was (and still is) a superb close-air-support and interdiction platform. It first entered service in October, 1956 and had the longest production run of any tactical aircraft at about 25 years. Total production of all variants reached 2,960 aircraft. Its original mission was the delivery of tactical nuclear weapons and it was the US Navy and Marine Corps principal ground attack aircraft, seeing extensive use in the Vietnam War.

Israel was the largest export customer for Skyhawks, with some 350 newly manufactured A-4Hs (modified A-4Fs), A-4Ns (modified A-4Ms), and TA-4 trainers, and refurbished A-4Es delivered between 1967 and 1973. The Skyhawks, called "Ahit" or "Vulture" in IAF service, saw extensive combat use. Israeli modifications included the replacement of the US Mk. 12 20mm guns with French DEFA 553 30 mm. cannons and the extension of the tailpipe to better handle damage from tail-chasing shoulder-launched SA-7 missiles.

Argentina is another old Skyhawk user, having first ordered refurbished US examples in 1966. The Fuerza Aera (FAA) and Comando Aviacion Naval Argentina (CANA) used their A-4s against the British during the Falklands War, where their pilots performed gallantly and sank or contributed to the sinking or scuttling of a destroyer, two frigates and a Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship. Losses were heavy, 22 out of 35 A-4s on strength were lost, as the Skyhawks were at the outer edge of their range and did not have enough fuel to perform evasive maneuvers. It is said that if the Argentinians had adequate aerial tanker support the British would have had a much harder time dealing with them. The FAA had 2 KC-130s tankers but even with these the A-4s were at their range limit. Recently, the FAA took delivery of 36 upgraded and refurbished ex-US Marine Corps A-4M, redesignated A-4AR Fightinghawks. These were upgraded with AN/APG-66 multimode radars, HOTAS controls and advanced avionics, and had their J-52 engines zero-timed.

Another user, Singapore, currently operates about 60 Skyhawks. Upgrades included replacement of the 8,400-lb-thrust J65 engines with 11,000-lb-thrust F404 GE100D turbofans, essentially non-afterburning versions of the engines of the F/A-18 Hornet, and advanced avionics and improved air-to-air and air-to-ground ordnance carrying and control capability.

New Zealand was another export customer, having received 24 A-4s from US and Australian stocks. In 1986 New Zealand initiated Project Kahu - a major upgrade for its Skyhawks which included the installation of a Westinghouse AN/APG-66 radar optimized for maritime tracking, HOTAS controls, MIL-STD 1553B databus; Litton LN-93 inertial navigation system, Ferranti wide-angle HUD, chaff and flare dispensers and various structural modifications. The aircraft also received armament upgrades including the capability to fire AIM-9L Sidewinders, AGM-65 Mavericks and GBU-16 laser guided bombs. Though the project was deemed highly successful, New Zealand sought to modernize its air force with the lease (with option to purchase) of the previously embargoed Pakistani F-16s for a bargain price from the United States. To make the deal more attractive, the US had offered to finance the sale of the RNZAF A-4s to the cash-strapped Philippines, and, according to a Brazilian news article, had actually blocked the Philippines' attempts to purchase F-5Es from Switzerland (According to the article, the US invoked the F-5 licensing agreement with Switzerland prohibiting the resale of the fighters to a third country, in this case the Philippines, but it raised no objections to Brazil's purchase of the same aircraft. It also mentions that internal tensions in the Philippines may have contributed to the US halting the sale, but it did not mention that the US was also trying to sell F-16s or finance the transfer of A4s to the Philippines to sweeten its deal with Wellington at the same time). Regardless, the US deal with New Zealand for the F-16s fell through with the assumption of Helen Clark as NZ Prime Minister. Her government cancelled the F-16 agreement and subsequently abolished the armed component of the RNZAF. The Skyhawks and MB.339s trainers were all put in storage as of December, 2001 awaiting buyers. Before that date two of the 19 remaining Kahu Skyhawks crashed. One of the accidents was attributed to pilot "stress" at seeing his career as a fighter pilot coming to an end.

An American company, Advanced Training Systems International based near Phoenix, Arizona, recently purchased 13 ex-Israeli Skyhawks: ten single seat A-4Ns and three two-seat A-4Js. The company had originally provided aviation ground training for pilots and tested aircraft components for industry, and with their aircraft now provides a bigger variety of services for the US military, including anti-air and anti-ship adversary simulation. They also offer the same services, as well as flight training to foreign military pilots.

US Federal law prohibited the sale of tactical jets to civilian operators so ATSI turned to Israel. The aircraft had been stored in the desert for some years and to refurbish them, Israeli Aircraft Industries and SAFE Air of Blenheim, New Zealand both bid for the contract. IAI was prepared to bring the aircraft only up to Israeli Air Force standards, whereas SAFE Air was prepared to bring the A-4s up to US Navy standards. The contract was awarded to SAFE, which has had extensive experience with refurbishing and upgrading the RNZAF's and Indonesian Air Force's Skyhawks.

Both SAFE and ATSI joined forces to bid for the refurbishment and upgrading of the ex-Kuwaiti A-4KUs purchased by the Brazilian Navy. This bid was lost to another company that underbid them by $3 million, and which subsequently failed to do the job properly when it tried to work with the lower sum. At this point ATSI had moved on to more lucrative projects.


The American company Advanced Training Systems International Limited of Arizona won the bid for the 17 ex-RNZAF A4K Skyhawks. The auction was conducted by the international consultancy group Ernst and Young. The A4Ks will join ATSI's existing fleet of 12 ex-Israeli Air Force A4s.


C.101CC Aviojet

Length: 41 ft

Wingspan: 34 ft 9 in

Top speed: 501 mph "clean" at 20,000 feet

Range: ferry: 2000 nautical miles (3706 km), combat radius 280 nm (519 km) on a lo-lo-lo interdiction mission with one cannon pod and four 551 lb bombs, or 200 nm (370 km) on a lo-lo-lo close support mission with cannon pack, four rocket launchers and two 276 lb bombs, 520 nm (964 km) on a hi-lo-hi photo reconnaissance mission

Powerplant: Garret TFE731-5-1J (4,300 lb. st.)

Weight: 7,716 lbs empty, 13,889 lbs. max. take off

Ceiling: 42,000 ft.

Armament: 4,960 lbs of ordnance in six underwing and one centerline pylon.

Operators: Spain, Chile, Honduras, Jordan

CASA C.101 AVIOJET as Basic/Advanced Trainer and Strike Aircraft

Trainer and light strike aircraft designed by CASA of Spain with assistance from MBB and Northop. Operated by Spain, Chile, Honduras and Jordan, with more than 120+ in service.

Protoype first flew in June 1977. Modular construction to reduce cost and complexity, with ample space deliberately left for avionics and equipment to meet any conceivable requirement. Large space in rear fuselage used for quick-change packages of reconnaissance equipment, ECM gear, laser target designators or twin 12.7mm machine gun pack. Can mount a 30mm DEFA cannon pod in centerline. Six underwing pylons for up to 4,960 lbs of external ordnance.

Initial variant ordered by Spain was the C101EB-01 (60+ ordered and given designation E.25 Mirlo). Another batch of 28 was ordered but this second batch was reduced. Used by Spain's "Team Aguila" aerobatic display team. Powered by 3,500 lbs st Garret TFE731-2-2J turbofan. All in Spanish service received navigation and attack systems modernization in the early 1990s.

C.101EB had better than expected performance at low level, but was disappointing at higher altitude. Thus, the export C101BB variant was powered by a Garret TFE731-3-1J, with an extra 200 lbs of thrust. C101BB-02 exported to Chile as tactical weapons trainers. C101BB-03 delivered to Honduras.

C.101CC first flew November 1983 and is a dedicated attack aircraft. Powered by the 4,300 lb. st. Garret TFE731-5-1J. C.101CC-02 ordered by Chile as the A-36 Halcon, most assembled in Chile by ENAER. Sixteen C.101CC-03s delivered to Jordan to serve as advanced trainers .

In 1985 CASA flew the prototype C.101DD with new avionics, including a GEC Doppler, inertial platform and weapon arming computer, a Ferranti HUD, HOTAS controls, an AL-66 radar warning receiver, chaff/flare dispensers, and is compatible with the AGM-65 Maverick missile. A similar aircraft was submitted to the US as a contender for the USAF/USN JPATS requirement.

The type was offered to the Philippine Air Force to function as both basic and advanced jet trainer but lost the bid. The plan adopted by the PAF then was to buy the Italian SIAI-Marchetti S211 basic trainers and the British BAe Hawk for advanced training (the S211s were eventually delivered but the Hawk deal was shelved). The cost of the C101 as offered was said to be comparable to the cost of the S211s when the deal was signed.

CASA is now part of EADS.


Tiger III cockpit


Length: 47 ft 4.7 in

Wingspan: 26 ft 8 in

Top speed: 1,082 mph

Range: 1,543 miles ferry with maximum fuel. Combat radius with maximum fuel and 2 Sidewinder missiles 656 miles

Powerplant: two 5,000-lb afterburning thrust General Electric J85-GE-21 B turbojets

Weight: 9,723 lbs empty, 24,722 lbs. max. take off

Ceiling: 51,800 ft.

Armament: Two 20 mm M39 cannon with 280 rounds per gun; provision for 3175 kg (7,000 Ib) of disposable stores, including Sidewinder AAMs, ASMs, free-fall bombs, cluster bombs, dispenser weapons, rocket-launcher pods, cannon pods, drop tanks and ECM pods carried on five external hardpoints and two wing tip missile rails

Operators: Bahrain, Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sudan, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, USA, Yemen







Sao Paulo Gazeta Mercantil - January 24, 2002 Article on CLW website

F-5E/F TIGER II as Interim Fighter

The F-5E "Tiger II" was a greatly improved version of the earlier F-5A "Freedom Fighter". Redesigned as a highly maneuverable, lightweight and inexpensive air superiority fighter, the -E featured an air-to-air fire control radar system and a lead computing gunsight. More powerful J85 engines required the fuselage to be both widened and lengthened. The forward wing root was redesigned to give the "Tiger II" wing its characteristic triple delta shape.

The first flight of the F-5E was on 11 August 1972. The first USAF unit to receive the aircraft was the 425th TFS at Williams AFB, Arizona responsible for training foreign pilots in the F-5 aircraft.

A total of 1,166 F-5E , 241 F-5F and 12 RF-5E were produced by Northrop and under license in Switzerland, South Korea and Taiwan.

A number of companies offer upgrade packages for the F-5. The packages are popular because of the aircraft's sound design and widespread use, and will ensure that the type will serve for many more years.

Chile's F-5 fleet was upgraded by IAI of Israel to F-5E Plus Tiger III standard. New systems include the Elta EL/M-2032 multi-mode, pulse-Doppler fire control radar developed for the Lavi, HOTAS controls, a new El-Op HUD, MIL-STD-1553 digital databus and air data computer, radar warning receivers for 360 degree coverage, active jammers, flare and chaff dispensers and provisions for Python-3 AAMS and laser guided weapons.

The IAI/Lahav Division also leads the consortium comprising Elbit Systems and Singapore Aerospace Technologies currently undertaking the modernization of 48 F-5s of the Turkish Air Force. The program, worth $75 million, involves avionics systems upgrades covering weapon, navigation and cockpit system upgrades, as well as airframe structural life extension and reinforcement. Turkey expects to use its F-5s until 2020 as their intermediate Aircraft for training new pilots before they move up into F-16s.

Taiwan and Bahrain are also contemplating adding provisions for the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile to their F-5s.

Many surplus F-5E/Fs are currently available.

Switzerland was in the process of retiring 16 F-5Es, with 9 of them going to a technical school as instructional airframes, the rest were to be sold back to the United States to replace older F-5s used in the agressor role in dissimilar aircraft combat training. Most US Navy agressors have flown over 7,000 hours but Swiss aircraft have yet to reach 3,000 hours (Air Forces Monthly, March 2000).

The Philippines was studying the possibility of acquiring surplus F-5E/Fs from Saudi Arabia, which is replacing the type with F-15s. Taiwan was reported to have offered the Philippines F-5s at a low price of $1 million each, although this was earlier denied by officials in Taiwan, which received a total of 306 F-5E/Fs from the US or from AIDC. More recent statements by US Congressman Dana Rohrbacher and the Philippine government confirmed that negotiations are underway for the transfer of up to 24 Taiwanese F-5E/Fs. Sources have said the deal involves payment of a token fee, a state visit by the Taiwanese head-of-state, fishing rights to the channel between Taiwan and Batanes, and the use of facilities at the former US Clark Airbase for training purposes. While the aircraft are badly needed the political implications of the conditions may make the deal unworkable. The Philippines had previously received several F-86 fighters from Taiwan before adopting its "one China" policy. The current handful of F-5As operated by the PAF were sold to the Philippines by South Korea for the "friendship" price of US$100 each in recognition of the Philippine's role in the Korean War.


Royal New Zealand Air Force MB.339C

Eritrean MB.339FD

MB.339C as sold to the RNZAF

Length: 36 ft. 10.5 in.

Wingspan: 39 ft. 9.75 in.

Top speed: 560 mph (level, "clean" at sea level)

Range: 1,367 miles ferry with drop tanks; 196 miles on a lo-lo-lo attack mission with four 500 lb. bombs; 311 miles on a hi-lo-hi attack mission with four 500 lb. bombs

Powerplant: one Piaggio-built Rolls-Royce Viper Mk 680-43 rated at 4,400 lb. st. dry

Weight: 7,297 lbs empty, 13,999 lbs max. take off

Ceiling: more than 48,000 feet

Armament: Six underwing hardpoints for up to 4,000 lbs. of stores: various free-fall bombs and rocket pods, cluster bombs, AGM-65 Maverick, AIM-9 Sidewinder or MATRA Magic IR missiles, gun pod with one DEFA 30mm cannon with 120 rounds, or another type with a .50 caliber MG and 350 rounds.

MB.339 Operators: Argentina, Dubai, Eritrea, Ghana, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Venezuela and Peru

Aermacchi acquired SIAI Marchetti in 1997. SIAI-Marchetti made the S211 and SF260 trainers which the Philippine Air Force operates. Aermacchi also sells the AMX, a joint project with Alenia and Embraer of Brazil.



AERMACCHI MB.339 as Basic/Advanced Trainer and Strike Aircraft

Developed using experience gained from its highly successful MB.329 jet trainer of which nearly 800 were produced. First prototype flew August 1976 and first production aircraft delivered to the Italian Air Force in August 1979. Provides basic and advanced training in the Italian Air Force. The "Macchis", as they are known, also equip the 313 Gruppo Pattuglia Aerobatica Nazionale, the renowned Italian national aerobatic team. It has been used in the ground attack role by Argentina against British Forces in the Falkands and by Eritrea in their war with Ethiopia. Also operated by the air forces of Dubai, Ghana, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, and Peru. The type has over 500,000 flying hours to it in different operational and climatic environments.

In an armed capacity, MB.339 can carry up to 4,000 lbs of external stores on six underwing pylons, including 2 30mm DEFA cannon. It has been cleared to operate with AIM-9L/P Sidewinder AAMs.

The MB.339C was developed as a relatively low-cost lead-in fighter trainer from the basic MB.339 with advanced nav/attack systems and provision for ground and naval strike roles. Equipment include a Litton LR80 twin-gyro INS, GEC avionics 620K tactical area navigation system, ARINC 429 databus, a GEC AD-660 Doppler velocity sensor, Kaiser Sabre HUD/WAC, Aeritalia TV Maverick-compatible multi-function CRT display and Elettronica ELT-156 radar warning receiver.

The MB.339C is equipped to operate weapons such as the Maverick, Marte 2, AS34 Kormoran anti-ship missile and laser guided bombs.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force was the first buyer of the -339C having ordered 18 in 1990 for US$157 million to replace its aging BAC Strikemasters. The orders were deliverd 1991 to 1993. There were initial problems with the aircraft which Aermacchi subsequently rectified. With the abolition of the armed component of New Zealand's air force, the Macchis have become redundant. The MB.339s are currently grounded due to pilot stress (at seeing the end of their careers as fighter pilots) and the aircraft will be sold December 2001.

The latest version is the MB.339FD, or Full Digital, for the advanced fighter training role, covering weapon system management in a high performance, high maneouverability aircraft. The FD has been bought by Venezuela and Eritrea.


The 17 ex-RNZAF MB.339s were purchased by the Malaysian Government. The auction was conducted by the international consultancy group Ernst and Young.

MB.339FD cockpit


Lockheed Martin F-16A

Length: 49 ft. 4 in.

Wingspan: 31 ft.

Top speed: Mach 2.0

Range: 2,418 miles ferry with drop tanks; 340 miles on a hi-lo-hi mission with six 1,000 lb. bombs

Powerplant: one Pratt and Whitney F100-P-100, 14,760 lbs dry, 23,830 lbs with afterburning

Weight: 14,567 lbs empty, 33,000lbs max. take off

Ceiling: more than 50,000 feet

One internal 20-mm M61A1 Vulcan cannon with 511 rounds; AIM-9L/M/P Sidewinder missiles or MATRA Magic 2 or Rafael Python; AGM65 Maverick; assorted free-fall bombs; Penguin anti-ship missiles (Norway). Block 15 ADF have the ability to launch the AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-120 AMRAAM BVR missile. F-16 C/D Block 30/32 onwards have the ability to carry the AGM-45 Shrike, AGM-88 HARM, Harpoon and AIM-120 AMRAAM, while LANTIRN equipped aircraft can launch GBU-10 and GBU-12 laser guided bombs.

Operators: Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, The Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Venezuela



F5 vs. F-16:


The F-16 Fighting Falcon is the most numerous fighter in the West and is the current top seller. For the year 2000 Lockheed-Martin garnered more than 50% of all worlwide fighter orders. Over 220 F-16s were sold that year, pushing total F-16 production to 4,285 aircraft when current orders are filled in 2006.

The Fighting Falcon was concieved as a lightweight "no-frills" fighter for air-to-air combat but has evolved into a versatile and effective multi-role workhorse. Prototype first flew in 1974 and delivery of operational aircraft began in 1979. It was designed to outfight the Mig-21 Fishbed and can match the Mig-29 for sheer agility, while remaining a first-class bomb truck. It is highly maneuverable and is currently the yardstick with which dogfighting ability is measured. F-16s have shot down 69 aircraft in various engagements with no air-to-air losses.

Block 15 F-16 A/Bs are the oldest Falcons in service with the USAF, all pre-15 blocks having been retired in the early 1990s because of wing cracks and afterburner problems. All F-16 A/Bs currently have air-to-ground work as their primary duty, with air combat secondary, except for Block 15 ADFs (Air Defense Fighters). The F-16 ADF is the only interceptor currently assigned to air defence of the North American continent. Modifications include upgrading the APG-66 radar, provisions for AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, advanced IFF, a night identification light and improved ECCM, among others.

F-16C/Ds are basically similar to A/Bs but have greater accent on "smart" weapons. Considering other deals for aircraft of this type, C/D models are out of the Philippine government's price range.

The US had offered the Philippines the 28 embargoed Pakistani Block 15 F16A/Bs in storage at Davis-Monthan Airbase but the government at that time wanted F16 C/Ds. One senator even remarked that the embargoed F-16s, which had only a few hours in them, were "old stock", and that since we were going to spend a lot of money anyway, we might as well buy the best that is available. Murphy's Law being a universal constant, the Asian economic crisis came, along with another more sinister, more chaotic event - the 1998 presidential elections. Funds dried up, currency devalued and reality bit hard. The US then offered the embargoed F-16s to New Zealand and the Philippines tagged along to try out New Zealand's 30-year old A-4 Skyhawks, which the F-16s were to replace. The US was even willing to finance the sale of the Skyhawks to us to induce the Kiwis to buy the Falcons. In the end, the new NZ government scrapped the armed component of their air force and the US absorbed the Falcons into service (see RNZAF deal details below).

More recently, Pratt and Whitney, one of the manufacturers of the F-16's engines, has signified its willingness to assist the Philippines in buying F-16s by offering a counter-trade agreement. (F-16s up to Block 25 and Blocks 32, 42 and 52 had PW engines. Blocks 30, 40, 50 and 60 used GE engines) Most likely the deal will be for Block 10 or 15 F-16 A/Bs similar to the deals being offered by the US to several former Warsaw Pact countries.

Previous counter-trade deals entered into by the Philippines include the deal for the Italian S.211 trainers, the aircraft purchase being offset in part allegedly by large quantities of women's underwear.

F-16 deals:

Poland was offered a donation of 16 F-16A/Bs which are said to include Block 10 OCU or Block 15 ADF aircraft, with cost of overhaul and minor upgrade estimated at $15 million per aircraft. Each F-16 offered has enough flight hours remaining to allow the Polish Air Force to operate them for another 10 years. Total cost is US$240 million. The offer has since been upgraded to one of 44 brand-new F-16C/D Block 50/52 fighters with configurations similar to those being delivered to the USAF. The deal includes the the lease of the 16 F-16A/Bs as transition aircraft. Cost of this new deal is US$?? million.

Chile is set to buy 10 Block 50 F-16 C/Ds and two KC-135 aerial tankers for US$714 million. This deal is under fire from a variety of sources as being destabilizing to South America.

The US Congress approved the sale of 16 second-hand F-16A/Bs to Thailand, which are to be supplied with BVR capability with AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-7 Sparrow missiles. The aircraft to be acquired will have only 2000-3000 flying hours and will be good for another 4000 flying hours, or a service life of 20 years. The deal will cost US$157 million, or almost US$10 million per fighter (Air Forces Monthly-March 2000).

The New Zealand F-16 deal was a bargain that would probably never come up again. It was for the 28 practically new Block 15 F-16 A/Bs (with Operational Capability Upgrade) ordered and paid for by Pakistan but which were subsequently embargoed. The lease was for two 5-year periods for US$63 million with a one-time reactivation package costing US$115 million. At the end of the ten-year period, New Zealand had the option of buying the aircraft for US$142 million. The total package cost would be $320 million, based on exchange rates at the time details were released. The cost was supposed to be partially offset by the sale of RNZAF A-4 Skyhawks for about US$50 million. Operational costs of the F-16 and the Skyhawks are said to be the same. The cost of retaining the Skyhawks until 2007, and then purchasing F16s would have cost close to US$500 million. In the end, newly installed Prime Minister Helen Clark abolished the air combat arm of the RNZAF, cancelled the F-16 deal and put up its Skyhawks and MB339s for sale.


IAI Kfir

Israeli Aircraft Industries Kfir C.7

Length: 53 ft. 8 in.

Wingspan: 27 ft

Top speed: Mach 2.3

Range: 2000 miles ferry; 482 miles on a hi-hi-hi interception mission with two Shafrir or Python AAMs, one 825 liter and two 1300 liter drop tanks; 548 miles on a 1 hour CAP with two Shafrir or Python AAMs, on 1700 liter and two 1300 liter drop tanks; 737 miles on a hi-lo-hi attack mission with two 800 lb. and two 400 lb. bombs, two Shafrir or Python AAMs, one 1300 liter and two 1700 liter drop tanks

Powerplant: One General Electric J79-J1E afterburning turbojet, 18,750 lb thrust

Ceiling: 58,000 ft

Weight: 16,060 lb empty / 36,376 lb max. take off

Two DEFA 553 30mm cannons with 140 rounds each, plus up to 13,415 lb of external stores including AAMs, cluster bombs, free-fall bombs, laser guided bombs, Gabriel anti-ship missiles, Durandal anti-runway bombs, AGM-65 Maverick ASMs, napalm tanks, ECM pods, or drop tanks

Operators: Colombia, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, Israel (in reserve)







IAI KFIR as Interim Fighter

Development of the Kfir (lion cub) was started to overcome a French embargo of Mirage aircraft in the period following the 1967 Six-Day War. It is essentially a modified Mirage V airframe with a US General Electric J-79 engine (as used in the F-4 Phantom). Plans for the Mirage were stolen from Switzerland which license produced the Mirage, and from the French themselves. The first Kfirs entered service in 1974 but were not revealed to the public until April 1975.

The United States leased 25 Kfir C.1s from Israel from 1985 onwards for use as aggressors in dissimilar air combat training with the Navy and Marine Corps and were used for a few years under the F-21 designation until replaced by F-16Ns and F-5Es

The C.7 is a later version with more capable electronics, improved radar and added weapons capacity and is optimized for the ground attack role.

The air forces of Colombia and Ecuador were early buyers of the Kfir and operate them in the aerial defense and attack roles. Sri Lanka bought a small number of Kfir C.2s in 1985 and have recently added 8 C.7s in 2000. Two Kfirs were among the aircraft lost to a suicide attack by LTTE rebels on Sri Lanka's international airport.

Israel has been constantly wooing successive Philippine administrations to buy the Kfir. From President Aquino's time, IAI has offered the C.2 variant in exchange for carageenan (a seaweed extract - gulaman), later the C.7 variant at US$144 million for 18 C.7s ($7 million for each C.7 and $16 million for each TC.7 2-seat trainer), and currently, the Kfir 2000 or C.10 which uses avionics and weapons systems from the cancelled Lavi fighter project. The Kfir 2000 uses the advanced IAI/Elta ELM-2032 multi-role radar (which is claimed to be better than the US APG-73 as fitted in the F/A-18) and a modern missionized avionics suite tailored and integrated to meet the customers requirements. The Israelis have also reportedly offered the Philippines the Alto/Derby BVR air-to-air missile, with an effective engagement envelope of 50 km (31 miles).

All examples sold are upgraded ex-IAF aircraft from stocks currently stored awaiting buyers at Ben Gurion airport.

Prices for unmodified C.7 have gone down recently, with Sri Lanka's purchase of 8 aircraft in yr. 2000 costing US$24 million, or about US$3 million each with the deal reportedly taking 6 to 12 months from firm order to delivery (see notes).

There are some discrepancies regarding the number of Kfir C.7s delivered to Sri Lanka. The Hindustan Times puts the number of C.7s delivered at seven. The Sri Lanka Sunday Times and Air Forces Monthly puts the number at four. The Jerusalem Post says eight C.7s were sold. If we were to believe the low figure of four aicraft, that comes up to US$6 million per plane, slightly less than the $7 million price tag quoted for each C.7 when the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the offer was signed by the Philippine government in 1992.


RAPTOR precision guided glide-bomb (South Africa)

Dassault Mirage F1C

Length: 50 ft. 2 in.

Wingspan: 27 ft. 7 in.

Top speed: Mach 2.2

Range: ??? miles ferry; 264 miles on a hi-lo-hi attack mission with 7,714 lbs of ordnance (14 x 551 lb bombs); 373 miles on a lo-lo-lo attack mission with six 551 lb bombs and two drop tanks; 863 miles on a hi-lo-hi attack mission with two 551 lb bombs and three drop tanks.

Weight: 16,314 lbs empty/35,715 lbs maximum take off

Powerplant: one SNECMA Atar 9K-50 rated at 11,023 lbs dry, 15,785 lbs with afterburning.

Ceiling: 65,615 feet.

AIM-9 Sidewinder or MATRA Magic IR missiles, 2 DEFA 553 30-mm cannon with 125 rounds each, ARMAT anti-radiation missile, assorted free-fall bombs. Iraqi F1Es carry Exocet anti-ship missiles. Maximum external stores: 13,889 lbs.

Operators: France, Greece, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait (withdrawn following delivery of F-18s), Morocco, South Africa, Spain, Libya





DASSAULT MIRAGE F1 as Interim Fighter

The original 15-year AFP modernization plan called for the purchase of 36 multi-role fighters, with Dassault offering the Philippines the Mirage 2000-5 fighter. Because of the Asian economic crisis in the late 1990s the acquisition program has been scaled back to 18 upgraded used fighters. For this the Mirage F1 has been proposed.

The Mirage F1 was Dassault's successor to the Mirage III/V series and departs from the Mirage's delta wing tradition by having a high mounted wing and conventional tail surfaces. The prototype was developed as a private venture and flew in December 1966. The French government adopted it in 1967 by ordering three more prototypes. Eventually, a total of 186 were delivered to the Armee de l'Air comprising 166 F1Cs (the initial production variant) and 20 F1B tandem seat trainers. From 1973 onwards the Mirage F1s took over the air-superiority role from the Mirage III before being replaced in that capacity by the Mirage 2000 beginning in 1983-84.

Exports were made to six countries, four of whose orders were of the multi-role F1E. Kuwait used its F1CKs against Iraq in 1990 and 15 eventually escaped the invasion and went on to fly 128 combat missions in the Gulf War. All were later withdrawn from service following delivery of F/A-18 Hornets and were sold to Spain in 1993.

Standard F1Cs were all-weather interceptors and were equipped with a Thomson-CSF Cyrano IV monopulse radar operating in the I/J band. An upgrade added limited look-down capability but as ground attack is only a secondary role there are no ground mapping or continuous target ranging options. Only single targets can be tracked and radar performance is degraded by poor weather.

The F1A is a simplified version of the F1C, much as the Mirage V is a simplified version of the Mirage III. The F1A does not have the large Cyrano IVM radar and has in its place the ESD Aida II ranging radar as fitted to the Mirage V. It costs less and has slightly more range and payload. South Africa and Libya were the only buyers.

The F1E is an upgraded multi-role fighter/attack version for export customers.

The Spanish Air Force recently received the last of 52 Mirage F1s upgraded by Thales and EADS/CASA. The modernization contract, valued at US$96 million, involved service life extension and avionics upgrades for 48 single seat and 4 two-seat F1s. Systems upgrades include a revised cockpit configuration with colour liquid crystal displays and a Smart HUD (from Sextant Avionique, now part of Thales); a Sextant inertial navigation system with GPS interface; air-to-ground radar rangefinding; NATO-compatible Have Quick 2 secure communications; Mode 4 digital IFF; a defensive aids suite; and flight recorders.

ARMSCOR of South Africa is selling 21 Mirage F1-AZs on behalf of the South African government. These are said to have at least 20 years of service life remaining. South African F1s can carry the Raptor long range precision guided glide bomb which has a 60 km (37 mile) range and a 3 meter CEP.

Market price for F1Cs is said to be in the region of US$9 million each.


EMB-312 Tucano


EMBRAER EMB-312 Tucano

Length: 32 ft. 4.25 in.

Wingspan: 36 ft. 6.5 in.

Top speed: 278 mph ("clean" at 10,000); 255 mph (maximum cruising speed at 10,000 ft.)

Range: 2,069 miles ferry with external tanks, 1,145 miles with internal fuel.

Powerplant: one Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-25C (PT6A-68/1 for Super Tucano)

Weight: 3,991 lbs empty, 7,000 lbs max. take off

Ceiling: 35,000 feet

Four underwing hardpoints for up to 2,205 lbs. of ordnance. The ALX has two wing-mounted 12.7 mm machine guns, five external stations and can carry a wide variety of weapons, including: Mk.81 or Mk.82 low drag bombs, BLG-252 cluster bombs, IR air-to-air missiles like Sidewinder or MAA-1 Piranha, unguided rockets, 20-mm gun-pod on ventral station (GIAT NC621) and a FLIR pod

Operators: Brazil, Iran, Iraq, Argentina, Colmbia, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela, France, United Kingdom, Kenya, Kuwait




Developed by EMBRAER of Brazil in response to a Brazilian Air Force specification for a replacement for the Cessna T-37. First flown in August 1980. First of 133 ordered by the Brazilian Air Force delivered beginning September 1983.

Was designed from the outset to provide a "jet-like" flying experience with jet-plane type controls, ejection seats and a staggered tandem-place cockpit. Can carry up to 2,205 lbs. of ordnance in four underwing hardpoints.

Egypt ordered 143 Tucanos in 1983, of which 80 were diverted to Iraq. Other deliveries include Argentina(30), Columbia(14), Honduras(12), Iran(25), Paraguay(5), Peru(30), Venezuela(31), France (80 modified variant). In 1985 the British Royal Air Force selected a modifed Tucano to fulfill its trainer requirement. The RAF Tucano is license manufactured by Shorts in Belfast and has a more powerful engine and different systems than the standard EMBRAER-built version.

In 1991 EMBRAER announced the EMB-312H Super Tucano with an uprated Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68/1 engine. The Brazilian Air Force was expected to order 50 armed singe-seat versions of the Super Tucano, designated EMBRAER ALX. Up to 120 ALXs were expected to be ordered. Cost is about US$5 million each.

EMB-312H/ALX characteristics:

P&WC PT6A-68/1 turboprop engine (1,600 shp)
Outstanding aeronautic performance
Advanced man-machine interface
Fighter-type pressurised cockpit
Zero-zero ejection seats
On-board oxygen generating system (OBOGS)
Rugged and reliable systems
Reinforced structure with new generation materials
Designed to sustain heavy damage and operate in hostile environments without ground support infrastructure


photo by EADS

CN.235 for Maritime Patrol

Jointly developed by CASA of Spain and IPTN of Indonesia. The CN.235 was conceived as a tactical military transport and is capable of operating from unpaved runways and has excellent low-level flying characteristics. In transport configuration, it can carry 48 paratroopers, who may jump out either of the two side doors or the rear ramp. Its characteristics make it an ideal platform for maritime patrol, electronic warfare, early warning, etc.

Said to be very economical, compared to using C-130s for maritime patrol, which is the current plan of the AFP and Lockheed-Martin.

Wingspan: 25.81 m
Length: 21.40 m
Engine: 2 x General Electric, GE CT7-9C, Turboprops
Take-off Weight: 16,000 kg
Max Endurance: 8 to 10 hours
Fuel Capacity: 4,000 kg
Max Speed: 240 knots
Maximum payload: 6,000 kg


Maritime Patrol Configuration:

Military Transport:


Recent Purchases:

Indonesian Air Force - 3 new CN.235-220, equipped with Thales Airborne Maritime Situation Control System (AMACOS), in a deal worth US $42.4 million (around $14.1 million each). AMACOS consists of Ocean Master search radar, an electronic suport measures suite, the Chilo thermal observation camera and Gemini navigation computer.
(Air Forces Monthly, Sept 2001)

Pakistan - 4 new CN.235-220s, contract valued at US $49 million, to be delivered over the next three years.
(Air Forces Monthly, Sept 2001)

Brunei Darussalam - one unit, US $13.45 million
Thailand - two units, US$ 28.64 million
South Korea - eight units

Turkey also license produces the CN.235 but has suffered 3 fatal crashes with their aircraft.

Over 220 aircraft have been sold to 29 countries, with over 500,000 flying hours.

The CN.235 is operated by Brunei, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, United Arab Emirates, France, Indonesia, Ireland, Jordan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, South Korea and Turkey, among others. Asian Spirit of the Philippines has received 2 civilian CN.235s


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