Ayres 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
Length: 40 ft. 3.5 in.
Wingspan: 27 ft.
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
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
Operators: USA, Argentina, Israel, Brazil, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia (in storage), New Zealand (in storage)
A-4 SKYHAWK as Interim Fighter and Strike
AircraftRegarded 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.
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.
Length: 47 ft 4.7
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
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 FighterThe 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.
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.
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
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 as sold to the RNZAF
Length: 36 ft. 10.5 in.
Wingspan: 39 ft.
Top speed: 560 mph (level, "clean" at sea
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
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.
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
AircraftDeveloped 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.
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
The 17 ex-RNZAF MB.339s were purchased by the Malaysian Government. The auction was conducted by the international consultancy group Ernst and Young.
Lockheed Martin F-16A
Length: 49 ft. 4 in.
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.
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
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
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:
LOCKHEED-MARTIN F-16 FIGHTING FALCONThe 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
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
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
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.
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$240
million. The offer has since been upgraded to one of 44 brand-new
F-16C/D Block 50/52 fighters with configurations similar to those
being delivered to the USAF. The deal includes the the lease of the
16 F-16A/Bs as transition aircraft. Cost of this new deal is US$??
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.
Israeli Aircraft Industries Kfir C.7
Length: 53 ft. 8 in.
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
One General Electric J79-J1E afterburning turbojet, 18,750 lb
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
IAI KFIR as Interim FighterDevelopment 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
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
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.
guided glide-bomb (South Africa)
Dassault Mirage F1C
ft. 2 in.
Wingspan: 27 ft. 7 in.
Top speed: Mach
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.
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,
DASSAULT MIRAGE F1 as Interim FighterThe 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.
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
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
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.
EMBRAER EMB-312 Tucano
Length: 32 ft. 4.25 in.
Wingspan: 36 ft.
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
Powerplant: one Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-25C
(PT6A-68/1 for Super Tucano)
Weight: 3,991 lbs empty,
7,000 lbs max. take off
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
EMBRAER EMB-312 TUCANO as Trainer/COINDeveloped 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
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.
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.
P&WC PT6A-68/1 turboprop engine (1,600
Outstanding aeronautic performance
Fighter-type pressurised cockpit
On-board oxygen generating system (OBOGS)
Reinforced structure with new generation
Designed to sustain heavy damage and operate in hostile
environments without ground support
photo by EADS
CN.235 for Maritime PatrolJointly 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
Said to be very economical, compared to using
C-130s for maritime patrol, which is the current plan of the AFP and
Wingspan: 25.81 m
Engine: 2 x General Electric, GE CT7-9C,
Take-off Weight: 16,000 kg
Endurance: 8 to 10 hours
Fuel Capacity: 4,000
Max Speed: 240 knots
Maximum payload: 6,000
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
Pakistan - 4 new CN.235-220s, contract valued at
US $49 million, to be delivered over the next three years.
Forces Monthly, Sept 2001)
Brunei Darussalam - one
unit, US $13.45 million
Thailand - two units, US$ 28.64
South Korea - eight units
also license produces the CN.235 but has suffered 3 fatal crashes
with their aircraft.
220 aircraft have been sold to 29 countries, with over 500,000
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
MORE TO FOLLOW
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