August 24, 2016
ONE of the two brand new South Korean-made FA50 “Golden Eagle” lead-in fighter jet platforms of the Philippine Air Force was rendered non-operational after its engine was hit and totally destroyed by a “bird strike.”
“It’s true, one of our FA50 had a bird strike and was grounded because its engine was totally destroyed. I just don’t know if it was only one or both engines,” a former officer of PAF who asked not to be identified told the Manila Standard.
The Manila Standard tried but failed to get an immediate comment from PAF spokesman Colonel Araus Robert Musico and learned that the incident was not reported.
According to the source, the bird strike hit the FA50 jet at the PAF’s runaway at Clark Airfield in Pampanga sometime in March.
“As of now, only one of the FA50s is able to fly because the engine of the damaged jet has not been replaced,” the source said.
In November 2015, the first batch of two of 12 FA50s ordered from the Korean Aerospace Inc. was delivered to PAF. Two more are set to arrive before the end of 2016 and the rest until 2017.
The supersonic lead-jet fighters that are yet to be armed with missiles were bought by the government with a total amount of P18.9 billion.
During the election campaign, President Rodrigo Duterte had criticized the procurement of the lead-in jets as a “waste of money.”
At present, Duterte has prioritized the procurement of naval fast-craft and high-speed combat helicopters to first address the internal security operations especially in Mindanao where kidnapping remains a problem.
But Duterte has promised to continue modernization efforts being started by the previous administration.
The French company that won the bid to design Australia’s new $50 billion submarine fleet has suffered a massive leak of secret documents, raising fears about the future security of top-secret data on the navy’s future fleet.
The stunning leak, which runs to 22,400 pages and has been seen by The Australian, details the entire secret combat capability of the six Scorpene-class submarines that French shipbuilder DCNS has designed for the Indian Navy.
A variant of the same French-designed Scorpene is also used by the navies of Malaysia, Chile and, from 2018, Brazil, so news of the Edward Snowden-sized leak — revealed today — will trigger alarm at the highest level in these countries. Marked “Restricted Scorpene India”, the DCNS documents detail the most sensitive combat capabilities of India’s new $US3 bn ($3.9bn) submarine fleet and would provide an intelligence bonanza if obtained by India’s strategic rivals, such as Pakistan or China.
The leak will spark grave concern in Australia and especially in the US where senior navy officials have privately expressed fears about the security of top-secret data entrusted to France.
In April DCNS, which is two-thirds owned by the French government, won the hotly contested bid over Germany and Japan to design 12 new submarines for Australia. Its proposed submarine for Australia — the yet-to-be-built Shortfin Barracuda — was chosen ahead of its rivals because it was considered to be the quietest in the water, making it perfectly suited to intelligence-gathering operations against China and others in the region.
Any stealth advantage for the navy’s new submarines would be gravely compromised if data on its planned combat and performance capabilities was leaked in the same manner as the data from the Scorpene. The leaked DCNS data details the secret stealth capabilities of the six new Indian submarines, including what frequencies they gather intelligence at, what levels of noise they make at various speeds and their diving depths, range and endurance — all sensitive information that is highly classified. The data tells the submarine crew where on the boat they can speak safely to avoid detection by the enemy. It also discloses magnetic, electromagnetic and infra-red data as well as the specifications of the submarine’s torpedo launch system and the combat system.