Linggo, Abril 10, 2016

U.S, others display fire powers at Clark

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

After I read at the Pinoy Aviators' Community Page Group at Face Book the aircraft static display at Clark of the American, Australian, and Filipino troops who used them at the military exercise dubbed as Balikatan 2016, I told myself to go again there just like last year.
A-10 Thunderbolt

AIR POWER DISPLAY. Philippines civilians and military officials milled last April 9 around the various combat aircraft of the United States, Philippines, and Australia at the static display at Clark Air Base in Pampanga. The combat planes and surface to surface rockets HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) were used in the March 18 to April 22 Balikatan (military exercise) 2016. The U.S brought A-10 "Thunderbolt" attack aircraft, HH-60 "Pave Hawk" Combat Utility Helicopters, C-130 "Hercules" Medium lift/transport aircraft, Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS, B-52 "Stratofortress" strategic bomber, C-17 "Globemaster" Heavy lift/ transport aircraft, RQ-4 "Global Hawk" unmanned surveillance aircraft, Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC), PJ flying boat, P-3 Poseidon, Bell Boeing V-22 OspreyOsprey, others. The Philippines had there C295 Martime Patrol Aircraft, C-130 "Hercules" medium lift/transport aircraft, PZL W-3 "Sokol" CUH/Rescue Helicopter, UH1H Combat Utility Helicopter OV-10C/M "Broncos" FAC/attack aircraft, MG520 "Defenders" Scout/light attack helicopters, FA-50PH "Fighting Eagle" light fighter/combat aircraft, B412 Combat Utility Helicopters, others, while Australia brought there its P-3C "Orion" anti-submarine/maritime patrol aircraft.

The display was on April 9 (Saturday) 2016 at Haribon Hangar of the former American ran Clark Air Base in Pampanga – an almost three hours drive from my home in Dagupan City.
“Be there at least before 8 am because the free show was for a half day only,” the announcement at Aviators' said.
I arrived at the hangar at almost 9 am where the April's summer sun started to “blister” my skin, joined one of the two rows queue composed of excited civilians and military men mostly officers from different parts of Luzon and probably Visayas and Mindanao.
There were even Filipino family members in tow by their U.S Air Force and U.S Marine relatives who joined the queue.
We were required by the local air force to write our name and our address on a bond paper before we were allowed for our ingress at the gate of the 6012th Operation Squadron Base and into the hangar where bevy of combat planes from the Vietnam War era like the Super Huey to the modern era P-8 Poseidon .
Some of the planes and rocket battery displayed there were from the U.S Marines.

Sikorsky Pave Hawk
When I stepped on the hangar I saw people of various persuasions like the group of noisy Aeta (mountain people) children milling curiously on the different air assets.

Sikorsky Pave Hawk

“Gusto ninyo rin ba mag piloto ( Do you want to become a pilot)," I asked two tiny curly haired and wide eyed black skinned Aetas who looked like Vice President Jojo Binay, with a worn-out clothes of course, as they clambered just like what they do in the trees to a huge Sikorsky MH-60G/HH-60G Pave Hawk of the U.S Air Force.
“Oo, gusto namin maging piloto!” shouted by the duo whose province mate who made raves and waves globally is Allan Pineda Lindo alias Apple Dee Ap of the Black Hawk Down, er, Black Eyed Pea hip -hop group.
TV 5's host with wide eyed Aeta kids

“Was this the same chopper used by the (U.S) SEAL Team 6 in inserting themselves near a military academy at Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 10, 2011 to kill Osama bin Laden?” I posed to one of the pilots who were in a group of the crew of the American made combat chopper.
“Hey Jim, was this the same chopper used by SEAL Team 6?!” the pilot shouted at a sergeant who was amused watching the antics of those Aetas jumping in and out of the chopper.
“I ain’t know, sir!” the sarge shouted back.
The Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion is the largest and heaviest helicopter in the United States military.

Even though the Yanks there ain’t know the choppers used in extracting the SEAL Team 6 and the cadaver of ole’ man Osama, I found later that what was used in Pakistan were the stealth Boeing/Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanches or a modified UH-60 Sikorsky Black Hawk.

P-8 Poseidon, P-3 Orion, and E-3 AWACS

Near the Sikorsky was the guarded Boeing made P-8 Poseidon that was used by the U.S to make fly- by at the Mainland Chinese held islets supposedly owned by the Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea.
"Hmmm, it got limited windows," I told myself as I scanned behind my Ray Ban sunglasses the right side of the white jet.
P-8 Poseidon

The P-8 conducts anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and shipping interdiction, along with electronic signals intelligence (ELINT) role.
P-3 Orion

I went to the nearby Boeing E-3 Sentry, commonly known as an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) and asked the crew there the difference of the converted Boeing 707, first manufactured and saw service in 1962, in intelligence gathering and the Poseidon.

“I ain’t know about the difference of the Poseidon. What we know is the features of the AWACs,” a male captain crew told me.
A-10 Thunderbolt

ME: Hi, you’re a Marine pilot and a captain. You fly this ugly monster’s Warthog?
CAPTAIN: Yes sir.
Crew of  A-10 Warthog with Filipino spectators

ME: You’re probably a graduate of the United State Naval Academy in Annapolis?
CAPTAIN: Yes sir, an USNA alumnus.
ME: Have you seen war in Afghanistan and Iraq?
CAPTAIN: Naah, we are assigned at South Korea.
Then we discussed about a 1998 West Point graduate Captain Nate Self whose platoon was ambushed by the Al Queda’s supported Afghan rebels (click full story here) in Takur Ghar, Afghanistan when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter was hit for several times by rifle propelled grenades from the enemies below.
A-10 Thunderbolt

“Your rescue mission was impressive, you used a lot of air assets like F-16 and F-15 and even a C-130 with all those blazing Gatling guns before the Chinooks (helicopter with two huge horizontal rotors) pull out your besieged men and geez in a nighttime to avoid being shot at by the rebels,” I told the all ears captain.

AWACS and C-17 Globemaster III

I met this pretty Air Force captain who guided high school students composed mainly of Aetas who probably lived near Clark,.
C-17 Globemaster III

ME: You speak fluent Tagalog.
CAPTAIN: I was born in Pangasinan.
ME: Oh, I’m from Pangasinan, too. Are you an alumna of the USAFA (United States Air Force Academy) at the Rocky Mountain?
CPT: No, I was a graduate of a university in California then I joined the Air Force and was assigned as intelligence officer of the AWACS.
ME: What’s the difference between the AWACS and Poseidon?
CPT: Oh sorry, I’m not privy with the Poseidon, only of AWACS.

AP-3C Orion

When I embarked in the Australian P-3 Orion, a U.S made Multimission Maritime Aircraft or MMA that saw service in the 1960s, I asked the Aussie crew there the difference between the AWACS and P-8.
They said that the P-3 and the modern P-8 have the same functions as ship interdiction and anti submarine warfare plane, only the P-8 is more advanced while the AWACS are airborne early warning against enemy’s aircraft.
“Son of a gun, the first time I learned about those AWACS was when I was in high school reading those old stacks of Newsweek and Time Magazines of my (retired air force) father about the Israelis freaking out in the mid 1980s as they would be vulnerable after (U.S President Ronald) Reagan decided to sell the Saudi king five E-3 Sentry AWACS and eight KE-3 refueling aircraft, with spare parts,” I told the Aussie, whose English diction amused me since I did not know I was inside an Australian plane.
AP-3C Orion
“Where you from, man? Your English is different. It could not be a Mississippi accent,” I posed.
“No mate, you did not see the huge logo outside our plane, the big Kangaroo there – that’s Australia,” he told me.
“Sorry sir, I ain’t know you’re from Australia. The farthest place I’ve been was only in Binondo and Divisioria in Manila,” I told them.
ME: Have you flown this (P-3) at the South China Sea?
ME: Did the Chinese warn you to leave the place just like what they did to your plane before?
EP: (Chuckle)
ME: How many P3s you have in your country’s inventory? You don’t want to replace them with P-8?
EP: We have 22, we expect several months from now a delivery of our first P-8. We ordered 12 of them from the U.S.
ME: Japan got more than 80 of these P-3, we hope they give the Philippines even six so we can effectively patrol our maritime territories in the SCS.

V-22 Osprey
I was in a huddle with Marine pilots of the tiltrotor’s Osprey.

ME: Is there a built in armament on this plane like a Gatling gun in the A-10?
CAPTAIN 1: I heard some of these (Osprey) have built-in guns.
ME: Every time President (Barrack) Obama goes overseas he used this plane as escort.
CAPTAIN 2: Those blue colored? Ours is gray.
ME: When your president was here (November 2015) he was escorted by these planes when he flew from the airport to our presidential palace.
CAPTAIN 1: Ya, we were pilots of those planes. We came from Kadena Air Force base in Japan
ME: So this plane was armed and you have armed Marines or Secret Service personnel inside?
CAPT 2: (Laughed) Our president was well protected by ships and jets whenever he visited a host country.
ME: Like a buzzing and whizzing F-16s or F-15s above.
CAPT 2: Ya, probably (chuckle)
Marine pilots of V-22 Osprey in a huddle. 
ME: Who manufactured the Osprey? Boeing?
CAPT 1: Its Bell and Boeing (consortium). The main frame was built by Bell, while the wings were made by Boeing. The engines were made by (British owned) Rolls Royce.
ME: Was this plane made in the 1970s?
CAPT 1: Naa, this was built in 1985.
ME:  Is there any replacement of this plane in the pipeline?
CAPT. 1: Ya, Bell V-280 Valor built a prototype of this. Its size is just like that Black Hawk (helicopter). (Italian-British consortium) Agusta Westland  manufactured a version of this plane, too.

HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System)

ME: How can the guided rockets of HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) hit the Chinese warships if one of this is posted at one of the islets of the Philippines at the South China Sea?
US. MARINE 1: They would be GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) guided.

High Mobility Artillery Rocket System

ME: Oh, just like what the C.I.A backed Colombian government had done with the FARC guerillas when the Cessna propeller powered plane dropped those GPS guided 500 pound bombs at the guerrillas whose fire they used in cooking food betrayed them in nighttime.

Author (extreme right) with the "kaldero" of his lolo
he used  as helmet and vest used by crew of
(Click here to read how Columbia weakened and persuaded FARC top brass (salamabit, many of them died already with the guided bombs) to go to the negotiating table)  
Is the price of this monster (Himars) $5.1 million apiece?
MARINE 2: Naah, its $6 million apiece now.
ME: Philippine government should buy some these so we can sink those ships of the Chinks.

A-10 Thunderbolts at the back ground. Armed U.S Air Force guard  prohibit
visitors to come near the Warthogs because they are armed.
Baka kalikutin ng mga Filipinos at sumabog ang millions of
pesos air assets ng Kano.

Australian crew of  AP-3C Orion 

Grumman C-2 Greyhound is a twin-engine, high-wing cargo aircraft, designed to carry supplies, mail, and passengers to and from aircraft carriers of the United States Navy. Its primary mission is carrier onboard delivery (COD).

STILL NO ROCKETS' Philippine Air Force's AgustaWestland AW109 helicopter. It is a lightweight, twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter built by the Anglo-Italian manufacturer AgustaWestland. 
The rotorcraft had the distinction of being the first all-Italian helicopter to be mass-produced.

SOKOL. Eight of these Sokols were transferred by "exasperated" Combat Wing of the Philippine Air Force to the Rescue Wing because they are useless in landing on an unpaved soil because they used tires and not landing skids like those old Hueys.. Even they are used as air ambulance by the Rescue Wing, the source said, they have limited landing sites thus their capability to extract those wounded in the fields could be better served  by the UH-1H helicopters. 
I heard the Air Force regretted in buying these stuffs from Europe.
The Sokół made its first flight on 16 November 1979, and has since been certified in Poland, Russia, the US and Germany. It was designed to meet the demands of a military and civilian aviation of the Soviet Union, which was planned to be its major user. Following a development program, low rate production of the Sokół commenced during 1985.

The SIAI Marchetti S211 is supplied by Italian Aermacchi. It is a military jet pilot trainer in operation with the air forces of Haiti, the Philippines and Singapore.

A-10 Thunderbolts

A British military official in a huddle with pilots of the Philippine Air Force.
Back ground is the Poland made Sokol helicopter.

AgustaWestland AW109

South Korean made FA-50 for the Philippine Air Force is the most advanced version of the T-50, possessing more internal fuel capacity, enhanced avionics, a longer radome and a tactical datalink. It is equipped with a modified Israeli EL/M-2032 pulse-Doppler radar with Korean-specific modifications by LIG Nex1 The engine could be either Eurojet EJ200 or General Electric F414, upgraded to 20,000 lb or 22,000 lb thrust, roughly 12-25% higher than the F404's thrust

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1 komento:

  1. lovely , can tourist visit this airbase? tack photos?