The price of freedom: P700M to keep aircraft in the air

Sacrifice and blood are the currency of freedom. However, a pre-requisite for use of that human currency is treasure. The tools that allow the AFP to perform their duty must be kept in good working order. That requires money, and as the number and capability of AFP equipment goes, so does the need for a financial commitment to defense.

This article spotlights the operational expenses the Philippine Air Force is looking to spend on its aircraft in February 2017. According to postings on PhilGEPS, a total of P699.3M were slated for aircraft maintenance projects ranging from the acquisition of spares for air-frames or engines, to repair of support equipment assigned to specific aircraft. This is broken down as follows:

KAI FA-50PH This Lead-In Fighter Trainer / Surface Attack Aircraft is the most sophisticated combat aircraft in the PAF inventory. Four acquisition projects for this aircraft have a total value of P140.2M. See here for details
AgustaWestland AW-109AH Acquired after multiple failed acquisition projects dating back to 2006, the AW-109 is the first night-capable attack helicopters in the PAF. Three acquisition projects for this aircraft have a total value of P48.526M. See here for details ah3
MD-520  Acquired as part of the first AFP modernization program, these gunships have been providing close air support to AFP ground troops since the late 90s. Two acquisition projects for this aircraft have a combined value of P23.6M. See here for details  
Aero TC-690 Commander  This is a special-use for which the PAF has is a solitary maintenance project valued at P10.4M. See here for details.
Fokker F-27 Friendship Four maintenance projects for these long-serving troop transports had a total value of P86.4M. See here for details.  
GAF N-22 Nomad This project covered the spares and maintenance costs for three N-22s, valued at P17.43M. See here for details  
Siai-Marchetti SF-260  Overhaul and repair of the propeller assembly of aircraft resulted in a P2.63M project. See here for details sf260
Bell UH-1  The largest fleet of any aircraft type in the PAF understandably results in the largest maintenance budget of any aircraft in this list. Projects totalled P200.9M. See here for details  
Bell 412  Communication equipment maintenance and inspections for this aircraft resulted in two projects with a combined value of P59.2M. See here for details bell-helicopter
Lycoming T-53-L-13B  These three maintenance projects were specifically for engines used by specific UH-1/Bell 204 models in the PAF inventory. Total project cost is P102M. See here for details
Aerospace Ground Equipment  These are projects for undisclosed ground support equipment, valued at  P7.9M. See here for details

Such is the price of freedom. As the AFP acquire increasing number of aircraft with greater capability, these costs will continue to grow. When full-spectrum air defense capabilities are realized, this value can only go up. Hence the need to inculcate in the minds of the average Filipino that defense is an investment, not an expense.

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