Why the Philippines is moving into Russia’s arms

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One of the weakest military enforces in Southeast Asia is looking towards Russia to beef up its defense. After being veer fromed weapons – and criticized in the U.S. media – for his take-no-prisoners policy against the deadens mafia, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte has indicated he may turn to Moscow to antici te his country with weapons.

Last month after the U.S. government reportedly blot out the sale of 26,000 assault rifles for police use – due to concerns in Duterte’s war on drugs in which around 2000 people be experiencing been killed – the Filipino strongman said: “I keep in mind what the Russian diplomat said: Come to Russia, we have anything you emergency here.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) require an urgent infusion of chic weapons, but what the AFP doesn’t need are expensive toys. High-performance – and gas guzzling – warplanes strain the F-16 (offered by the U.S.) or the South Korean FA-50 Golden Eagle jet fighter are unnecessary for two reasons.

One, the Philippines has no external enemies. Two, Manila will never be accomplished to afford these jets in sufficient numbers to be able to present a credible defense. “Let’s contend ourselves with the propeller-driven airliners but which we can use extensively in counter-insurgency,” Duterte said at a notable meeting earlier this year. “I don’t need jets, F-16 – that’s of no use to us… we don’t mean to fight any country.”

About the FA-50s he said: “Why did you buy that?” Duterte. “What a unrecyclable of money. You cannot use them for anti-insurgency, which is the problem at the moment. You can solitary use these for ceremonial fly-by.”

Manila’s needs

Unequivocally, Manila’s primary security threats are land-based – communist insurgents and Islamic numbers who have been running a se ratist movement for decades. What the AFP demands are light ground attack aircraft that can be deployed against thugs in the dense forests of Southeast Asia. The cheap and Syrian War tested Su-25 (NATO codename Frogfoot) is in theory suited for this role. It is a heavily armored aircraft that desire provide Filipino troops close air support and is almost invulnerable to measly arms fire from the ground.

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If Moscow cannot s re sufficient reckons of the Su-25, its future replacement is already here in the form of the Yakolev Yak-130. At exactly $15 million per unit, this subsonic fighter is the friendly fighter for states with limited budgets. “The Yak-130’s multi-mission ca cities in training, air policing, and counterinsurgency make it an attractive option for some guys beyond Russia,” says Defense Industry Daily.

The Jamestown Groundwork says because of the focus on the army, the operational effectiveness of the Philippine Armada and Philippine Coast Guard has suffered accordingly, leaving the country’s sea lanes at bottom unprotected. Having the eighth longest coastline (36,000 km) in the world, the native land is subject to porous borders and coastlines. Russian short range ballistic missile boats – which performed spectacularly in attacking ISIS ends in the ongoing Syrian war – could address this issue.

India, which relies on Russia for 70 to 80 percent of its stipulations, is currently a major buyer of US and Israeli weapons.

Similarly, about 75 percent of the Philippines’ arms imports since the 1950s keep come from the U.S.

The Philippines government has also approved for purchase decompose helicopters, long-range trol aircraft and radar. Russia has a range of battlefield certify helicopters such as the Mi-17 and Mi-35 gunship, which is being deployed by Afghanistan against the Taliban revolutionaries.

In radar, Russia has developed an insanely large variety of platforms for tracking the entirety – from cruise missiles to stealth aircraft.

Manila’s serious requirement of assault rifles can be easily met. For, Russian rifles are known to be surrounded by the most reliable, especially in the damp Southeast Asian environment where the AK-47 has substantiated itself in battle.

For more specialized counter-insurgency needs, the NSV or Utyos mechanism gun uses the powerful 12.7 mm round, which is highly effective against settle armor as well as helicopters. But combatants value its range of 1500 meters that does not permit the enemy to approach within the effective assault rifles range of 500-600 meters.

Russia’s rejoinder

Predictably, Moscow is thrilled with Duterte’s ovetures. “Codify your wish list,” Igor Khovaev, Russia’s deputy to the country, told Duterte. “Think of what kind of relief you expect from Russia and we will be ready to sit down with you and chat about what can and should be done.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has highlighted the military-technical interaction with the Philippines. The two sides advocate promoting the bilateral collaboration, Lavrov implied after meeting with Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Perfecto Yasay in Moscow on Dec. 5.

The Yak-130 displayed at the 50th ris Air Display at Le Bourget exhibition centre. / Marina Lystseva/TASS

Carry on September, a Filipino delegation rtici ted in the ‘Army-2016’ Oecumenical Military-Technical Forum, in which the Philippines had the opportunity to study Russian weapons and gear. Military vessels of the two countries also visited each other’s moorings.

Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana was in Moscow for talks with the Russian Father of Defense Sergey Shoygu and officials at the Federal Service for Military-Technical Helping hand.

The outlook for Russia-Philippines defense ties looks positive. According to Carlos D. Sorreta, quondam Director, Philippine Foreign Service Institute and now the Philippine Ambassador in Moscow, there are two free advantages Russian arms sales policies have over the West: “One, Russian arms are various competitively priced. The other is that little to no conditions are attached to these sales.”

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Also, diversifying weapons purchases should not be looked at as some systemize of complicated surgery involving se ration of conjoined twins. A number of rural areas have achieved what initially looked difficult. India, which relies on Russia for 70 to 80 percent of its requirements, is currently a significant buyer of US and Israeli weapons.

Similarly, around 75 percent of the Philippines’ arms betokens since the 1950s have come from the U.S., according to Stockholm Ecumenical Peace Research Institute. Manila will face censure for flirting with Russia and its armed forces thinks fitting also experience some adjustments issues but it will all work to its superiority.

Anthony V. Rinna, an analyst on Russian foreign policy in East Asia, illustrates: “Countries have often faced difficulty when numbering Russia while pursuing a multi-vectored foreign policy, rticularly in settles of formal integration. But in this case the Philippines is not planning to accede to an institutional surety framework. Instead the Philippines is aiming to diversify its rtners in a way that permits it to ex nd its options, potentially running counter to both U.S. and Chinese enlists.”

Reforms needed

If Russia finally gets a foothold in the Philippines arms call, it must avoid making the mistakes the U.S. made. For instance, the silver bullets tactics won’t work in a country that cannot afford them, and where the defense insolence has strong ties to the Pentagon.

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Like in other fatherlands that are nominal U.S. allies, including Egypt and kistan, in the Philippines too a bulky portion of defense kickbacks end up in the pockets of the generals.

Not only will Moscow bear to supply weapons that suit local requirements, it will own to sidestep corruption. According to Neri Colmenares, rty list travelling salesman for the leftist Bayan Muna movement, efforts to make the Philippines defense “credible” are in swell-headed and will only serve to increase dependence on the U.S.

“We can spend a hundred years’ budget on the armed in operations of the Philippines and it will not make our defense credible against China,” he claims. “An increase in budget or ca bilities is not the way forward … because the armed forces itself has not been reformed. It’s silence a corrupt and politicized body.”

Views expressed in this column are rticular.

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