Relations between China and the Philippines are at an impasse over islands and reefs in the South China Sea that are subject to sovereignty disputes. The U.S. Department of Defense announced on Thursday that the State Department has agreed to sell the Philippines F-16s, Rattlesnake air-to-air missiles, and Harpoon anti-ship missiles, among other armaments. Military experts believe that the Philippines’ first acquisition of U.S. F-16s and other armaments, along with surface-to-air missiles, will enable the Philippines to deter or respond to large targets from the sea, but the Philippines has to deal with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and has to prevent the “gray war” of the Chinese Communist Party.
Since the Persian Gulf War in the 1990s, F-16s have been the mainstay of the U.S. and NATO coalition air campaign in Yugoslavia, Syria and Iraq. The U.S. military has also sent F-16s on bombing missions in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. The U.S., Israel, Taiwan, Thailand and other countries have used F-16s.
F-16s are known as the best value for money
The F-16 fighter is known as the “best value for money” fighter, because its performance is the most stable, small fuselage, strong combat power, can carry 7700 kg of bombs, bombing missions, and can turn, flip and climb very fast, many countries look at the F-16 reason, but also because of its low maintenance costs. The new F-16 is equipped with larger fuel tanks, increasing the cost of range compared to other aircraft types for small, equipped with electronic scanning radar, detection of sea and land targets, precision strikes. It is useful in air combat, ground attack, and coordinated operations with other weapons and forces. Since its service in 1978, it has been in service for more than 50 years.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) statement mentioned that “it will enable the Philippines to have warplanes equipped with precision munitions to enhance the Philippine Army’s ability to fight terrorism in the southern part of the country and to improve the Philippine Army’s combat capabilities to meet current and future threats.” The statement did not mention China, but Harpoon missiles would allow the Philippines to “respond to coastal blockades and amphibious assaults.” The Philippines and China have been confronting each other in the South China Sea, and the U.S. has been selling arms to the Philippines to strengthen its war effort, pointing the finger directly at China.
Lin Yingyou: F-16 easy to cooperate with combat
Taiwan’s National Chung Cheng University Institute of Strategic and International Affairs Assistant Professor Lin Yingyou pointed out that the Philippines earlier bought T-50 trainer from South Korea, T-50 and F-16 use similar habits, the same fighter training, is the reason for Manila to consider using F-16. Moreover, the F-16 integration of other armaments to facilitate operations.
Lin Yingyou said: F-16 is mainly used a lot, the use of a lot of countries, so in fact, Taiwan or the United States sold a lot of F-16 fighter aircraft to neighboring countries, F-16 there is a system, and other integration, or the use of parts more convenient. And the F-16 is a fighter jet used by the United States, so in terms of delivery and parts provision, more convenient.
The Philippine Air Force is cautious in the early stages of the “gray war” against the Chinese Communist Party
The Philippine Air Force is in the initial stages of its “fighter era”, as the new U.S. fighter jets F-22 and F-35 are more complex for the Philippines to operate. The Philippines has repeatedly accused China of military expansion in the South China Sea, where China and the Philippines have territorial disputes, and the U.S. military has sold anti-submarine missiles and warplanes that are designed to strike and deter large targets at sea. But the Chinese PLA will also use “gray warfare” to deal with the enemy, that is, through “unconventional or unconventional force that does not reach the threshold of war”, the attacker is difficult to respond with military force, it is worth noting. In addition, although the Philippines’ military strength has increased, Lin Yingyou believes that the Philippines should also pay attention to logistics.
The Philippines has these weapons, but the focus is on logistics. Whether the Philippine Air Force can do as well as the United States, Japan and Taiwan in terms of logistical arrangements for pilots and the ground is worth observing,” Lin said. It’s not just about buying planes and missiles, logistics are just as important.
Relations between the Philippines and China are at a low point due to the sovereignty dispute over islands in the South China Sea. Manila has repeatedly protested in recent months against China’s long-standing deployment of “maritime assets” and fishing boats near the island of Zhongya (known as Hope Island), allowing the vessels to “operate illegally. The Philippines has asked China to remove the ships, but the Chinese Embassy in Manila has not responded to the Philippines’ protests. More than 200 other Chinese vessels have been moored in what the Philippines says is its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone for at least three months, with the Philippine government alleging that the Chinese vessels are operated by militiamen and Beijing saying they are only fishing boats fleeing bad weather.