Attrition: Age + Neglect = Death


September 24, 2011: For decades, the Philippines have been too poor to buy a lot of new aircraft for its armed forces, or spend a lot of money on needed maintenance for the ones it had. As a consequence, there have been a lot of accidents. During the last twenty years, there have been 156 fatal accidents, leading to the deaths of 305 flight crew, which is pretty bad for a force that rarely had more than 300 aircraft and helicopters. Often, many, if not most, of those aircraft were grounded because of maintenance issues. Most of the aircraft are second-hand. Some, however, are refurbished to a high-standard. Thus the hundred or so Vietnam era UH-1 transport helicopters have had a high readiness rate.

The Philippines has no more jet powered combat aircraft. The last of the 1960s era F-5 fighters were retired six years ago. Their ground attack duties were taken over by armed trainer aircraft. While ground fire is an occasional danger, poor maintenance and aging aircraft is the real killer, and will continue to be.


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