Friday, February 4, 2011
NEW DEFENSE ATTACHE IN TOWN, U-S "HARDWARE" IN PIPELINE FOR A-F-P
Brig. Gen. Cesar Yano assumed this week his post as defense attaché in Washington DC to work for the timely delivery of much-needed American military hardware for the Philippine armed forces (AFP).
Yano is a younger brother of former AFP chief Gen. Alexander Yano.
He graduated from the Philippine Military Academy in 1980.
Prior to his appointment to Washington DC, he headed the AFP Office of Legislative Affairs.
As defense attaché he will be working closely with the Pentagon for the acquisition of excess defense articles (EDAs) for a military anxious to modernize.
As a major non-NATO ally, the Philippines can bid for the American military’s EDA stockpiles.
On the pipeline are a C-130 Hercules cargo being refurbished at a facility in California’s Mojave Desert and overhaul of Allison engines for all of the Philippine Air Force’s MG-250 “Defender” gunships; the turn-over of a Hamilton-class patrol ship for the Philippine Navy; and night-vision goggles for the Philippine Army.
Officials say the Hercules could be delivered in the next two months, joining two other C-130s already with the PAF.
The Philippine Navy is expected to take control of a Hamilton-class all-weather cutter (WHEC) that’s being decommissioned by the US Coast Guard in March.
The USCG is replacing all 12 of its Hamilton-class cutters with the newer Legend-class cutters.
We were told the Hamilton-class cutter will first sail to a drydock for refurbishing before crossing the Pacific to begin service with the Philippine Navy.
With a length of 378 feet and top speed of 29 knots, she will be the biggest and fastest patrol ship in the Philippine Fleet although she will be about 45 years old by then.
The cost of refurbishing all these assets is being sourced from the Foreign Military Fund (FMF) for the Philippines.
The Philippines got close to $100 million in military assistance from the US during the past three years.
But the AFP needs more – sources say they may try to acquire some 110-foot Island-class patrol cutters that are said to be just what a coastal or “brown navy” needs for anti-terror, anti-smuggling, fisheries enforcement and search and rescue (SAR) operations.
There is keen competition among America’s allies for EDAs, especially the big-ticket items like ships and planes.
Yano will be the AFP’s “point man” and he appears well-equipped for the job.
Yano’s rise in the AFP hierarchy resulted from a cross of combat and administrative duties – starting as a platoon and later, as company commander in Sulu.
He served as operations chief of the Philippine Army in Fort Bonifacio before he was given command of the 302nd Infantry Brigade in Tanjay, Negros Oriental in 2008.
Perhaps a measure of his work, he was one of only 7 AFP officers singled out for capture by the New People’s Army last year.