Your 1st for Philippine Defense

ATAK vs Viper vs Apache Guardian?

The Philippine Air Force's Attack Helicopter selection is still stuck with the T129 despite engine supply issues.

The Philippine Navy's first Jose Rizal-class frigate arrives!

The Philippine Navy's frigate Jose Rizal arrives, but problems still remain.

The PCG takes in new firearms from Israel!

The Philippine Coast Guard receives thousands of firearms bought from Israel Weapons Industries

The Philippine Army inches closer to having mobile bridging capability!

The Philippine Army will be adding new capabilities with Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge to come soon!

Jordan continues its assistance to the AFP!

The Philippine Army confirms receiving M14 Enhanced Battle Rifles from the Jordanian government!

The Philippine Army finally orders the Elbit ATMOS 155mm SPH?!

At last the Philippine Army finalizes its order for 2 batteries of Elbit ATMOS 155mm Self Propelled Howitzers!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Philippine Air Force plans to acquire at least 21 surplus Bell UH-1H Hueys from South Korea

The Philippine Air Force's 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing (205th THW) celebrated its 58th Founding Anniversary today, 24 September 2020.

As part of the program celebrating this milestone, PAF Air Mobility Command Commander Maj. Gen. Simeon Felix confirmed that the Philippine Air Force is intending to acquire additional air assets from South Korea, in the form of used Bell UH-1H Huey combat utility helicopters previously operated by the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA).

One of the Bell UH-1H Huey combat utility helicopters of the Republic of Korea Army. Photo taken from and credited to Hoon114's Blog.


This coincides with reports from South Korea that the South Korean Ministry of Defense has recently approved the potential transfer of retired military helicopters to the Philippine government, which MaxDefense Philippines posted on its Facebook community page last 15 September 2020.

The Republic of Korea Army operated the UH-1 Huey since December 1968, with more than 120 units operated over the years. The ROKA finally retired the type last 31 July 2020, and will be replaced by the locally-made and larger KAI KUH-1 Surion combat utility helicopter

The Republic of Korea Army has retired the UH-1H Huey helicopter last 31 July 2020, and will be replaced by the KUH-1 Surion helicopter. Photo taken from and credited to Bemil Korean Defense Page.


This is a needed boost since the Philippine Air Force is grappling with lack of sufficient utility helicopters that would allow it to provide support to military units around the country.

According to Maj. Gen. Felix, the PAF's Technical Working Group will be conducting an inspection of the helicopters being offered by the South Korean government by November 2020. It still remains to be seen in funding is available. Despite donated, the Philippine Air Force will still need to pay for other expenses including logistics and shipping, repair, training, and other ancillaries and administrative costs. This might still be worth a few hundred million pesos, unless if the Philippine Navy could assist in bringing in the helicopters using their Tarlac-class landing platform docks to help reduce the cost.

Since these helicopters were from the US, approval to transfer the helicopters to another country is needed from the US government. MaxDefense Philippines expects the US government to have no objections to transferring these helicopters to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing currently operates a mixed fleet of former US Army Bell UH-1H Hueys, former German Army Dornier-Bell UH-1D Delta and Super Delta Hueys, and new Bell 412EP combat utility helicopters.


The PAF currently operates the Bell 412EP (top), the UH-1D Delta Huey (above) and the UH-1H Huey combat utility helicopters. Photos credited to original sources.


But the recent fatal incident involving one of the Dornier-Bell UH-1D Delta Huey helicopter in Cauayan, Isabela province last July 2020 has stressed the entire fleet since the Delta & Super Delta helicopters have been grounded while investigations continue on the crash.

The PAF's Commanding General Lt. Gen. Allen Paredes also confirmed during the recent congressional hearing on FY2021 for the Department of National Defense (DND), the 205th THW has 10 more UH-1H Hueys that are in need of funding to allow their rehabilitation and retire to service.

Despite expecting 6 brand new Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters this year and 10 more Black Hawks in 2021, the Philippine Air Force is still desperately short of combat utility helicopters considering its ideal quantity is at least 130-140 units to make sure that 100 combat utility helicopters are available at any given day.


The PAF is preparing to receive its first batch of 6 Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters by October-November 2020, although these helicopters are not expected to be fully operational until 2021. 10 More S-70i Black Hawks are arriving in 2021. Photo shared to MaxDefense by aviation photographer Marcin Bobro.


The PAF also plans to acquire 16 brand new Mil Mi-171 transport helicopters from Russia, but has hit a roadblock due to inability to go around the sanctions posed by the US government's Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Apparently the Russian and Philippine governments have failed to find a way for the Philippine government to pay for the helicopters since banking institutions are not willing to assist for fear of backfire from CAATSA.

Thus, acquiring surplus UH-1H from South Korea, which MaxDefense Philippines learned to be at least 21 units, would definitely help the PAF reach a higher operational capability in the short term.

MaxDefense expects that these helicopters won't be operating for too long considering their age, but it could be good enough to provide an interim solution while the Philippine government is looking for ways to acquire more brand new Combat Utility Helicopters to eventually replace all their ageing UH-1 Huey fleet.

This early, MaxDefense Philippines thanks the South Korean government for assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines in improving its capabilities.

Congratulations to the Philippine Air Force and the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing for reaching a new milestone in serving the Filipino people. Photo taken from 205th THW's Facebook page.


With relation to this new development, the planned transfer of surplus helicopters for the Philippine Army's Army Aviation Regiment (PA AAR) is still in the planning stage, although MaxDefense Philippines previously received information that the PA AAR is also interested in acquiring surplus combat utility helicopters as an interim measure while it starts building up its fleet.

It still remains to be seen though if the PA AAR will also be getting helicopters from South Korea, or from other countries like Japan and the US. 

The recent news wherein Senator Francis Tolentino mentioned about the donation of 4 UH-60 Black Hawk combat utility helicopters and AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters to the Philippine Army still remains a plan, as the Philippine Army contingent to inspect the condition of the helicopters 

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First edit and release: 24 September 2020
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Philippine Naval Special Operations Group receives 1st batch of new Fast Boats


The Philippine Navy (PN) has recently received the initial deliveries of new Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB) that it acquired for the Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG) under its Fast Boat Acquisition Project.

Three of the six newly delivered RHIBs that arrived as the first batch of Fast Boats for the Philippine Navy. Photo exclusively shared to MaxDefense Philippines.

The project, which is funded under the 2nd List of Horizon 1 phase, was meant to provide the NAVSOG's Special Boat Unit (SBU) with new additional boats to complement older fast boats in service, while also increasing its operational capabilities.

The Fast Boat Acquisition Project:

The Philippine Navy included the acquisition of thirty (30) brand new fast boats for the NAVSOG SBU under the proposed PATROL BOAT LIGHT ACQUISITION PROJECT as part of the 2nd List of Horizon 1 phase, with a proposed budget of Php450 million., or around Php15 million for each boat.

This was later revised due to budget issues, with the Philippine Navy renaming the project as the FAST BOAT ACQUISITION PROJECT, with a reduced budget of only Php300 million for twenty (20) brand new boats.

The initial basic technical requirements were as follows:

* Length:                    Function of design
* Beam:                      Function of design
* Draft:                       0.50-0.60 meters
* Displacement:         Function of design
* Speed:                     Not less than 45 knots at full throttle at full load
* Range:                    150-200 nautical miles
* Complement:          3 boat crew + 8 passengers
* Gun Mount:             1 x .50 cal machine gun (front)
* Hull Type:                Function of design (not wooden)
* Propulsion:              At least 2 diesel-powered outboard motors
* Seaworthiness:        Operate at Sea State 2, Survive at Sea State 3
* Delivery Period:      12 months

This requirement will become the basis although it can be further improved. One example is the gun mount, which was later on increased from one mount to three mounts (1 front, 2 rear).

Several proposals were floated during the planning stage, which includes options using a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) design, and several options using Fibre-Reinforced Plastic (FRP aka Fibreglass) and Aluminium hull designs.

All options vary in size, displacement, speed, range, complement, propulsion, delivery times and cost.

The cheapest appears to be similar to the FRP-hulled boats, made locally and used by Philippine National Police Maritime Group (PNP-MG) with 3 outboard motors, which can be acquired for less than Php4 million each. The most expensive option includes the US-made Small Unit Riverine Craft (SURC) which is used by the Philippine Marine Corps and US Marine Corps, and the US Special Operations Craft - Riverine (SOC-R) used by the US Navy which cost around Php35 million each.


Among the options raised by the Philippine Navy include locally-made FRP hulled boats similar to those used by the PNP Maritime Group (top), the Small Unit Riverine Craft SURC (middle), and the Special Operations Craft - Riverine SOC-R (bottom). Credits to original sources of photos.

In the end, it appears that the Philippine Navy settled with their original plan to acquire RHIBs. But it remains to be seen if the quantity was reduced from 20 units to less than that. This is because there was a request made in 2017 to reduce the quantity from 20 units to just 10 units, using the same budget.

But since RHIBs of this size does not cost more than Php12 million each, it is possible that the proposal remains at 20 units, subject to further confirmation.

Use of Diesel-Powered Motors:

Another point of interest will be the decision of the Philippine Navy to specify the use of diesel outboard engines rather than petrol powered as most boats today.

Apparently the decision of the Philippine Navy has strong ties to experience by the US Navy, which has specified the use of diesel-powered motors for boats carried by US Navy ships, instead of petrol powered motors that can produce higher power output and allow higher operating speeds.

As explained to MaxDefense by one of our contributor from the defense industry, the US Navy started implementing the use of diesel fuel for small boats after a ship accident in 1995 that caused an explosive gasoline fire. This made the US Department of Defense directive to remove all gasoline powered engines and gasoline fuel tanks about US Navy ships from 2010.

With the Philippine Navy following suit for safety reasons, it only means that the chances of these new fast boats being deployed aboard larger Philippine Navy ships like the Strategic Sealift Vessel / Landing Platform Docks, or even Offshore Patrol Vessels or other current and future surface combatants are quite high.

Not only will the boats be conforming to the directive on removing gasoline powered engines and fuel tanks aboard Philippine Navy ships, but it also allows for the ease on storing fuel since most Philippine navy ships are diesel powered and have sufficient diesel fuel stored. Fast boats using diesel fuel allows for simplicity and commonality in fuel logistics.

The use of 4 outboard motors instead of 3 as originally planned could also be due to the use of diesel motors, which have lesser power output than gasoline powered motors. 

Delivery to the Philippine Navy:

After a public bidding conducted without fanfare, the winning bidder was Solanda Enterprises - Pacficfortia Marine Technologies Joint Venture, with a bid amount of Php228,130,000.00. This is Php71,780,000.00 lower than the allocated budget. A Notice of Award (NOA) was released in favor of the winning proponent on 27 February 2018, with the Notice to Proceed (NTP) released on 01 March 2018.

Solanda Enterprises is the local distributor of Mercury marine engines, while Pacificfortia Marine Technologies carry the Treton brand of RHIBs. This means that based on their products, it can be assumed that the boats with be made by Treton and would be powered by 

Based on the contract, the products should be for delivery within 1 year, or by March 2019.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released the full amount of the contract on 08 March 2018, which enables the winning proponent to start the construction of the boats.

It appears that Solanda Enterprises - Pacificfortia Marine Technologies JV failed to deliver the boats by March 2019, as we have noted that the first batch of 6 boats were delivered only last August 2020.


The new boats are seen here being delivered to the Philippine Navy's Sangley Point Base in Cavite last August 2020. Photos exclusively shared to MaxDefense Philippines.

It still remains to be confirmed if the boats were indeed from Treton, since MaxDefense sources mentioned that the boats were probably built in South Korea.

From the photos, it shows that the boats are powered by 4 outboard motors, most likely diesel-powered Mercury motors.

The boats appear to be not yet inducted to the Philippine Navy, as training is still ongoing although it is expected to happen in the next few months. The NAVSOG SBU afterall are already training and experienced in operating these type of boats, and are familiar with the equipment installed on the boats.


NAVSOG operates several RHIBs in its fleet, although the new one appears to be larger than the one shown above. Photo taken from and credited to VJNorz's Flickr page.


It also appears that the Philippine Navy procured several new automatic grenade launchers and machine guns which would be installed on these new fast boats. We received photos confirming this, although we were asked not to post them to protect our source.


It remains to be confirmed though if these were acquired separately, although most likely they were.

It also remains to be seen on when the rest of the boats will be delivered to the Philippine Navy. So far, no new deliveries were confirmed to MaxDefense by our sources, although it is expected that more boats will arrive within the year.

Congratulations to the Philippine Navy for these new additions to the fleet!

Note: MaxDefense tried to delay the release of this blog hoping that more boats would be delivrered. But it appears we have to wait for sometime for the rest of the new boats to arrive.


Project Summary:

Fast Boats Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 23 September 2020


* End User: Philippine Navy (Naval Special Operations Group)


* Quantity: at least 10 boats (exact quantity still for confirmation)


* Modernization Phase: Second List of Horizon 1 Phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP)


* Project ABC:
 Php300,000,000.00


Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

* Source of Funding
GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund


* SARO Release: SARO-BMB-D-18-0004636 dated 08 March 2018


* Winning Proponent: Solanda Enterprises - Pacficfortia Marine Technologies Joint Venture


* Contract Price: Php228,130,000.00


* Residual Price: Php71,870,000.00


* First post by MaxDefense: 27 July 2018 


* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag:  #PNFastBoatAcquisition


* Status: Awarded to Solanda Enterprises - Pacificfortia Marine Technologies JV on February 2018, and Notice to Proceed was released on March 2018. Delivery scheduled for March 2019, delayed. First batch delivered on August 2020. More batches expected.

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First edit and release: 23 September 2020
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Philippine Air Force receives full delivery of Elbit Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 medium altitude long endurance UAVs


MaxDefense received confirmation from military and industry sources that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has received full delivery of all nine (9) Hermes 900 and four (4) Hermes 450 medium altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (MALE UAV) from Israeli defense company Elbit Systems Ltd.


A Hermes 900 UAV during demonstrations at Fernando Air Base in Lipa, Batangas. Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense.

The Philippine Air Force was expecting the delivery of 3 Hermes 900 and 1 Hermes 450 unmanned aerial systems (UAS) each comprising 3 UAVs, ground control system and support equipment, plus a spare used Hermes 450 UAV included by Elbit Systems as part of the deal, bringing a total of 13 flying UAVs.

MaxDefense was first to report on the existence of the Philippine Air Force's Unmanned Aerial Systems Acquisition Project and the planned procurement of Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 UAVs back in August 2017, as part of the Horizon 2 phase priority projects of the Revised AFP Modernization Program.

The PAF UAS Acquisition is actually the first big-ticket project of the Philippine Air Force under the Horizon 2 phase, as it was pushed even before the Horizon 2 phase was approved by Pres. Duterte in 2018.




The Hermes 900 (top) and Hermes 450 (above) as seen in PAF markings. Photos shared exclusively to MaxDefense.

Delivery Completion by 2020:

According to our sources, the last batch of Hermes 900 UAVs arrived in the Philippines last August 2020, although Elbit Systems' contract with the Department of National Defense (DND) is not yet complete as Elbit will need to complete all other requirements including establishment of ground facilities, training, logistics support and spares.


Hermes 900 production line in Elbit's facility in Israel. Photo taken from and credited to Elbit Systems Ltd.

It would be remembered that in the Philippine Air Force's "Lead as One" publication released in mid-2020, it mentioned that the PAF is expecting the delivery of 2 UAS composed of 6 UAVs and ground support equipment.


PAF outlining the upcoming delivery of Hermes 900 UAVs within 2020. Photo cropped from Lead As One PAF Publication.


Aside from surveillance, the PAF's Hermes 900 fleet can also be deployed for maritime search and rescue. While Elbit Systems has not identified the customer for their new Life Raft deployment capability, MaxDefense sources confirmed that it is indeed the Philippine Air Force.

This could be useful in assisting ships in distress on the high seas, or even within Philippine territorial and archipelagic waters, allowing faster response in saving lives. Below is a video from Elbit Systems showing this new capability for the Hermes 900 UAV.



Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 in PAF Service:

The UAVs will be operated by the PAF's 303rd Aerial Reconnaissance Group of the 300th Air Intelligence and Security Wing. The 303rd ARG divided the deployment of these new UAVs as well as existing ones like the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle 2 UAVs to different bases around the country, and training being conducted at the Philippine Army Aviation Regiment's base in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.


The badge of the 303rd Aerial Reconnaissance Group, 300th Air Intelligence and Security Wing, Philippine Air Force. Photo taken from 5th Fighter Wing, Philippine Air Force.

Location of bases where the UAVs will be deployed are confidential, although it would be remembered that sightings of the both Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 were confirmed in several locations in the Philippines.

While the Hermes 450 and Hermes 900 UAVs are already delivered, they will all undergo operationalization. According to sources, only 1 Hermes 900 unmanned aerial system with 3 UAVs  and the sole Hermes 450 UAS with 4 UAVs are partially operational, while the 2 other Hermes 900 UAS with 3 UAVs each will probably reach partial operationalization by 2nd quarter of 2021.

Full operationalization of 1 Hermes 900 UAS and 1 Hermes 450 UAS is expected by mid 2021.


Once operational, the Hermes 450 and Hermes 900 UAS can be utilized for several surveillance missions, including tracking down terrorists in jungle and urban areas; battlefield surveillance and real time surveillance; and maritime surveillance in the West Philippine Sea, northern borders with Taiwan, Japan and the Bashi Channel, southern triborder with Indonesia and Malaysia, and the Philippine Rise, and other missions like search and rescue.






The UAS could also cover for the lack of sufficient manned maritime patrol aircraft, although there are certain missions that a manned maritime patrol aircraft are capable of doing that these UAS may not be able to do, including anti-submarine warfare, and munitions delivery.

Horizon 2 Still Far From Complete:


With the deliveries completed, this marks the completion of the first major project of the Philippine Air Force under the Horizon 2 phase. While this is major milestone, the delays in several other Horizon 2 major projects for the PAF is disappointing, considering the end of Horizon 2 is just a little over 2 years away.

MaxDefense hopes that the DND and PAF to speed up their other projects, like the already delayed Attack Helicopter and the slow moving Multi-Role Fighter Acquisition Projects.

Project Summary:

Unmanned Aerial System (Level 3) Acquisition Project - Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 MALE UAS

Note: Edited as of 09 September 2020


* End User: Philippine Air Force (300th Air Intelligence & Security Wing)


* Quantity: 3 Hermes 900 systems (9 UAVs and supporting systems), 1 Hermes 450 system (3 UAVs and supporting systems).


* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP


* Project ABC:
 Php8,470,000,000.00 (whole project)


Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government (G2G) between Philippine Department of National Defense and Israel Ministry of Defense

* Source of Funding
GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund, to be paid via Multi-Year Obligation Authority (MYOA) process.


* SARO Release: TBA


* Winning Proponent: Elbit Systems Ltd.


* Contract Price: Php8,470,000,000.00 for entire project


* Residual Price: Php0.00


* First post by MaxDefense: 08 August 2017


* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag:  #PAFUASAcquisition #PAFHermes900UAS #PAFHermes450UAS


* Status: First Hermes 900 UAV delivered September 2019, first complete system of 3 Hermes 900 UAVs and 3+1 Hermes 450 UAVs completed before November 2019. Two other Hermes 900 systems (6 UAVs) delivered as of August 2020. Delivery of UAVs completed, minor contract requirements remain, to be completed by 4th quarter 2020.


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First edit and release: 09 September 2020
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines



Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Philippine Army moves to improve its Riverine Capabilities

The Philippine Army (PA) has started to improve and modernize its riverine capabilities, which is among their existing capabilities that are not well known to the general public.

As part of the Revised AFP Modernization Program's Horizon 2 Phase, the Philippine Army has included the acquisition of Riverine Operations Equipment in their program. This involves the acquisition of 3 types of boats that could be used for riverine operations, which the Philippine Army wishes to improve on.

Special Forces operators with one of the first new Light Boat for the Philippine Army. Photo credited to the Philippine Army through their Facebook page.
The Philippine Army's Riverine Unit:
Unknown to many, the Philippine Army has a riverine unit that is attached with the Special Forces Regiment - Airborne (SFR-A), which the 4th Special Forces Battalion (Riverine), which are equipped with several small boats for the conduct of riverine operations and waterborne assault.

Currently the 4th SFB-R are equipped with several types of boats, mostly wooden locally-made boats including the Condor Scout and Support boats, motorized bancas, fibreglass-hulled assault boats, and the Australian-made airboats.

Due to age, it appears that many of the Condor Scout and Support boats that were acquired under Project Condor almost 10 years ago have some deficiencies that the Philippine Army wishes to improve on.




One of the Philippine Army's Condor Scout Boat (top), and the Assault Watercraft (above) which are in service with the Special Forces Regiment - Airborne. Photos taken from Wikipedia.

The Marawi Crisis in 2017 also proved to be another experience that showed the Philippine Army on the importance of riverine operations, considering Marawi City was just beside Lake Marawi, which was used by terrorists to enter and exit the city and conduct supply runs.

MaxDefense received information that the Philippine Army wishes to increase the number of its riverine forces, and that includes expanding its assets to enable the conduct of operating from water.


Modernizing the Philippine Army's Riverine Forces:
As part of its effort to modernize the unit, the Philippine Army has included the Riverine Operations Equipment Acquisition Project in the Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects list that was approved in-principle by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte in June 2018.

A budget of Php3,721,968,000.00 was allocated for the project, which consists of 3 sub-projects with the following details:

Lot 1: Light Scout Boats Acquisition Project: which originally called for 56 multipurpose light boats that can be used for a variety of missions including riverine patrol, utility, troop carrying. This was later on reduced to 52 boats with a budget of Php49,168,000.00



Photo taken from and credited to the Philippine Army.

Lot 2: Assault Boats Acquisition Project: this lot calls for the acquisition of 18 fibreglass-hulled assault boats that are armed with at least 3 machine guns and/or auotmatic grenade launchers. Allocated budget is Php2,368,800,000.00, or an average of Php131,600,000.00 per boat.

Lot 3: Support Boats Acquisition Project: these boats will be used for utilitarian missions including troop and supply transport, command and control, and may also be used to act as a "mother ship" for smaller boats especially in larger bodies of water. 8 boats are needed with a budget of Php1,304,400,000.00, or an average of Php163,050,000.00.

It remains to be seen if the Philippine Army will continue using the motorized bancas and Condor boats, although it is expected to be relegated to secondary roles.

For both Lots 2 and 3, no funding has been provided yet and it appears to be that they will be looking for other sources, including US military assistance to allow the acquisition to proceed.

Light Boats:
So far, it appears that the Lot 1 for Light Scout Boats are the only once that have moved forward. The Philippine Army has displayed the first unit, while also confirmed that a total of 52 boats will be delivered.


The Light Boat as displayed by the Philippine Army. The contract for the boats include the trailers as well.
Based on the photos showed publicly by the Philippine Army, the boats are around 5 to 6 meters long, and appears to be made of fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) similar to the small boats acquired recently by the Philippine Navy and Philippine National Police. They are powered by 2 outboard motors, and while it does not appear to have any weapons mounting, it appears possible to have one in the forward space.

The Philippine Army confirmed that the boat has a maximum speed of 25 knots and can carry 8 fully-equipped troops, although it appears to be similar in size to the existing Assault Watercraft boats. 

The boats are small enough for safe operations even on small rivers, but sturdy enough to operate in calm waters of larger bodies of water like lakes.

MaxDefense was also informed by sources that the boats were made locally, but we are still waiting for more information on which company built the boats.

Due to the small value of the project, the Philippine Army conducted the procurement on their own without the need to involve the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of the Department and National Defense (DND).

Assault Boats:
This is an interesting project of the Philippine Army due to the large amount of money allocated for the project to acquire 18 assault boats.

An average of Php131,600,000.00 was given for each assault boat. MaxDefense assumes that this does not include the weapons, which are normally acquired separately especially if they are manually operated.


In comparison, an unarmed Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (MPAC) of the Philippine Navy costs Php90,000,000.00, which means it is highly possible that the Philippine Army might be looking at acquiring boats similar to the MPAC in terms of size and capability. This would then allow the Philippine Army SFR-A to operate in coastal areas as well.

It remains to be seen though, since this is not impossible considering the Philippines is an archipelagic country surrounded mostly by water, and conducting assault from the water without the need to let the Philippine Marine Corps or the Philippine Navy do it is something the Philippine Army may wanted to have.

As long as the boats can be moved by land using trailer trucks, then it becomes even more reasonable.



An MPAC of the Philippine Navy. The Philippine Army's budget for its Assault Boats costs around Php131.6 million each, which is greater than the Philippine Navy's MPAC which, when unarmed, costs around Php90-100 million each. Credits to original source of photo.


With the Philippine government having difficulty in securing funding for several defense projects, and even diverting those they already allocated for other projects, MaxDefense is not positive that the Lots and 3 of the Riverine Operations Equipment Acquisition Project may bear fruit anytime soon.

At best, MaxDefense believes that funding could only be made by 2022, since those projects originally scheduled for 2020 were already pushed back to 2021.


MaxDefense will continue to monitor these 3 sub-projects, which our readers would find in our modernization monitoring website extension, Philippine Defense Resource, once the resource pages for these 3 projects are up.



Project Summaries:

Riverine Operations Equipment Acquisition Project Lot 1 - Light Boats

Note: edit as of 29 July 2020


* End User: Philippine Army (Special Forces Regiment - Airborne)

Quantity: 52 boats


* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP


* Project ABC: Php49,168,000.00


Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding


* Source of Funding: GAA Funds of the Philippine Army FY2019


* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: TBA

Product for Delivery: FRP-hulled Light Boats, with Trailer


* Contract Price: TBA


* First post by MaxDefense: 29 July 2020 (this post)

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag/s: #PARiverineLightBoatsAcquisition 


Status: Contract signed for Lot 1 in 2019, delivery by 2020.

Photo taken from and credited to the Philippine Army.
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Riverine Operations Equipment Acquisition Project Lot 2 - Assault Boats

Note: edit as of 29 July 2020


* End User: Philippine Army (Special Forces Regiment - Airborne)

Quantity: 18 boats


* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP


* Project ABC: Php2,368,800,000.00


Acquisition Mode: TBA


* Source of Funding: Still undetermined, to be financed through other means outside the AFP Modernization Program Fund.


* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: TBA

Product for Delivery: TBA


* Contract Price: TBA


* First post by MaxDefense: 29 July 2020 (this post)

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag/s: #PARiverineAssaultBoatsAcquisition 


Status: Still in pre-procurement stage.

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Riverine Operations Equipment Acquisition Project Lot 3 - Support Boats

Note: edit as of 29 July 2020


* End User: Philippine Army (Special Forces Regiment - Airborne)

Quantity: 8 boats


* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP


* Project ABC: Php1,304,000,000.00


Acquisition Mode: TBA


* Source of Funding: 
Still undetermined, to be financed through other means outside the AFP Modernization Program Fund.

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: TBA

Product for Delivery: TBA


* Contract Price: TBA


* First post by MaxDefense: 29 July 2020 (this post)

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag/s: #PARiverineSupportBoatsAcquisition


Status: Still in pre-procurement stage.

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First post and edit: 29 July 2020
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Philippine Air Force set to receive delivery of several new air and ground assets within 2020

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is expecting several new assets to arrive in the next few weeks, which will certainly boost the overall capability of the service considering its limited number of assets.

Delays on delivery were encountered on all of them due to a variety of reasons, with COVID-19 the most obvious and unintentional.

Here are the air assets that we can expect to arrive soon:





1. Refurbished upgraded C-130 Hercules Heavy Tactical Airlifters from US EDAs:
The acquisition of refurbished and upgraded Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft, together with Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) package, is among those included in the Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects that was given in-principle approval by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte in June 2018.

Originally, the plan calls for the acquisition of a single C-130H/T Hercules heavy tactical transport aircraft from US Excess Defense Articles (EDA) at an overall cost of Php2,080,000,000.00. The huge budget is due mostly to the upgraded avionics, the spares and logistics support, and other ancillary costs rather than the airframe itself.

Air transport has long been a problem of the PAF, and the Joint US Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG) Philippines has recommended to the US Department of Defense to assist the PAF in building this capability.

For this project, the US stepped in to assist by providing assistance through US Foreign Military Financing (FMF program, which now allowed the PAF to acquire two (2) refurbished and upgrade C-130 Hercules aircraft instead of just one. The overall cost of the project went up to Php2.5 billion, but the PAF is now just shouldering around Php1.6 billion, while the US Department of Defense paid for Php900 million worth of the project. This allowed the PAF a savings of around Php400 million which is was able to use in other modernization projects that encountered shortfall in funding.

The original delivery date for the C-130s was supposed to have happened earlier, with the first aircraft expected in early 2019, and the second aircraft before the end of 2019. This was confirmed in a speech made by former Commanding General Philippine Air Force (CGPAF) Lt. Gen. Galileo Kintanar (ret) in September 2018, and again reiterated in another speech during the service's Christmas Party in December 2018.

MaxDefense sources confirmed that the reason for delays was because of the delayed release of funding from the Philippine government, which has always been a problem in most modernization projects.

The Department of National Defense (DND) confirmed in a press release last week that based on their status reports, the first C-130 Hercules will be arriving within July 2020, and the second will arrive before the end of 2020.

Since the statement was based on a status report rather than an updated field information, there is still possibility that the arrival of the first aircraft will be delayed as COVID-19 has made things difficult globally. Although at best, we can still possibly expect its arrival within this 3rd quarter of 2020.


The arrival of these C-130s will certainly boost the PAF's existing fleet of three (3) operational C-130s operated by the Mactan-based 220th Airlift Wing, although only 2 aircraft are available at any given time since the third unit, a C-130T, is undergoing Inspection and Repair As Necessary (IRAN) procedures in Europe. The PAF also has a non-operational 1960s model C-130B which is expected to be retired from service soon, and a written off C-130H, which was cannibalized for parts after suffering damage from a fire in 2019.


One of the PAF's C-130T Hercules, which is a former US Marine Corps KC-130T, refurbished, upgraded and acquired by the PAF but without the refuelling capability. Photo credits to Jon Melo through Jetphotos.com.

2. Brand new Embraer A-29B Super Tucano close air support aircraft:
The PAF is expecting the arrival and delivery of six (6) Embraer A-29B Super Tucano close air support aircraft from Brazil.

These aircraft were acquired under the PAF's Close Air Support Aircraft (CASA) Acquisition Project, which is part of the Horizon 1 Phase Priority Projects, and are meant to complement the PAF's existing fleet of Rockwell OV-10A/C Bronco attack aircraft and Aermacchi SF-260TP armed trainers with the 15th Strike Wing.

The aircraft were originally meant to start delivery by late 2019 for the first batch of three (3) aircraft, and the second batch by early 2020. But Embraer encountered issues and requested for time extension that will allow them to start delivery by February 2020, which the DND allowed.



A-29B Super Tucanos of the Afghan Air Force. Photo credits to the US Air Force.

It was later on delayed further due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, which further pushed the delivery date. Several dates were proposed but it was pushed back as well. 


The DND has announced in a press release last week that the aircraft are expected to be delivered to the PAF by 29 July 2020 based on the same status report as mentioned on the C-130 thread above. But MaxDefense has doubts on this since we received information from PAF and foreign sources that 2 countries that were supposed to provide transit to the 6 aircraft have declined on the transit plans.

The aircraft were supposed to have their 2nd technical stop in Marrakech, Morocco, but the Moroccan authorities have only allowed a fuel stop and not an overnight stay for the pilots. Meanwhile MaxDefense also received info the India, which was supposed to be the flight's 6th stop, also declined although it is still unclear if they declined a stop or an overnight stay for the pilots.

If these stops were declined, it would push back the delivery date by a few days at best, although MaxDefense is still hoping that these countries would provide solutions to allow the pilots involved in the delivery to rest.



An A-29B Super Tucano of the Colombian Air Force. Credits to original source of photo.

MaxDefense also wondered why Embraer did not allow for a delivery using large transport aircraft like those Antonovs used during delivery of other air assets to the PAF. MaxDefense sources confirmed that the contract cost did not allow for this, which is said to be more expensive than flying the 6 aircraft halfway around the world.


Another issue that remains to be seen is the availability of the wing-mounted internal machine guns, which are originally from Belgium's FN Herstal. Last year MaxDefense received confirmation from sources that this is one of Embraer's problems since the Philippines has been imposed with an arms sales restriction by the Belgian government, specifically the Walloon Region where FN Herstal is based. The Walloon Government is a major shareholder FN Herstal.

It was confirmed to MaxDefense that Embraer would source the machine guns from somewhere else, although it may not be delivered with the aircraft should deliveries proceed in late 2019 and early 2020. But since the delays pushed the delivery of all aircraft to July-August 2020, it is possible that the machine guns were already acquired and installed on the aircraft.


The aircraft will be operated by the 16th Attack Squadron, 15th Strike Wing, which is now operating the SF-260TP armed trainers. It previously operated the OV-10 Bronco, but apparently a switch was made between the 2 squadrons, literally all members of each squadron as well as their assets were switched. 


The new Super Tucanos will be assigned together with the SF-260TP Warrior armed trainers of the 16th Attack Squadron (formerly 17th Attack Squadron). Photo credits to Philippine Air Force,

As explained to MaxDefense, the 16th Attack Squadron now operates all single-engine fixed wing attack aircraft, so the A-29Bs and SF-260TPs would be combined, while the OV-10s being twin engine aircraft are re-assigned to the 17th Attack Squadron. Eventually the SF-260TP armed trainers will be relegated to combat training roles, while the OV-10 Broncos will be retired most likely between 2022 to 2024, as the PAF plans to acquire more A-29B Super Tucano aircraft in the future.

The aircraft to be delivered will have the following temporary serial numbers: PT-ZZU, PT-ZZS, PT-ZZQ, PT-ZZO, PT-ZZN, and PT-ZZM


An A-29BB Super Tucano bound for the PAF and in PAF colors, with temporary serial number PT-ZZM, was seen conducting flight tests in Brazil last year. Photo credited to Brazilian planespotter Leonardo Santana.

3. Brand new Sikorsky S-70i Blackhawk combat utility helicopters:
Another new capability will be arriving soon with the Philippine Air Force, and these are the Sikorsky S-70i Blackhawk combat utility helicopters for the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing.

These helicopters were acquired under the Combat Utility Helicopter (Phase 3) Acquisition Project, which is also part of the Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects under RAPFMP. They are built in Poland by Sikorsky's subsidiary, PZL Mielec.

Although 16 units were ordered under a US$241.461 million deal, only the first batch of six (6) units will arrive this year. The rest of the orders will be delivered to the PAF in 2021. Take note that these are COMBAT UTLITY HELICOPTERS and are not related to the Armed Blackhawks offered by Sikorsky for the PAF's Attack Helicopter (Phase 2) Acquisition Project

While an exact delivery date is still unavailable, MaxDefense believes that they will start arriving by August 2020, based on the availability of photos of the helicopters conducting flight tests in Poland. Also as seen on the photo below, it appears that at least one of the helicopters has already been completely painted and most likely completed flight tests, and was readied for delivery.



One of the 6 S-70i Blackhawk helicopters for delivery this year, appears to be ready for delivery. Photo credits to Polish planespotting group EPRZ.

Originally Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana mentioned that the PAF would get the first batch of 2 helicopters before the end of 2019, but this did not push through since the deal was not signed earlier than expected, putting the PAF orders in a queue after those of the Polish government's orders.


So far MaxDefense has not heard of any issues regarding the deliveries, which is actually good news. 

MaxDefense would like to take this opportunity to post photos of shared by Polish aviation photographer Marcin Bobro, which were exclusively shared to MaxDefense Philippines. The aircraft involved is one of the incoming 6 units for delivery this year.






S-70i Blackhawk bound for the Philippine Air Force with temporary serial number SP-YVC conducting flight tests in Mielec, Poland. All photos credited to Polish planespotter Marcin Bobro, who is a MaxDefense Philippines community member.

4. Elbit Systems Hermes 900 medium altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicles

Among the incoming air assets, this is the only one that already has partial delivery made earlier, and that the rest of the orders will be coming in before the end of 2020.

We’re talking about the Elbit Systems Hermes 900 medium altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (MALE UAVs), wherein the first batch of 3 units forming a complete system were already delivered to the PAF starting late 2019.

Six (6) more Hermes 900 UAVs in 2 systems, including all their associated components and support equipment were confirmed by the PAF in their latest service news magazine to be arriving before yearend.

These are currently the most advanced surveillance platforms in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), as it invest heavily on unmanned platforms for surveillance purposes. 

The acquisition of the Hermes 900 is part of the PAF’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Acquisition Project, which is also part of the Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects of the RAFPMP.  Aside from the Hermes 900, Elbit Systems also delivered a complete system using the smaller Hermes 450.


These UAVs will be operated by the PAF’s 300th Air Intelligence and Security Wing, which also operates the manned Cessna 208BEX Grand Caravan ISR aircraft and three groups of Boeing Insitu ScanEagle II small UAVs.


The first two Hermes 900 UAVs of the PAF (other one in the background, tail only shown. Serial numbers 9001 and 9002. Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense.

5. Aviation Engineering Equipment:
Aside from air assets, there are also several land assets that will be delivered to the Philippine Air Force. Majority of which are engineering equipment acquired under the PAF's Aviation Engineering Equipment Acquisition Project, which is also a Horizon 2 Phase Priority Project that will boost the capabilities of the 355th Engineering Wing.

These assets would be used to construct and maintain PAF bases and facilities, while also allowing assistance during emergencies.

Out of the 32 lots, at least 20 of them were already awarded to winning proponents, majority of which have a delivery deadline before the end of 2020. 


6. Raytheon AIM-9L/I-1 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles:
Also scheduled for delivery are more Raytheon AIM-9L/I-1 Sidewinder short range air-to-air missiles, as part of the PAF's Fighter/Surface Attack Aircraft/Lead-in Fighter Trainer (F/SAA/LIFT) Munitions Acquisition Project Lot 1 - Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles under the Horizon 1 Phase Priority Projects of RAFPMP.

The delivery for these missiles, which are manufacturer in Germany by Diehl Raytheon Missile Systeme GmbH, are already delayed since they should have had completed their deliveries by February 2020. 

MaxDefense also have reasons to believe that among the reasons for the delay was due to testing failure related to of a certain lot of missiles bound for the PAF, which pushed Diehl Raytheon to manufacture and test another lot to meet quality standards.

These missiles will be used by the 5th Fighter Wing to arm their KAI FA-50PH Fighting Eagle light combat aircraft, although these missiles could also be used by the PAF's upcoming fleet of A-29B Super Tucanos for limited air-to-air combat capabilty.



The AIM-9 Sidewinder family was already leading on the PAF's evaluation early on even before procurement phase started. Credits to original source of photo.
Project Summaries:

C-130H Hercules with Avionics Upgrade and ILS Acquisition Project


Note: edit as of 10 July 2020


* End User: Philippine Air Force (220th Airlift Wing)

Quantity: 2 aircraft


* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP


* Project ABC: Php2,080,000,000.00


Acquisition Mode: US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) Program


* Source of Funding: Majority through GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund,paid via Multi-Year Obligatory Allocations (MYOA), and US FMF funding.


* SARO Release: TBA


* Winning Proponent: US Department of Defense

Product for Delivery: C-130H Hercules heavy tactical transport aircraft, refurbished and upgraded by US-designated contractor.


* Contract Price: approx. Php2,500,000,000.00, but PAF only paid Php1,600,000,000.00.


* First post by MaxDefense: August 2018

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag/s: #PAFC130Acqisition 


Status: Originally scheduled for delivery starting early 2019, delays pushed delivery to 2020. DND confirmed delivery of 1st aircraft by July 2020, 2nd aircraft before end of 2020.


One of the PAF's C-130T acquired from US EDA. Credit to original source of photo.
===============

Close Air Support Acquisition Project

Note: edit as of 10 July 2020


* End User: Philippine Air Force (15th Strike Wing)

Quantity: 6 aircraft


* Modernization Phase: Horizon 1 Phase of RAFPMP


* Project ABC: Php4,968,000,000.00


Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding


* Source of Funding: GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund,paid via Multi-Year Obligatory Allocations (MYOA) process


* SARO Release: 
  - SARO-BMB-D-17-0015476 dated 25 September 2017 (1st tranche payment) worth Php730,889,700.00, released 25 September 2017;
  - SARO-BMB-D-19-0003657 dated 16 May 2019 (final tranche covering 2nd and 3rd tranche) worth Php4,141,708,300.00, released 17 May 2019 


* Winning Proponent: Embraer S.A (Brazil)

Product for Delivery: Embraer EMB-412 (A-29B) Super Tucano


* Contract Price: Php4,872,598,000.00.


* First post by MaxDefense: 11 July 2013

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag/s: #PAFCASAcquisition #PAFACASAAcquisition


Status: Originally scheduled for delivery starting November 2019. Delays occurred and pushed delivery to July-August 2020 for all 6 aircraft.


One of Colombia's Super Tucano aircraft. Credits to original source of photo.
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Combat Utility Helicopter (Phase 3) Acquisition Project

Note: edit as of 10 July 2020


* End User: Philippine Air Force (205th Tactical Helicopter Wing)

Quantity: 16 aircraft


* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP


* Project ABC: Php12,100,000,000.00


Acquisition Mode: Negotiated Procurement (Government-to-Government) with Polish Government, with US Government support and approval


* Source of Funding: GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund,paid via Multi-Year Obligatory Allocations (MYOA) process


* SARO Release: 
  - SARO-BMB-D-17-0025076 dated 20 December 2017 (1st tranche payment) 

* Winning Proponent: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. through Polish subsidiary PZL Mielec

Product for Delivery: Sikorsky S-70i Blackhawk International


* Contract Price: US$241,461,699.39 (approx. Php12,556,008,368.00)


* First post by MaxDefense: 03 July 2016

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag/s: #PAFCUHAcquisition #PAFACUHP3Acquisition


Status: Contract signed 21 March 2019, Notice to Proceed released 16 April 2019. Delivery of first batch of 6 units to proceed within 3rd-4th quarter 2020. 10 units for delivery by 2021.


PAF S-70i Blackhawk undergoing flight test. Photo credited to Marcin Bobro.
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Unmanned Aerial System (Level 3) Acquisition Project


Note: Edited as of 29 June 2020.

* End User: Philippine Air Force (300th Air Intelligence & Security Wing)

* Quantity: 4 systems (12 UAVs and supporting systems)


* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP

* Project ABC:
 Php8,470,000,000.00 (whole project)

Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government (G2G) between Philippine Department of National Defense and Israel Ministry of Defense

* Source of Funding
GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund, to be paid via Multi-Year Obligation Authority (MYOA) process.

* SARO Release: N/A

* Winning Proponent: Elbit Systems Ltd.

* Contract Price: Php8,470,000,000.00

* Residual Price: Php0.00

* First post by MaxDefense: 08 August 2017

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag:  #PAFUASAcquisition #PAFHermes900UAS 


* Status: First Hermes 900 UAV delivered September 2019, first complete system of 3 Hermes 900 UAVs delivered as of December 2019. Two other systems (6 UAVs) expected to be delivered before end of 2020.


A Hermes 900 UAV in Fernando Air Base, Lipa City. Shared exclusively to MaxDefense by a community member.

===============

Aviation Engineering Equipment Acquisition Project:


Note: Edited as of 24 January 2020.

* End User: Philippine Air Force (355th Aviation Engineering "Beavers" Wing)

* Quantity: Multiple lots with multiple quantities

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects of RAFPMP

* Project ABC: Php674,764,600.00

* Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government (G2G) Procurement

* Source of Funding: GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund

* SARO Release: TBA

  
* Product for Delivery: see "Project Breakdown" below.

* Lots with Awarded Contract: 22 out of 32 lots worth Php446,510,386.00 

* First post by MaxDefense: 31 March 2019

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PAFAviationEngineeringEquipmentAcquisition #PAFAEEAcquisition


* Status: Pre-procurement, procurement, and post-procurement phases ongoing depending on lots. 


The PAF's 355th Aviation Engineering Wing was among the recipients of the AFP's acquisition of Civil Engineering Equipment from China, which is a separate project from the PAF's own Aviation Engineering Equipment acquisition project. Photo taken from AFP's FB page.
===============


F/SAA/LIFT Munitions Lot 1 - Short Range Air-to-Air Missile Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 14 September 2019.

* End User: Philippine Air Force (Air Defense Command)

* Quantity: classified quantity

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 1 Phase Priority Project of RAFPMP

* Project ABC:
 Php1,016,798,639.00

Acquisition Mode: Negotiated Procurement (Government-to-Government) deal with the US through US Foreign Military Sales (US FMS) program

* Source of Funding: GAA Funded

* SARO Release: SARO-BMB-D-17-0012038 dated 08 August 2017, released 09 August 2017

* Winning Proponent: Diehl Raytheon Missile Systeme GmbH (Germany)

Product for Delivery:  "a few hundred" Raytheon-Diehl AIM-9L/I-1 Sidewinder IR-guided air-to-air missile. Exact quantity not provided due to OPSEC reasons.

* Contract Price: 
Php1,016,734,088.00

* First post by MaxDefense: 
20 June 2015 

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PAFFSAALIFTMunitionsLot1Acquisition #PAFFA50MunitionsLot1Acquisition #PAFFA50SRAAMAcquisition

* Status: Project awarded in 2017. Delivered started late 2019, delivery is expected to be completed before end of 2020.


A ROKAF FA-50 with an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile.Credits to original source of photo, for reference only.
===============
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First post and edit: 12 July 2020
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines


Philippine Navy Modernization Projects

Philippine Air Force Modernization Projects