Your 1st in Philippine defense

The return of the self propelled howitzer is coming soon!

The Philippine Army is close to acquiring 155mm self-propelled howitzers

Let us welcome BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39)!

The Philippine Navy finally welcomes its latest asset, the Pohang-class corvette BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39)

Hermes 450 MALE UAVs arriving soon!

MaxDefense presents the first photo of the Elbit Systems Hermes 450 MALE UAV of the Philippine Air Force!

Elbit's Skylark 3 UAV coming soon!

The Philippine Army just made a massive order for several UAV types from Israel.

Philippine Navy and HHI launches BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150)

The Frigate acquisition project reaches a milestone with the launching of BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150).

The Philippine Navy's first Combat Management System from Saab

The Philippine Navy introduces the first CMS in PN service, the Saab 9LV Combat Management System on PS-35

Monday, August 12, 2019

Discussing the Philippine Coast Guard's Maritime Disaster Response Helicopter Projects

In this specific blog entry, we invited again one of our contributors who focus on projects of the Philippine Coast Guard, to write on behalf of MaxDefense Philippines. We would like to again thank our contributor and MaxDefense community member "Herbie" for making this effort for our community.

Herbie has been following the Philippine defense, modernization, and asset acquisition for more than a decade, and has been a MaxDefense community member for almost 6 years. This is his second time to write as a guest writer for MaxDefense, and is a prime example of our openness to people with interests and knowledge to share in our efforts.


As the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) continues to improve its capabilities to meet the challenges as the premier maritime law enforcement, and search and rescue agency of the Philippine government, it is has moved to improve its aviation capabilities including acquisition of new assets.
In this case, the PCG aims to complete what they call the "Maritime Disaster Response Helicopter" Acquisition Project which aims to replace ageing assets while also expanding its aviation capabilities.

One of the PCG's ordered Airbus EC145T2 helicopters undergoing test flight in Germany with PCG aircrew. This helicopter is scheduled to arrive no later than January 2020. Photo taken from Scramble Magazine.


The Maritime Disaster Response Helicopter Acquisition Project involves the acquisition of seven (7) multi-role helicopters to strengthen and expand PCG's maritime disaster response capabilities during maritime incidents, natural disasters and calamities. It also involves the training of pilots and technical crew, procurement of mission equipment and tools and spare parts for five (5) years. *

The helicopters will be deployed in PCG's proposed six circles of influence with a 200 nautical mile radius - Northern Luzon, National Capital Region (NCR) / Central Luzon, Palawan, Central and Eastern Visayas, Southwest Mindanao and Southeast Mindanao. The light helicopters shall perform SAR missions and shall mainly be deployed aboard the 56-meter San Juan-class SAR Vessels in the present inventory of the PCG employing the mother-ship concept immensely expanding the coverage area of operations. 

One of the early documents to state this Maritime Disaster Response Helicopter requirement is the “RA008-02: Formulating a National Transport Plan” that dates back to March 2010. It was commissioned by the Philippines – Australia Partnership for Economic Governance Reforms (PEGR) group and was initiated by the Australian Government. It stated that the Philippine Government work for the “Development maritime disaster response capabilities.” The indicator to achieve this objective is a target of 8 “Number of multi-purpose maritime helicopters” (including 1 for training). It was estimated to cost PHP 5.836 billion during that time.

The above document initiated by the Australian government in 2010 called for the acquisition of 7 Multi-Purpose Maritime Helicopters plus a Training Helicopter. Photo taken from AusAID website.  

That March 2010 National Transport Plan cited the Feasibility Study on the PCG Helicopter Acquisition Project that was completed the previous year by the Transport and Traffic Planners (TTPI) Inc. This would show that the number of units was carefully studied with relevant data at that time. 

A separate 2010 Australian program, Building the Resilience and Awareness of Metro Manila Communities to Natural Disasters and Climate Change Impacts (BRACE Program) Annex 3 stated the project to have a planned funding source from Germany-Caiyon with a PHP 5.8 billion cost. The procurement of seven Maritime Disaster Response (MDR) helicopters was detailed in this program.

As the PCG was still waiting for the NEDA approval of this project since at least September 2009, by 2011, the former DOTC was given a budget of PHP 1,545,567,000 for two helicopters as was reported in various news outlets at that time. 

From 2011-2013, the project had a budget courtesy of a German loan, from Credit Agricole, for a total of PHP 5,409,485,000. But for some reason, the DOTC didn’t purchase the helicopters using the German loan.

The breakdown of funds per year are as follows:

2011 - Php1,545,567,000;
2012 - Php3,397,984,000;
2013 - Php465,935,000

From 2014 to 2015, there was still no movement for the approval in the NEDA-ICC level. The final approval will still be done by the NEDA Board. 

Around 2014, the PCG presented a paper in an International Conference that showed that there are two categories of helicopters the PCG was looking at: light and medium. 

For the light helicopters, the Bell 429, Bell 430, A109E, EC145 (H145), and MD902 were the candidates for this requirement. 

Among the models being proposed for the PCG's Light Multi-Purpose Helicopter are (from top to bottom): Bell 429, Bell 430, Agusta (now Leonardo) AW109E Power, Eurocopter (now Airbus) EC 145, and MD Helicopters MD902. Credits to original sources of the photos.

A comparison table for the Bell 4129, A109E, and EC 145.

For the medium helicopter requirement, the S-76C++, Bell 412EP, and AS365 N3 were the potential models for this category. The presentation also showed that it must prioritize interoperability with PCG Search and Rescue vessels. 

The proposals for the PCG Medium Helicopter are (from top to bottom): Bell 412EP, Sikorsky S-76++, and Eurocopter (now Airbus) AS365 N2 Dauphin. Credits to original sources of the photos.

With no NEDA ICC and no NEDA Board approval yet, the PCG was given a budget for the helicopters. Around July 2015, the PCG invited bidders for the “Procurement of Two (2) Light to Medium Weight Search and Rescue Helicopter” with a budget of PHP 777,600,000. Unfortunately, this was cancelled the next month, with a “For Review” as a comment on the bid. It is interesting to note that this bid was for two units of helicopters.

The following year, around November 2016, a new bid was out and the name was changed into “Procurement of Light to Medium Weight Search and Rescue Helicopter” for one unit of helicopter with the same budget of PHP 777,600,000.00. Unfortunately, this again was cancelled the following month. This particular bid noted that the DBM Procurement Service (DBM-PS) will continue the procurement of this bid.

By October 2017, with the DBM-PS undertaking the procurement, it tendered out the item and its name was changed into  “Supply, Delivery, Testing and Commissioning of Light to Medium Weight, Multi-Purpose, Twin Engine Helicopter for the PCG” for one unit of helicopter with a budget of PHP 745,620,000. Two months later, the bidding failed, with the report noting that “The bid is not responsive”.

On December 2017, the NEDA-ICC-CabCom, co-chaired by the Department of Finance (DOF) and NEDA, discussed and noted the Department of Transportation/ Philippine Coast Guard’s report on the comparative analysis of lease and purchase options for the Maritime Disaster Response Helicopter Acquisition.  The PCG comparative analysis recommended a direct purchase arrangement supported by Official Development Assistance (ODA).

With this assessment, the PCG may avail of a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) STEP loan for the Airbus-Kawasaki 145//BK117 D-3 as it is co-developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. and Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH.

Acquisition Through Public Bidding:

On 03 April 2018, the PCG invited bidders for the “Supply, Delivery, Testing and Commissioning of Light to Medium Weight, Multi-Purpose, Twin Engine Helicopter for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)” project for one unit of helicopter with a budget of Php685,805,000.00. 

The Notice of Award (NOA) for the SAR Helicopter was given on 19 May 2018.  By November 2018, a Notice to Proceed was issued to Airbus Helicopters Southeast Asia PTE LTD for an H145 without FLIR. It is expected to be delivered not later than March 15 2020. 

Airbus released these photos showing their H145 wining Light Helicopter requirement of the PCG. Photos taken from Airbus.

Separately, on 19 April 2018, the DBM-PS invited bidders for the “Supply, Delivery, Testing and Commissioning of Light to Medium Weight, Multi-Purpose, Twin Engine Helicopter for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)” project for one unit of helicopter with a budget of Php745,620,000.00. 

The Notice of Award (NOA) was issued last 18 June 2018. The Notice to Proceed (NTP) was issued July 2018 to Airbus Helicopters Southeast Asia PTE LTD for an H145 with FLIR and weather radar. The newly added PCG Air Asset is expected to be delivered not later than January 09, 2020. This is the tender that was announced by Airbus in their website.

Taken from PhilGEPS website.

MaxDefense posted some photos of the Airbus EC145T2 (H145) helicopter with all weather radar and FLIR last July 2019 in Germany, as they were already undergoing flight tests and PCG aircrew training.

This specific helicopter bound for the PCG appears to be the one with the all weather radar, as one of the two units has it as standard. Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense by sources from the PCG.

Planned Acquisition of More Helicopters:

NEDA released a report in 2018 wherein it mentioned the need to acquire more helicopters under the Maritime Disaster Respinse Helicopter acquisition project.
Taken from NEDA's report in 2018.

A statement released by the PCG on December 2018 mentioned that “in order to provide more service to the public, the PCG needs to acquire additional six (6) medium sized helicopters. This will be done after the completion of the Maritime Disaster Helicopter Project.

Department of Finance report released on January 2019 also included the status of this project, which was noted as “NEDA-ICC conditional approval subject to submission of risk assessment and sensitivity analysis”. 

Just last July 2019, the project was reported as now undergoing a NEDA-ICC Secretariat review. It is now listed under “Projects for Inclusion in the Agenda of the Next ICC-CC Meeting”. The funding source is now determined as “Local Financing” (compared to the ODA recommendation of the PCG shown above) and with a total project cost at Php5.88749 billion. 

We can compare this to the estimated cost listed last March 2010 at Php5.836 billion showing that inflation may certainly affect the inclusions in this project like mission equipment and spares.

Project Summary:

Light to Medium Weight, Multi-Purpose,Twin Engine Helicopter

Note: Edited as of 11 August 2019:

* End User: Philippine Coast Guard Aviation Unit

* Quantity: DBM-BAC: 1 unit, PCG-BAC: 1 unit

* Project ABC:

   - DBM-BAC: Php745,620,000.00
   - PCG-BAC: Php685,805,000.00

* Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

* Source of Funding: Official Development Assistance (ODA) by Japan JICA

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: Airbus Helicopters Southeast Asia

* Product for Delivery:
  - DBM-BAC: 1 Airbus EC145T2 (H145) with all weather radar and FLIR
  - PCG-BAC: 1 Airbus EC145T2 (H145) without radar and FLIR

* Contract Price:   - DBM-BAC: Php745,120,000.00

* First post by MaxDefense: TBA

* Searching Hashtag: #PCGLightMDRHAcquisition #PCGMaritimeDisasterResponseHelicopter

* Status: Both helicopters for delivery by early 2020. More planned for acquisition.


First edit and release: 12 August 2019

Copyright MaxDefense Philippines & "Herbie"

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

DND starts procurement of Tank Gunnery Simulator for the Philippine Army

The Department of National Defense (DND) has started the procurement phase of the Tank Gunnery Simulator Acquisition Project for the Philippine Army.

This is in line with the improvements being made on the capability of armor units, specifically with the Mechanized Infantry Division. 

With the Philippine Army expecting new light tanks coming in soon, they now have more reason to get a tank gunnery simulator to train future tank crew while enhancing their skills without the need to actually use the tanks to train.

An example of what appears to be a gunner station simulation system, mocking a tank turret. Photo taken from KMW website.

An example of the interior of a gunner station for the gunner and commander. It needs to be a mock up of what the PA's tank turret would be.


With the Philippine Army planning to acquire light tanks as part of the Horizon 2 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program, they also included the need for a tank gunnery simulator to help train armor crew on tank operations and application in combat scenarios.

Originally the plan was to acquire 2 tank gunnery simulators with a budget of Php36.2 million. 1 system each for a wheeled and tracked tank, both simulating a tank with a 105mm gun turret.

But it appears that the budget is not enough for 2 systems (another sign of lack of efforts to research properly or make use of Request for Information or Pricing before making a proposal). 

So only 1 system will be acquired, although MaxDefense believes that there could be future requirements to acquire more to allow training as a small unit instead of just a solitary tank.

Should the Notice to Proceed be released within the year, the simulator should be delivered within 9 months, most likely around mid or late 2020. This is still earlier than the tanks itself which usually take more than a year to deliver.

Realism of graphics is also important to simulate actual terrain and conditions. Photo taken from Rhinemetall Defense.

What is a Tank Gunnery Simulator?

According to the technical specifications of the project, as I quote:

A "Tank Gunnery Simulator is a portable gunnery and crew simulator for 105 mm light tank which will be the premier training tool for live precision gunnery and combat training for Armor Personnel. It simulates all tank gunnery operational modes via mockup cabin that replicates all the system controls of a 105 mm light tank." 

"It basically has crew gunnery station where commander and gunner interact with each other in order to properly execute target acquisition in a given scenario."

"It has driver station which can simulate tracked or wheeled platform allowing the entire crew to feel the ride of a tank depending on what terrain is given in the exercise scenario."

"It has Instructor station where instructor operates a preset scenario and can see the performance of the students. Instructor station can allow exercise debrief through replaying the training scenario allowing everyone to see how the students perform in the exercise. Radio communications among the students can also be replayed through its voice recorder capability in order to hear and review the students’ voice command during the exercise." 

The instructor's station will also have the control panels to set the simulation and training conditions while also have monitors where the instructor/system operators can also see what's happening inside the gunner and driver stations, but also see what the trainees are looking at.

"All the required hardware and software; generator; air condition and cooling system; generator; electrical and power source needed for the tank simulator to be operational from the start of the delivery should be provided by the proponents."

The tank gunnery simulator will be a full motion type, allowing the simulation of terrain as shown on the simulation.

It will have a gunner station for the gunner and commander, a driver station as well as an instructor's station.  

The driver station (top) simulates the driving of the vehicle platform, while the gunner station (above) simulates the loading, aiming, firing of the gun by the tank's gunner, as well as commanding the vehicle and providing instructions to the team by the tank's commander. Credits to original sources of photos.

MaxDefense's Opinion:

Since the tank gunnery simulator is dependent on the model of tank/s the Philippine Army will be procuring, MaxDefense believes that this should have been packaged together with the Light Tank Acquisition Project rather than separating it.

In a bidding, the DND or Philippine Army cannot specify the tank model that they are after especially when it is not finally decided yet.

The Pre-Bid Conference is where we believe the proponents will be informed of selected Light Tank model to use as basis.

This is important since the tanks offered to the PA use different platform vehicled and different turrets. 

On the turret alone, the layout, controls, and performance between those made by Oto Melara and CMI Defence Cockerill differ from each other. 

Driver layouts also differ from each vehicle platform. Thats why its interesting to see how a single tank simulator can simulate 2 different platforms (tracked and wheeled). For example, how can it simulate a ASCOD 2 and a Pandur 2 vehicles?

The software is also the important factor. How good is the realism of the simulation software and responsiveness. This would be similar to using software engines similar to those used by video games that includes realistic render of terrain, structures and vehicles. The output as well, through the video screens must consider the latest video and video processing technology.

 It would be best if the software was made to consider Philippine terrain, or if better, match it to certain real locations in the Philippines rather than a software that simulates the European terrain.

It would be best also if the training system can simulate outside the turret like the one above.

Light Tank Acquisition Project Winner?

MaxDefense will discuss soon on which company was finally selected by the Philippine Army to supply the tracked and wheeled light tanks. We can now confirm that the selection was finally done, which we will discuss in a separate blog entry.

All MaxDefese can say for now is that the winning models were among those we mentioned in earlier blogs regarding the Light Tank Acquisition Project.

Meanwhile, all updates on the Tank Gunnery Simulator acquisition project will be made on our resource page for the project which we will release soon. Keep tabs on our resource portal for these updates.

Project Summary:

Tank Gunnery Simulator Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 07 August 2019.

* End User: Philippine Army (Mechanized Infantry Division)

* Quantity: 1 set plus associated items and services as part of package

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP

* Project ABC:

Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

* Source of Funding: GAA Funded

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: TBA

Product for Delivery: TBA, 270 days upon released of Notice to Proceed (NTP)

* Contract Price: 

* First post by MaxDefense:
22 September 2018

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PATankGunnerySimAcquisition

* Status: Bid process starting, bid submission on 29 August 2019.

First edit and release: 07 August 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Discussing the 81mm Mortar Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy (Marines)

The Department of National Defense (DND) has started the procurement process for the acquisition of Mortars for the Philippine Navy (PN), which in turn will be provided to its sub-unit, the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC).

These additional new mortars will help improve the firepower and fire support capability of each of the Marine Battalion Landing Teams (MBLT), which are considered by many as under-equipped in terms of fire support assets.

To project, called the Mortar Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy, is among the Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects under the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP), as covered by Republic Act 10349.

French Foreign Legion troops preparing an LLR 81mm Mortar during exercises. Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons.


The Philippine Navy has originally planned to procure a total of 420 units of infantry mortars of different sizes, consisting of 240 units of 60mm mortars, 120 units of 81mm mortars, and 60 units of 120mm mortars, as part of the Horizons 1 to 3 program of the RAFPMP.

All 420 mortars were programmed for acquisition under the Horizon 2 Phase.

But the final version of the Horizon 2 Priority Projects list approved by Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte and released in June 2018 significantly reduced the budget to just Php694,452,000.00, and quantity of the mortars to be acquired. MaxDefense believes that the quantity dropped to just 25% of what was originally requested.

This can be confirmed with the release of the Invitation to Bid (ITB) and Bid Documents for the first lot to be tendered, Lot 2 - 81mm Mortars, which is only after 30 units of 81mm mortars rather than 120 units.

It now remains to be seen if the Philippine Navy / Philippine Marine Corps will be pushing to have the balance quantity acquired under the Horizon 3 Phase, or the 2nd List of Horizon 2 Phase which is still being prepared as of this writing.

With the procurement phase of the 81mm mortars starting, the acquisition of the 60mm and 120mm mortars will be done separately, although it is still unclear if these would be tendered, or acquired through negotiated deal with a foreign government especially for the 120mm mortar.

The most recent acquisition of 81mm mortars by the AFP was made by the Philippine Army, acquiring 100 units of M69B 81mm mortars from Serbia. Photo taken from Philippine Army Research and Development Center's Facebook page.

Lot 2 - 81mm Mortars:

Based on the bid documents released by the DND for the project, the acquisition of 81mm Mortars was described in brief as follows (with grammar corrections made), and I quote:

"The Philippine Marine Corps units in its performance of littoral and at times, Internal Security Operations (ISO) throughout the country will make use of the 81mm Mortar System. 

It (will be) was employed on areas with varying terrains and environmental conditions where the temperature is relatively the same throughout the country except for high altitude which (has) was usually cooler climate than in the lowlands. Due to climate change, rainfall is now abundant in most part of the country throughout the year with certain months experiencing relative humidity. 

It (will be) is principally used against traditional threats to our national security such as local secessionist groups, terrorist and other lawless elements which are equally armed with high caliber weapons, rocket propelled grenades (RPG), sniper rifles and similar crew-served weapons which makes the mortar unit of the rifle company susceptible and vulnerable to heavy volumes of fires, both direct and indirect. The present technological advancement which is now also made available to the enemies of the government likewise poses a serious threat to mortar positions.

Lessons learned from previous encounters prompted the Corps to pursue the need to employ a mortar system in order to have the capability to easily provide the necessary combat power for the Marine Rifle Company in support of its units waiting for, or in absence of the Battalion combat support. 

Another reason is that apart from being vintage, the current 81mm mortar system in the PMC inventory have been used overtime which makes its quality no longer the same as it was before. Technological advancement is also a prime factor that was considered for this procurement. The advent of the Ballistic Computer will enable our mortar crews to react faster than the manual computation which gives the end user a quick and responsive indirect fire support "

The Philippine Marines still use the old M29 81mm mortar, which has been in service since the 1960s. Photo taken from Sputnik.

At the moment, the standard 81mm mortar of the Philippine Marines is the American M29 81mm mortar, which is in service with the AFP since the 1960s. This would be the first time that the Philippine Marines will have a brand new mortar in decades.

The Invitation to Bid's first paragraph, as snipped from the ITB on DND's Bid Documents.

30 units of 81mm Mortars will be acquired, each with its barrel assembly, bipod assembly, base plate assembly, and sight assembly. The mortars will have its own Ballistic Computer, and each Mortar Fire Support Battery will have a Forward Observer System set.

A total of 40 Ballistic Computers (including spares), as well as 8 Forward Observer System sets (including spares) are required as part of the project.

An Approved Budget of Contract (ABC) worth Php185,891,600.00 was allocated for the project, out of the Php694,452,000.00 approved for the entire Mortar Acquisition Project. 

Here's a summary of the Technical Requirements of the 81mm Mortar Project:

Mortar:* Caliber: 81mm
* Condition: Brand New
* Weight: not exceeding 52.6 kilograms

* Range: at least 4,512 meters
* Rate of Fire: at least 12 rounds per minute (sustained)
* Crew: can be operated by at least 4 men.
* Durability: 10,000 rounds minimum tube life, and can withstand adverse conditions
* Ammo: compatible to fire all types of NATO 81mm mortar ammunition

Ballistic Computer:

* Hardware: Intel i7-7Y75, with 16GB RAM
* Screen Size: 7" WXGA LCD 1200x800
* Weight: 1.15kg with battery
* Operating System: Windows 10

The ballistic computer being acquired appears to be a tablet-based computer due to the small size of its screen, and being touch-screen as well. Photo snipped from Elbit Systems' website.

Forward Observer System includes:* Digital Giniometer & Computer
* Tripod
* Hand-held Laser Range Finder
* Hand-held Thermal Imager

Thermal imaging camera is required for the forward obeserver system. Photo snipped from Elbit Systems' website.

Delivery is expected to be made within 360 days from issuance of Notice to Proceed (NTP), which usually happen around a month or less after the contract has been signed.

So far, MaxDefense received confirmation from several sources that among those interested in submitting a bid include proponents from Serbia, Czech Republic, Israel, Spain, and some unnamed European and Asian countries.
Proponents are required to be able to manufacture, supply and deliver 120mm and 60mm mortars, ballistic computers, and other components to be able to qualify. This means a manufacturer will have to be able to supply components without relying on other manufacturers or subcontractors. So far, MaxDefense can only think of a few companies capable of such, which includes Israel's Elbit Systems Land & C4I which is already supplying self-propelled mortars (Soltam Cardom) and artillery fire control systems (Combat NG) to the Philippine Army, while is also capable of manufacturing its own hand-held thermal imagers (Coral series) and ammunition.

Based on the bid documents, a Pre-Bid Conference will be held on 13 August 2019, and the bid submission and opening will be on 27 August 2019. Take note that these dates might still change due to circumstances or requests from proponents.

Copy of the Technical Specifications of the project can be downloaded from the link provided HERE.

60mm and 120mm Mortars:
Aside from 81mm Mortars, the Philippine Navy is also set to procure the smaller 60mm mortar, and the larger 120mm mortars for the Philippine Marine Corps. These would be discussed separately by MaxDefense in future blog entries.

MaxDefense can only assume for now that the Philippine Navy can acquire up to 60 units of 60mm mortars, and 12-18 units of 120mm mortars. Assuming each Fire Support Mortar Battery will have 6 mortars, the assumed quantities above may be able to form 10 batteries using 60mm (1 battery each for every Marine Battalion Landing Team), and 2 to 3 batteries using 120mm mortars (1 battery each for a Marine Brigade)

These would be done in a separate tender which the DND might still be preparing to release soon.

Philippine Marine troops preparing a 60mm mortar while being watched by US Marine troops duing PHIBLEX 2015 live fire exercises. Photo taken from DVIDS hub.

But this would be an interesting part of the procurement. With the DND requiring the 81mm Mortar proponent to be able to procure 120mm and 60mm mortars, there is a chance that whoever wins the Lot 2 - 81mm Mortar Project means that the DND may opt to go for a direct or negotiated procurement process including possible use of Government-to-Government (G2G) deal.

This means that whoever wins the 81mm Mortar acquisition project may have the strongest chance of bagging the 60mm and 120mm acquisition projects too.

MaxDefense will be watching this project closely, while also preparing once the tenders for the 60mm and 120mm Mortars become available.

Project Summary:

Mortar Acquisition Project Lot 2 - 81mm Mortar

Note: Edited as of 03 August 2019.

* End User: Philippine Navy (Philippine Marine Corps)

* Quantity: 30 nos. 81mm Mortar + associated accessories

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP

* Project ABC:

Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

* Source of Funding: GAA Funded

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: TBA

Product for Delivery:  - Brand and Model TBA
  - 30 nos. 81mm Mortar

  - 40 sets Ballistic Computer
  - 8 sets Forward Observer System

* Contract Price: 

* First post by MaxDefense: 
June 2019 (see MD's AFP Modernization Program List)

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PN81MortarAcquisition #PMC81MortarAcquisition

* Status: Bid process starting, bid submission on 27 August 2019.


First edit and release: 03 August 2019

Copyright MaxDefense Philippines

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Philippine Army's Light Tank Acquisition Project is getting closer to the finish line

With the Light Tank Acquisition Project appearing to be nearing a final selection, MaxDefense would like to discuss the selection for the vehicles based on our analysis of the situation and the information on hand.

The Light Tank Acquisition Project of the Philippine Army is one of those given an "in-principle" approval by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte last June 2018 as part of the Php300 billion Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects under the Revised AFP Modernization Program.

MaxDefense was informed that the Light Tank Acquisition Project was also among those green-lighted for immediate implementation in the AFP-PNP Joint Command Conference last 07 May 2019. This means the project can be finalized and awarded to whoever the PA TWG and DND believe to have provided the best offer.

For further reading, you may give some time to read our previous blog entry discussing the Light Tank acquisition as well as other acquisitions of the Philippine Army for the Mechanized Infantry Division, which can be accessed below:

Philippine Army's Planned Acquisition of Tanks and Armoured Assets for Horizon 2 Phase" - first posted on 24 March 2018

The General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) ASCOD 2 Medium Main Battle Tank (MMBT) during Eurosatory 2018. Photo taken from Armada International.

The Shortlisted Proponents and Products:

It appears that we now have a final list of which ones were shortlisted by the Philippine Army for their Light Tank Acquisition Project, which is also based on the proponents that submitted a serious offer.

For the Tracked Light Tank, the following were said to have been considered:

1. Hanwha Defense Systems (South Korea): K21-105 Medium Tank;

2. Elbit Systems-General Dynamics European Land Systems (Israel-Austria): ASCOD 2 MMBT Medium Tank;

3. PT Pindad-FNSS (Indonesia-Turkey): Kaplan (Harimau) Medium Tank

From top to bottom: Hanwha Defense Systems K21-105 Medium Tank, Elbit Systems-General Dynamics European Land Systems ASCOD 2 Medium Main Battle Tank, and PT Pindad-FNSS Kaplan Medium Tank. Credits to original sources of photos.

For the Wheeled 8x8 Tank Destroyer are the following:

1. Elbit Systems-Excalibur Army (Israel-Czech Republic): Pandur 2 8x8 with 105mm gun;

2. IVECO (Italy): Centauro 2 8x8 with 105mm gun;

3. Otokar Otomotiv (Turkey): Arma 8x8 with 105mm gun

From top to bottom: Elbit Systems-Excalibur Army Pandur II 8x8 105mm, IVECO Centauro II 8x8 105mm, and Otokar Otomotiv Arma 8x8 105mm. Credits to original sources of the photos.

All other perceived potential proponents and products appears to have not been able to participate, or did not submit a serious offer to the Philippine Army despite receiving the Request for Information (RFI) from the PA Technical Working Group.

Perceived Winner by Deduction:

To be able to determine who we believe would win the tender based on the shortlist above, MaxDefense would base what it believes as the possible winning bidder by identifying the possible reasons for being removed from the selection, and taking out any shortlisted proponent and product and reduce the selection.

1. First off, MaxDefense will reduce the shortlist based on which one may not meet Philippine laws based on the Revised Government Procurement Act under RA 9184, and the Revised AFP Modernization Act under RA 10349.

According to these RAs, a product should already be in service with the origin's armed forces, or as an alternative, at least in service with 2 foreign armed forces.

For tracked vehicles:

* The Hanwha K21 armored fighting vehicle is in service active service with the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).

* The GDELS ASCOD armored fighting vehicle is in service with the Spanish Army as the ASCOD Pizarro, the Austrian Army as the ASCOD Ulan. The ASCOD is also being introduced to the British Army as the Ajax. 
* The PT Pindad-FNSS Kaplan/Harimau medium tank is not yet in service, but is being introduced to the Indonesian Army (TNI-AD), with deliveries expected to happen in a few years.

While the K21 and ASCOD were used as armored fighting vehicles and were armed with medium caliber guns instead of a tank gun, it appears that the RA9184 and RA10349 allows its selection. Meanwhile, while the Kaplan/Harimau was designed as a medium tank, it is currently not in service with any military even by its origin (Turkey and Indonesia). This means the Kaplan/Harimau could be disqualified.

For the wheeled vehicles:

* The Excalibur Army Pandur 2 is currently in service with the Czech Army, Portuguese Army, Austrian Army, and the Indonesian Army. 

* The IVECO Centuaro is being used by the Italian Army, Spanish Army, plus the Royal Jordanian Army and the Royal Omani Army.
* The Otokar Arma is only in use by the Royal Bahraini Army.

Like in the tracked vehicles, the Pandur 2 and Centauro both meet the requirements of RA9184 and RA10349 for being in service with the country of origin or at least 2 foreign users. But Otokar's Arma is only in use by 1 foreign user, and not in use by the country of origin (Turkey). This means the Otokar Arma 8x8 could be disqualified.

The PT Pindad-FNSS Kaplan/Harimau medium tank has the most potential among the tracked vehicles shortlisted as the Indonesian Army intends to acquire them by the hundreds. But its development was too late to meet the Philippine requirements of being a proven product. Credits to original source of the photo.

2. Of all the tracked and wheeled vehicle offerings, there were only two suppliers of turrets: either CMI Defence Cockerill from Belgium, or Oto Melara from Italy.

The Hanwha K21-105 and PT Pindad-FNSS Kaplan, and the Otokar Arma 8x8 all use turrets made by CMI Defence Cockerill, while the Elbit-GDELS ASCOD 2 MMBT, Elbit-Excalibur Army Pandur 2 8x8, and the IVECO Centauro 2 8x8 all use an Oto Melara-made turret.

As MaxDefense has been saying for more than a year now, Belgium's Walloon regional government has imposed an very tight export control to the Philippines due to their fear that the Philippine government may use Belgian products in Human Rights abuses or Extra-Judicial Killings. This despite the AFP's good record of not participating in HR or EJK issues.

By deduction, it means only the ASCOD 2 MMBT, Pandur 2 8x8 and Centauro 2 8x8 may be feasible for selection due to their non-usage of Belgian-made or sourced turrets and guns. Meanwhile, the Hanwha K21-105 medium tank could be disqualified as the Philippine Army is expected not to select a model that uses a Belgian-made turret and gun.

The use of a turret and gun from Belgium's CMI Defence may have costed Hanwha to be selected in the Light Tank acquisition project of the Philippine Army. Photo taken from Armored Warfare website.

3. By this time, only the Elbit Systems-GDELS ASCOD 2 MMBT remains as the only tracked vehicle in the shortlist. But for the wheeled vehicles, there are still two: the Elbit-Excalibur Army Pandur II, and the IVECO Centauro 2.

With the ASCOD 2 MMBT probably selected, the selection of the wheeled vehicle could be a combination of performance and practicality. Since the Pandur 2 is also being offered by Elbit Systems, it is much simple to award the entire Light Tank Acquisition Project to a single proponent rather than distributing it to two proponents despite having a very small order.

In this case, IVECO's Centauro 2 may be placed in 2nd place for the wheeled vehicle requirement, with both the Elbit-GDELS ASCOD 2 MMBT and the Elbit-Excalibur Army Pandur II 8x8 possibly selected for the project.

4. MaxDefense received information that since this project is being offered as 1 lot, proponents should be able to supply both wheeled and tracked tank variants.

Even if we include those deducted for not meeting the requirements discussed in items 1 to 3, it means that only Elbit Systems-GDELS-Excalibur Army team can compete for the project.

Which means from the start, there should be no more doubt that the ASCOD 2 MMBT and Pandur II 105 should be the only qualified products, unless the PA TWG and DND-BAC make some changes.

MaxDefense's Opinion:

Based on the above deduction, MaxDefense believes that the Philippine Army may select the Elbit Systems-General Dynamics European Land Systems ASCOD 2 MMBT for the tracked requirements, and the Elbit Systems-Excalibur Army Pandur 2 8x8 for the wheeled requirement.

Aside from the deduction we made, we also believe that recent actions by the Department of National Defense (DND) itself may lead to such selections.

First was the recent visit of DND officials in Excalibur Army's facility in the Czech Republic, wherein the DND was able to view the Pandur 2 8x8. This was in between visits made by Excalibur Army officials to the DND office in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City to further discuss their offers

Philippine officials visit the facility of Excalibur Army in Czech Republic. Credits to a community member who wish to remain anonymous for sharing this photo.

Also, Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana recently called for the strengthening of defense relations between the Philippines and Spain, and an impending signing by the two countries of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on logistics, defense materiel, armaments and defense industry cooperation agreeement would further strengthen the position of GDELS.

This impending MOU was also discussed in a separate blog entry we made, which can be seen on the link below:

PAF's LRPA Project Expected to Benefit with Improvement of PH-Spain Defense Cooperation" - first posted 03 November 2018

What's Next:

While our opinion above is what we think would happen, it could be wrong as we are not the one making the decisions here.

It is still up to the Philippine Army's Technical Working Group (TWG) and Defense Acquisition System Assessment Team (DASAT) on the Light Tank Acquisition Project who will make their selection, which in turn would be raised to the Commanding General, Philippine Army (CGPA) for support and recommendation to the DND.

Anything can still happen unless the PA and DND already made a final decision.

Anyway, MaxDefense wishes good luck to all proponents and to the Philippine Army on whatever selection they will make.


Project Summary:

Light Tank Acquisition Project:

Note: Edited as of 16 July 2019.

* End User: Philippine Army (Mechanized Infantry Division)
* Quantity: 44 units total in 1 lot
* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects of RAFPMP
* Project ABC: Php9,484,332,000.00
* Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government (G2G) Procurement
* Source of Funding: GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund, to be paid via Multi-Year Obligatory Allocations (MYOA).
* SARO Release: TBA
* Winning Proponent: TBA
* Product for Delivery: 

    - Tracked Light Tanks with 105mm gun: Quantity and model TBA
    - Wheeled Light Tanks (8x8) with 105mm gun: Quantity and model TBA
* Contract Price: TBA
* First post by MaxDefense: 15 November 2015
* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PALightTankAcquisition
* Status: Pre-procurement phase ongoing. Awaiting DND's decision and Acquisition Decision Memorandum.


First edit and release: 16 July 2019
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