Your 1st in Philippine defense

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

Spot the difference

The Philippine Army received their first batch of upgraded M113A2 APCs. So which is which?

They KAAV7A1s are finally here!

The Philippine Navy (Marines) will soon be having their own AAVs. No more hitchhiking on USMC AAVs!

Wildcats arriving soon!

The Philippine Navy's will soon be getting their AgustaWestland AW159 Mk.220 Wildcat naval combat helicopters!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Philippine Army to receive 12 more upgraded M113A2 with Elbit 12.7mm RCWS this June

As part of the Department of National Defense's (DND) deal with Israel's Elbit Systems Land & C4I, the Philippine Army's Mechanized Infantry Division (MID) would be receiving another batch of upgraded M113A2 tracked armored personnel carriers (APC) this June 2019, fitted with the Elbit Systems 12.7mm overhead remote controlled weapon stations (ORCWS).

12 newly rehabilitated and upgraded M113A2 tracked APCs equipped with Elbit's 12.7mm ORCWS. Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense by a source.

The deal is part of the Philippine Army's M113 Firepower Upgrade Project, which is a Horizon 1 Phase 2nd List Project of the Revised AFP Modernization Program. The projects aims to deliver the upgrade for 44 M113A2 tracked armored personnel carriers that include installation of the Elbit Systems 12.7mm ORCWS and other systems, and conversion of 5 M113A2 to armored mortar carriers and installation of the Soltam Cardom 81mm Recoil Mortar System.

More details can be found on an earlier blog entry posted specifically for this project, which can be accessed through the link below:

"Elbit Systems Wins Contract to Upgrade Philippine Army M113A2 with RCWS and Mortars" - first posted on 14 June 2018

For this batch for delivery this June 2019, twelve (12) units are programmed. These are former US Army M113A2 tracked APCs that underwent rehabilitation works with the Mechanized Infantry Division's maintenance battalion, and were modified to allow the installation of Elbit Systems' 12.7mm ORCWS on the commander's hatch, replacing the manually-operated armored open mount usually found on standard PA M113s.

M113A2s armed with the 12.7mm ORCWS will be undergoing Technical Inspection and Acceptance Tests prior to handover to the Philippine Army. Photo exclusively shared by a MaxDefense source.

Aside from up-arming, these vehicles were also installed with Elbit Systems' Combat NG Battlefield Management System (BMS) allowing them to be integrated into a network with other similarly-equipped units of the Philippine Army.

While the electronic and mechanical systems like the weapon mounts and computers were all imported from Elbit Systems, the rehabilitation and modifications of the M113s, as well as the installation works of the RCWS and computer systems were all made by the Mechanized Infantry Division with technical assistance provided by Elbit Systems. This means the MID now has the know-how and capability to not just install, but also conduct maintenance works of these complicated systems.

Originally, Elbit Systems was supposed to deliver 17 units for the first batch, but the Philippine Army requested for an initial 5 units to be delivered earlier in April 2019 to allow the vehicles to be deployed to Jolo, Sulu before the 2019 Mid Term Elections last May.

The examples above are the first batch of M113A2s that received the new 12.7mm ORCWS and vehicle upgrades. They were set to Sulu last May 2019 to provide security during the 2019 Mid Term Elections. Photo shared to MaxDefense by a community member who wish to remain anonymous.

The vehicles underwent the Technical Inspection and Acceptance Tests a few days ago. Once they are rated by the project's Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee (TIAC) as passed, the vehicles will then be prepared for official hand-over to the Mechanized Infantry Division.

This would mark the delivery of a total of 17 upgraded vehicles with the 12.7mm ORCWS under this M113 Firepower Upgrade Project.

In total, the Philippine Army already has 11 units of M113A2 tracked armored personnel carriers equipped with a 12.7mm RCWS system (if one would include the delivery made by Elbit Systems in a separate project in 2016), and the delivery of 12 more will make the total go up to 23 units.

The difference between the M113A2 tracked APCs that received upgrades to install 12.7mm RCWS:
Left photo shows those delivered by Elbit Systems in 2016 using a ex-Belgian Army M113A2+ and an earlier model variant of Elbit's 12.7mm ORCWS. The right shows a US-made M113A2 equipped with the latest variant of Elbit's 12.7mm ORCWS. 
Photo provided by a community member based on photos from other sources.

MaxDefense was informed that aside from the 12 units for delivery this June, another batch of upgraded M113s are scheduled for acceptance tests and hand-over this coming July 2019, and it would include some of the converted Armored Mortar Carriers armed with the Soltam Cardom 81mm Recoil Mortar System.

Rehabilitation, upgrade and installation works were all done in MID's facility in Camp O'Donnell in Tarlac, allowing MID to gain experience in the process. Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense by a source form the PA.

More updates will be coming in probably by July once the next batch of deliveries are ready. Meanwhile, our readers can also access our resource portal for this project which can be found on the link below:

"M113 Firepower Upgrade Project (Horizon 1) of the Philippine Army" - continuous updates ongoing.

Project Summary:

M113 Firepower Upgrade Project

Note: Edited as of 22 June 2019.

* End User: Philippine Army (Mechanized Infantry Division)

* Quantity: to upgrade 49 M113 tracked APCs.

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 1 2nd List Projects of RAFPMP

* Project ABC: Php1,051,650,000.00

* Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government (G2G) Procurement with the Israel Ministry of Defense-SIBAT

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

* SARO Release: SARO-BMB-D-17-0022354 dated 28 November 2017 worth Php1,051,650,000.00 (full amount), released 29 November 2017.

* Winning Proponent: Elbit Systems Land & C4I (Israel)

* Product for Delivery:
    - Modification of 49 M113A2 tracked APCs to accommodate upgrade
    - Upgrade of 44 M113A2 with installation of Elbit Systems 12.7mm ORCWS and other systems
    - Upgrade of 5 M113A2 with conversion to Armored Mortar Carrier with the Soltam Cardom 81mm Recoil Mortar System

* Contract Price: Php1,051,650,000.00

* First post by MaxDefense: 31 October 2016

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PAM113FirepowerUpgrade

* Status: Delivery ongoing, 1st batch of 5 units delivered April 2019, 2nd batch of 12 units for delivery June 2019.


First edit and release: 22 June 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Philippine Navy's Fast Attack Interdiction Craft OK'd for procurement, selects Shaldag V - Spike NLOS combo

Last 07 May 2019, the Department of National Defense (DND), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), held a Command Conference with Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and several cabinet members from the government to discuss defense and security issues.

Among those discussed was the status of the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP), including the procurement plans from ongoing Horizon 1 and Horizon 2 projects, and pending Horizon 2 projects.

MaxDefense was able to get information from the outcome of the discussions on the AFP Modernization, wherein we can confirm that several good news came out of it and we will be discussing several of those in the upcoming blog entries.

We would start with one project that suddenly popped out of nowhere - the Fast Attack Interdiction Craft - Missile Capable (FAIC-M) Acquisition Project for the Philippine Navy.

The Shaldag Mk. V from Israel Shipyards, which was pre-selected for the FAIC-M acquisition project.
Screengrab taken from PN official video, as shared by a source from PN.

The Current Assets of the  Littoral Combat Force of the Philippine Fleet:

The Philippine Navy (PN) has been operating a fleet of fast patrol boats, being the type with the most number in the Philippine Fleet. These assets are currently operated by the Littoral Combat Force (LCF), which is in charge of naval operations in the littorals including operating of coastal patrol assets like patrol boats.

The PN currently has several patrol boat classes in service, with each class different from each other in terms of size, designed capabilities, and characteristics. This includes the following patrol assets above 50 tons in displacement:

* Tomas Batilo-class: fast patrol boats acquired second hand from South Korea in the 1990s. They are the most heavily armed patrol boats in the fleet, although they are among the oldest, being in service with the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) as the Chamsuri-class since the late 1970s-early 1980s before handing them over to the PN. Only four (4) boats remain as the PN decided to start retiring some of the boats in the past few years.

BRP Salvador Abcede (PB-114), a Tomas Batilo-class PKM fast attack craft of the PN. The entire class are the intended for replacement by the FAIC-M. Photo taken from Wikipedia.

Kagitingan-class: currently the largest patrol boats in the fleet, although they are plagued by poor serviceability and lacklustre performance. Two (2) boats remain and will need replacement soon.

BRP Bagong Silang (PB-104), one of the Kagitingan-class large patrol boats.

* Jose Andrada-class: currently the most numerous type of patrol boats in the fleet, with 22 boats in service since 1990. Although they are the "youngest" patrol boats (over 50 tons) in service with the PN, they are already nearing 30 years and would need replacements in the next few years. These boats were acquired with US assistance, and several were built locally.

* Alberto Navarette-class: the oldest patrol boats in the PN, the 2 boats of the class were formerly US Coast Guatd Point-class patrol boats, with both ships BRP Alberto Navarette and BRP Abraham Campo being in service with the USCG starting from 1967 and 1970, respectively. That puts them at 52 and 50 years in combined total service with the US Coast Guard and Philippine Navy!

The rest of the LCS's assets are surface assets below 50 tons in displacement., which includes the Multi-Purpose Attack Crafts, Swift and De Havilland 9209-classes of patrol crafts from the US and Australia respectively, and the recently donated Type 966Y patrol crafts from China.

Just a few years ago, the LCS also operated the larger Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo-class inshore patrol vessel and the smaller Conrado Yap-class fast patrol boat, both classes were retired without any replacement.

With the LCS becoming a smaller force due to the retirement of older assets, it was recommended that the force be provided with new assets as part of the Revised AFP Modernization Program.

Plans Under the Revised AFP Modernization Program:

When the Philippine government under the administration of former Pres. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III was approved, the Philippine Navy submitted proposals on their programme of acquisitions from 2013 to 2028 under the Horizons 1, 2 and 3 of the RAFPMP. But over time, these proposals shifted depending on the AFP and PN leadership, the situation or challenges arising or expected, or depending on the budget approvals.

For Horizon 2, originally the Philippine Navy requested for the following assets to be acquired for the Littoral Combat Force:

* 15 Multi-Purpose Attack Crafts armed with missiles
* 14 Fast Attack & Interdiction Crafts armed with missiles

But after the review of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and his cabinet, the plan was reduced to just the following:

* Nothing on new surface assets;
* Combat Systems Upgrade for Multi-Purpose Attack Craft Batch 4 ordered during Horizon 1 phase.

Just imagine the disappointment of the men and women of the Littoral Combat Force when the approved Priority Projects of Horizon 2 came out last 2018!

Most of the approved Horizon 2 projects were focused on just meeting the minimum requirements of the Offshore Combat Force (OCF) and Sealift and Amphibious Force (SAF), as well as the requirements of the Philippine Marine Corps after the said groups also received cuts in their procurement plans.

For the approved Horizon 2 Priority Projects, not even a complete MPAC was included after Pres. Duterte slashed the proposal. Only included were the weapon systems and additional items for the MPAC Batch 4 that was ordered under the 2nd List of Horizon 1 phase.
Photo taken from Wikipedia.

Urgent Requirement Raised:

With assets being retired and no new assets on the way, the Littoral Combat Force's leadership made its voice heard and requested the Philippine Navy's Flag Officer in Command (FOIC), Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad to assist in securing funding and approval for the acquisition of assets that can be used to patrol the southern borders of the Philippines facing Indonesia and Malaysia.

The proposal was still based on previous requirements: the acquisition of Fast Attack & Interdiction Craft (FAIC), between ten (10) to twelve (12) units and armed with small surface-to-surface missiles that are more lethal than those installed in their smaller Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (MPAC) Mk. 3, which are based on the Rafael Spike-ER small surface-to-surface missile.

The decision to go for FAICs instead of additional MPACs was made due to earlier observations made by several groups within the PN that believes the MPAC is too small for operations far from operating bases. The MPAC lacks liveable space and facilities to allow operations of at least a week at sea including a decent toilet and shower room, and bunk spaces.

There are also calls that the MPAC's Spike-ER is too small for use against territorial defense requirements against similar-sized or larger enemy naval assets. As MaxDefense previously commented on the capabilities of the missile-armed MPAC, the Spike-ER lacks the range and the warhead size to engage other surface assets which are armed with long range guns and longer-ranged missile systems.

Up until late 2018, IAI Ramta was still pushing for the Philippine Navy to select the Super Dvora Mk. III, which is smaller but said to be more comfortable and more agile than the Shaldag Mk. V. Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense by a community member who was in ADAS 2018.

In a radio interview conducted by military radio station DWDD on February 2019, Vice Adm. Empedrad announced plans to request the acquisition of between 10 to 12 "Fast Patrol Boats" which will be used to combat piracy and terrorism based on recent calls by Pres. Duterte.

Back then, the FOIC confirmed that he has not yet made the request with the president, nor secured the funding for these boats. But prior to that, the Philippine Navy has already been exploring the possibility of acquiring new fast patrol boats and has received several offers from friendly countries including Israel, South Korea, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, the US, Netherlands, and Australia.

And the FOIC did had the chance to raise the requirement to be able to secure funding.

On 07 May 2019 during the Command Conference between Pres. Duterte, the DND, AFP, and other cabinet and agencies of the government, Vice Adm. Empedrad was said to have been given the green light to proceed with the acquisition phase, although with a smaller quantity and budget than earlier requested, with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) asked by Pres. Duterte to find funds to pay for the project.

This was later on re-confirmed during the 121st Founding Anniversary celebration of the Philippine Navy, wherein Vice Adm. Empedrad mentioned it in his speech the plan to purchase eight (8) Fast Attack & Interdiction Crafts - Missile capable (FAIC-M), which was later shown as part of the video presentation of the PN during the celebrations.

No model was mentioned by the FOIC, but the video clearly shows the Shaldag Mk. V from Israel Shipyards.

A screengrab from the Philippine Navy's new institutional video for 2019, showing the Shaldag Mk. V representing the Fast Attack & Interdiction Craft - Missile (FAIC-M). Screengrab taken from PN video shared by PN sources.

In an interview with PN Spokesman Capt. Jonathan Zata, he also mentioned that the new FAIC-M will replace the eight (8) Patrol Killer Medium (PKM) fast attack crafts that they have in the fleet. He was referring to the Tomas Batilo-class fast attack crafts, which are called PKM boats when they were in service with the ROKN.

Capt. Zata also mentioned that the FAIC-Ms are intended to defend key sea lanes of communications (SLOCs) such as Mindoro, Balabac, Sibutu and Basilan Straits.

Despite Capt. Zata explaining that the new FAIC-Ms will replace the Tomas Batilo-class PKM fast attack crafts, MaxDefense believes that it would be more of a successor to the already retired Conrado Yap-class fast patrol boats, which are closer to the Shaldag Mk. V in terms of tonnage (75 on Conrado Yap-class tons versus Shaldag Mk. V's 95 tons and Tomas Batilo-class' 140 tons), although by length the Shaldag Mk. V is closer to the Tomas Batilo-class.  

Besides, the Conrado Yap-class were retired without a replacement coming in. MaxDefense doesn't agree that the MPAC Mks. 1 to 3 are their replacements either due to difference in size and capabilities offered.

The BRP Leopoldo Regis (PG-847), a fast patrol boat of the Conrado Yap-class. aka Haksaeng-class with the ROKN. The PN used to have ten (10) of these boats donated by the South Korean government in the early to mid 1990s. They were retired without a clear successor. Photo taken from Wikipedia.

The Project - Fast Attack Interdiction Craft:

Based on the approved plan, the Philippine Navy will procure eight (8) Fast Attack Interdiction Craft (FAIC) based on the technical requirements they submitted to the president. The budget will be Php10 billion (around US$193 million).

MaxDefense was informed by sources to not post the technical specifications, but based on what we have already seen, it appears that it was designed to suite the proposal made by Israel Shipyards Ltd to the Philippine Navy based on the company's Shaldag V fast patrol boat.

For those who remember, MaxDefense made a previous blog entry on Israel Shipyard's offer based on the Shaldag V as early as August 2016. The offer was made after a Request for Information (RFI) was released by the Philippine Navy to several shipbuilders.

For more on the Shaldag Mk. V, you may refer to an old blog entry, which can be accessed below:

"Israel Shipyard's Shaldag Mk. V Fast Patrol Boat Offered to the Philippine Navy" - first posted 16 August 2016

The Shaldag Mk. V from Israel Shipyards. Credits to original source of the photo.

Weapon Systems:

Also discussed will be the weapon systems installed on these boats - which would be acquired from a different company but would be installed once the boats are delivered.

The Philippine Navy has already selected the supplier, which would be Rafael Advance Systems Ltd (Rafael), which will supply systems mostly already familiar with the PN.

Among them are Rafael's Mini Typhoon 12.7mm  navalized Remote Controlled Weapon Stations (RCWS), the Typhoon 30mm navalized machine gun system, and the Typhoon MLS-NLOS capable of firing up to eight (8) rounds of Spike NLOS surface-to-surface missile.

The Rafael Typhoon MGS (top), and the Mini Typoon RCWS (above). The Typhoon MGS can be fitted with up to 30mm naval gun. All eight FAIC-Ms will have a Typhoon MGS armed with a 30mm gun, and two Mini Typhoon 12.7mm RCWS. Photos taken from Wikipedia (top) and Royal Australian Navy (above).

Each of the eight FAIC-Ms will be armed with one (1) Typhoon 30mm MGS and two (2) Mini Typhoon 12.7mm RCWS. But only four will be equipped with the Typhoon MLS-NLOS although the four other boats will be "Fitted for But Not With" (FFBNW) with the missile system.

The Rafael Spike NLOS MLS will be equipped to only four of the eight FAIC-Ms. This is probably due to budget constraints. Photo taken from Think Defence's website.

The Spike Non Line of Sight (NLOS) is an enhanced version and the largest and longest-ranged variant of the Rafael Spike missile family, with a 25 kilometer maximum effective range and a larger warhead than the standard Spike-ER used by the PN's MPAC Mk.3 and soon to arrive Mk.4. It is guided via a radio data link for command guidance, although it has fibre optic link up to 8 kilometers.

The Spike missile family, with the Spike NLOS (top most) being the largest and longest-ranged of the group, will be used as the missile component of the Fast Attack Interdiction Craft - Missile capable (FAIC-M).
Photo taken by MaxDefense community member Juliet XZRay during ADAS 2018.

While still unconfirmed, MaxDefense believes that the Philippine Navy may also use the Rafael Toplite Electro-Optical System (EOS), which will be installed to complement the Typhoon 30mm MGS as standard equipment. It is usual for Rafael to package it with the rest of their naval weapon system offerings especially those involving the Typhoon MGS.

The Rafael Toplight EOS is also used in patrol boats and naval ships for targeting and weapon support. Photo taken from Rafael's website.

Other Deal Inclusions:

What was not mentioned on reports is that the purchase of Shaldag Mk. V from Israel Shipyards included a Technology Transfer or License Build clause wherein the Philippine Navy shall be allowed by Israel Shipyards to license-build the Shaldag Mk. V on its own, or share the design to the PN.

To further support this, the requirement also calls for the construction of two (2) of the eight fast attack & interdiction crafts in the Philippines. Yes, local production 25% of the boats. But take note, this only involves the platforms/boats itself, not the weapon systems which would still be imported from Rafael in Israel.

And to make this happen, Israel Shipyards will also help the Philippine Navy to rehabilitate the Cavite Naval Yard (CNY), which will be the one to build the two locally-made FAIC-Ms.

The Philippine Navy's Cavite Naval Yard may not be huge enough to build larger ships, but it would start from at least being able to build smaller patrol boats or fast attack crafts like the Shaldag Mk. V. This would be beneficial to the PN in the long run to support the Self-Reliance Defense Posture (SRDP) program that the entire Armed Forces of the Philippines is trying to have, but also allow the Philippine Navy to assist other government agencies.

MaxDefene reported last year in our social media posts that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is among those interested in acquiring the Shaldag family of fast patrol boats. This was later confirmed by British defense media outlet Jane's when they reported that at the background of IMDEX Asia 2019 defense exhibition in Singapore, PCG has made known its interest in the Shaldag Mk.III, which is smaller than the Mk. V.

A local production capability for Shaldag family of fast boats could allow the PCG to specify the requirement for most if not all of its orders be constructed locally, which could give the CNY a good run for the money.

What's Next:

With the Philippine Navy FOIC himself putting much promotion on this project, it appears that the actual procurement phase would be happening very soon, and probably an award given by 3rd quarter of 2019. If this is the case, it is expected that the Notice to Proceed (NTP) and Opening of Letter of Credit (LOC) could happen before year end. 

Although we do not have figures yet, based on previous production and delivery history of Israel Shipyards, it is possible for an initial delivery to happen by late 2021 and the rest be delivered by late 2022.

MaxDefense will create a resource portal for this project, as we would start monitoring the project closely.

More of the FAIC-M will be posted by MaxDefense on a new resource page in our Modernization Program Portal.

Project Summary:

Fast Attack & Interdiction Craft - Missile Capable Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 19 June 2019:

* End User: Philippine Navy (Littoral Combat Force)

* Quantity: 8 units

* Modernization Phase: Special Projects within the Horizon 2 phase of RAFPMP

* Project ABC: Php10,000,000,000.00

* Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government (G2G) deal with the Israeli Ministry of Defense - SIBAT

* Source of Funding: TBA

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent:
     - Platform: no final confirmation but most likely Israel Shipyards
     - Weapon Systems: Rafael Advance Systems Ltd.

* Product for Delivery: 

    - 8 units Fast Attack & Interdiction Craft (platform)
    - 8 units Rafael Typhoon 30mm MGS
    - 16 units Rafael Mini Typhoon 12.7mm RCWS

    - 4 units Rafael Typhoon MLS-NLOS missile launchers
    - Unspecified number of Spike NLOS missile rounds

    - Integrated Logistics Support Package
    - Assistance in rehabilitating Cavite Naval Yard
    - Technology Transfer (license to produce or owning design rights)

* Contract Price: TBA

* First post by MaxDefense: 16 August 2016

* Searching Hashtag: #PNFAICMAcquisition

* Status: Pre-procurement phase ongoing


First edit and release: 20 June 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Discussing the Technical Requirements of the 2 new Landing Platform Docks for the Philippine Navy

The Department of National Defense (DND) has released the Invitation to Bid (ITB) for the Philippine Navy's planned procurement of two (2) brand new Landing Platform Docks (LPD) to boost its capabilities in sealift and amphibious operations.

MaxDefense already gave an overview on the project in our Database Resource Portal for the project, which can be accessed on the link below:

"Landing Docks Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy" - updates ongoing.

In this blog entry, we'll discuss on the ship's Technical Requirements as indicated in the project's Bid Documents.

We won't be discussing the technical requirements for the Landing Craft Utility and Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats, and will instead just focus on the Landing Platform Dock itself.

The PN's Tarlac-class LPD BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602) as it enters Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for RIMPAC 2018. The PN is tendering to acquire 2 more LPDs similar or even better and larger than the Tarlac-class. Photo taken from US Navy.

Technical Requirements:

The ships are required to meet the following requirements:

* Safely operate to up to Sea State 6
* Being able to launch at least 2 Landing Craft Utilities (LCU) from the well deck, at least 2 RHIBs or MPAC Mk. III to and from the cradle, and AAVs to and from the well deck and side ramps.
* Accommodate at least two 10-helicopters in the helideck
* Helicopter hangar for at least 1 10-ton helicopter

Dimensions and Characterisrics:
* At least 120 meters long
* At least 21 meters breadth (MaxDefense believes this is a typographical error on the PN's side, and should just be "12 meters".)
* Displacement at least 7,200 tons (payload compliant)
* Ship operation up to Sea State 6
* Helicopter operation up to Sea State 4
* LCU, RHIB and MPAC operations up to Sea State 4
* AAV operations up to Sea State 4
* Complement of 138 officers and men including 16 females
* Non organic complement for 1 VVIP, 8 VIPs, and 33 officers and men
* Allow accommodation for a marine battalion of 500 men

The LPDs will be used as platforms to launch the Amphibious Assault Vehicles similar to the ones above. Photo taken from US Navy.p

* Cruising speed of at least 13 knots
* Maximum speed of at least 16 knots
* Maximum Range of at least 8,000 nautical miles without refuelling
* Ship circling diameter of not more than 5 ship lengths
* Operate at temperatures between - 10° to 45°C Air Temperature, -2.2° to 32°C Sea Temperature, and 10% to 100% Humidity

Equipment Support:
* 2 Collapsible Cradles for 2 MPAC Mk.3
* Storage for up to 24 rounds of Spike-ER missiles
* Well deck provisions for 2 LCUs
* Flight deck for 2 10-ton medium helicopters specifically AW139 and including AW159
* Flight deck with deck locking grid or landing grid helicopter securing system
* Hangar for a 10-ton helicopter specifically the AW139
* Storage for up to 48 Spike-NLOS missile rounds and 48 2.75" aerial rockets
* 7-meter, 40-ton capacity tank turntable to turn vehicles on its own radius
* Space to fit at least 8 AAVs

Ship Design
* Future space and munition storage for a 76mm gun, 30mm guns, CIWS, decoy launching systems, 
* Fitted for but not with Hull Mounted Sonar, Air/Surface Search 3D Radar, Electronic Warfare System, Combat Management System, Electro-Optical Tracking System, and Gyro Compass
* Powered by 2 Main Propulsion diesel engines
* Bow thruster and controllable pitch propellers
* 4 Service generators, allowing 3 to be fully capable to power the entire ship including all Fitted for But Not With items
* 2 Reverse Osmosis Plants for freshwater production
* Replenishment at Sea Capability using STANAG 1065 standards

Sensors and Weapons:
* X and S-band solid state Navigation Radars
* Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) Camera
* 8 nos. of .50 caliber machine guns with mounts

A .50 cal gun mount on a Tarlac-class LPD. Eight similar guns and mounts are required for the new LPDs.

Technology Transfer:
* Require proponents to tie-up with local shipbuilder to build one of the ships in the Philippines
* Grant PN the ownership of design or allow license production of the design.


Aside from the usual safe operation of the ship up to Sea State 6, the emphasis now i given on the ability to stow and operate the Multi-Purpose Attack Craft Mk.3 (MPAC Mk.3) variant. This is an added capability that was not present in the previous requirements for SSV Acquisition Project.

The use of the Tarlac-class LPD as a mothership for MPACs came up in 2016 when planning for the MPAC Mk.3 included changes in the specs to allow the boat to fit inside the well deck, and the mast height reduced to not hit the well deck's opening.

The decision to fit it into a collapsible cradle brings the requirement further by allowing the new LPDs to carry its own complementary MPACs. 

The new LPDs will be able to carry two MPAC Mk.3s and have storage for their Spike-ER missiles, and room for their crew. Photo taken from Wikipedia.

The requirement for a flight deck for two 10-ton helicopters, plus a hangar for a 10-ton helicopter are similar to those in the Tarlac-class.


While the Philippine Navy provided a minimum dimensions and displacement, it is expected that the new LPDs would be similar or even larger/longer than the Tarlac-class LPDs.

The added spaces for additional operation rooms, MPAC stowage, FFBNW spaces, increased storages, and requirement for more electrical power means increasing certain parts of the ship's length, which in return may also increase the overall displacement of the new LPDs.

Accomodations for Marines remain the same at 500 troops, although emphasis was also given for spaces to allow female Navy officers and personnel. 

A space for a VVIP, which is actually the President/Commander in Chief is similar to those required in the Tarlac-class before. But additional spaces for MPAC crew was also required for the new LPDs, something missing in the Tarlac-class.

Infographic above is for the Tarlac-class, which aready exceeded the basic dimension and displacement requirements of the new LPDs. MaxDefense expects the new LPDs to be larger or longer and heavier than the Tarlac-class. Credits to original owner of photo.


Requested performance remains similar to what was asked in the Tarlac-class years ago, including maximum speed of at least 16 knots and cruising speed of at least 13 knots. MaxDefense was hoping for a higher maximum speed rating given the experience in operating with foreign fleets whose ships run faster than that.

But experience in deployment to Russia has now given the PN an idea on the operating environments that the LPDs will be operating at times. This includes operations in colder temperatures. But no mention was made on heating and cooling systems.

The PN should have learned by now to provide additional air conditioning and probably hearing provisions or ducting to many areas of the ship. There were several facepalm moments on the Tarlac-class wherein the deck structures were cut open to make way for window-type air conditioners. These may not be even considered in the ship's power requirements.

Equipment Support:

Flight deck, hangar, and well deck requirements appear to be similar to those in the Tarlac-class although additional requirements were added including a helicopter traversing system, downlink receivers for data transfer from helicopters, and other safety features that may not be available in the Tarlac-class.

The emphasis on use of AgustaWestland AW139 as basis for the 10-ton medium helicopter is a departure from the Tarlac-class wherein the Sikorsky Black Hawk was used as basis.

The AgustaWestland AW139M, which MaxDefense believes could be the next Presidential Helicopter of the PAF, or the selected utility helicopter of the PN. Photo taken from Wikipedia.

Back in 2012-2013, it was planned that the Philippine Air Force will be acquiring a small fleet of Black Hawk helicopters to be the PAF's latest Presidential VVIP helicopters. Now you have an idea what may be happening in the background.

The turntable capacity was increased, as the specs for the Tarlac-class only called for a 25-ton capacity. This could be in anticipation of the Philippine Army's upcoming fleet of Light Tanks which may have a maximum weight nearing 40 tons.

Capacity of vehicle turntable was increased from 25 tons on the Tarlac-class to 40 tons on the new LPDs. Photo taken from US Navy.

The storage for Spike NLOS, Spike-ER, and 2.75" aerial rockets only shows that the ships are planned to be used as bases also for the AgustaWestland AW109E Power armed helicopters (which use the 2.75" aerial rockets), the AW159 Wildcat (which uses the Spike NLOS) and the MPAC Mk.3 (which has the Spike-ER).

The PN's AW159 Wildcat naval helicopters are to be armed with the Spike NLOS missile. The new LPDs may act as temporary bases for these helicopters in the future as the LPDs are required to have safe storage for Spike NLOS missiles. Credits to original source of photo.

MaxDefense believes that the Tarlac-class do not have storages enough for several loads of missiles or rockets, and the new LPDs would correct that by having enough storage for several loads.

The collapsible cradle for the MPAC appears to be separate from the cradle for the RHIBs. So it would allow the LPD to carry RHIBs AND MPACs at the same time.

The Tarlac-class' cradble for RHIB, which is also steong enough to allow use to stow a small Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP). Photo from DRP forum.

Ship Design:

Like the Tarlac-class, the new LPDs will have two Main Propulsion diesel engines driving the ship, with two shafts with controllable pitch propellers, a bow thruster for easy docking, and 4 service diesel generators.

The diesel engines may need to be larger and have more output than those in the Tarlac-class due to the expected larger design of the ship and heavier weight. 

Due to the increased loading requirement for the ship, the generators are expected to be larger than those in the Tarlac-class, thus meaning the need for more space.

A lot of Fitted for but not with (FFBNW) items again in these new LPDs. Aside from the previous FFBNW allocations in the Tarlac-class like the space and power for a forward-installed 76mm Super Rapid naval gun, the new LPDs require power and space requirements for more than one 30mm secondary naval gun, a Close-in Weapon System (CIWS), and decoy launchers.

Unknown to many, the Tarlac-class LPDs were actually FFBNW 25/30mm RCWS gun mounts (above) as well as for a forward-mounted 76mm Super Rapid-type gun. The same is required on the new LPDs. Credits to owners of the photos.

More FFBNW items on the sensors and command systems. Among those specified were for a Combat Management System (CMS), a 3D Air/Surface Search Radar, a Hull Mounted Sonar, Electronic Warfare Systems, and Electro-Optical Fire Control Systems. These items would require the ship to have spaces for a larger Command and Control and Combat Information Center Rooms than those found in Tarlac-class.

The new LPDs are required to have space and power requirements for a 3D Air/Surface Search Radar which is a FFBNW item.

Sensors and Weapons:

As expected with a low budget, the ship will only be equipped with an X-band and S-band Navigation Radar as standard, and eight (8) .50 caliber 12.7mm heavy machine guns on manually operated mounts.a

The navigation radar allows the ship to navigate and have a standard capability to identify surface contacts. MaxDefense hopes that a military-type model will be used similar to those found in other new ships of the PN.

Solid-state X & S band navigation radars can be used as secondary surface search and helicopter approach radars too. It would be best if the PN can get a similar system already in service or are for introduction with ships under construction like the Kelvin Hughes Sharpeye (above) which is in service with two Del Pilar-class patrol vessel, and are to be used on the two Jose Rizal-class frigates. Photo taken from Kelvin Hughes website.

The machine guns will be distributed with 4 on port and 4 on starboard sides. It appears that there are no plans to upgrade them to remote-controlled weapon stations (RCWS).

8 manually-operated .50 caliber 12.7mm machine guns for defensive requirements could be ineffective and needs to be reinforced by larger caliber guns like 30mm RCWS. Photo from US Navy.

Many of the FFBNW sensors and weapons were discussed in the Ship Design part above. MaxDefense's concern is if the PN would have sufficient funding to fund the acquisition of these items in the near future. One could only see the bare-ness of the Tarlac-class, which up to now has not been given the FFBNW items it was designed with due to lack of funds.

Technology Transfer:

The tricky part, as proponents are asked to partner with a local shipbuilder to allow the construction of one of the LPDs in the Philippines.

As far as MaxDefense knows, some of the proponents with interest in the project has been doing this since last year. For example, Damen is in partnership with Filipino company Propmech Corp., while also looking for a larger shipbuilder to partner with.

The PN also requires the winning proponent to hand-over the ship's designs to then, or allow the PN to license produce the design on their own accord.

This requirement has become standard in the PN, as the Frigates being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries also have the same requirement.

With the Philippine Navy trying to get hold of the being a part owner of the Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction (HHIC) Shipyard in Subic, the PN may use its options to build similar ships, or redesign these ships according to their future requirements. Similar to how Indonesia's PT PAL got hold of the Makassar-class design from South Korea's Daesun Shipbuilding that became the PN's Tarlac-class and the Indonesian Navy's Banjarmasin-class and  Semarang-class.

PT PAL was able to secure the technology transfer for the Makassar-class LPD which allowed them to develop and build the Tarlac-class. A similar move is eyed by the PN. Photo taken from MaxDefense source from Indonesia.


Overall, it is obvious that the Philippine Navy has learned alot from experience in owning and operating the Tarlac-class Landing Platform Docks, and has improved the composition of the Technical Specs compared to the SSV acquisition project in 2013.

This will allow the PN to have a better LPD than the Tarlac-class, incorporating the PN's past experiences and ideas to make the ships even perform better.

The tender process is just beginning so MaxDefense expects more updates coning soon. It is also highly possible for the technical requirements will still change or revised depending on the feedback of proponents in the pre-bid conference that is expected to happen soon.

It would also be interesting to see who will be the interested proponents considering the PN now has credibility that this project will happen, unlike before when the tender for the SSV acquisition was not taken seriously by shipbuilders.

Project Summary:

Landing Docks Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 18 June 2019:

* End User: Philippine Navy (Sealift Amphibious Force)

* Quantity: 2 units

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 phase Priority Projects of RAFPMP

* Project ABC: Php5,560,000,000.00

* Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

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

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: TBA

* Product for Delivery: 

    - 2 units Strategic Sealift Vessel (SSV)
    - 4 units Landing Craft Utility (LCU, 2 units for each LPD)
    - 4 units Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB, 2 units for each LPD)
    - Integrated Logistics Support Package

* Contract Price: TBA

* First post by MaxDefense: 25 September 2018

* Searching Hashtag: #PNSSVAcquisition, #PNLDAcquisition

* Status: Bidding process ongoing, Invitation to Bid released.


First edit and release: 18 June 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines