|The DND released another Invitation to Bid for the 155mm Towed Howitzer with Ammunition acquisition project in February 2014. ABC still remains, as well as the number of units for acquisition.|
Previous reports indicated that Israel-based company Elbit Systems Land and C4I was the front-runner of the first tender, but their bid was ultimately rejected after DND found its submitted documents incomplete and non-complying. Elbit Systems is the owner of Soltam Systems, a company specializing in manufacturing howitzer systems including the Philippine Army's M-71 howitzers. Another reported bidder was Stone of David, also known as Joavi Philippines, which was involved in several major tenders for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the last several years. Stone of David was said to offer a Serbian or Bosnian-made howitzer based on the Yugoslavian version of the Soviet M46 howitzer using 155mm caliber instead of the original 130mm, probably produced by the same company that made the Philippine Army's new 81mm M69B mortars (which Stone of David supplied as well).
|Hyundai WIA's KH179 (above) may not be offered again due to cost considerations, although MaxDefense is still hopeful that Hyundai WIA will re-consider and submit a bid.|
|The Yugoslavian version of the Soviet M46 howitzer, using a 155mm caliber gun instead of Soviet 130mm, might have been offered by Stone of David. It may be sourced from either Serbia or Bosnia.|
Photo of M46 howitzer taken from militaryphotos.net.
An earlier MaxDefense blog entry speculated that Korea's Hyundai WIA will take part on the initial tender, but that they did not submit a bid. Also missing is the favorite among the AFP, the BAE Land System's M777. This might be due to the budget allocated by the AFP, as both Hyundai WIA's KH179 and BAE's M777 may cost higher than what the AFP can afford. It is expected that both Elbit Systems and Stone of David may return to re-bid for the project, and MaxDefense still expects Hyundai WIA and BAE Land Systems to pass on this project.
|A simplified version of Elbit Systems' Soltam ATHOS 155mm Towed Howitzer might be offered to the Philippine Army and Marine Corps' requirements.|
Photo taken from Army-Guide website.
Based on information gathered and observation of events, MaxDefense believes that Elbit Systems has the highest chance of bagging this project, possibly with an offer based on a simplified version of the automated Soltam Athos System. This is related to the growing relationship between the Israeli military and defense industry, and the AFP. MaxDefense sources have already indicated a very active lobbying of Israeli systems to executive branch of the government, the DND, and the AFP. This is evident with the recent awarding or being shotlisted for defense projects by Israeli companies without undergoing tender:
- Elbit recently got awarded with a contract to provide 28 upgraded M113 armored vehicles for the PA;
- IAI-Elta Systems Ltd. was shortlisted as among the leading choices to supply the 3 air defense and surveillance radar systems for the Philippine Air Force.
- Although tendered, IAI-Elta Systems was one of the winning bidders for the establishment of Coast Watch Systems for the Philippine Navy.
|There are indications that Israel may be offering refurbished 155mm towed howtizers, probably Soltam M-71s (above) similar to what the PA is using.|
Photo taken from Wikipedia.
There is a strong indication that Israel is pushing to supply the AFP with several military systems and equipment consisting of new and surplus but still usable systems. This includes several types of missile systems, armored vehicles, gun systems for land and naval applications, patrol boats, artillery, radar and sensors systems, combat aircraft and helicopters. This possibility of purchasing used/refurbished artillery systems from Israel may affect the decision in awarding the contract for the new 155mm towed howitzers, as it gives Israeli products a strong edge due to commonality in supply chain, maintenance, and training.
MaxDefense awaits for more information regarding this project and will inform its readers of any updates, as the 155mm towed howitzer project was given less attention with the SAA/LIFT acquisition project based on the KAI FA-50 is gaining traction these past weeks.
March 28, 2014 - Elbit Systems Land & C4I wins the tender to supply 12 units of 155mm towed howitzer and ammunition for the Philippine Army and Marine Corps. Elbit System's bid was reportedly at Php 368,837,332.00 for the entire package, which is lowed than the project ABC of Php 438,620,000.00. Offer was reportedly the ATHOS system, probably in 39 caliber model.
|Elbit System's ATHOS 155mm Towed Howitzer, said to be the next 155mm towed artillery system for the PA & PMC.|
Photo taken from Elbit System's website.
More updates from MaxDefense when information starts to trickle down.