Aside from Achidatex Nazareth Elite, other participants of the bidding were Serbian company UM-Merkata DOO, MKU Private Limited of India, and Korean conglomerate Kolon Global Corp.
The Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC) for this project is Php 1,763,200,00.00, and the amount submitted by the joint venture was at around Php 1.4 billion. 44,080 body armors were required by the DND, and the Invitation to Bid was issued on February 2013. Delivery was stated by the DND to be 365 days from the opening of Letter of Credit. So far, a formal contract signing between the DND and the joint venture has not yet been made, but it is expected that the initial batch of protection vests will be delivered to the AFP by around 3rd quarter of 2015.
Each Force Protection Equipment (as named by the DND and AFP) is said to weigh between 5.8-6.8 kilograms each, with consideration to the standard body structure of a typical Filipino soldier.
|Achidatex has several bullet proof vest designs in its product line, including the AC-331D design seen above.|
This is actually the second attempt by the DND to bid out the requirement. The first attempt was done last 2012 and the lowest bid was made by UM-Merkata DOO, although they failed the post qualification inspections and according to MaxDefense sources, the PA and PMC also slightly revised the specifications that were used in the latest bidding.
For this specific tender, Korean company Kolon Global Corporation was originally declared the lowest bidder, whose submitted bid amount was at only around Php 894,000,000.00. But they failed the post-bid qualifications after the DND found that the vests offered by Kolon was non-compliant, specifically the ballistic protection plate was shorter than required by the Technical Specifications. Kolon believes their product was compliant as their plate was curved and the DND inspection team measured using a straight line method from end to end of the plate, and no following the length of the arc, thus the measurement was by somewhere between 1 to 2 centimeters. There were concerns from Kolon Global that the DND BAC was favoring certain companies for the project.
|Philippine Army troopers during the Zamboanga City siege of 2013. No helmets, no bullet proof vest. This increases the number of injuries and casualties during firefights.|
Achidatex Nazareth Elite is a company under the DFNS Group, which specializes in protective equipment and services. Achidatex specializes in personal, vehicle, and building protection systems, and produces their own armoring systems although the entire DFNS Group may provide all the necessary ancillary items included in the product.
It is not yet confirmed though on what is the actual participation of the local shipbuilder Colorado Shipyard Corp. with regards to this project. Aside from their affiliate company Philippine Rigid Construction Corp., MaxDefense has not yet confirmed if they have started expanding their business into other businesses aside from shipyard and construction.
Although this project is already late and should have been given one of the top priorities of the AFP Modernization Program, its award to Achidatex represents and important step towards modernizing the basic infantry of the PA and PMC together with the acquisition of new combat boots (which is still pending after the failure of the new locally made Kubar combat boots), more Kevlar helmets, tactical vests and communications equipment, new assault rifles, and heavier infantry weapons.
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U P D A T E S :
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September 3, 2015:
It was reported on July 2015 that the Philippine Army has yet to receive the first batch of 20,000 force protection equipment from the joint venture of Achidatex Nazareth Elite of Israel, and Colorado Shipyard of the Philippines. The original deadline should have been on the first week of March 2015, but the DND approved a requested 120 days extension which expired on 29th June 2015.
After more than 2 months, the DND has still not made any decision on the matter, since the joint venture still failed to deliver. Normally, the DND should have already taken action by now by announcing the issue to the press, and start preparation for contract termination. But until now MaxDefense has not receive any information of a move to terminate the contract.
So why is it taking too long to terminate the contract and award it to the next lowest calculated bidder, when other projects were very fast in doing such move?
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July 12, 2016:
MaxDefense received an update regarding the Acquisition of Force Protection Equipment which was previously awarded to the Achidatex Nazareth Elite - Colorado Shipyard Joint Venture. This project is part of the AFP Modernization Program funded under RA 7898.
Sources confirmed that Achidatex Nazareth Elite and Colorado Shipyard cannot deliver the body armour vests due to lack of funding to manufacture 44,000+ vests, resulting to a fall-out between the two companies.
While it was previously mentioned as a cancelled project due to the failure of the joint venture to deliver the products within the specified timeframe, it appears that the project is currently under arbitration and wil take some time before a decision can be made.
Meanwhile, the DND has awarded a contract to supply another project covering 3,480 body armour vests, previously awarded to Um Merkata DOO but was declared a bid failure by the DND after declaring that the vests from Um Merkata DOO did not meet the specified requirements of the Philippine Army.
For this project, MKU Pvt. Ltd. of India was declared the new winner, and will supply the 3,480 body armour vests to the Philippine Army.
MKU was actually also among the bidders for the project that Achidatex Nazareth Elite-Colorado Shipyard JV wn, but was not actually the next lowest bidder. They appear to still be interested to take the job when the DND decided to look for a replacement for Achidatex-Colorado JV if the arbitration goes in the DND's favour.
No timeline was provided, but this is certainly good news after more than a year of delay.
|MKU Pvt. Ltd. of India was declared the new winner to supply Force Protection Body Armour Vests to the Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps.|
Photo taken from MKU's website.
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