Monday, April 6, 2015

Erroneous Reports Clarified on Acquisition of M113 APC for the Philippine Army

A few weeks ago, News5 released a report by Erwin Tulfo regarding the alleged misuse of funds for the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) Modernization program, wherein budget allocated for the transportation of donated M113 armored personnel carriers from the United States was said to be diverted to acquire second-hand M113 APCs from Israel. This issue was immediately picked-up by Senators JV Ejercito and Chiz Escudero, who themselves are asking for an investigation of the matter.


An M113 fitted with Elbit's 25mm RWS. A similar configuration is being acquired by the Philippine Army with Elbit Systems Land & C4I.


MaxDefense has kept quiet on this issue for some time, even if it was apparent that there are errors and inconsistencies in the report made by Mr. Tulfo. MaxDefense was clear on its stand that the project to acquire 28 refurbished upgraded M113s from Israel and 114 surplus M113A2 from the US are 2 distinct and different projects, with 2 separate project schedules, and 2 separate funding.



The Issue - Mr. Tulfo's Report:
According to the reports made by Mr. Tulfo, the Department of National Defense (DND) diverted funds donated by the United States government to ship 100+ units of surplus M113 APCs from the US mainland to the Philippines. The funds, said to be worth Php 800+ million, was instead used to acquire used M113s from Israel, which were sourced from Belgium, and refurbished and installed with remote weapons systems by Elbit Systems Land & C4I. The M113s are said to be 3rd hand, wherein Belgium bought the vehicles from the US, then was sold to Israel, and are now sold to the Philippines.

The point of concern is why did the DND forego the delivery of 100+ free M113s from the US to buy "28 3rd-hand, vintage, World War II era refurbished M113s" from Israel that are older than those coming from the US, when it was apparent that free is better than paid, and 100+ is better than 28. 

MaxDefense sees many discrepancies on this report, at almost the same level as the report made by Manila Times recently regarding the Dornier UH-1D helicopters.


An M113A1-B ARV formerly used by the Belgian Land Compnent, currently in use by the Indonesian Army and was supplied by Sabiex S.A. of Belgium, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems Land & C4I of Israel.
Photo taken from arc.web.id.



MaxDefense Replies:

MaxDefense separates the issues between the 2 distinct M113 projects for easy comprehension. 


A. US Government Excess Defense Article Grant of 114 M113A2 to the Philippines:

In 2012, the US government awarded a grant to the Philippine DND involving the transfer of 114 surplus M113A2 vehicles for the Philippine Army. Being a grant, the Philippine government is not expected to pay anything for the vehicles themselves. In laymen's term: donation.




1. Is it true that the US government donated money to ship the donated M113 to the Philippines?

No. The US government only provided the M113A2 units to the Philippine government as part of the US Excess Defense Articles (EDA) grant, and it is up to the Philippine government to shoulder the shipping costs of bringing them from the stockyard in the US mainland to the Philippine Army facilities in the Philippines. 

The US government normally do not provide donated money, but are actually in the form of US Military Assistance which the Philippine government annually receives. 

To reinforce this answer, Mr. Tulfo reclarified in his later reports that the fund for the shipping was actually from the Philippine government, coming from the AFP Modernization Program. To be exact, the fund actually came from Republic Act 7898, which is the AFP Modernization Act of 1995. 




2. Is the true that there is a Php 800+ million pesos budget intended for shipping of surplus M113 from the US mainland?

No. As early as 2010, the Philippine Army already requested for a budget to acquire tracked armored personnel carriers. A budget of Php882 million was allocated to acquire 14 brand new basic tracked armored personnel carriers, funded under the budget allocated covered by RA 7898 or the AFP Modernization Act.

But the plan was eventually scrapped as the Philippine Army believed that 14 new tracked APCs would not be enough to fill-up the planned Table of Organization and Equipment (TOE) of the Philippine Army's Mechanized Infantry Division (MID). The planned TOE involves several hundreds of additional tracked armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles to be placed under the command of the PA's MID.

From 2012 to 2013, the Philippine government tried to seal a deal with the Italian Ministry of Defense, wherein the DND decided to use the budget from the cancelled acquisition of 14 new APCs in favor shipping and refurbishing 100+ units of used VCC-1 armored vehicles (reported as M113) and 25 units of used FH-70 155mm towed howitzers, all formerly from the Italian Army. This was known in the DND and AFP as the "Italian Package", which includes the Maestrale-class frigates, naval helicopters, light combat aircraft, and other retired Italian military equipment. 

With talks between the Italian and Philippine defense officials failed and the acquisition of the "Italian Package" cancelled in 2013, the DND and Army decided to use the Php 882 million budget to acquire refurbished but heavily upgraded M113s in a government-to-government deal under the supervision of the US Department of Defense.


The Philippine Army almost got hold of 100 VCC-1 Camilino tracked APCs, which are actually Italian version, Italian license copy of the American M113 APC.
Photo taken from Armyrecognition.com.



3. What are the physical condition of the M113A2 APCs from the US?

The M113A2 are formerly US Army armored personnel carriers. They are newer derivatives of the M113A1 being used by the Philippine Army, and were built starting 1979 up to 1986. The US Army heavily used these armored vehicles in deployment around the world, and were eventually replaced by the newer and more capable M2 Bradley AIFV starting in the late 1980s. Retired M113A2 vehicles are currently stored in desert open storage facilities in the US mainland, and are being sold or granted to friendly countries by the US government.

114 units were allocated by the US government to the Philippines, divided into 2 batches (100 and 14). According to MaxDefense sources, officials from the Philippine Army and DND were given a chance to choose the vehicles a few years ago in a total sample of more than 700 vehicles. Only 96 vehicles are still in working condition, but will require servicing, repair, and refurbishing in one way or another, and are not ready to use vehicles. The 18 other vehicles will need major spare parts and servicing before the PA can commission them, or they may just make them spare parts hulk for the rest of the fleet. 

All 114 M113A2 do not include the machine guns and armored cupolas, which the Philippine Army will need to acquire separately.


The M113A2s being inspected by Philippine Army officers in the US Army open storage in the mainland United States. Look at the condition of these armored vehicles.
Photo taken from the Mechanized Infantry Division-Philippine Army website.


It will definitely cost the Philippine Army a significant amount of money and time to prepare these vehicles, although the DND received Php141 million from the US government as part of US Military Assistance to the Philippines, specifically allocated for the refurbishing of the said vehicles. But even so, it appears that the amount is not enough to repair and arm all 114 vehicles, and the Philippine Army must shoulder the balance should it decide to commission all vehicles. Estimates made by MaxDefense's source said the amount is only good to fully upgrade and equip around 25 units.





4. If the money for the shipping of M113A2 from the US is different from the money to pay for the upgraded M113s, where is the shipping money?

This is the tricky part. Originally the DND opened a bidding for the shipping of 114 M113 armored vehicles from Sierra Army Depot in Herlong, California to the Philippines. Budget allocated for this is from the cancelled project to re-engine and upgrade 18 FV101 Scorpion vehicles of the Philippine Army worth around Php 200 million. The bidding failed, and no shipping company was awarded a contract. Further delays required the DND to return the money to the Department of Budget Management (DBM). But when the DND again requested for the DBM to release the budget, it did not materialize due to technical concerns on the release of Special Allotment Release Orders (SARO), and was later on affected by the government's decision to scrap the SARO system in 2013.

Instead, the DND and Philippine Army decided to use part of the US Military Financing Assistance fund worth Php 141 million initially allocated for the repair, refurbishing and rearming of the 114 M113A2, with the approval of the US government. This Php 141,008,183.06 budget was actually among those included in the Revised AFP Modernization Program under RA 10349. But as Typhoon Yolanda / Haiyan struck in late 2013, the DND again requested the US government to allow them to use the budget for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, which was approved. 

Since the budget was already used-up, the DND then requested for a new budget allocation for the shipping from the national government, and is still being processed by the Department of Budget Management. So far, the requested amount has not yet been released. 

But the budget release is currently the worry of the Philippine Army and DND, because another MaxDefense source confirmed that the US government already sent a communication early this year asking for a commitment from the Philippine government to ship out the armored vehicles from the Sierra Army Depot in California. If the Philippines failed to take the vehicles out as per the agreed commitment, the US government will offer these vehicles to other interested foreign governments. It was also confirmed by MaxDefense sources that there are already other military inspectors from foreign countries interested on the specific vehicles previously selected by the Philippine Army inspection teams.



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B. Acquisition of 28 refurbished & upgraded M113 from Elbit Systems Land & C4I:

5. Who are involved in the deal to acquire the refurbished & upgraded M113A2+ from Elbit Systems Land & C4I?

All acquisitions involving US-made or US license-built military equipment will require the involvement of the US Department of Defense (DoD). The M113, in all its form and licensed copies, is among those that need the US DoD's approval before any sale or transfer happens. This is true not only for the Philippines, but for any government or entity that acquires US military equipment.

When the DND and PA decided to acquire refurbished and upgraded M113 vehicles, it was initially coordinated with the US DoD which gave approval of the planned acquisition. It was actually the US Army's Infrastructure Modernization (IMOD) office that recommended to award such contract to Elbit Systems Land & C4I, with the approval of the Israeli Ministry of Defense and its Defense Export & Defense Cooperation (SIBAT) office


6. Are the M113s sold by Israel are 3rd hand, World War II vintage vehicles?

A strong No. Elbit Systems Land & C4I of Israel is supplying the armored vehicles for the Philippine Army in a government-to-government contract entered by the DND last year. The M113s to be used are former Belgian Land Component (Belgian Army) M113A1-B vehicles.

The M113A1-B is the Belgian version of the M113 armored vehicles, with the "B" denoting "Belgium". They were made in Belgium by the Belgian Mechanical Fabrication (BMF) Company. Although designated as an "A1", they are actually very much more similar to the US M113A2 version than the older M113A1. Modifications made by the Belgians include using the same suspension as the US M113A2, and nuclear-biological chemical (NBC) protection, among others. They were built from 1982 to 1988, which means that these vehicles are actually newer than the US-made M113A2. And since World War II ended in 1945, or 37 years after the first M113A1-B rolled out of BMF's factory, these are incorrectly and outrageously termed as vintage World War II era vehicles!



The FMC M113 first appeared in 1960, or 15 years after World War II. The Philippines was among the first users of the type, receiving them in the late 1960s. But the versions being acquired by the Philippines now are newer versions produced between 1979-1986.



7. So if they are not vintage, is it true that the vehicles are dilapidated and "bulok"?

No. After the Belgian Land Component reduced its TOE size and replaced older vehicles, the M113A1-B were among those retired from service. The specific M113A1-B units to be sold to the Philippines passed through the Belgian defense company Sabiex International S.A., a subsidiary of Elbit Systems Land & C4I. 

Elbit Systems through Sabiex now has the retired Belgian M113A1-B for the PA and are now doing the refurbishing works in Belgium. But it does not mean the M113A1-B were bought by the State of Israel, as they were acquired by a Belgian company (Sabiex) to be sold to other interested governments or entities. No other military used these vehicles after the Belgians. If 28 of these vehicles are transferred to the Philippine Army, it may seem that they are already the 3rd hand owner, with the Belgian Land Component as the 1st owner, Sabiex S.A./Elbit Systems as the 2nd owner, and the Philippine Army as the 3rd. But since Sabiex/Elbit does not use the vehicles for military operations, Sabiex and Elbit are similar to sales agents, retailers or consignees in commercial terminologies. So officially, the Philippine Army is the 2nd owner.

Aside from being newer than the US-sourced M113A2, the Belgian M113A1-B are actually far better in terms of condition and usage. A MaxDefense source confirmed that the M113A1-B units chosen by the Joint Visual Inspection team from the DND and Philippine Army are actually very much new, with only more than 1,000 kilometers mileage! 

How is that possible? It appears that the vehicles chosen by the DND and PA were used by the Belgians only for military and royal parades, displays, and training exercises within Belgium, and were not used in NATO deployments across Europe. They were also among the last units retired by the Belgians before being replaced with the MOWAG Piranha IIIC 8x8 armored vehicle. The Belgians never used the chosen units in any minor or major armed conflict, military operation, or peacekeeping mission. Add to that the fact that the refurbishing includes zero-timing the vehicles. So in effect, these vehicles are practically new! 


A Belgium Land Component M113A1-B.


Aside from that, as part of the deal between the DND and Elbit Systems, Sabiex will refurbish these M113A1-B vehicles to M113A2+ standards, undergoing a complete refurbishing and overhaul of the body and engine, new Allison TX1001A transmission system, a new fuel system, hydraulic steering system, and an improved suspension.





The M113A1-B will undergo a refurbishing and upgrade to M113A2+ standard by Sabiex S.A., as shown on the photos above.
Photo taken from Sabiex's website.


After refurbishing to M113A2+ standards, the vehicles will be fitted with the advanced remote weapons systems (RWS) made by Elbit Systems, and 76mm gun turrets from decommissioned Philippine Army FV101 Scorpion combat recon vehicles, converting these APCs into armored fighting vehicles. They won't be just bringing in soldiers to the combat zone like what standard M113s do, but because of the advanced weapons systems, they will be with the soldiers in combat in a similar way that other modern IFVs are used by foreign armies.

Once in service, the 28 upgraded M113s are actually the most modern armored vehicles in the Philippine military, being the only one equipped with these advanced features.




Elbit Systems will provide the Remote Weapons Systems for the M113A2+, 4 are 25mm chain guns and 6 are 12.7mm machine guns.
Photo taken from Elbit Systems website.



8. The Philippine Army will provide 76mm turrets from decommissioned FV101 Scorpions?

Yes. That is part of the deal. The Philippine Army has several British-made FV101 Scorpion "light tanks" that are out of action for some time due to lack of spare parts. After several failed attempts to repair and re-engine these Scorpions, the Army decided to retire them for good. Instead of leaving them in the army's storeyards, it was decided that the L23A1 turrets, with its 76mm low pressure gun, are still worth using. As part of the plan, 14 of these turrets will be removed from the Scorpion vehicles.


Unfortunately, the Philippine Army's fleet of Scorpion CRVTs are declining fast. And with the turrets still working, the Army decided to transplant them to the M113A2+.




9. The M113A2+ are in Belgium. The RWS, FCS, and other components are in Israel. The 76mm Turrets are in the Philippines. So how will they be put together?

The 76mm gun turrets from the Scorpions will be repaired and refurbished locally by the Philippine Army with assistance from Sabiex personnel, using components provided by Elbit Systems. Once upgraded, Elbit Systems will check and accept these turrets and then integrate them with their new Fire Control System, as the RWS and FCS from Israel will be shipped to the Philippines separately from the M113A2+ from Belgium. 

Once the vehicles, weapons systems, and other components are here, they will be integrated by Elbit Systems in the Philippines, under supervision by the Philippine Army. Elbit Systems being the contractor of the project will make sure that the entire system will be in accordance to the standards required by the client (DND/Army), and will be in charge of warranties, integrated logistics support, and product support.

There might be questions on why the Philippine Army will do the repair and refurbishing of the L23A1 turrets when Elbit Systems is already part of the project, but it appears that this decision to have the Army do the work with only assistance from Sabiex/Elbit was made even before the contract was signed. Aside from these, the contract between the DND and Elbit Systems includes the provision of 4 free armored recovery vehicles by Elbit Systems. 




10. What, free Armored Recovery Vehicles?

Yes. The contract between the DND and Elbit Systems actually cover only 24 vehicles. These are the 4 units to be installed with 25mm RWS gun system, 6 with 12.7mm RWS gun systems, and 14 with the refurbished 76mm gun turrets from the Scorpions. As part of the deal, Elbit will give 4 refurbished M113A2+ in armored recovery vehicle configuration. This was even reported previously by the media.


Photo taken from Sabiex's website.




11. So is 100+ free M113A2 better than 28 refurbished M113s from Belgium-Israel?

Neither. The Philippine Army both needs quantity and quality. Its TOE requires hundreds of tracked armored vehicles in its inventory, and even if the 114 M113A2 from the US and 28 M113A2+ from Israel comes, the PA will still need more. While 114 M113A2 seems better than 28 M113A2+, many fail to consider that the 28 M113A2+ to be delivered by Elbit Systems are fully refurbished, almost new, technologically superior, and heavily armed variants as compared to those from the US grant. If you put the 28 M113A2+ to combat against the 114 M113A2, MaxDefense believes the upgraded units will definitely hold its own even if they are less in numbers.

In the end, the Philippine Army needs both projects to be implemented and delivered. And the PA will need to request more funding to acquire more armored vehicles, which inlcude the future plan to have Main Battle Tanks in its arsenal.





12. Is there anything wrong with buying second hand, refurbished military equipment?

No. Our lawmakers, decision makers, and the public must understand that the military's modernization program requires tens of billions of dollars to fully implement and transform it to first class, modern armed forces. Tens of billions of dollars that the government does not provide, and instead only a few million dollars are made available every year. If we insist on buying new equipment everytime, until when can the AFP realize its required number of equipment then? 

In its current plans, the Philippine Army may require up to 700 tracked armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles to fill its TOE. Currently it only has less than 150. Add the 114 surplus M113A2 from the US and 28 M113A2+ from Belgium/Israel and we now have less than 300 units. So the Army is still lacking 400 units! Another example: the Philippine Air Force requires around 100 serviceable combat utility helicopters at any given time. So it means they need at least 135 helicopters, considering maintenance and servicing for other units. Currently they have 40 units combined for working and non-working aircraft. They are buying 8 new Bell 412EP, so that brings 48 units. If the PAF bought more new Bell 412EP instead of refurbished Dornier-Bell UH-1D, the budget allocated by the government cannot even buy 3 new helicopters! So when the can the PAF get their 135 helicopters?

Refurbishing of old military equipment is a normal trend around the world that has becoming more prevalent with the defense cuts faced by even the richest countries. Service Life Extension Programs (SLEP) is a refurbishing and upgrading program that involves overhauling the entire equipment, replacing damaged or old parts with new ones, restoring the body and other non-moving parts, and installing upgrades to improve the vehicle's performance. This is what was done to the 28 M113A1-B from Belgium to become the M113A2+ the Philippine Army specified. 


Singapore refurbished their M113 fleet by installing new technology and replaced old parts. It also included the installation of a RWS system as shown above.
Photo taken from tanknutdave's website.



Aside from the Philippines, the latest country to have bought refurbished M113A1-B from Belgium and supplied by Sabiex is the Indonesian Army. Some of the M113s were even delivered in time for the 69th Anniversary of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) last year.


Indonesia's Belgian-made M113A1-B supplied by Sabiex S.A. The first batch shown above were delivered on time to be included in the 69th Anniversary of the Indonesian Armed Forces. On the left is the ARV variant, which the PA will receive 4. The vehicle on the right is the standard APC variant.
Photo taken from fallenpx's Flicr account.




Even the richest countries with defense budgets several times higher than the Philippine military gets acquire second hand and refurbished equipment depending on the urgency, schedule, and budget flow they are facing. Several examples: Singapore bought 100+ used Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany, and with refurbishing, they are now the most modern and most capable main battle tanks in Southeast Asia. Indonesia with a military modernization budget of US$15 billion in 5 years (the PH is less  than US$2 billion in the same timeline), also recently acquired 100+ refurbished Leopard 2A4 tanks and 50 refurbished Marder IFVs from Germany, and upgraded most of them to become as capable as Singapore's Leopard 2SG. They also recently acquired 24 mothballed F-16C/D from the and upgraded them to become one of their top fighters in their Air Force. Japan bought used refurbished C-130H Hercules transport aircraft from the US recently, which they used in the recently concluded Cope North Exercises. Australia bought second hand refurbished M1A1 Abrams tanks from the US. Thailand's entire tank fleet, with exception to their new tanks from Ukraine, are actually used surplus US Army stocks. Taiwan is a regular buyer of refurbished naval ships from the US, with recent procurements include the Kidd-class destroyers and Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates. Chile is the best example of a capable military using refurbished equipment, with used missile frigates from UK and the Netherlands, used fighters (F-16AM/BM) from the Netherlands, and used tanks and armored vehicles from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the US (Leopard 2, Leopard 1, Marder, YPR-765, M113), they are now one of the most capable armed forces in South America! Even America, with all its power and money, recently bought used AV-8B Harrier jets retired by the British Royal Air Force and Royal Navy! So what the Philippines did is nothing wrong, but just being practical and realistic.



The most modern main battle tanks in Southeast Asia, the Singaporean Leopard 2SG (above) and the Indonesian Leopard 2 Revolution (below), are nothing more but decades old, second hand, refurbished Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany. And yet they are more capable than the most modern and newest main battle tanks from China.



13. Finally, what do our lawmakers and government need to do to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines?

If our lawmakers really desire that our soldiers get the best equipment available, all they need to do is increase the annual defense procurement budget. Recently, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Pio Catapang stressed the need to increase the annual military modernization budget to at least 1% of the annual national government budget. That request is a very modest one, but still the government is having problems granting that practical request. If the government is really serious to improve the country's armed forces, then provide what they need.

Another important matter is that the procurement process for defense equipment must be changed immediately. Not only does tendering enable certain entities of learning a lot of details on the military's requirements, but it also stops the military from getting the best product they require due to the process of having the cheapest product win. It also delays important projects, which is a very crucial factor especially that the country is facing a lot of internal and external threats, as well as environmental ones.



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There might be a possibility of corruption and illegal activities brought up by Mr. Erwin Tulfo with regards to his report on the acquisition of M113s. But the way the report was made showed lack of understanding on the product being demonized. It appears now to be no different from the false accusations made by another reporter regarding the capabilities and history of the Dornier-Bell UH-1D.

Like what MaxDefense pointed out in its previous blog on the Dornier-Bell UH-1D, reporters should not make baseless statements and reports against the equipment involved just to create a foundation for their accusations. There's no need to do that! And the worst part is, they are feeding the general public wrong information when it is the media's responsibility to look for the truth! If the truth is what they are searching for, then they must start from a strong foundation of truth as well.

There is nothing wrong with the calls for investigations because it is for the benefit of the Filipino people to know the truth. But if certain individuals, media, or organizations accuse DND and AFP officials of corruption, all they have to do is go directly to the issue, show evidence that there are indeed irregularities on the deals. No need to blow out the issue by making made-up stories and erroneously tainting the product's image with untrue or incorrect information, which can be debunked by people who knows their military equipment very well or even by simple research.


MaxDefense will be closely monitoring this projects and will be posting updates later on should more information arrive.






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UPDATES:
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September 22, 2015:

The Philippine Army conducted a demonstration in from of the press, involving the newly acquired M113A2+ armored personnel carriers armed with a 12.7mm machine gun mounted on a remote controlled weapons system. 6 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) units were presented, which were all delivered by Elbit Systems Land & C4I. The demonstration was held on 21st September 2015 at Mechanized Infantry Division's Camp O'Donnell in Capas, Tarlac. Among those who attended were DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Hernando Iriberri.



Some of the M113A2+ APCs involved in the said demonstration.
Photo credits to Ms. Julie Aurelio of the Inquirer.




During the presentation, the MID's spokesman also confirmed that the rest of the vehicles will be delivered next year, which includes 14 Fire Support Vehicles armed with 76mm guns, 4 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) variants with a RCWS mounted 25mm autocannon, and 4 armored recovery vehicles.

Also discussed with the press was the ability of the upcoming IFV version to be used for limited air defense, using the 25mm Bushmaster gun with a "bursting" munition, which MaxDefense confirmed as the High Explosive Incendiary round acquired by the Philippine Army. MaxDefense believes that hitting aircraft in the IFV's planned form will be difficult, since they won't be guided by radar and fire control systems.


MaxDefense believes that Elbit Systems may be using their UT-30 RCWS system for the 25mm IFV variant.
Photo taken from Elbit System's website.



In addition to these information, the MID also confirmed that the 114 impending M113A2 from the US will arrive in the Philippines by November this year. According to Philippine Army sources, these vehicles will undergo refurbishing and upgrade soon, probably after they are delivered to the Philippines, as the vehicles were acquired in "as-is, where-is" condition.

MaxDefense will be monitoring this development, especially with the upcoming arrival of the EDA M113s.


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August 26, 2016:

The Philippine Army's latest update on the status of Capability Upgrade Program projects under the AFP Modernization Program, included the status of the Upgraded M113 Acquisition Project, which involves the acquisition and upgrade of 28 refurbished M113 armoured personnel carriers from Elbit Systems Land & C4I of Israel. 

What was missing in our previous updates is that the project was actually divided into 3 lots, with 
- Lot 1 involving 14 Fire Support Vehicles with 76mm Turrets; 
- Lot 2 is for 4 Infantry Fighting Vehicles with 25mm Turrets;
- Lot 3 includes the 6 Armoured Personnel Carrier with 12.7mm RCWS, and 4 Armoured Recovery Vehicles

As of our last update last September 2015, we could confirm that Lot 3 was already completed. All 10 M113A2s were already commissioned with the Philippine Army and were reportedly already used in military operations.

As of August 2016, the status report from the Philippine Army confirmed that:
- All M113A2 for Lots 1 & 2 are already in the Philippines, and were delivered as of first week of July 2016;
- It also included the 25mm turrets for the IFV versions, which were installed to the M113A2 in the Philippines, and will undergo testing and acceptance by middle of August 2016;
- The Philippine Army is only awaiting for electrical kits from Elbit Systems for the Fire Support Vehicles, which are actually not included in the contract.

Based on these information, MaxDefense believes that Lot 2 will be completed by between late August and September 2016. Although MaxDefense currently do not have photos, the Philippine Defense Forum (Timawa) has a photo released since mid-July 2016 that can confirm the information we have gathered. The photo can be seen on the link provided below, as MaxDefense does not have the liberty of posting it on this page:

LAD M-113 with Elbit Systems 25mm unmanned turret - dated July 13, 2016


There were previous information provided by MaxDefense sources indicating that there were problems encountered by Elbit and the Philippine Army with regards to the Lot 1 of the project. Based on the information, it was found out by Elbit Systems that the turrets to be used, which were from retired Philippine Army Alvis FV-101 Scorpion tracked reconnaissance vehicles were in poor condition, and there were suggestions to instead acquire new or refurbished turrets from other sources. So far, MaxDefense cannot confirm what path did the Philippine Army and Elbit Systems take, and its best to see that once they publicly show the vehicles so we can make our visual analysis.

More updates later on.






110 comments:

  1. Hi Max, obviously a hidden hand is out there to sabotage the modernization in every way they can no matter how modest this upgrading programs are. I just do hope all your readers and followers understand this and be more positive about all these. There is another thing we readers should appreciate, the AFP has been out of of the market for a very long time and they are re-learning the ropes in acquiring these equipment, seconds and brand new and they are trying their best to fit this within the obsolete bidding rules then there is the need to adjust the modernization budget from 75 billion to what it requires now, 90 billion. If TRO on the Malampaya funds a lot of the postponement would have not happened. let's remain positive and let's encourage the present administration because after all, inspire of it's short comings they are the ones who pushed for the modernization of the Afp. Let's hope Trillanes pushes his bill to amend the bidding rules for the modernization of the Afp.

    Freddie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are communists, there are leftists, there are those in China's payroll, there are corrupt men, and there's the Tulfo brothers.

      Tulfo's not in this for very being a patriot, nor is he in this because he wants to sabotage the modernization, nor does he hate Aquino. He's just in this for the money plain and simple.

      In fact, if you google "Erwin Tulfo", you'd find the words - "Extortionist Level 99".

      Delete
    2. Tuloy po ba talaga ang 114 units galing US sir? parang hindi po kasi malinaw eh...thanks..:)

      Delete
    3. You may also consider Malaysia as the culprit in this hidden hand. They don't want a Strong Philippines ever since Marcos. They'd lose Sabah if PH got stronger. And they wouldn't bother fanning the flames in Mamasapano if they think that its a lost cause for the PH's economy and military. All they want is for the reformist (PNoy) to lose popularity and place another weak and corrupt puppet president. They may look/seem friendly with PH but they mostly see PH as a competition. And now, PH is out doing them in economy, next would be military. Dont get me wrong though, Malaysia wont wage war on anyone, they cant win, they just want to stay above PH in all aspects without actual conforntation.

      AstarteSpartan

      Delete
    4. Freddie, the so-called "hidden hand" behind all these are not really sabotaging the AFP Modernization Program, but their real intention is something else. MaxDefense could not say if it is true or not, but it appears that personalities on the DND are the targets, and in the long run, the President himself. These ill reports has truly affected the pace of the modernization program, but DND also has its faults that's why all these are coming out.

      Delete
  2. While I favor this administration for the modernization I just hope they do not give away, our claim to Sabah, they do not give away Mindanao to the MILF who allegedly have Malaysian bearing passport representatives and the WPS. And if that's the case what's going to be left with us? Might as well give ourselves to the USA! :-)

    Freddie

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very well said max. This blog is a SLAP ON THE FACE of the people who are continously trying to destroy the institution who has evolved into a transparent bureau leaving the old evil doings behind. IF the intentions is to DISCREDIT the DND, therefore its primary TARGET is the president himself. There is s saying that KAPAG KINAGAT NG ASO ANG BUTO HINDI MAARING NALAWAYAN ITO. The people behind this brouhaha would like to influence our reader that,there are still corruption in the DND and Pres Aquino is involved and benefitting from this deal. Which is not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I cannot say that the DND is perfect. These are still worms and rats there, for sure. But the improvements has been there, both in the performance and reduction of corruption as compared to the past.

      Delete
  4. To our "Honorable" Senators JV Ejercito and Escudero,

    IN YOUR FACE "po" itong article na ito!!!! Sana basa basa "po" muna bago magconduct ng hearing in aid of f*cking legislation kuno. Puro "po" kayo grandstanding lang.

    Is there any way na idemanda ng DND itong mga journalists na ito na nagkakalat ng maling information? Better else ibala n lang sa kanyon.

    Kudos Sir Max for this article and point-wise naipaliwanag nyo ng maayos.

    ReplyDelete
  5. well done Max! as i ranted before, why cant the AFP come out with pieces or articles like these? to immediately shut the mouths of incompetent (or worse paid) reporters just out to sow disinformation (whatever happened to the so called source of the Times reporter? its been weeks and she/he hadnt come out yet ha ha ha). The AFP should be paying you some talent fee he he. On another matter, the "Italian package" included naval helos and combat aircraft?!! so it's true, there would have been AMX jets and AB-212s? flying around by now along with the Maestrale's cruising around the WPS. compared with the current predicament the frigate bidding is in, it is really frustrating to think about this.....what was the real deal breaker in the maestrale plan, certain neighbors in RED?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Another well made article Sir. Thank you very much for giving us this kinds of information. May the Gods and Deities of bring you more patience,knowledge and health to enlighten us more.

    Well, I guess the political elite don't entirely trust the military to say the least and supporting it with just half-hearted efforts. The greatest ironies of all, they would say "Wala or Kulang ang pondo pero kung titignan mo yung mga DAP nila noon eh ang laki."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @armchairgeneral
      Most likely its not a case of "trust" between the political elite and the Armed Forces. The political elite outright just doesn't care. Theres probably less kickback money from acquiring defense articles as opposed to infrastructure projects and other "pa pogi" government projects. ;)

      -Inigo

      Delete
    2. Thanks Armchair General. But I somehow blame this to Erwin Tulfo. His report is too misleading, and our senators do not know anything on miltech, so they relied too much on Tulfo's report. Being a former US Army personnel, he should know what the M113 is all about.

      Delete
  7. Sir max, any update about the bidding for the new frigates?

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  8. I am truly wishing that these people must stop grandstanding and politicking cause I'm afraid that we're going down to contract delays once again, instead of giving it now to the AFP. I cannot think of any benefits that making controversial claims can do for them, just frustrated of these bad developments while seeing these guys mocking hard with sheer arrogance but are obviously ignorant and lying. I'll just wait on that "who's laughing now " moment that they'll suck its repercussions big time. Some guys deserve it anyway.

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  9. These "malicious & baseless reports" from reporters would not have come up if the DND & AFP is transparent enough to inform & educate reporters on present AFP Modernization Projects. If these officials from the DND & AFP just keep mum on project acquisition then out of no where "allegations of corruptions" are thrown to them, these officials would defend themselves by saying the reports are 100% false... but these twisted stories about allegation of corruptions would have been prevented if the public & media were inform, educated & explain in details... for after all, that is what being transparent. You cant blame the media for raising corruption suspicion if the DND/AFP is silent about it & reacts only if the issues are blown out of proportions. Definitely, leadership is at worst & with a past track records of corruption by the military & government officials, the public or media has every right to be suspicious whether you like it or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually? The DND/AFP is transparent enough in all its acquisitions... All of its public biddings are just that, open to the public, that is, if the public is really interested to know. There are independent observers usually present in every step of the procurement process, there's the Coalition against Corruption and the Magdalo Group.

      If the media is really for observance of the "Daang Matuwid" in all of our government procurements, they only have to send a representative to cover each and every bid proceeding. The schedules and venues are afterall announced way ahead of time. But the thing is, there is also that other reason why some mediamen are coming out with seemingly explosive "Expose's" even without any sufficent basis and it definitely isn't for the people's benefit but for their own... nothing new really...

      Delete
    2. Dude please. If ur complaining about leadership at its worst. NEWS FLASH! The media played its part to put the "leadership" where its at right now. Remember? Agree with anonymous poster april 6 9:45pm MOST media are in it for the next big expose's to put them in the limelight. PRIME EXAMPLE. Isn't media supposed to be neutral? Then why is a certain network running political ads for BINAY? "BINAY KAKAMPI NG MGA OFW/MAGSASAKA/ETC. Hypocrisy at its best. Media in this country purely exists as a propaganda organ of the political elite.

      Delete
  10. with regards to the cumbersome procurement process IIRC there was a certain legislator (Acedillo?) who was initiating reforms by partially exempting it from the typical gov't. requirements. I wonder what happened to it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its Trillanes who is suppose to push that bill.

      Delete
    2. for the senate yes, but what i recalled is acedillo from the lower house

      Delete
    3. Ace Acedillo is in Congress. Trillanes in the Senate. They are from the same Magdalo group.

      Delete
  11. Will you follow me when i run for presidency? i intend to dissolve the government and make a smaller government, i promise all of you that i will make philippines great again

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can i execute some of my personal enemy?

      Delete
  12. Very well said Max a very clear information hope that this modernization program will continue and prosper its for us Filipinos and for the country.

    ReplyDelete
  13. With power vested in me by no one.I hereby name the "new" Philippine light tank "Frankenstein".

    As the fictional combine of the dead human bring fear to the reader, so does i hope the combination of Scorpion turret and M113 bring terror to the enemy!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Aren't Thailand Stingray is a new tank when they buy it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They were new when Thailand bought them.

      Delete
    2. Why Philippine not buy this tank?

      Delete
    3. Because it doesn't meet the procurement requirements: a product should be used by its origin's armed forces (US Military), or at least 2 other foreign militaries (only Thailand uses them). Besides, the Stingray is now old tech and needs massive updates.

      Delete
    4. Do CV90-120 light tank can?

      Its a variant of CV90 that already been use by several nation.

      Delete
  15. Some people or Media outlets just want to fabricate "news" regardless of the truth. For the so called media practitioners, these are very unprofessional and embarrassing once the issues turned out to be false and malicious.

    As usual it may be that some are paid to raise taint the legit programs of the DND or to embarrass the administration either because of politics, the lack of kick backs or just to look good with the public. I would not be surprised too if the Chicoms are financing the media and politicians, or just because of the negative Filipino trait we are famous of. CRAB MENTALITY.

    By the way Max do you have any idea of whatever happened to the Pohang class corvette and landing craft that the South Koreans were supposedly donate to the PN before 2015?

    ReplyDelete
  16. The AFP or the DND should designate a department or a go-to guy(s) wherein every inquiry or question from media, tv, and everyone else, or what have you will be funnel into to be answered by these go-to guy(s). This is to avoid problem wherein some random AFP official is asked about some questions but does not know what he is talking about and worst, he give wrong info that could cause misunderstanding that will kill a bidding or acquisition. In this case if a official does not know about something when asked, he can just refer to the go-to guys for further detail or inquiry. The go-to guys should be articulate, knows how to explain things and educate the public, like the author of this article, he knows the ins and outs of things. and can explain clearly and plainly to the public so that even a senator can understand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the afp / dnd have their respective spokesperson but they're doing a piss-poor job of explaining things to the public compared to what Max is doing.....too lazy i guess

      Delete
  17. When you try to explain this APC project, I hope you are aware that this is a REPLACEMENT project. The original project is to acquire a company size BRAND NEW Infantry Fighting Vehicles. If you compare these two, bulok nga talaga makukuha natin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. New vs refurbished might seem to be a one way fight. But when you acquire not just a company of basic APCs vs. almost 2 companies of infantry fighting vehicles, the numbers and capability may side with the refurbished units. And since the refurbished units are zero-timed and not just undergoing minor repairs, there is only a slight difference with an all new unit.

      Delete
    2. if the Phil. govt has the money and political will to spend for brand-new, yes this is a big issue....but if the dnd only have scraps handed to it, compared with other countries and even with the supposed modernization program, then it can only try to stretch its budget as much as it can

      Delete
  18. Wow, do you know the combat power of a coy of IFVs? The APCs that are coming from Israel are not IFVs, massacre abutin nito kahit isang battalion versus a coy of IFVs. IFVs are designed to assault enemy defense position because of higher armor protection, APCs have light armor that will not withstand Cal .50, pano na lang yung nagkalat na Cal .50 sniper rifles ng mga kalaban? San na lang pala gagamitin itong APCs? Fire support or base defense? Are we buying what we really need? Remember, same lang ang ABC ng kino-compare natin ha.

    A refurbished APC from the 60's technology (think again of the word refurbished, ok lang siguro ito kung 10 years older or lesser), matagal na po stop production ang mga spare parts nito, kung meron man triple na ang price. Can we sustain the APCs for another 20 years? Mas mahaba downtime nito and very costly to sustain. Naka mura ba tayo at magagamit ba natin sya for that amount of time?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The vehicles might be M113s, but they are modified to IFV standards. Let me ask you, in your point of view, what is the difference between an IFV and an APC?

      The M113 might be 60s technology, but it has accepted modern technology and continue to live on. Do you really think there is so much difference between the ACV-300 and an upgraded M113 aside from the date of construction and name? The ACV-300 received by the Army during the Arroyo administration was not even a new build ACV-300 but started life as an M113. The Army was satisfied with it that initially, and they wanted 14 new ACV-300.

      The good thing with the M113 is it can be upgraded to the latest technology, and its parts are being manufactured by many companies worldwide. The Army is not even getting most of its M113 parts from the US, because many countries still continue to build new parts for them.

      If the DND or Army wanted to and with the right budget, they can even convert these M113s to ACV-300, and will be better equipped than the standard ACV-300 without RWS being used by Turkey, Malaysia and UAE, and no one will ever notice except people who know of the project.

      Delete
    2. Sir max, isn't IFV not only carry soldiers to the battlefield, but also provide fire support in the battlefield.

      Meanwhile APC only carry soldiers into the battlefield then return to the base. Not for combat.

      Delete
    3. May I butt-in?

      Well, for sure technology offers you a lot in terms in what we call innovation or upgrades, configurations and/or modification.

      A standard APC can always be upgraded/configured/modified to an IFV or AIFV as some others called it by adding heavier firepower ( usually 12.7-13 [.50 caliber] HMGS to 14-30 mm auto-cannons and ATGMs) on a cupola or turret to provide fire support while standard APCs are armed lightly for self defense. That means in categorizing APC from IFV, both are troop transports with the same armor capabilities but the your first consideration is firepower and either armor or mobility comes next because an IFV is required to stay on the battlefield longer to provide fire support for the dismounted infantry doing the assault operation. Contrary to your belief, .50 caliber HMGs rounds are only effective at penetrating the armor of 60's made M113 at point blank range and most firefights on the jungle occur at 20 mts - 300 mts apart or snipping at 700 mts due to the dense vegetation. Plus additional armor can always be added due to the large growth rate of the M113 to counter Armor Piercing Rounds of HMGs or auto cannons and RPGs.

      So that's a ✓ on the 60's APC converted to an IFV and an X on your doubts about our recently acquired tracked vehicles.

      Delete
    4. Sorry i was the second anonymous poster (not the original).

      When i post my first post, i like to point out to sir max that APC is not the same with IFV. Because i think sir max respond seem indicate that he think is the same. Sorry if i was wrong because my English is bad.

      @ Armchair General

      Sorry to disappoint u, but 50 cal (standard round) will penetrate M113 not just in point blank range. In fact 60's made M113 will not stand a chance. That because they purpose is just an APC or Battle TAXI and the armor is made from aluminium.

      That is why the new one have upgrade armor made from kevlar panels called spall liners.

      But the good news is 50 cal is rare in battle. And the Armor penetration round is even more rarer to be own by the rebel.

      And yes APC can be upgraded to IFV, but again APC is not the same as IFV. And while u can always can upgrade the vehicle, i think it's more objective to the discussion to stick at current condition. After all we don't know when will be upgraded.

      Peace out and sorry Sir Max if i miss understand your point, im really bad in English.

      Delete
    5. APC's can become IFV's depending on the weapon. M113's are suitable to carry Machine gun's, cannons. mortar, RPG's. Anti-tank and Surface to air missiles. There are a lot of variants of M113's from other countries like Singapore, Canada, Turkey and etc. Think first before you comment some worthless sh!t.

      Delete
    6. Dear another anonymous, i think that is classified as weapon platform, not an IFV, except the machine gun variant.

      I also think the second anonymous need to know that as soon M113 see action in Vietnam it was quickly modified by the South vietnam to became IFV a concept that USA will copy (after berating them for using it as not intended).

      But the USA ACAV version still suffer from light armor problem. So they developed an all steel version that was to slow, to heavy for river crossing and airborne transport called AIFV. Philippine have this.

      Delete
    7. *"The M113 is built of 5083 aircraft-quality aluminum alloy, which gives it some of the same strength as steel at a slightly reduced weight, as the greater thickness allows structural stiffness."

      Steel needs bracing to be rigid which adds additional weight to the tracked vehicle but on the other hand aluminum doesn't. Aluminum was also considered for more buoyancy and for more mobility on softer grounds. Like I said, firepower comes first then armor or mobility comes second. Applique armor is better than spall liners (which only offers protection against HESH rounds that produce spalls) because it provides better protection against RPGs and standard AP rounds.

      * Well let face it my friend, we just need an IFV to say the least and budget constrains experienced by our military forces them to look for cheaper alternatives than those desired by them just to fill the gaps of the mechanized force.

      @ to the other Anonymous: No need for Trash-talk here to get your point understood, act civil and as an educated person. The comment section is made for open-discussions and sharing of ideas.

      Delete
    8. Im the second anonymous:

      To the 4th anonymous: Thanks for the information.

      To Armchair General:

      5083 aircraft-quality aluminum alloy need 3x thickness to have the same protection of steel. So no. U must understand that M113 was design as battle Taxi, never for combat. So every upgrade in protection and more weapon only was added latter.

      Also beside spall liner, i don't know any upgraded armor for M113. I think most of the operator simply buy real IFV or AIFV version.

      There also unknown protection for M113 or other APC or IFV against RPG until the ERA was invented. Haven't see any M113 with ERA.

      Yeah budget will always the problem.

      Delete
  19. Let me share a personal experience with the "brothers" here. Haha. As far as I can recall one of these brothers is bashing Duty Free Philippines for corruption (technical smuggling). The guys a regular columnist from a respected Phil daily. After months of write-ups against Duty Free Philippines, he was invited by the former GM of Duty Free Philippines, former Congressman and I dont know if his now mayor of Pangasinan, Benjie Lim. When this guy arrived at Duty Free Philippines for a tour and exclusive shopping, we thought he'll go towards the cigarettes or the Whitelines or blacklines section (washing machines, tvs, components) yet we were taken aback when he went to the Jewelry section, where he took instead rolex watches (three toned). After that shoplifting, err shopping, the write-ups against DFP stop. Envelopmental journalism? Kaya wag na magtaka kung ganito ang breeding nila! haha. Sir max baka ma libel ka!hahaha

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Max, Does PA refurbishments on it's 76 mm Scorpion gun turrets will be fitted with additional Armor Protection?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Sir Max, what do u think about this article:

    https://medium.com/@renyharding/the-lack-of-geostrategic-vision-in-the-philippines-china-policy-726ba0506c22

    ReplyDelete
  22. The M-113 from israel will undergo modernization with uparmoring and increase in fire power..they will not only be refurbished but converted into a modern infantry vehicle as well as fire support vehicle with the ability to remotely fire weapons to protect the gunner from enemy fire..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Where did this came from? There's no item for this under the New AFP Modernization Project List. This effort will need a lot of money again that cannot be taken from local funds. Eto din pala ang gusto bakit pinalitan pa ang original project?

      Delete
    2. The M113s will arrive already upgraded. This are all included in the project awarded to Elbit Systems.

      Delete
    3. Upgraded on what? An armored vehicle is composed of 4 major systems: Mobility, firepower, protection and communication.

      Mobility- same as old and obsolete powertrain
      Firepower- RWS (a question on its suitability in our type of operations) no coax, no gunports
      Protection- same, Level III (not enough as IFV)
      Communications- not included.

      Ang tanong nga, may parating na APCs from EDA, bakit bulok pa rin binili natin? Numbers now is not an issue.

      Delete
    4. Hey Anonymous April 8, 2015 at 4:20 PM

      FirePower - RWS

      ni-list mo na yung upgrade dito, just in case you didn't get it - RWS!!! Question it all you want, but that's an upgrade, a major one.

      Delete
    5. It's bangs for the bucks.

      If u want a good IFV the prepare to pay top dollars.

      This purchase is good because the army lack armor vehicle. Having some is better than none.

      Number is an issue if u have none and this is upgrade/increase to the capability of the army. From unprotected to protected (limited as it is).

      Delete
  23. Thats right..the tulfo brothers are into attacking individuals without any evidences with the hope of blackmailing their victims to pay cash or kind to silence them..in other words they are certified extortionist..with the ability to deceive the unsuspecting masa..its common knowledge in tv5 that if you want to destroy someone you can ask them to do it for you for a huge amount of money..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What I am interested to know now is why are they attacking Jo Magcale when it appears that she is actually a friend of Ramon Tulfo? Was there any misunderstanding or conflict between them recently? If the Tulfos are really doing something good for the people, they should have reported this a long time ago since they probably already know of Magcale's illegal practices from then till now.

      Delete
  24. Thanks sir max for a very infomative blog...I am one of your readers here in doha.especially when it comes to aircraft and armored vehicles..I am one of the people out here who loves military hardware...I hope you will post more informative,technical issues regarding on our AFP modernization..more power keep it up....and for those who hinder the afp modernization plan I think you are the modern makapili shame on you..

    ReplyDelete
  25. These refurbished units will be as good as new once it is delivered to us. We should be happy with what our government can presently afford. The modernization of AFP is inevitable since it was already made into a law, we just have to be patient. Pnoy should be given credit for it was in his term that RA 7898 later ammended as RA10349 was passed into law, this is the result of Pnoy making AFP modernization one of the priorities of his administration.

    But Pnoy is not perfect and the AFP leadership mentality is still inside the nutshell. The state of AFP may be blamed from the ff: executive leader, congress, and AFP itself. The congress is the least guilty of the three with the executive and AFP being likely the more liable. Let me explain further my thoughts. Our main external threat right now is China because of the WPS, to address this problem, Pnoy pushed and revised the AFP modernization act and now is currently in its implementation stage, lets thank Pnoy's administration; but implemention of said modernization will take a span of 15 years (2013-2028) by that the we hope to achieve minimal to maximum defense capability, the next question is what if a military confrontation happens one to two years from now in WPS? you know the answer to that. Whose failure was that? Congress? No, its the failure of the executive and AFP. Why? Because along with the implementation of RA 10349, the AFP should also have proposed a supplemental budget for the emergency procurement of military hardwares (MRFs, Frigates, Submarines, missile defense, etc) intended to deter China, this is on top of the modernization fund. I dont see any reason why congress wont approved such a request given the current status at WPS, sadly AFP leadership dont dream big for AFP and the executive should be pushing AFP to come up with such proposal if he is really after the welfare of our security.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Saranggani representative Emmanuel Pacquiao early this week called on the Filipinos to rally behind the flag to show support for the Philippines in its dispute with economic and military giant China over several islands and atolls in the West Philippine Sea.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Stranger and stranger these stories so many cooks and crooks playing around some to destabilize the mod program others to get their favored projects into the mix and publisists rehashing NDF propaganda for political gain.
    A tangled web indeed.
    Worse the DBM fund mess you raise is also another source of delay.
    Ironically set off to try and block graft the programs are strangling and delaying many govt projects. Perhaps to sabotage the bids processes and create a mad rush to the bank - este finish line before 2016 election ban on major projects come into force 1 year before the polls on May 9th?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The tangled web of Philippine political drama. LOL.

      Delete
  28. Sir Max, is there a possibility that we could get main battle tanks maybe we could do what the other countries did buying used equipment . Maybe refurbished M1 Abrams or Leopard . Thats cheaper .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's more realistic to buy new at this point. Because to buy second tank u need to find a nation that want to sell it.

      Leopard for example, the German and Netherlands already sell 90% of their tank and with Russia on the rise all European have no mood to sell.

      Second hand M1 Abrams and Merkava is pretty much the same. It's all for the middle east conflict.

      I think Philippine have miss the chance to buy second hand tank....at least a decent one.

      Delete
    2. M1s are resource hogs. Those big gas turbine engines are fuel-thirsty and are a bitch to maintain. We're better off with diesel MBTs like the Leopard 2.

      Delete
    3. We're lacking in almost everything when it comes to military equipment. But IMHO, tanks will be a luxury for our forces. No, not that we don't need them, but PH is surrounded by water and we have to upgrade our navy and airforce first before we start thinking MBTs.

      Consider this:

      1. We can't even deploy these MBTs to areas where we might need 'em. Our transport ships carrying these tanks would get blown out of the water and we'll find these tanks at the bottom of the sea if we don't secure our surrounding waters. And we all know we neither have the quality or quantity with regards to surface assets. So rather than MBTs - get more MPAC or corvettes.

      2. The Chinese need not set foot on our islands to cripple our defenses, it just needs to patrol our skies. MBTs are just going to be yummy expensive targets for enemy aircraft. And these tanks will be helpless targets. So rather than MBTs, we can equip our M113s with Air Defense Anti-Tank System, at least these guys would address two possible needs: anti-armor and anti-aircraft.

      Now one can argue that we might need MBTs to wipe out the insurgents. It woud probably be true, but then again, that's overkill. With the upcoming equipment for the army (M4s, the RPGs, the M113s, the towed Howitzers), there's less need for MBTs.

      But if you really want overkill, then additional MD520's can do the job of tanks. Maybe even better considering they can provide fire support more quickly.

      - Neo

      Delete
  29. This Joel Egco, senior reporter of manila times made a headline issue of ONE "defective" huey helicopter with tail number 8649 yesterday. The issue allegedly happened in June 2014! Can't believe they stooped so low to try to sell!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Sir Max, What Happened to the acquisition of 2 Frigates for the Navy ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Still ongoing. But I'm expecting good news soon.

      Delete
    2. Is it still on schedule to be awarded first half of the year together with the asw choppers?

      Delete
  31. The Tulfos are a bunch of posturing bullies with more balls than brains who think that owning a handgun somehow makes them experts on all things military. M113 from World War II? He must've confused them with the British Bren Carriers. All vaguely trapezoidal armored tracked troop carriers are the same, right?

    ReplyDelete
  32. OT just would like to share..
    1995 AFP Modernization act. Breakdown of what we need but did not happen.

    http://www.resdal.org/Archivo/phili-cap7.htm

    ReplyDelete
  33. Anyone here know why Erwin Tuflo was taken out of ABS-CBN?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If i remember correctly because of wrong accusation with his fellow anchor and being unprofessional media practitioner.

      Delete
  34. I'm envy at India. haha, 36 rafales. That's cute..

    ReplyDelete
  35. check this out..
    http://defense-studies.blogspot.com/2015/04/myanmar-warships-at-combined-fleet.html
    we are almost at the bottom when it comes to naval power in asean..
    if we dont do something, in 20 to 30 years, maybe Cambodia and East Timor will have navies more powerful than ours..
    luckily, Laos is landlocked.. lol

    ReplyDelete
  36. At this time when our country is under serious threat from Chinese expansionist aggression, it is not advisable to buy new modern weapons in just few quantities that takes years to be delivered bec. we already lost 7 territorial reefs and Scarborough shoal to China w/o a fight. Our gov't. must first procure ready-for battle 2nd-hand weapons in huge quantities to be able to immediately engage China. What can 2 Frigates & 12 FA-50s (not even delivered yet) do against China's naval/maritime ships. DND should have procured instead 300-500 small, very fast armor-plated Patrol Boats capable of operating at Sea State 5 and armed with 2 heavy machine guns & one 70-mm gun. During good weather conditions, supported by civilian supply ships, send these 300-500 Patrol Boats and swarm all the reefs being reclaimed by China. Each Chinese big ships guarding the reefs should be surrounded by 4-12 Patrol Boats & ready to disable the Chinese ships every time China starts harassing our Patrol Boats. This tactic is more effective in stopping China's reclamation and can be immediately implemented than wait years for the 2 Frigates and 12 FA-50s. Our gov't. then can start buying in the future when we already have the budget, new & modern frigates, submarines, MRFs, MBTs, etc. Right "NOW", we need to engage and stop China's reclamation activities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honestly you're right but realistically we can't do it alone we need the support of other nation. Also, we can't afford with our limited resources. That is a big nightmare for our country and for nearly 30 years since we expel the us bases in Subic and Clark we have not built or rebuilt our AFP capability. We have neglected our modernization because we are embroiled to much we our POLITICS and Internal conflict. So how do we solve this problem in the west Philippine Sea is a concerned of every Filipino.

      Delete
    2. How much are those armored and armed Patrol Boats that can function at Sea State 5? Who can provide them? Next, how far and how long can they stay at sea?

      It isn't pretty, but if you go cheap then the boats can't stay out there long and will waste most of their times going back and forth to port to refuel and re-provision. If you go with bigger patrol boats that can stay out there longer you will find that they aren't cheap.

      Lastly, China will love it if the Philippines sink a ship or kill a sailor. All those reclamation ships are civilian contractors. This will allow China to cast the Philippines as aggressor and murderer of unarmed civilians. What a wonderful casus-belli.

      Delete
    3. Small Patrol Boats can stay long at sea w/o the need to go back and forth to the mainland if accompanied by a Supply Ship that will provide all the provisions, fuel, food, ammunitions, sleeping quarters, berthing, etc. Patrol Boats are there to enforce our maritime laws and not to go to war against China. They will arrest the illegal Chinese settlers and confiscate their equipments and not to shoot to kill them except when they need to defend themselves from Chinese harassment.

      Delete
    4. Pag-Asa Island can be used as shelter for Patrol Boats during bad weather conditions. The government just need to develop the island just like what China is now doing to our reefs they are reclaiming. If 1 Frigate cost around $200 million, a lightly-armed, armored Patrol Boat costing $1 million can buy you 200 Patrol Boats.

      Delete
    5. Pag-Asa is too small to host any significant number of patrol boats and its location is too far from the northern part of the western Philippine EEZ (think west of Luzon as opposed of west of Palawan). It has some use, but don't rely too much on it.

      The supply ship idea is more flexible, but again, that costs money. A supply ship can probably supply 2-6 boats (depending on relative size of boats and ship) and if it has to carry enough supply for several patrol boats it will have to be somewhat large and thus somewhat expensive. China is also not stupid, they will harass the supply ship and interfere with the resupply process. So you want a way of detecting other ships and protect yourself, so the ship will need a radar and some weaponry. Probably a helicopter too to increase its detection capability and give it some operational flexibility. At the end you will end up with something like an SSV, which, while cheaper than corvettes, is still going to cost a bit.

      Folks, look, there is a reason why the PN wants SSV and patrol gunboats and MPAC and OPV. They are hampered by funding and political constraints, but they aren't stupid and they do have a plan. Patrol boats alone will not work. It needs to be supplied and backed with bigger ships. By the time you are done modifying the patrol boat plan so that it has a chance of working, I'm willing to bet that it will look very much like the PN Sail Plan 2020.

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  37. I'm beginning to lose faith on the local media . They've lost their sense of responsibility in providing unalderated factual news . I could understand the competitiveness of the media industry but to go down to the lowest level of reporting twisted facts of their news report just for the sake of sensationalism .They have lost their journalism ethics , Philippine journalism at its Lowest pont . I'm glad that we have MaxDefense to give balance and unbiased views regarding the Philippine military modernization . It is unfortunate that the Philippine media has created a polyglot of informations and views to the public which only added confusion to the boodle of informations that only created a caustic effect.

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  38. all these saboteurs who are doing black propaganda on the AFP modernization should be investigated by the DND and AFP intelligence services like ISAFP and NICA for possible prosecution and lawsuit based on the damages they have caused the AFP modernization and the bad publicity and lies they spread on the DND and officials involved in these projects. these saboteurs should not be let go free with their big bad mouths.

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  39. the country needs a president who is pro military so these AFP modernization can be fast track in some ways by or thru executive orders by the next president. Maybe Ping Lacson will be a good candidate we can support. He understands the needs for these acquisitions with transparency.

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    1. definitely not the loud-mouth self-serving Trillianes, who is all bark but no-sense.

      He's with the Chairperson of the National Defense and Security committee in the Senate, but he's not doing his job!

      Worse still, he's just making a mess of our government by getting all the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches all embroiled together! At best he's a distraction to our country's development, at worst he's a traitor.

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  40. https://ph.news.yahoo.com/us-won-t-risk-war-000000984.html

    Wake up call for the Philippine Government. Rep. Zarate and Colmenares are right. Who would risk a war with china for a chain of little Islands.

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    1. Nobody would want a war with China , but no country would allow any country to trample its sovereignty. For some it may look like a group of reefs and islet but one thing for sure China has no intention of provoking an international crisis just for a group of land masses. They are more concern on what lies underneath the ocean " fossil fuel". China has been growing out of proportion within the last decades . It has increased its military expenditures at an alarming rate . They've been driven by a psuedo-communist government who's main concern is to dominate the world market which kinda makes you think that they sound more like a capitalist rather than a communist For these reasons they need to make sure that their highly industrialize economy can sustain its pace in order to support its ever increasing population. China is like an ancient steam locomotive who;s everlasting need for coal to produce steam in order to have enough power to drive its heavy wheels on its track. In the next few years we would see a new world order centered in Asia , the mid east crisis will be sidelined for the meantime while everyone else turns to Asia. These barren land masses would be the focal point of what lies ahead . Now the question is can China afford a protracted conflict and at the same time maintain the equilibrium of a fast growing economy and population .

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    2. Yeah yeah yeah, no country would allow any country to trample its sovereignity. Oh? But look at the Philippines; china is doing massive reclamation on its backyard and what is the government doing? Oh yeah they just tell china to stop and do nothing about it. They are waiting for the tribunal councils decision before they would do anything. And before that decision, the construction works in the Mischief reef and fiery cross are already done and will be untouchable by the Philippines. It would be hard for us to repair our installations because china now will surely block our ships. They might even put up an oil rig on recto bank, yeah the recto bank which will supposed to make us rich. And how about Sabah? yeah That land which will never to be returned to us. And the BBL? oh yeah, the Government is willing to give them(MILF) a territory inside our territory. They are also willing to provide peace money worth half a trillion. oh yeah, half a trillion just for peace; While that half a trillion is enough for us to buy the most modern Arms, tanks, ships, aircraft, missiles and etc. for us to defeat them. half a trillion pesos is already enough to defend ourselves against china. Oh yeah, no country would allow any country to trample its sovereignty. Just look at us.

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    3. @ anonymous if you have read carefully what was written then you wouldn't have to be flustered and uptight . We both agreed that stopping China's expansionism at this time would be close to impossible given the current situation . The Philippine government has position itself in a very precarious situation in dealing with the current state in the WPS . They have base their response to the circumstances that arises rather than be proactive on their plans. With this said , we maybe clinging by a thread with the WPS territories but I cannot stand and add misery to the problems that we are facing . One thing I am grateful with this blog it is a good venue to share constructive thoughts and opinions in dealing with the the plight of the Philippines in dealing with the modernization and defense of its territories . Sometimes it is agonizing to hear fellow Filipinos how they could put their fellow netizens and supporters at the lowest pole of the totem pole. It is time to lose our " crab mentality " which every Filipino knows is like a cancer that has prevented our society to rise up from our current state. Perhaps it is time to ask ourselves are we going to be part of the many in the building process or be one of the disgruntled few who would rather ridicule the mistakes that was made . Please I by no means is against in expressing ones dismay with what is happening in the Philippines but would rather strongly suggest to use your other side in expressing Your opinions .
      On your views on the internal problem in the southern Philippines I would rather see a peaceful resolution with our Filipino muslim brothers and see them prosper as part of a nationwide perspective. So , if the BBL can pave the way for peace and national progress without undermining the sovereignty of the country then so be it. Now with Sabah that is a thing of the past . It is a hard lesson learned from our previous colonizers but it is time to move forward and learn from this mistakes. It is true that our AFP modernization should be the # 1 priority of the nation as we continually grow economically . A late asian statesman once said that " a strong economy should be side by side with a strong Armed Forces " . I would strongly suggest to see how Chile and Peru was able to modernize its Armed forces by tapping a percentage of its national resources in supporting the modernization of its military. On the lighter side , it is good to see a "ye..." At the beginning and at the end of your statements . It is a working progress . Stay positive and don't lose hope . Peace.

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  41. Bayan Muna Representatives Carlos Zarate and Neri Colmenares are just 2 nuisance leftist militants whose agenda and livelihood is to negatively criticize every new adminstrations running the government. These 2 are messengers of bad news and constant complaints against the government and anti-American sentiments.

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  42. Any news about the 2 light Frigates? Ang tagal na nito wala paring desisyon. 2 piraso na nga lang ng Light Frigates hindi pa makapag decide, panu pa kaya pag fully armed Frigates, Corvette o Submarine. Kala ko ba may Consultant na nahire para mapabilis tong project na to. 2017 ang target date ng delivery eh 8 months na lang 2016 na.. baka 2017 pa to maaproved ng susunod na Presidente. Leche,

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    1. Its not that they can't decide. Actually there is already a decision. But because of all this issue hounding the DND, the president has put the projects on-hold. Its beyond the PN already as of this time.

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    2. With the Navy announcing the arrival of SK's LCU.. parang hindi coincidence ito, at malamang kapag nasa status "GO" na uli itong Frigates eh yun naman Pohang ang immediately na i-a-announce.

      Panalo na Incheons.

      - Neo

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    3. Sana naman makapag award na sila ng contract. Win win to para sa navy natin.

      By the way Sir Max, I was looking for a job in engineering and I saw this one. Though out of topic, this one is interesting.

      https://www.linkedin.com/jobs2/view/43075670?trk=jobs_home_click_jymbii&refId=

      Raytheon is looking for a Construction Engineering Manager. Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services (IIS) is seeking a Construction Engineering Manager experienced in the design and construction of multi-story, reinforced concrete structures with deep foundations. This individual will provide onsite design and construction management supervision and leadership for the construction of single and multi-story National Coastal Watch Stations (NCWS) at seven (7) to nine (9) sites throughout the Philippines.

      So they are building 7 to 9 stations. Kala ko wala pang contract para dito sa project na to..

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  43. I dont like Philippine Media, unreliable and unprofesional. I like reading foreign news truth and concise. So Lowsy reporter we have in local news.. hehehe.katawa tawa sa ibang lahi.

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    1. Ang Philippine media eh walang ginawa -- kundi magbalita about Pacquiao, pati everyday praktis ba naman ibabalita pa. Pati kung anu suot ni Mommy Dionisia ibabalita pa, pati na mga saloobin ni Mommy D at kung ano pinagdadasal nito eh ibabalita pa. I mean WTF? Who the hell cares about that?

      At magaling din pala ang media naten magbalita ng mga kasal ng artista, at kung anu-anu pang di naman papakinabangan ng bansa naten.

      At kapag naman may issue lumabas, the media will milk it, hanggang sa pinaka-maliliit na detalye. Pero no one would read between the lines and go deep enough to uncover the real story, or has the guts to tell the truth.

      The media should help in Nation building. But as far as PH media is concerned, it's trending the wrong way.

      Take this for example: Nadidinig ko na yang Spratly's noon pa, pero di ko alam ang totoong issue, nalaman ko man na may Pag-asa island pala tayo na may civilian residents, hindi ko naman alam ang sitwasyon nila dun. It's only thru the internet na nalaman ko ang mga bagay na yan. And mind you I didn't stumble thru the websites of PhilStar, Inquirer or GMA News, I actively pursued to know about the KIG.

      May internet ka na nga hindi mo pa makita sa mga PH sites yung mga articles and news sa KIG, papano pa kung wala internet? Mag rely ka sa TV na puro Pacquiao ang balita? Sa dyaryo? Nasa page 7 yan o baka wala pa nga.

      What we have is an overflow of Pacquiao news na even if wala sya laban, nasa balita pa din. Nothing against Pacquiao, I hope he wins. But ano ba naman na magbalita ka ng everyday development sa country side naten? o kaya ang mag-balita about sa sitwasyon ng mga sundalo sa Ayungin? o ang buhay sa Pag-asa? Kahit kapirasong balita lang everyday, it would help to remind us na meron pala tayong mga nakakalimutan na kababayan naten. Those guys need us more than Pacquiao.

      And believe it or not, mas may naitutulong pa saten ang mga taong nasa Pag-asa at ang mga sundalo nasa Ayungin kesa kay Pacquiao. They're the frontlines in our struggle against China.

      Pero sabagay, mas interesado ang media sa "bring honor to the country" daw ni Pacquiao.

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    2. Anyone here can provide the full video website for "Spratly: Mga Isla ng Kalayaan", an ABS-CBN News’ special documentary on the West Philippine Sea. Unable to find it sa You Tube.

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  44. Most of Philippine Media are unprofessional. They can even make a report a fight between a mouse and cat. Hehehehe. So weird media has the Philippine. To Name TV5, Manila Times and GMA7. Take a look at a foreign correspondent and try to compare with those Tulfo. See and make a difference.

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  45. I'll still support our President Pnoy and the rest of AFP. I know for sure if their is already a result with the arbitration with ITLOS with regards to Spratly cae, that is the time were we could send some construction materials to the Islets that we have right now in the Spratly to name the few such as Pag-asa Island, Scarbourough and Sierra Madre with the support of International community especially the US. NO reason at all that this Chinese will blockade again the supply ship of Philippine Government. Go Pnoy, Go AFP modernization!

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    1. PH winning doesn't mean they can take back it's property, but with this, we can get more than just sympathy and assurances of support from other countries that objects the Chinese way of doing things in the WPS. It gives us the right to patrol our islands on the KIG knowing it has the backing of the international community.

      Sadly, it doesn't seem like the Chinese will back-off, they are ignoring everyone with what they are doing. With the way things are trending, it's inevitable, shots will be fired..

      If a PH plane goes down or a ship sinks because of the Chinese, every concerned country will not just condemn the act, they would join the fray. And IMHO, the guys who'd first come to our aid wouldn't be the Americans. It would be the Japs.

      - Neo

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    2. No amount of diplomatic talk & protests, AFP Modernization (which will take a century and still not completed) or UNCLOS, US & Int'l community taking the side of the Phil., will prevent China from taking total control of the Kalayaan Island Group within the next 3-5 years. China will only start listening if we start raiding the reefs China is reclaiming, arresting the Chinese invaders and confiscating their reclamation equipments using whatever available PN/PCG assets we presently have.

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    3. And at least we have already the right.

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  46. hi sir Max,

    any update of this project of this will be delivered? or this will be confidential upon delivery

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  47. Let us all campaign against Chiz Escudero, Franklin Drilon and many other politicians who don't support the AFP Modernization Program. Let us not forget Bongbong Marcos who blames the government for escalating the tensions in the West Philippine Sea by seeking the help of the US. Bongbong Marcos still wants to maintain a friendly relationship with China despite China's aggressive behavior by building islands inside our territory. These politicians are very unpatriotic.

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  48. According to reports, the first 4 units of the ex-Belgian M113's should have arrived last June 18. Any updates?

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  49. To be honest... Madaming Reporter sa Pilipinas... Nababayaran... Either by the looser of the bidding or the politicians themselves... If I where in the military I'd use Military Intelligence to follow said reporters and expose the truth behind their reporting. Kung bayaran man sila kailangan ng transparency on all sides!

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  50. good day sir, ano nang update sa mga Russian radar system na inalok ng Russia? (correct me if i'm wrong with this one).

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