Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Philippine Army to Acquire Night Fighting Systems to Improve its Night Fighting Capabilities.

On March 31, 2015, the Philippines' Department of National Defense (DND) has recently completed the pre-bid conference for the Night Fighting System (NFS) Acquisition Project for the Philippine Army (PA). The turnout of interested entities was very good, with a mixture of local and foreign companies showing up, although it is expected that not all will be participating in submitting a bid once the bid submission proceeds, depending on their capability to supply the products, meet the deadline, and meet the profit they require.

The Invitation to Bid released by the DND recently indicates that the PA will be acquiring 4,464 sets of the NFS, probably bound for the PA's Special Operations Command (SOCOM), with an Approved Budget for Contract (ABC) worth Php 1.116 billion. The winning bidder must deliver the products within 180 calendar days (6 months), consisting of Night Vision Monocular that can be mounted on helmet and individual weapon, an Infrared Aiming Device to be mounted on the weapon, and a Laser Zeroing Device for calibrating the aiming devices.

NVD product displayed by UDMC & Nivisys during last year's ADAS 2014 Defense Exhibition.
Photo taken from UDMC's website.

These system gives the infantry the capability to fight at night or in low light environments, which is crucial for Special Operations and to give superior advantage against enemy forces without such capability like the insurgency and terrorist forces operating within the country.

The Philippine Army have limited numbers of night fighting systems, and are mostly confined to the PA's SOCOM operators. Four thousand sets is enough to provide an entire brigade with the system for each operator, and enabling the PA to distribute its older systems to other field units that may require such equipment.

1. Nightline Inc.
The Texas-based company is no stranger to the DND and Philippine Army. They previously supplied the PA with 2,351 M914A monocular night vision devices for the Special Operations Command. The M914A is a variant of the US military-spec AN/PVS-14 which is the most common NVD in the US military today.

It is expected that Nightline will be offering their most common products: for the Night Vision Monocular, they might offer either the NL914A (which is similar to the M914A they supplied before), or their newer NL914B which can be powered by either 3 standard 1.5V AA batteries, or a single 3V CR123 battery.

Nightline's NL914B, which is an enhanced version of the types used by the PA's SOCOM.
Photo taken from Nightline's website.

For the Infrared Aiming Device, they currently offer 3 types, the DBAL-A2, DBAL-A3 and the DBAL-I2. The DBAL-A2 is the same as the US Military AN/PEQ-15A), while the DBAL-A3 is an enhanced version which includes dual remote cable ports. Meanwhile, the larger DBAL-I2 is an older model, a variant of the US Military AN/PEQ-2A which is being used by the Philippine Army.

Nightline's DBAL-A3 infrared aiming device.
Photo taken from Nightline's website.

For the Laser Zeroing Device, Nightline offers the MBS-AA & MBS-1WE borelights. The MBS-AA is more suitable for rifles and machine guns, while the smaller MBS-1WE is applicable for pistols and rifles.

MaxDefense expects Nightline to offer the NL914B, DBAL-A2, and the MBS-AA for this project.

2. United Defense Manufacturing Corporation (UDMC) - Nivisys LLC Partnership:
Local firm UDMC has been actively promoting its products for the past few years, and its partnership with American company Nivisys LLC might be a big break for them. UDMC does not make their own night vision devices, but Nivisys is a known manufacturer of such products. Both companies were present in last year's ADAS 2014 defense exhibition.

A PAF Staff Sergeant inspecting UDMC-Nivisys' weapon mounted NVD systems mounted on an AR-15 type rifle during last year's ADAS 2014 defense exhibition.
Photo taken from UDMC's website.

Nivisys'product line include their version of the AN/PVS-14A monocular NVD, and they have larger weapon mounted systems like the AN/PVS-22 and AN/PVS-27. Another is the MUM-14, which is smaller and simpler than the rest of the product line. For the infrared aiming device, Nivisys offers the GCP-2 IR tactical aimer/pointer which can be hand-held or mounted on individual and crew-served weapons.

MaxDefense believes that UDMC-Nivisys may offer the AN/PVS-14A and GCP-2 to the DND.

3. Intertrade Asia Pacific Corp. - Theon Sensors S.A. Partnership
MaxDefense believes that they were wrong named in the recent news report on this project, and MaxDefense has reasons to believe that the company they meant was Greek company Theon Sensors S.A.

Theon offers several types of monocular NVD under the NX-122 series. The latest version is the NX-122C, might be the best they can offer to the DND. 

Theon Sensor's NX-122C monocular night vision device.
Photo taken from Theon Sensors S.A.'s website.

Their website didn't indicate any product offering for the infrared aiming device and the laser zeroing device, which is part of the entire system. It could either be they will be supplying the product made by another company, or they will going with a collaboration with a company that manufacturers MILSPEC laser devices.

4. Armasight Enterprises
This company, based in the United States, provides a wide variety of night vision systems and accessories, and focuses entirely on similar systems unlike its other larger competitors. They pride themselves of having people with experience to NVS, with staff being previous employees of larger companies or competitors.

Armasight's PVS-14, which comes in different versions as listed in their product website.
Photo from Armasight's website.

They also have their own versions of the AN/PVS-14 which appears to also be their main product line of monocular night vision goggles. Their infrared aiming devices offered include the Drakos and Drakos 2, which have similarities to the AN/PEQ-15 used by the US Military.

5. Exelis Inc.
American company Exelis Inc. is a leading defense and security company, with several offerings on their product lines including several variants of night vision devices. 

Their most common is their version of the AN/PVS-14, and a lesser capable but probably cheaper variant which they call the Night Enforcer PVS-14 used for law enforcement duties. Not much information is available though if they have their own manufactured Infrared Aiming Device and Laser Zeroing Devices.

6. System Nomics Philippines Inc. - Aselsan A.S. 
Local company System Nomics Philippines will be fronting for the Turkey's largest defense company Aselsan A.S. Aselsan produces different night vision products although MaxDefense believes their strength lies on military electronics and munition systems. 

Aselsan manufactures their license copy of the AN/PVS-18 / M983 NVD (above).
Photo taken from L-3's website.

Aselsan manufactures the A100 monocular NVD, and license built copies of the M983 and M983A monocular systems based on the L-3 Warrior Systems AN/PVS-18. No information though if Aselsan manufactures infrared aiming and laser zeroing devices. 

Not much information is available though if they have their own manufactured Infrared Aiming Device and Laser Zeroing Devices. But it is possible for System Nomics to acquire these items from a different manufacturer.

7. Spartans 3 Trading Corporation:

This is the first time MaxDefense heard about this company. According to its official website, it appears to be a Filipino company whose expertise is supplying rescue and safety equipment, and traffic equipment and accessories rather than night vision equipment or firearms. 

Their website didn't list any night vision equipment in their line of products, so it would be difficult for MaxDefense to determine what they will be offering. Definitely they will either be sourcing this from a night vision system manufacturer, or they have partnered with one and will act as a local sales representative.

8. Elbit Systems:
This large Israeli defense company has been actively participating in several major AFP projects, with the most recent being the 155mm Towed Howitzer project. Through their subsidiary Elbit Systems - ITL, have several products that they could offer.

There's the Mini N/SEAS which can be used as a monocular or binocular by combining 2 similar units together, or the newer and more compact XACT-NV32 mirco compact night vision monocular. This was only released by ITL in 2012, and is among the newest model in the possible offerings.

Elbit Systems - ITL Mini N/SEAS (above) and the XACT-NV32 (below).
Photos taken from Specshop Poland and ASD News websites, respectively.

For the laser aiming device, they might be offering the AIM family, specifically the AIM 1-SLR. It appears to be smaller than most offerings that follow the US AN/PEQ-2 model, and can be mounted on AFP-standard weapons like the M16 and M4 family.

As MaxDefense does not have a copy of the Technical Specifications on this project yet, we can only assume that these are among the possible products the bidders may offer. It is also still unclear who among those who went to the pre-bid conference will continue on and submit a bid on the bid submission date, which is now rescheduled to May 28, 2015 after requests from the bidders to extend the deadline.

MaxDefense is hoping for a very competitive bidding for this project as the number of bidders and the big names involved suggest the strong interest in this project. It would be best if the DND and PA chose not only according to the pricing, but also checking the reliability and lifespan of these products.

This blog entry will now serve as the update page on this project, and all news reports or new information regarding this project will be posted at the update section of this entry.

August 19, 2016:

MaxDefense was given confirmation by sources from the Philippine Army that the acqusiition of 4,464 sets of Night Fighting System was awarded to Aselsan Elektronik Sanayi Ve Ticaret A.S. of Turkey, after being declared as the lowest calculated responsive bidder. Their bid amount was Php 712.069 million, or almost Php 404 million lower than the Approved Budget of Contact (ABC) of Php 1.116 billion.

The contact was already approved by the DND and Philippine Army, with the Notice to Proceed already released as of July 2016. It is expected that the partial deliveries will start by 2nd quarter of 2017, while the balance will be delivered by either 4th quarter of 2017 or 1st quarter of 2018, subject to the opening of Letter of Credit.

It was previously reported in the news last January 2016 that Aselsan was declared the lowest bidder by the DND, although the report erroneously claimed that Aselsan does not have experience in manufacturing night vision equipment, which is not the case as shown on the example MaxDefense made on its blog entry (see above). A more realistic statement is that Night Fighting System is not the core competency of Aselsan, but they do have experience in manufacturing such systems.

MaxDefense will be providing future updates regarding this project as information comes in. For more information, please read the blog entry from the top.


  1. Sir Max just wow. Approved Budget for Contract (ABC) worth Php 1.116 billion for 4,464 Set.

    1,116,000,000 / 4,464 = 250,000 Pesos (around $5,600) Hopefully walang corruption.

  2. Which is the best in term of ability Sir Max? Which is the most cheaper. And who is your favorite Sir Max?

  3. this should only be issued to special forces units, scouts, and airborne units.. issuing this to regular infantry will be too much too expensive and many of this will end up to the rebels in ambushes and being sold by soldiers.

    1. What a dangerously narrow view. It was the regular that deployed every days to fight the rebel and get ambush regularly.

      This equipment can save their life and help them win over hard situation. This will eventually lead to victory. So u must dare to take the risk.

      Beside given special forces is not active everyday, it will just collecting dust. And worst still gone from the armory.

  4. I choose its either Elbit system or any of Nightline Inc. products no one will best than this two company although much higher price but you can always count the unbeatable services of their product.


  5. Ayus to. Sana tuloy-tuloy na modernization. Next project sana more sniper rifles with thermal imaging sight.

  6. Sir, any news regarding the PNs acquisition of two brand new frigates?


      "The Philippines has a requirement for two naval helicopters which AgustaWestland feels could be satisfied with the AW159. This programme is currently frozen while the country's naval frigate requirement is ironed out. Symonds expects the requirement to move forward in the next two months."

      It can be inferred that the frigate acquisition program has also been put on hold for the time being.

      Hopefully with the new-found attention being placed towards modernization, we can expect this program to be fast-tracked.

    2. I have read one article saying that the PN are currently in order of four refurbish frigate from US if this could be correct... then the delay in brand new frigate acquisition will go in scrap.

      If ever that this four refurbish are true, the PN should spend all the rest of the spare money for the armament of all navy vessel..

  7. The following link contains a comprehensive side-by-side comparison of many different night vision goggles, including many PVS-14 derivatives

    Though in my opinion having thermal optics to supplement regular gen 3 NVGs even in the platoon level would be a substantial force-multiplier

  8. Pure misprioritized waste of money. Local techies can do this. P200 million is ok but not P1.1 Billion +. Given the money we have and the challenges, when will we be patriotic enough to prioritize our national interests before personal pockets. We cannot fight like the rich nations

    1. Local techies are welcome to bid. If they can indeed do the job for P200 million, they will win the bidding. So if you know a local techie who can do the job for P200 million, by all means, tell him to step forward and do it.

    2. Your wright, at least 2000 goggles for the meantime anyway our government are in the process of peace talks. The DND/AFP should invest in navy of coastguard vessel really..

    3. Then by all means, send your local techie to bid, I have been competing in several international robotics competitions for the Philippines, and I will be leaving on Monday to represent our nation in South Korea, and I have met people from Data Science, DOST, and professors from our top universities and we all source parts from S.Korea or Japan for robots, so if your local techie wanted to supply this, he'd have to source hundreds of parts, unless you want cheap fakes, making it impossible for it to be 200M pesos

  9. Name your local techies that can make the products locally within 180 days and at par with the international product offerings? Hindi pwedeng puro yabang Pinoy lang, kelangan maging realistic din tayo.


  10. parang di na umuusad ung AFP Modernization; i hope the government as well as the military organization does not become complacent and do not stop pushing the AFP upgrade because of US show of support to our stand on WPS

  11. OT. Sir max any news regarding the 28 upgraded m-113s, may is almost over?

  12. ot. any news about the upgrded m113?

  13. 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.

  14. The MINI N SEAS is a very good unit to consider. I have one and find it very good. I have not tried the XACT-NV32.

    my mum is Filipino. we live in Australia.


    1. Thanks for sharing your side on Mini N/SEAS. The project bidding is expected to commence soon.

  15. My only complaint with the mini n seas is that it is quite long, especially the newer housing. however you do get used to it and compensate for its length once acquainted.


  16. The truth to be known, Aselsan does not manufacture Image Intensifier Tubes (IIT), they intend to purchase the IITs from Harris Corporation USA formerly Excelis

    The sad part of this is Harris / Exelis will not be able to export IITs compliant with DND / PA tech specs for end use to the Philippines. This is due to the fact that the USG disallows IITs compliant with DND / PA tech specs as said spec is outside of what is allowed for export from the USA to a country like the Philippines.

    Hence, Harris will export IITs to Aselsan, Ankara which do NOT meet AFP specs thereby negating any reported savings since the AFP will not receive the performance parameters it is paying for.