"Phase 3A: Restoration and Sustainment of 76mm Gun Systems for two (2) JCPVs & three (3) 25mm Gun Systems for three (3) JCPVs for two (2) JCPV,s Upgrade of two (2) Electro Optical Fire Control Systems and Sensors for two (2) JCPVs, and Supply of One Hundred Fifty (15) Target Practice (TP) rounds of 76mm OTO Melara Gun and Six Hundred Sixty (660) TP rounds of 25mm Gun Ammunition for the three JCPVs",
and the second one as:
"Phase 3B: Restoration and Sustainment of 76mm Gun System, Upgrade of Electro Optical Fire Control System and Sensors for one (1) JCPV".
|BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS-36) during exercises with the US Navy.|
Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons.
JCPV refers to the Jacinto-class patrol vessel, formerly known as the Peacock-class patrol vessel of the Royal Navy. Phase 3A has a Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC) of Php 630,637,163.60 (around US$13.6 million), while Phase 3B has an ABC of Php 224,000,000.00 (around US$4.83 million).
Combining both projects, it is summarized as an effort to upgrade/replace the radar and electro-optical fire control systems, and restoration works for the 76mm Oto Melara 76/62 Compact main gun and 25mm MSI Defense DS25 autocannons of the three Jacinto-class ships, namely BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS-35), BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS-36), and BRP Artemio Ricarte (PS-37). It also includes acquiring several target practice rounds for the two types of guns.
This project is actually in its re-bid phase, with an initial effort failing earlier this year. With the project among those approved by President Benigno Aquino III last July 2015, it now has the financial backing it requires and may now proceed without funding problem hook-ups.
The new bid documents for both projects were not shared by the DND's website last time. But the DND recently released a new Supplemental Bid Bulletin (SBB # DND/PN-JCPV-P3-15-01) last October 19, 2015 which answered queries submitted by potential bidders for both projects.
Further information can also be gathered from previous Supplemental Bid Bulletins provided by the DND, SBB # DND/PN-JCPV-P3-15-02 dated 20th February 2015, and SBB # DND/PN-JCPV-P3-15-04 dated 17th March 2015. Some information may still remain relevant although whatever similar information provided on the newer SBB is considered latest.
Among the information made available are the potential bidders for the projects:
1. Insis System Engineering - an Italian company, Insis S.p.A. is involved in design and manufacture of multi-technological systems, including those used for military applications. Their company profile and products can be viewed HERE. It appears that they can provide certain items of the project, specifically the electro-optical fire control component, but not the rest.
2. OTO Melara - another Italian company, they are the original designer and manufacturer of the 76mm OTO Melara Compact gun being used by the JCPVs. Restoration and sustainment of these guns would definitely be their forte, even if the Compact gun is already out of production. MaxDefense believes they can also supply the ammunition for the gun, since they design and manufacture them as well.
3. Propmech Corporation - a Filipino company with experience in bagging DND/PN projects including the Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (MPAC), Landing Craft Utility (LCU), and refurbishing and repair works on patrol gunboats. While they do not manufacture any electronic component, it appears that they would be working with specialist companies either as the contractor or the sub-contractor.
4. Navantia - the Spanish shipbuilder is also a systems integrator, and can do ship refurbishing works. They would probably be working with partners, as stated in their query due to their lack of presence in the Philippines. Navantia also produces several naval systems including the Dorna Fire Control System, although they are expected to outsource the sensors, gun rehabilitation, and ammunition requirements.
5. Sagem Safran - is a major French defense company involved in electronics and communications systems. Their naval solutions include surveillance and fire control system, as well as navigation equipment. are well known and proven products used by major navies. Being specialized,
6. Thales S.A. - another major French defense conglomerate, and among the largest defense companies in the world, a major global manufacturer of electronics and naval solutions. They could be involved in the EO-FCS and sensor/radar systems part of the project.
7. Ultra Electronics - another active European defense electronics company based in the UK, they also have an extensive product offering that will suite the requirements of the JCPV upgrade, although guns and ammunition are not their forte.
The first attempt to bid out these projects saw the presence of Indian conglomerate Larsen & Toubro and French company Nexeya Group, as shown in the previous Supplemental Bid Bulletin answering bidder's queries early this year. So far they did not appear to be among the prospective bidders as far as the latest SBB is concerned.
The presence of specialized companies in the prospective bidders list could mean that they would undertake parts of the upgrade project but will be working with a local company or partner where the works would be done.
For easier discussion, MaxDefense will divide the discussion into several components.
Upgrade of Sensors & Fire Control System :
First are the electronics systems of the ship, which include the sensor/radar system and the electro-optical fire control system.
Currently, the Jacinto-class ships are equipped with a Radamec 1500 electro-optical fire control system, and the Sperry Marine Bridgemaster-E navigational and surface search radar. Both were installed more than 10 years ago as part of the original AFP Modernization Program under RA 7898, to replace an older system used during its service with the British Royal Navy.
Based on the SBB, it seems that the Philippine Navy is looking for a new surface search radar which is protected from electronic jamming, and is integrated to the fire control system. Standard navigation radar are not designed for such, including its existing radar. The radar should be brand new and not overhauling the existing on-board systems, as per the reply on Sagem-Safran's query.
As replied to Propmech's query, the radar will have a maximum instrumented range of at least 96 nautical miles (178 kilometers), although the maximum detection & tracking range is a maximum of at least 40 nautical miles (74 kilometers). Although not indicated in the new SBB, previous SBB indicated that it should be able to track two hundred (200) targets at the same time, and must have a minimum detection range of 0.075 nautical miles (around 40 meters).
It would be a X-band type solid state radar, as replied by DND to Navantia, but must have multiple frequency transmission capability. It will have at least 3 displays for navigation, tactical - fire control, and command & control (C2).
b. Fire Control System:
For the fire control system, the projects are intended to replace the existing Radamec 1500 EO-FCS with a brand new system, and overhauling of existing system is not allowed, as confirmed by the DND replied to Sagem-Safran's query
It is required to have a track and lock-on target capability of at least 10 nautical miles (18.5 kilometers) distance on a clear visibility using daylight TV camera. Detection Recognition Identification feature is not required.
It is also required that the new FCS be open for growth capacity or will have an open architecture design to integrate other weapons systems, but the PN expects the other weapons to be smaller caliber guns and not missiles.
Not much queries were made with regards to the FCS as compared to the radar, and MaxDefense assumes that previous SBB or the revised Technical Specifications may have already provided the information needed by the bidders.
|Sagem Safran has several models of EO-FCS that can be offered that may cater to what the Philippine Navy needs for its Jacinto-class patrol vessels, with the most capable being the Vampir NG (bottom left).|
Photo taken from Safran SAGEM's website.
c. Other Sensors:
The ships are also in need to replace several onboard sensors with new ones, including its Speedlog, Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS), Anemometer, and Ring Laser Gyroscopes. Discussing this will require more technical terms, so we'll skip on these issues.
It was confirmed that dry docking is needed to install some systems like the Speedlog, and the DND has confirmed that all three ships would be made available if works are about to start. As confirmed by DND on Propmech's query, the naval yard can't be used for dry docking, and instead the proponent must use a civilian shipyard.
Previous queries by Navantia also indicated that there will be no work on Combat Management System for both phases of the project.
Previous requests by Larsen & Toubro, Thales, and Nexeya Systems to use a Fibre Optic Gyro (FOG) instead of a Ring Laser Gyro (RLG) has been declined by the DND, even if both claim that the FOG performs better and needs less maintenance the the RLG.
Restoration and Sustainment of 76mm and 25mm Guns:
Another important part of the projects are the works related to the 76mm Oto Melara 76/62 Compact main gun and the MSI Defense DS25 25mm secondary gun.
a. OTO Melara 76mm Compact Gun:
DND confirmed that Phase 3A will involve the 76mm guns of BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS-35) and BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS-36), while Phase 3B will be for the gun of BRP Artemio Ricarte (PS-37).
The SBB indicated that the guns may only need thorough inspection and minor refurbishing operations, although it also indicated the need to have its barrels replaced with new ones, although it appears that the barrels are furnished by the Philippine government/Philippine Navy.
It also appears that the gun works will require the proponent to have all sub-systems to be brought to full operational status and updated to the latest design standard, thus requiring upgrades for the gun systems. It is unclear though if upgrade to latest design standard means retaining the gun as a Compact model or upgrading it to later Super Rapid standard. MaxDefense believes it would be retained as a Compact model as changing to Super Rapid standard may require more work, and more budget.
It also indicate that the projects will require the proponent to provide spares, special tools, and test equipment, as well as training package that will allow the Naval Combat Systems Center to have the capability to do intermediate level repair. This is a very important clause since the Philippine Navy have previous history wherein it cannot do the repair of the guns by itself and needed assistance from a foreign navy (previously coming from the Royal Australian Navy) to provide training.
For testing, the new and older SBBs retain that the 76mm guns must be static and dynamic aligned that 1st salvo (1 salvo = 10 rounds) must hit a 16ft. x 16ft. target at a minimum distance of 4 nautical miles. This should be tested on a sea state 5 status.
It is interesting to note that based on the PN's market study, there are at least 10 other companies that are licensed manufacturers of the OTO Melara 76mm gun, and they allowed to join the tender as a joint-venture with the main proponent should OTO Melara decide to become a main proponent itself.
|The OTO Melara 76mm Compact gun, mounted on a ground platform and showing its magazine that is normally hidden on the ship's hull. Phase 3A involves work on 2 guns, while Phase 3B is for work on a 3rd gun.|
b. MSI Defense DS25 25mm Gun:
Most of the requirements for work on the DS25 gun is similar to those of the OTO Melara 76mm gun, including the need to replace the barrels and for the testing of accuracy.
Previous queries by Ultra Electronics also indicated that the gun console for the DS25 25mm gun is to be replaced with a new one, with target information coming from the radar and gun camera, but not the EO-FCS.
Contrary, MSI Defense was already expected to join as a common sub-contractor for all major proponents to work on the MSI DS25 25mm guns.
|The MSI Defense DS25 Seahawk mounting a 25mm autocannon, installed on all 3 Jacinto-class patrol vessels. The DS25 can be controlled remotely or manually as shown in the photo above.|
Similar Works, 2 Projects?
The entire upgrade works for the 3 ships was divided into 2 separate and distinct projects, named Phase 3A and 3B. As confirmed in the replies by the DND on both the new and older SBBs, there is a possibility that 2 different proponents may win the 2 projects (1 proponent for each project), thus it is possibile that the products and services to be used or made on the ships involved will not be the same.
There were previous calls by some of the bidders to combine the two projects into one, but the DND insisted on maintaining two separate projects for the 3 ships. This would allow only 1 winner to bag the Phase 3A and 3B projects, allowing commonality and economics of scale.
As to why, MaxDefense has not yet found out from the DND. But MaxDefense believes that the DND should have just combined the 2 projects into 1, as Phase 3. This is to avoid multiple groups involved in similar works, resulting to having different types of radars, sensors, EO-FCS, and parts used on the ships, as well as varying quality of work and ILS problems in the future.
Issues on Commonality and Future Proofing:
There was no indication if whatever products acquired for the Jacinto-class ships will also be used by existing or upcoming assets of the Philippine Navy. Two upcoming ships, the Strategic Sealift Vessel (SSV) and the Frigate, are expected to require radar and EO-FCS systems as well, and having a similar system used to whatever is the winning proponent can benefit in terms on commonality, compatibility, logistics and spares, and training.
The point that the project is divided into 2, and the possibility of having 2 different proponents winning the 2 separate projects already showed that the PN and the DND may have not considered this issue of coming at all. If they allowed this to happen, it is then very possible that the upcoming ships will definitely have different models of sensors as well.
Another is the indication of missile or more advanced weapons systems installed on the ships in the future. It appears that there are no plans as of this time, except for small caliber guns as replied by DND to one of the queries. This, despite previous information that the Philippine Navy is interested in installing lightweight, short range surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missile systems to the ships. The only possibility now is for more advanced tracking systems supporting missiles to be installed later on, and for the PN to decide on a lightweight missile system that would not affect the inherent top-heaviness design of the class.
With the Radamec 1500 EO-FCS and Sperry Marine Bridgemaster-E radar being replaced, it is possible that these systems are still repairable or overhauled, and can be installed on existing PN ships using older systems like the BRP Rajah Humabon, the Rizal-class, or the Miguel Malvar-class ships. With just over 10 years under its belt, MaxDefense believes that these could still be useable for other purposes especially with the limited resources the PN has. Previous queries by Sagem Safran as shown on older SBBs proved this to be possible.
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|PS-36 is seen here on drydock together with PS-35, taken several years ago while both ships were undergoing works.|
Photo taken from Timawa.net.
This time, MaxDefense won't be suggesting possible radar and EO-FCS systems that could be offered by the proponents since it is also unclear who will go as a main proponent, and who will opt to be a sub-contractor. MaxDefense believes that not all companies that submitted queries will join the project as the main proponent since majority are specialists that could only provide certain items of the project.
It would be difficult to determine also which companies are partnered or in a joint-venture with the possible proponents since it was not indicated nor needed to be listed in this SBB, and will only be named as part of the bid submission.
In the end, it is expected that not much will be added to the ship's capability after the upgrades are done. MaxDefense is only expecting a slight improvement on the ship's surveillance and detection capability with the introduction of a better radar and EO-fire control system compared to the previous models the ship uses, but aside from these the Jacinto-class will remain as what it currently are.
Aside from answering queries, the SBB from the DND also confirmed that the bid submission and opening is now scheduled on 10th November 2015. It is expected that re-schedule may happen but MaxDefense hopes that there is no need for that.
As the bid opening proceed, MaxDefense will provide more updates as information starts to come in, especially on the outcome of the bidding. It is also expected that we can get information on the entities involved with the proponent, enabling us to provide analysis on what the Philippine Navy might be getting.
March 13, 2016:
The Department of National Defense has awarded the JCPV Phase 3B project to a joint venture between Filipino company Propmech Corporation and Swedish defense manfacturer Saab A.B. The project will involve the restoration and sustainment of an Oto Melara 76mm Compact naval gun, and upgrade of Electro-Optical Fire Control System and Sensors of a single Jacinto-class patrol vessel.
A separate award for the same works will be made for two other Jacinto-class patrol vessels under the JCPV Phase 3A project.
Propmech will probably be in-charge of the dockworks and installation works, while Saab manufactures and will supply its own EO/IR systems, Fire Control System, Radars and other sensor components for naval vessels.
|The DND has awarded the JCPV Phase 3B project to Propmech-Saab JV.|
Photo taken from Timawa.net c/o 40niner_com.