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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Comprehensive Review of Accomplishments and Balances of the AFP Modernization Program Under RA 7898 and RA 110349 Horizon 1 Phases as of June 2016

With the sun setting on Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III in a matter of days, it is worth looking back at what his administration has accomplished in terms of modernizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

It was during his term that the AFP Modernization Program was jump-started after Republic Act 10349, known as the Revised AFP Modernization Act of 2012, was signed and put for implementation. This was meant to replace the older Republic Act 7898 known as the AFP Modernization Act of 1995 signed during former Pres. Fidel V. Ramos’ term, when its 15-year program effectivity expired in 2010.

By the time Pres. Aquino stepped in as the country’s chief executive, there are still dozens of programs being implemented under RA 7898, while the law was not able to fully modernize the AFP to a level suggested during the law’s signing. Many of the original acquisitions programmed on RA 7898 did not come to fruition as budget for the program was short-changed by the succeeding presidents for various reasons.

Acquisition programs were then made according to the current requirements and threats faced by the AFP, and not much on the projected capability it wanted to have in the longer term. Most were also piecemeal acquisitions, only enough for a limited number of field units, dependent on the budget available instead of the actual need based on technical evaluation or studies made by the armed services’ capabilities planning. Nonetheless, the updated acquisition programs were pushed forward with a low rate of success and a high rate of delays.

The slow start of the Aquino administration did not help either, as the government was not able to push forward most of the remaining projects of RA 7898 in a short span of time, accomplishing only a handful of low-key projects until he signed the RA 10349 in 2012. By this time, projects from both laws were being filled-up, as RA 7898 projects were being completed or awarded while the 1st phase of the RA 10349 projects, more commonly known now as the 1st Horizon Phase (2013-2017) are being programmed for submission.

In this entry, we will try to discuss the projects accomplished during the term of President Aquino between 2010 to 2016.

Among the projects completed by the Aquino administration, showing here several PAF aircraft including the Bell 412EP combat utility and VIP helicopters, AgustaWestland AW-109E Power armed helicopters, CASA-Airbus C-295M medium tactical airlifter, and W-3A Sokols, which were approved by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo but delivered during Aquino's term.

Projects Funded by Republic Act 7898 of 1995:

By the start of 2015, the Department of National Defense (DND) reported that there were 93 projects they have completed since 2002, with a total worth of Php 25.587 billion. The report also confirmed that there were 65 projects with a total worth of Php 58.154 billion that were ongoing.

Several of these projects were cancelled, some in favour of combining it with other projects within RA 7898 or the Horizon 1 Phase of RA 10349 (example is the MPAC Mk. 3, which was previously funded by RA 7898 but was moved to RA 10349 project list), while others project cancellations were results of re-evaluation by the AFP due to prevailing conditions (example is the emergency acquisition of 5.56mm assault rifles, which were overtaken by the acquisition of Remington carbines), or because of failure of the winning bidder to deliver (as in the case of Hydratek Inc. for the Small Amphibious Vehicle, and Achidatex Nazareth Elite-Colorado Shipyard Joint Venture for the Force Protection Equipment).

As of June 2016, MaxDefense could only confirm the award of less than 50% of these projects, while majority are still ongoing in different stages until prior to project awarding. That is actually low considering that this should have already been completed to give way to projects under the Horizon 1 phase of RA 10349.

Some of the successful projects under RA 7898 that were completed during Pres. Aquino’s time are the following:

Philippine Army:
-       Harris Falcon II 20W Manpack, 20W High Frequency, 50W Vehicle Mounted, and 5W Handheld Radios;
-       Upgraded M113 Armored Personnel Carriers from Elbit Systems Land & C4I;
-       Acquisition fo KM-451 Field Ambulances from KIA Motors;
-       Acquisition of M-71 155mm Howitzers and Ammunition from Elbit– Soltam Systems (together with the Philippine Navy);
-       Acquisition of R4A3 5.56mm Carbine from Remington Defense USA (together with the Philippine Navy);

Philippine Navy:
-       Several Coast Watch Stations;
-       BRP Tagbanua landing craft utility (LCU) from Propmech Corporation;
-       Acquisition of 3 Hamilton-class high endurance cutters from the US government;
-       Acquisition of 5 AW-109E Power naval helicopters from AgustaWestland;
-       Strategic Sealift Vessel (Tarlac-class) landing platform dock from PT PAL;

Philippine Air Force:
-       Acquisition of 8 AW-109E Power armed helicopters from AgustaWestland;
-       Acquisition of 3 C-295M medium tactical transport aircraft from CASA-Airbus Military;
-       Acquisition of 2 NC-212i light tactical transport aircraft from PTDI;
-       Acquisition of 18 SF-260FH basic trainer aircraft from Alenia-Aermacchi;

General Headquarters & Government Arsenal:
-       Acquisition of KM-450 light utility trucks from KIA Motors;
-       14 Station Bullet Assembly machine, Case Manufacturing & Cartridge Assembly Machine for 5.56mm ammunition, and Laser Marking & Packaging Machine from Waterbury Farell Canada

Refurbished M113A2+ with RWS were delivered by Elbit Systems Land & C4I to the Philippine Army, with several more expected to be delivered within the year. 
The acquisition of Strategic Sealift Vessels, now known as the Tarlac-class Landing Platform Dock, was among those completed as part of RA 7898.
Photo taken from Philippine Navy.

There are also several projects that were already awarded, but are still in limbo due to supplier issues, which include the following:

-       Acquisition of UH-1D helicopters from Rice Aircraft Services Inc. for the Philippine Air Force, in which were only delivered partially and is currently hanging due to a investigations from the Senate;
-       Acquisition of 10 Small Amphibian Vehicles from Hydratek USA, due to failure of the company to deliver the equipment on time even after allowance was provided;
-       Acquisition of 44,080 Force Protection Equipment from the Joint Venture of Achidatex Nazareth Elite and Colorado Shipyard, due to failure of Achidatex to deliver the equipment as per contract.
-       Limited upgrade projects for the Del Pilar-class Frigates (DPCF) wherein only the secondary Mk.38 Mod.2 guns have been acquired via FMS from the US, but the radar systems are not yet awarded. There also changes made on the upgrade program for the ships, with consideration for other needed equipment like ASW equipment and weapons.

Major projects that are not yet awarded, or still on-hold until now include the following:

Philippine Army:

The acquisition of Rocket Launcher (Light), which was previously identified as the RPG-7USA from Airtronic USA, was put on hold after the Army decided to look at other suppliers instead of going for an FMS program. No decision is made until now if the project will continue or not. This was meant to replace the ageing and bulky recoilless rifles in PA service. More than 300 were expected to be acquired under this Phase.

Another FMS project that is currently not moving is the acquisition of 60mm mortars from the US. Reportedly, it was already awarded to an American company, but until now, no delivery has been made. It remains to be seen if this project will continue or not.

There were also 2 projects for acquisition of 40mm grenade launchers that are still pending, but MaxDefense has not much info on these yet.

Philippine Navy:

Most pending projects of the Philippine Navy involve weapons for the Philippine Marine Corps.

The acquisition of 60mm and 81mm mortars are both on hold. Opposite to what the Army wanted, the PMC’s request is to increase the number of 60mm mortars while transferring the budget to acquire 81mm mortars. The acquisition of 60mm mortars are supposed to be FMS with the US as well.

Together with the Army, they also requested for more than 700 units of 40mm grenade launchers. MaxDefense is still trying to find more info on this.

Like the Army, the PMC is looking to acquire a light rocket launcher for assault to replace old recoilless rifles, but is actually looking at a different weapon, specifically the SMAW. But this too is on hold for unknown reasons.

Dozens of sniper rifles are also still on-hold, also an FMS project.

Among pending projects of the Philippine Navy under RA 7898 is the Shoulder-Mounted Assault Weapon (SMAW) for the Marine Corps, to replace old recoilless rifles. It remains to be seen if this project will continue or not.
Photo taken from

Philippine Air Force:

So far the PAF was able to almost accomplish all its projects under RA 7898, with the exception of the acquisition of Search and Rescue Seaplanes and Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk presidential helicopters to replace the sole ageing Marcos-era S-70A in service with the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing. 

Both moved to Horizon 2 phase, and could even be moved to Horizon 3 considering that the incoming president is not keen on having presidential helicopters.

Cancelled Projects:

Among the controversial decisions regarding the AFP Modernization Program made during the Aquino administration was the cancellation of the Shore Based Missile System (SBMS) which was supposed to provide a battalion of mobile guided rocket systems designed to hit naval and ground targets up to 150 kilometers away from shore. The project was a G2G between Israel and the Philippines, involving the acquisition of Lynx mobile rocket systems with EXTRA guided rocket ammunition from Israel Military Industries. As a bonus, the Philippine Army was supposed to receive a short-range air defense system with it that should have been delivered before the APEC 2015 Conference in Manila.

The issues concerning its cancellation were discussed on previous MaxDefense blog entry which could be accessed below:

"SNAFU in the DND and the Philippine Army for Scrapping its Shore Based Missile System Project for Helmets and Vests" - dated July 9, 2015.

This is a clear example of the need for a contract to be signed first to say that the project is really confirmed.  Anything can happen including cancellations due to interests of certain officials, even if the project seemed already good to go and has already been ironed-up.

MaxDefense sources confirmed that the SBMS is indeed back in the table for Horizon 2 & 3 phases, but no mention if the bonus short-range air defense system is still included.

The SBMS deal was already in advanced stages, but was blocked by the former Philippine Army Chief. Although the reasons may seem valid (priority to acquire helmets and vests, and sniper rifles originally slated for Horizon 2 phase),  the reasons appear to be personal. In the end, not even the helmets, vests, and sniper rifles were delivered. 

Republic Act 10349 of 2012:

Previously MaxDefense discussed the projects included under the Horizon 1 Phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Act, including updates as of August 2015 after Pres. Aquino delivered his last State of the Nation Address (SONA). It could be found on the blog entry listed below:

*Note: Before continuing, please read the blog entry above for background of every project. I won’t be discussing the list of all the projects and its status as of our last entry.

With the previous blog already discussing the nature and projects involved under the Horizon 1 Phase of the RA 10349, with almost a year gap between then and now, we could make some updates:

General Headquarters, AFP:

  • Of the three (3) projects listed before, only 1 has been completed, which is the acquisition of 717 light utility vehicles. KIA Motors Corporation of South Korea with their KM-450 truck. This is in addition to those already acquired by the GHQ, AFP funded under RA 7898.

GHQ, AFP added 717 more KIA KM-450 light utility trucks to the entire AFP fleet with a recent acquisition they made as part of Horizon 1 phase of the AFP Modernization Program.  These were distributed to Service Support Units of all the three service branches plus for the GHQ itself.

  • The acquisition of C4ISR equipment is reportedly under negotiations at the moment, and will be acquired via G2G with a friendly country which MaxDefense will not name for now. This company has bagged some projects for the AFP in the past few years.

  • MaxDefense has not got any update on the acquisition of engineering equipment, although previous information from several months ago did not confirm any finalized deal for this one yet.

Philippine Army:

Of the 9 projects listed before, MaxDefense could confirm the following:

  • On the procurement of 60 Field Ambulances, the project was awarded to KIA Motor Company of South Korea, which has already started deliveries of the KM-451 vehicles. This type is already in service with the Philippine Army which were also bought as part of RA 7898 during Pres. Aquino’s term in 2013. MaxDefense is waiting for confirmation if all 60 were already delivered.

More of the KM-451 Field Ambulances, which is based on the venerable KM-450 light truck, were added to the Philippine Army's fleet under the RA 10349 Horizon 1 Phase.
Photo taken from

  • The budget to deliver, refurbish, and arm the 114 M113A2 armoured personnel carriers acquired from US government Excess Defense Articles (EDA) was also funded by RA 10349. These vehicles were presented to the public during the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ founding anniversary parade last December 2015, and all are reportedly in active service with the Philippine Army’s Mechanized Infantry Division.
114 units of M113A2 from US Excess Defense Article program was delivered to the Philippine Army in 2015, increasing the armoured vehicle fleet by around 35%.
Photo taken from DWDD.

  • Acquisition of more tactical communication equipment from Harris Corporation USA via Foreign Military Sales (FMS) was also finalized during Pres. Aquino’s term, with deliveries coming in together with those ordered under RA 7898. This includes vehicle mounted and handheld radios which form part of improving the Army’s C4ISR capabilities. 
The acquisition of modern tactical radios from Harris Corporation USA continues under the Horizon 1 phase of the AFP's Revised Modernization Program. The Army are now getting the Falcon III series, which is newer than the Falcon II acquired in the past several years.

Several Army projects are in different stages, but mostly are not yet even on the tender stage. Among those still pending until now are the following projects:

  • For the Acquisition of Night Fighting System which was not yet confirmed as awarded after a second bid attempt was made last December 2015. It was reported early this year that Aselsan of Turkey was found to be the lowest bidder, although it was not confirmed if they were able to pass the Post Qualification Stage process, or if a Post Qualification Stage process was even made.

    More of the discussion on this project can be seen in our previous blog entry:

    "Philippine Army to Acquire Night Fighting Systems to Improve its Night Fighting Capabilities" -  dated May 13, 2015.
Aselsan A.S. of Turkey was reported early this year as the lowest bidder for the Philippine Army's Night Fighting System. But there were also reports from mainstream media indicating that the Army was more interested in getting US-made systems. No update on this project since then.

  • With phase 1 of the Rocket Launcher (Light) under RA  7898 on hold, the phase 2 which calls for the acquisition of more of the same model is definitely on hold too. Phase 2 should have added almost 800 rocket launchers to those planned for acquisition under Phase 1.

    More on this project can be seen in our previous blog entry:

    "RPG-7(USA) for the Philippine Army?" - dated January 14, 2014.
AirTronic USA's RPG-7USA was previously reported as being approved for acquisition as an FMS, but MaxDefense received information from a source that the order was placed on-hold several months ago, in favour of getting proposals from other manufacturers from Eastern Europe.
Photo taken from AirTronic USA's website.

  • No further information is available regarding the status of the Acquisition of Tactical Engagement Simulation System that will be acquired via FMS, and the Acquisition of Thermal Imaging Devices, both of which are scheduled to be offered for public tender.

Philippine Navy:

Several projects were awarded within this year for the Philippine Navy, which include the following projects:

The MPAC Mk. 3 was presented to visitors during the Philippine Fleet's anniversary earlier this year.
Photo taken from the Philippine Fleet's Facebook page.

  • The acquisition of 2 Anti-Submarine Helicopters project was awarded to Anglo-Italian defense and aviation company AgustaWestland, which will supply their newly developed AW-159 Lynx Wildcat naval helicopters. These helicopters will be paired to the new frigates, and are expected to be the first batch of ASW helicopters as more are expected to be ordered in the following Horizon phases. Deliveries are expected by 2018, although AgustaWestland has a reputation to deliver earlier than scheduled and might consider delivering them earlier than stipulated in the contract. The helicopters are expected to arrive with air-to-surface missiles and anti-submarine torpedoes with it.

    More discussions on this project can be found on the entry below:

    "Confirmed: Philippine Navy Acquires AgustaWestland AW-159 Lynx Wildcat as its Future Ship-based Anti-Submarine Warfare Helicopter" - dated April 12, 2016
The AgustaWestland AW-159 Lynx Wildcat, seen here with the MU90 torpedo and Sea Venom light anti-ship missile.
Photo taken from

  • Acquisition of 8 Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV) was awarded to South Korea’s Hanwha Techwin (formerly Samsung Techwin) on December 2015 for Php 2.423 billion. Hanwha Techwin offered their KAAV (a derivative of BAE Systems AAV7A1) for this project. Deliveries are expected to begin in late 2017. Samsung sold their Techwin division to Hanwha Group lately, thus the company’s name change.

    More discussions on this project can be found on the entry below:

    "Samsung Techwin KAAV7A1 Expected as PMC's New Amphibious Assault Vehicle" - dated May 31, 2014
The KAAV will be in service with the Philippine Marine Corps by 2018, after Hanwha Techwin was awarded a contract to provide 8 units. 

  • The Jacinto-class Patrol Vessel (JCPV) Combat Systems Alignment Phase 3A and Phase 3B were also awarded recently, with Phase 3A won by Ultra Electronics, and Phase 3B by Propmech Corporation-SAAB AB Joint Venture. The project includes the restoration of the Oto Melara 76mm Compact gun, the 25mm Bushmaster cannon, and supply of new X-band naval radar and Electro-Optical Fire Control System (EO-FCS). MaxDefense raised an issue regarding this plan to segregate the two phases, as different winning bids will be using different subsystems which is not advisable for a small class of 3 ships where commonality is expected.

  • MaxDefense received conflicting reports on the awarding of the Marine Forces Imagery and Targeting Support System (MITSS) which call for the acquisition of miniature unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system, which was reportedly awarded to Triton Communications. So far, there are no Notice of Award that was made available to the public or to MaxDefense to confirm its awarding. It was reported last year that there were complaints made by another bidder as Triton was accused of submitting subcomponents that are untested and not in service with other militaries. This means that Triton Communication's offer was a combination of different subsystems and put together as a single system.
Expecting for a large UAV? Sorry to burst your bubbles, but the MITSS will probably look something close to the photo above.

Although still pending, the Frigate Acquisition Project involving the acquisition of 2 general purpose light frigates, is not yet awarded as of this writing. Latest information from several sources confirmed that the Philippine Navy has endorsed to the Department of National Defense the awarding of the project to South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) after it successfully passed the Post Qualification (PQ) Stage. Although the lowest qualified bidder was Garden Reach Shipbuilding & Engineering (GRSE) of India, it failed to pass the PQ Stage due to financial issues questioning their contracting capability. Awarding of the project is expected to happen after the current DND leadership steps down, out of respect to the incoming administration and to avoid labelling the project as a midnight deal which risks lengthy investigations and a possible scrapping. The contract signing is not expected until July 2016 at best, or even further later in the year, should the new DND leadership clears it for implementation.

More discussion on MaxDefense's latest blog entry on the frigates on the link below:

The Philippine Navy's Frigate Acquisition Program Finally Moves in 2016! New Technical Specification Released and Tender Soon" - dated February 7, 2016.

The Incheon-class light frigate, and the Kamorta-class heavy corvette, offered by contending shipbuilders Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Garden Reach Shipbuilding & Engineering (GRSE), respectively. Although the Frigate Acquisition Program's award was already endorsed by the Philippine Navy to the DND, the decision to award and sign a contract with the winning bidder rests on the new leadership of the DND. Until an award and contract signing is made, its still anyone's game, but obviously there is already a clear winner here.

Aside from the Frigates, projects that are still pending under the Philippine Navy are the acquisition of 7.62mm Designated Marksman Rifles and 5.56mm Rifles, and the  JCPV Marine Engineering Upgrade Phase 2 for PS-37 which went through a series of failed biddings. It is still unclear what will be the DND and PN's decision with regards to JCPV Phase 2 for PS-37, since it is already eligible for direct negotiations and need not be going through another tedious tender process.

Philippine Air Force:

The PAF was the fastest to implement and receive projects funded under RA 10349. Among those they already received included: 

  • The FA-50PH Fighting Eagle lead-in fighter trainers from Korea Aerospace Industries, and the acquisition of Combat Utility Helicopters from Canadian Commercial Corporation for 8 Bell 412EP helicopters.
The PAF's FA-50PH.

  • The acquisition of ex-US Marine Corps C-130T via FMS was among those awarded, with the first C-130T already in service with the PAF, and the 2nd unit expected to arrive in a few months. The US government shouldered part of the acquisition, while the PAF funded Php 1.6 billion as part of its share, which were used to rehabilitate, refurbish, and deliver the aircraft.
The PAF's first C-130T Hercules from the US. A second unit is coming within 2016.
Photo taken from / Manila Bulletin.

  • The DND already awarded last November 2015,  the Acquisition of Full Motion Flight Simulators to Environmental Tectonics Corporation, although the project was changed to only deliver 1 unit from the previous plan to acquire 3. No information was given regarding the changes on the quantity of units.  Delivery is expected in 2017.But after these projects were completed, their project approvals became slow in implementing many of the total of 11 projects under the Horizon 1 phase of RA 10349.

  • The DND reportedly signed a contract with IAI-Elta of Israel for the Air Surveillance Radar (Phase 1) project, in which the Israeli firm will supply 3 EL/M-2288 AD-STAR air defense and surveillance radars. It was reported 2 years ago that the deal will include a shorter ranged gap filler radar, although it is unclear if this is still included. 

Among those still pending and un-awarded until now include the following projects:

  • The acquisition of 6 Close Air Support Aircraft, which has not moved after the DND announced to put it on hold. Previous reports posted in MaxDefense @ FB page also indicated that talks are currently ongoing between DND, DFA, and Embraer officials, highlighting the strength of Embraer’s offer for the PAF. Embraer of Brazil is offering their A-29 Super Tucano aircraft. But it is surprising that Textron Aviation is still visibly present in PAF events showcasing their Beechcraft AT-6C aircraft, showing that the project could still be anyone’s game.

  • The Long Range Patrol Aircraft project, which calls for the acquisition of 2 maritime patrol aircraft with ASW and ASuW capabilities, is also in limbo after appearing to have failed a 2nd bidding attempt a few months ago. No further information regarding this was released for some time now, although updates will definitely be made as more information comes in.
The DND and PAF still needs to settle the Long Range Patrol Aircraft project which is still pending. Among the most important projects of the AFP, this will allow a clearer picture of the WPS once in service. 

  • Another project that is still on the tender stage is the acquisition of munitions for the FA-50PH aircraft, which was divided into several projects, with the acquisition of 20mm munitions, and the other to acquire chaffs, and flares already among those announced for tender. The 20mm ammunition will be a separate project, while the chaffs and flares are another project. The acquisition of chaffs and flares is currently the only one moving ahead, but is still in the tender stage and has not moved fast after being put on-hold a few months ago due to funding issues.

  • No announcements yet on the acquisition of air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, although previous information gathered by MaxDefense mentioned that they are still being decided if they will go for a tender or a negotiated procurement. Among those already offered to the PAF were the Python family of missiles from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems of Israel, and the AIM-9L Sidewinder from an unnamed supplier, which was highly speculated as Diehl Defense of Germany. PAF was reportedly interested on the AIM-9L, although there are camps within the PAF and DND that favours the Rafael offer.
Previously, MaxDefense reported that the certain PAF leaders are opting for the AIM-9L/I-1 air-to-air missile for the FA-50PH, although there are other offers made including the Python family from Israel.

  • Basing support systems for the air surveillance radar, the FA-50s and the LRPA are in different stages as of the moment, with some already awarded while others are still being tendered. Less attention was given to these projects although MaxDefense will try to put this into pieces later on.

Special Projects:

There are some projects that were not originally in the Horizon 1 phase of the RA 10349, or with the RA 7898 funding, but were still acquired through separate means during the Aquino administration. One of them is the acquisition of the Balikpapan-class Landing Craft Heavy from Australia, with the first 2 units granted for free by the Australian government, but the last 3 units were purchased at goodwill prices, and underwent refurbishing works in the Philippines, which costed significant amounts.

The outgoing government can be credited for the acquisition of the 5 LCH, now known as the Ivatan-class.

BRP Batac and BRP Ivatan during the commissioning ceremonies earlier this year.
Photo taken from the Philippine Navy.

Another asset acquired that can be considered a special project is the acquisition of BRP Gregorio Velasquez, the Philippine Navy's first purpose-built oceanographic research vessel. The ship arrived just this month, and was among those promised by POTUS Barrack Obama. Although it was a grant, the Philippine government still spent for its repairs and training of personnel.

Chances of Continuing the Push for a Strong Armed Forces of the Philippines:

While there are still a lot to be done, the past 6 years was the best years of the AFP Modernization Program so far, with the Aquino administration being able to beat the expenditures and accomplishments of the three past presidents before him. 

With president-elect Rodrigo Duterte getting the reigns of the presidency tomorrow, MaxDefense is hopeful that he will continue what was already started, and reconsider his previous statements that has negative implications to the AFP Modernization Program. Sources who knows Duterte mentioned and explained to MaxDefense that the man listens to his trusted advisers, and chosen cabinet officials and military appointees. Admittedly, president-elect Duterte is not familiar with defense and security issues, and the AFP and DND has already scheduled a command conference right after his inauguration. 

If that is the case, then the success and failure of the AFP Modernization rests on the hands of incoming DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and incoming AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, as well as the current officers of the AFP and DND who formulated all the procurement plans, procedures, and projections of what the future AFP should be capable of doing. 

This could be done if they could properly and comprehensively explain and correct the lingering misconceptions about the importance of a strong armed forces and a credible defense posture in the development of the country, and the purpose of every project that were procured, or planned for future procurement. They should also explain the importance of protecting the Philippines' EEZ, extended continental shelf, the Kalayaan Group of Islands, and Scarborough Shoal, in which the other department heads should also understand.

Another important thing that needs to be cleared with the new president: acquiring weapons does not mean the country is going to war, or will start a war against a bigger and more powerful country. But any country like the Philippines must be prepared anytime for war, as we cannot stop one if the aggressor is really prepped-up to start one.

So what are the chances of the AFP Modernization continuing as plan following the Horizon 2 Phase procurement plans of all 3 major services? To be honest, its difficult to say, so we just have to wait and see for now, regardless of the outcome of all the explaining done to the new president.

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U P D A T E S :
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12 July 2016:

MaxDefense received an update regarding the Acquisition of Force Protection Equipment which was previously awarded to the Achidatex Nazareth Elite - Colorado Shipyard Joint Venture. This project is part of the AFP Modernization Program funded under RA 7898.

Sources confirmed that Achidatex Nazareth Elite and Colorado Shipyard cannot deliver the body armour vests due to lack of funding to manufacture 44,000+ vests, resulting to a fall-out between the two companies. 

While it was previously mentioned as a cancelled project due to the failure of the joint venture to deliver the products within the specified timeframe, it appears that the DND has awarded the project to a new lowest responsive bidder. Although their price is higher than the offer made by the lowest bidder, MKU Pvt. Ltd. of India was declared the new winner, and will supply the 44,000+ body armour vests to the Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps.

No timeline was provided, but this is certainly good news after more than a year of delay.

MKU Pvt. Ltd. of India will supply 44,000+ vests to the Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps.
Photo taken from MKU's website.
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  1. The only complaint I have with Pnoy's adminnistration was they sat on a lot of projects before it got a move on... But otherwise it really was a blasst for the AFP.

    1. aside form that, i think it's the process itself of buying military hardware makes most of the projects delayed... i'm not an expert though but read it's faster if G2G acquisition rather than bidding process.

  2. Siguro na short lang sa commitment si president Aquino sa modernization ng AP natin. Although this Government buys a lot of military stuff but those he promise after he elected as a President such those Two new frigate and missile systems was not yer clear which is the most complex military hardware that is needed by our Armed Forces. Nice blog Sir Max and thank you for the information. Lem1

  3. Replies
    1. you again?! even here! ha ha ha....hi mr.surya

    2. I am everywhere and shall try to reach as the first! Today I fail, but I shall try again in the next article.Huahahahahaha


    3. pertamax? seriously?
      you really shouldn't mas bro

      anyway, i wish the best for the this long overdue catch up, still long way to go though

  4. Happy to see an increase in CAS acquisition from 6 units to 8 units, although not satisfied with the snail-speed process.

  5. "It will be a massacre", "the Philippines is no match against China", "We are not going to war", "Those are a waste of money".

    Dueterte's supporters are yet again, blindly justifying what Mang Kanor is telling us even without researching. And would go as far as saying "eh si Abnoy ano ba nagawa? bumili ng jet na walang kalaban-laban dahil walang missile, ibigay na lang sa mahihirap ang pera".

    That my friends is how sh!tty most of our "kababayans" are.

    Mang Kanor doesn't know anything what a modern military looks like, so he sticks with what he thinks he knows - helicopters, tanks, small boats and guns.

    But that's not the worst of it.

    IMHO, we all know he is friends with China, and we all know China doesn't want us to have even the waste-of-money FA-50s, or even a single old un-armed Pohang. So what can we expect from a Duterte administration? Not much in procuring anything that could punch, pinch or even tickle China.

    But there is hope -- the AFP can start a bid for multi-purpose, all terrain, anti-air, anti-ship, anti-sub, awe-inspiring rambo-approved jet-skis.

    - Koofaloids

    1. Dont be an asshole

      -MAJ O-136845

    2. Put the project in Duterte's hand? I can see this project heading under the water already. You are right, with his comment, he doesn't have any idea how the military work. He doesn't even seem to read news paper other than what his advisers will whisper to him. He said that aanhin daw ang dadalawang FA50. LOL, he doesn't even know that it is only the initial batch of 12. Tsk tsk

  6. Just so it would not be forgotten: I blame Irreberi for not pushing with the SBMS. Those IMI Lynx and EXTRA/Delilah munitions wouldn't have been optimal solutions for our SBMS, but at least, we should have had them not later than 2018 and would have provided us with at least an effective stick, until we get real sticks later on.

    But as it stands right now, we're not going to have 'em until possibly 2023 (the earliest).

    Thanks Ireberri for fcking the defense of the Philippine Islands.

    - Koofaloids

  7. And of course.. there's a way the top brass of the AFP wouldn't complain with Mang Kanor's will.

    Higher salaries and better benefits for the ordinary soldier. Plus of course, "extras" for the high ranking officers.

    People in the AFP aren't just patriotic soldiers. They are people too with needs - and when they are presented with more than what they need - they can be corrupted.

    Who needs a modern military when our soldiers are happy?

    Win-win for Mang Kanor, China and the soon to be defunct-AFP.

    Mabuhay ang People's Republic of the Philippines!

    - Koofaloids

  8. re. the air defense radars, philstar reported back in feb-2016 that a deal had already been signed b/w the dnd and elta for 3 adr sets (ref: w/ a corresponding letter-of-credit opened the previous month...

  9. Thank you for the update. Well done and well researched. I do hope and pray that the incoming administration will not purposely allow our country to be caught with our pants down. No more BATAAN. No more December 8s.

  10. I highly appreciate the effort you have made on this AFP modernization updates of which I religiously followed the last 5 years of Aquino tenure. Given the challenges facing the continuity of modernizing our AFP with the incoming new leadership of highly peculiar president, hope is the most underrated ally we have on this matter.

  11. i think the incoming pres is preoccufied of 3-6 months of sulving crime and internal problems, but i think its not a reason to foget the whole country, sana lng may makaisip sa afp madevelop ung self reliance natin, and increase the budget to where all most nation have 4% gdp, hay ewan.. lets learn chinies n lng kaya

  12. i think the incoming pres is preoccufied of 3-6 months of sulving crime and internal problems, but i think its not a reason to foget the whole country, sana lng may makaisip sa afp madevelop ung self reliance natin, and increase the budget to where all most nation have 4% gdp, hay ewan.. lets learn chinies n lng kaya

  13. Sir Max by any chance,will we be able to get MRF's by 2022? If so what is the best choice for PAF?

  14. Dear Fillipino friends,I am of the opinion that you should make greater efforts at acquiring submarines and anti ship missiles which cause a lot of problems for the Chinese.
    Best wishes
    Edelbert Badwar

  15. Filipino's will learn the hard-way if China decides in the near future to take an action against us...example is the 2nd Island chain which is the grand plan of china to includes the Phil Islands. If that happened then I'm sure there's a lot of pointing fingers among our politician and Citizens....asking why? Why we don't have strong defense of our country..

  16. I have only one comment, if the ASW helicopter for navy will arrive at 2017 and the 2 frigates still hanging then this ASW will not serve its purpose. Because you just not send the ASW out there without the Frigates platform.

  17. My 2 cents irreberi is a stupid, moron and worthless official. He could have made his name in the history books by being the official that ushered in the armed forces into the missile age. Instead her chooses the other way. Probably doing what vitangcol did to the Czech ambasador, asking for grease money?

  18. Looks promising as well as it is worrying, homest to say....

  19. I give former Pres Aquino for fast tracking these acquisition. Good job mr President. Money well spent. I hope Pres Duterte will continue this as we need it badly with new external threats coming and issues not only the WPS but the Sabah claim which Pres Duterte said he will pursue. Malaysian armed forces are more well equipped than the AFP. I believe the Malaysian Navy has also one or two submarines based in Sabah. Vietnam also seized one of our islet in SCS. Plus Taiwan is also a rival claim in SCS. all these potential adversaries should make Duterte aware that he cannot let his and our guard down and be proactive.

  20. I dont think the new administration will commit to the modernization as president duterte focuses more in internal affairs. It will be a long time for us to get a president like Pnoy that truly supports our military.

  21. Hopefully Duterte's administration will continue the AFP modernization project as our economy gets better as laid out by Pnoy's term.
    Filipino's basic welfare is Duterte's priority have it from his election campaign.So more budget will be allocated to Health,Education and Infrastructure which is good. Moreover for 2016 budget DND has 172.7B which is around 5.7% of 3T peso budget. At least Duterte should allocate the same or more taking the budget from those less important ones.

  22. The Aquino Administration did a pretty good job of improving and modernizing the AFP. I'd happily be proven wrong, but I'm afraid that you're going to be in for a rough and frustrating ride with the Duterte Administration.


  23. sir max please check this

  24. The Duterte administration needs to continue the AFP modernization.

  25. somebody or a group should lobby to duterte and congress to continue the AFP modernization. based on what I gathered is he is not into acquiring more military hardware. but with the ongoing tension in the EEZ and with Taiwan opposed to the UN arbitration we need more modern assets to protect our EEZ and fishermen. I think the US will not protect our fishermen unless attacked in the mainland. this now lies of course to the responsibility of our AFP and Coast Guard who are ill equipped. Duterte needs to understand that prevention is the best other than acting later. sure China is a regional power but had we upgraded our AFP when the US bases were closed then China would have not fastly seized our EEZ in fact even Vietnam seized one of our islet. so if we had assets patrolling and build structures there. this could have been prevented but now its too late we are losing trillions of pesos or dollars in natural resources in the EEZ and we are being treated and harassed by China like squatters like we don't own them. what a sham. If Ferdinand Marcos was still alive and our president today this will never happened. Pnoy support of the AFP modernization is commendable but not enough. Duterte must continue or we will be bullied left and right with the US not being able to help us.

  26. Sir Max, given the PCA decision, can we start the improvement of Pagasa airport?

  27. the latest interview with DND sec Lorenzana was that the AFP modernization will continue. ANd whatever is in the pipeline already will be continued. that's a relief. especially with threat now with Taiwan also sending a frigrate in our EEZ. The lobbying for modernization though must be continued so he will always be reminded and fast tract to Horizon 2.

  28. the RPG made from USA must be more expensive than the original made in Russia. why not buy RPGs and missiles from Russia? to not to offend the US we just say we can't afford their price.


Philippine Navy Modernization Projects

Philippine Air Force Modernization Projects