Monday, October 10, 2016

Philippine Army's Horizon 1 "Reprioritized List" Explained

With the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program nearing the end of its "Horizon 1" phase, which covers the years 2013-2017, there are still projects that are being pursued for implementation and awarding.

We focus now on the Philippine Army (PA), which still has 4 projects uncompleted based on the original Horizon 1 phase modernization list approved by Pres. Aquino in 2013. But one of the projects, the Shore Based Missile System (SBMS) with an Approved Budget of Contract (ABC) worth Php 6.5 billion, was replaced by former Commanding General of the Philippine Army, then Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri, with a set of projects that were mostly front-loaded items from the Philippine Army's Horizon 2 Phase planned acquisition list. Meanwhile, the SBMS, which was among the projects discussed to Pres. Duterte by the Israeli delegation last August, will be acquired under a different program.

This "Iriberri projects" prevailed until now, and is called as the "Second List of Projects under Horizon 1", or simply "Horizon 1 Reproiritized List".

The Philippine Army has a strong display at the recently concluded ADAS 2016, including uniforms and gear used by its troops. The PA is expected to further enhance their infantry equipment as indicated in the Horizon 1 Phase Second List of Projects discussed in this blog entry.

The "Iriberri Projects":

MaxDefense previously discussed the content of the replacements made by the former CGPA, which can be found in the blog link 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

The Shore Based Missile System supposed to be awarded to Israel Military Industries was the victim of the changes made by the former CGPA & CSAFP. Instead, focus on requirements for internal security was given priority.
Photo taken from IMI.

Compared to the list provided on the previous blog entry, there were some minor changes to the updated list especially on the quantity of force protection equipment and budget allocation. Here is the updated list approved in principle by Pres. Aquino which replaced the SBMS:

Individual Weapons:
  • 832 units of Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) budgeted at Php 254.819 million (up from Php 149.760 million);
  • 32 units Long Range Sniper Rifle budgeted at Php 17.280 million
Force Protection Equipment:
  • 37,744 units of Body Armor budgeted at Php 1.283 billion (down from 39,889 units @ Php 1.356 billion);
  • 79,307 units of Helmet budgeted at Php 1.189 billion (down from 81,449 units @ Php 1.221 billion);
Tactical Radios:
  • 150 units of 20W HF Manpack Radios budgeted at Php 223.536 million;
  • 3,185 units of 2-5W VHF Handheld Radios budgeted at Php 678.060 million;
Other Equipment:
  • 11,000 units of Night Fighting System budgeted at Php 2.750 billion; 
  • 2 Lots of Chemical, Biological, Radiation, and Nuclear (CBRN) Equipment budgeted at Php 103.402 million;

All for a total allocated budget of Php 6.5 billion.

These projects were originally requested by the Philippine Army for acquisition as part of the AFP Modernization Program Horizon 2 phase scheduled between 2018 to 2022. But the former CGPA chose to frontload these items as a replacement for the SBMS. But as of mid-2016, recent developments were considered by the Philippine Army to review the acquisition list and prioritise items that are more immediately needed.

Considerations were made on the changes in operational requirements. Among them are:
  • The thrust of the Duterte administration to focus on counter-terrorist capabilities and improve long range sniping capabilities which was mentioned several times by Pres. Duterte in his trips to Army bases;
  • The need for more 2 1/2 ton trucks, due to different reasons including wear & tear, losses from ambushes, and other unknown reasons, and increased requirements to rapidly move logistical supplies;
  • Need to replace outdated individual weapons, mostly still consisting of M1911 .45cal pistols provided by the US Army since before World War 2;
  • Need to upgrade several armoured vehicles to improve its combat capability in supporting and protecting troops in the field.
Also considered was the expected delivery of the Night Fighting System project, in which Aselsan A.S of Turkey will be delivering 4,464 + 2,808 units of their A100 night vision monocular system starting middle of 2017. The quantity increased due to the option made by the Philippine Army to use the balance between the ABC and Aselsan's tendered amount worth Php 404 million to purchase additional units, thus the increase to 7,272 units. A review of the Table of Equipment of the Night Fighting System allocated to combat units was also made, and it appears that the quantity is still not enough although the delivery of new sets by 2017 can improve the TOE, allowing the PA to allocate the funds to other needs.

US Counterterrorism Programs were also considered, as the US government has provided some funds for the Philippine Army, which will allow the PA to use it to acquire some of the items included in the original list that, as long as it is purely related to Counter-terrorism activities. 

As more night vision monocular night fighting systems were ordered by the Philippine Army than originally planned, they find that it would be sufficient enough for now, and there is no immediate need for more. But Horizon 2 phase still has a lot of NFS requirements so we will still be seeing more of these items in the coming years.
Photo from Aselsan's website.

The Recommendation:

With the above conditions, the Philippine Army planners recommended the suspension of further acquisition of additional Night Fighting Systems worth Php 2.750 billion and instead allocate the amount to acquire several items that are much more essential for the organization.

To replace the 11,000 units of Night Fighting System, the Philippine Army recommended the following items for acquisition instead:
  • Acquisition of additional Long Range Sniper Weapon Systems
  • Acquisition of Truck, 2 1/2 ton Troop Carriers and Wreckers
  • Acquisition of Forward Support Equipment
  • Acquisition of Pistols
  • Pursue the Firepower Upgrade for M113A2

Final Reprioritzed List:

After the recommendations, the Philippine Army will be requesting for the approval of a revised list for acquisition under the Horizon 1 Phase of the the Army's Capability Upgrade Program.

           Individual Weapons:
    • 832 units of 7.62mm Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) budgeted at Php 254.819 million;
    • 60 units Long Range Sniper Rifle budgeted at Php 32.822 million (adjusted upward from 32 units @ Php 17.280 million
    • 19,478 Pistols budgeted at Php 389.560 million;

    Force Protection Equipment:

    • 37,744 units of Body Armor budgeted at Php 1.283 billion 
    • 79,307 units of Helmet budgeted at Php 1.189 billion 

    Tactical Radios:

    • 150 units of 20W HF Manpack Radios budgeted at Php 223.536 million;
    • 3,185 units of 2-5W VHF Handheld Radios budgeted at Php 678.060 million;

    Mobility Equipment:
    • 190 units Truck, 2 1/2 ton Troop Carrier, and 10 units Truck, 2 1/2 ton Wrecker, all budgeted at Php 1.200 billion;
    • 2 lots Firepower Upgrade of M113A2 budgeted at Php 1.051 billion;

    Other Equipment:

    • 12 units Forward Support Equipment (Material Handling Equipment) budgeted at Php 93.248 million;
    • 2 Lots of Chemical, Biological, Radiation, and Nuclear (CBRN) Equipment budgeted at Php 103.402 million;

MaxDefense's Opinion:

No doubt that the Philippine Army will award several of the projects to existing suppliers, whose footprint is already high that continued patronage will be more practical than going for another supplier.

Among those is US-based Harris Corporation which has an existing project to supply their Harris Falcon III series radios as part of the original Horizon 1 phase acquisition program. Additional handheld and manpack radios will definitely be awarded to them.

Harris Corporation is expected to be awarded with another contract to supply more than 3,000 hand-held and manpack combat net radios for the Philippine Army as part of the Horizon 1 Second List of Projects.
Photo taken from Shephard Media Group.

Another is KIA Motors of South Korea, which already supplied thousands of tactical trucks to the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Being the foremost 2 1/2 ton truck of the AFP, additional orders of the the KM-250 is definitely a practical choice.

KIA Motors of South Korea is expected to be awarded with anther contract from the Philippine Army to supply 200 2 1/2-ton KM-250 trucks, in which 190 are troop carriers while 10 are wreckers.
Photo taken during ADAS 2016 by a MaxDefense community member who wishes to remain anonymous.

Aside from the expected awarding of projects to Harris Corporation and KIA Motors, there were previous indications that the other projects could have already been awarded recently. During Pres. Duterte's recent statements during his Army Camp trips these past few weeks.

During his visit of the Scout Rangers, he promised to provide 800+ units of 7.62mm rifles manufactured by Fabrique Nationale d'Herstal (FN Herstal) which he identified as "FN FAL" although MaxDefense believes that the president just made a naming mistake. If it was indeed from FN Herstal, MaxDefense expects the rifle to be the 7.62mm x 51mm FN SCAR-H, which has been used by other countries as a platform for a Designated Marksman Rifle. The numbers mentioned of around 800+ is close to the numbers indicated in the Final Reprioritized List for 832 units of 7.62mm DMR. Is it for this requirement? MaxDefense is unsure but it is possible.

While Pres. Duterte mentioned FN FAL, MaxDefense believes that he was probably referring to the FN SCAR-H designated marksman rifles when he mentioned of incoming deliveries for the Philippine Army. 

Aside from the rifles, Pres. Duterte promised to provide all soldiers of the AFP a Glock 30 .45cal automatic pistol. While it also remains to be seen if the president means issuing each solider a Glock 30 pistol, or is it given for free as a gift from the government, this commitment could negate the need for 19,478 pistols as indicated on the Final Reprioritized List.

The Glock 30 as displayed during ADAS 2016.
Photo taken by Jessie, our official photographer during ADAS 2016.

The president was also very vocal on the acquisition of long range sniper rifles from Barrett Firearms. The model was not named though, although Barrett is known for such weapons, and some of them are already in use with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

It is also possible that the long range sniper rifle is a product of Remington. There was also one instance that Pres. Duterte mentioned handing over Remington sniper rifles to the Philippine Army in one of his camp visit. This statement from the president is also timely with the appearance of photos of Philippine Army personnel firing or testing a Remington XM2010 as shown below. Its highly possible that both Remington and Barrett are being considered for this requirement, although they are not of the same category.

Timely appearance of Remington XM2010 in the hands of Philippine Army troopers. It is possible that it is among those considered for the Long Range Sniper Rifle project.
Photos owned and from Philippine Armed Forces images and videos FB page.

For all the other items, there were already indications shown on the recently concluded ADAS 2016 exhibition on the possible contenders for projects.

For the Force Protection Equipment, it is expected that American company Revision Military, Source Vagabond from Israel, India's MKU, and South Korea's SanCheong may submit their proposals to the Philippine Army. All of these companies displayed their wares in ADAS 2016, although they have attained low-key attention during the show.

Revision Military and Source Vagabond combined their products as worn by this model from ADAS 2016. Revision is offering their Batlskin helmets, while Source offers what they call the P-Virtus system which is a Philippine-spec variant of the Virtus system used by the British Army.
Photo from Source Vagabond @ ADAS 2016.

Firepower upgrade for the M113A2 is another project that we cannot say yet who can get. It is highly possible that since Elbit Systems Land & C4I already did a similar project lately, they would probably submit an offer. Another ADAS 2016 participant, Turkey's FNSS, could possibly offer a proposal since they do such programs for the M113 series, including the delivery of 6 ACV-300 (now known as ACV-15) to the Philippine Army several years ago.

Elbit Systems Land & C4I has already been successful in delivering firepower upgrades for the M113A2 armoured personnel carriers of the Philippine Army. It is expected that they will provide a proposal to do the same for many more of the PA's M113A2 as part of the Second List of Projects under Horizon 1 Phase.
Photo taken by Jessie, our official photographer @ ADAS 2016.

For the Chemical, Biological, Radiation, and Nuclear (CBRN) Equipment, current providers of such equipment to the AFP, like Avon Protection, and active participants in the AFP Modernization like Korea's SanCheong are expected to provide offers.

SanCheong displayed their products including CBRN equipment during ADAS 2016.
Photo from Jessie, our official photographer @ ADAS 2016.

Since these projects are already being processed as we speak, MaxDefense would rather just let this new plans proceed. MaxDefense expects the contracts for the Force Protection Equipments (helmets and body armour vests) to be awarded first and soon, and may not undergo public bidding anymore. With the troops still fighting in Sulu chasing the Abuy Sayyaf Group, this acquisition should be done urgently. 

Also, in another visit to an Army camp made by Pres. Duterte lately, he has already asked his aides if the helmets and vests are already processed or acquired, which shows that this are being pushed rapidly by no else than the commander in chief of the AFP.

How About the SBMS?

While SBMS is delayed, it is not yet out of the acquisition plans. As discussed previously in other MaxDefense blogs and Facebook page posts, the SBMS was among those approved in principle by Pres. Duterte, although it will be acquired using a separate funding. It won't be waiting until the implementation of Horizon 2 phase as mentioned in previous statements by military and defense officials during the final months of Pres. Aquino's term.

IMI would still be the prime contractor, supported by Israel's Ministry of Defense. More on this project will be discussed separately in other blogs and FB posts.

IMI's offer for SBMS will still push through but under a different budget. It will still be pushed under Horizon 1 Phase of the Philippine Army's modernization program.

MaxDefense will provide more updates in the update section of this blog entry later on as all these push through. It is expected that there will be headway for some of the projects as early as this year. 


  1. Very informative article sir max.. Hope these projects will push through asap.. God Bless the AFP, God Bless the Philippines.

  2. For the SBMS program, I think Israel will be having a hard time in bidding wars as China and Russia will be offering their wares. But I'm still hoping Israel will get this one.

  3. no news if there will be light tanks or MBT? yet?? only enhanced m113??? a single rpg can take that out... or how about new simba apc??

  4. Glad to hear that AFP Modernization is pushing thru. Kudos AFP!^^

  5. Hoping all of the things mentioned would come to fruition. Especially the SBMS project. It's a long delayed item the Philippine cannot do without.

  6. As Always sir Max very good read...thanks very much

  7. Good post sir Max, Is the Fire-support and IFV upgrade of some M113a2 have upgraded armors???


  9. If this going to end the rebellions, then its worth to buy.


  10. A good read and very informative indeed. Many thanks to maxdefense for its commitment of informing the Filipino regarding the progress of the AFP modernization. More power and Godspeed Max

  11. A good read and very informative indeed. Thanks maxdefense for informing the Filipino about the progress of the AFP Modernization program. More power and Godspeed Max