Your 1st in Philippine defense

The return of the self propelled howitzer is coming soon!

The Philippine Army is close to acquiring 155mm self-propelled howitzers

Let us welcome BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39)!

The Philippine Navy finally welcomes its latest asset, the Pohang-class corvette BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39)

Hermes 450 MALE UAVs arriving soon!

MaxDefense presents the first photo of the Elbit Systems Hermes 450 MALE UAV of the Philippine Air Force!

Elbit's Skylark 3 UAV coming soon!

The Philippine Army just made a massive order for several UAV types from Israel.

Philippine Navy and HHI launches BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150)

The Frigate acquisition project reaches a milestone with the launching of BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150).

The Philippine Navy's first Combat Management System from Saab

The Philippine Navy introduces the first CMS in PN service, the Saab 9LV Combat Management System on PS-35

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Philippine Air Force to Receive All 12 FA-50PH by May 2017, Plans More FA-50s

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), through its spokesman BGen. Restituto Padilla, confirmed in an interview on March 22, 2017, that Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) will be completing the delivery of all FA-50PH Fighting Eagle lead-in fighter trainer / light combat aircraft by May 2017. 


Two of the PAF's FA-50s are seen here on display at Clark Air Base, Pampanga.
Photo taken from Youtube Video posted by Kin Enriquez.


This is far earlier than the agreed delivery date based on the contract signed between the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and KAI, which stated that the delivery will be completed by December 2017. Originally, the contract stated that the first 2 units will be delivered before end of 2015, another 2 before end of 2016, and 2 units every 3 months from thereafter. The second batch was delivered on November 2016, so 3 months for the 3rd batch is February 2017 (which already happened), while the 4th batch was supposed to be on May 2017, and so forth.

Fortunately, KAI is indeed delivering the aircraft faster than expect, as it intends to clear its production line to start the assembly of new orders coming from the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) and the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), which ordered four (4) T-50s for its lead-in fighter training requirements.


The Philippines is said to be the first country to use the T-50 family in combat strike missions, using Mk. 82 500lb free fall bombs against terrorists in Mindanao.


Aside from the information on the advanced deliveries, BGen. Padilla also mentioned that there is interest from the Philippine Air Force to acquire more FA-50s from KAI, particularly six (6) units, subject to approval from the government.

While this appears to be good news, the plan to acquire more FA-50s, originally dubbed as the Fighter/Surface Attack Aircraft/Lead-in Fighter Trainer (F/SAA/LIFT) project, was already in the works since the Philippine Air Force started planning for their Horizons 2 & 3 phases of the AFP Modernization Program.

Based on the latest versions of the PAF's Horizon 2 phase request submitted to the Department of National Defense for approval and funding, the PAF is actually looking to acquire at least six (6) units more, but preferably wanted twelve (12) more units to bring the total FA-50s to twenty four (24) units by the end of Horizon 2 phase. This would enable the PAF to have at least two (2) squadrons of FA-50PH Fighting Eagles which could be used for interdiction, ground attack, and lead-in fighter training for future Multi-Role Fighters.


Based on the PAF/AFP's Revised Modernization Program proposal submitted to the DND, the PAF is actually requesting up to 12 additional F/SAA/LIFT aircraft for the Horizon 2 (H2) phase. The recently reported possibility of requesting 6 aircraft could be the minimum that the PAF can find acceptable.



Speaking of which, any request for additional F/SAA/LIFT aircraft (FA-50PH) is SEPARATE from any acquisition plan for Multi-Role Fighter aircraft, which the PAF wanted to have in its fleet in the near future. 


While the FA-50 acts as the country's only jet fighter aircraft at the moment, they were acquired with the future in mind - to train PAF pilots for the eventual multi-role fighter which the PAF plans to acquire in addition to the FA-50.
Photo of JAS-39 Gripen for reference only.



MaxDefense will be posting more on the FA-50PH deliveries, with quick updates to be made on our MaxDefense Philippines @ Facebook community page, similar to what we had before when FA-50 batches 1 to 3 were delivered to the PAF.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Philippine Navy's Naval Air Group receives 2nd Robinson R-22 Training Helicopter

A small success is still a success, and every small success in the Armed Forces of the Philippines' effort to modernize, MaxDefense Philippines tries to cover it.

We received information from reliable community members / contributors that the Philippine Navy's Naval Air Group (PN-NAG) already received its second Robinson R-22 training helicopter, which the service has been trying to acquire since 2014. MaxDefense Philippines posted about this acquisition on our Facebook community page on January 2015. The Approved Budget for Contract (ABC) for the project was Php 19.5 million. If the project was completed via tender, we expect the contract price to be lower than the ABC. It is still unknown who won the contract, or if the Philippine Navy was able to acquire it directly from the manufacturer, Robinson Helicopters.


Finally, we now have a photo of the second Robinson R22 helicopter of the PN-NAG, courtesy of one of our contributor community members who wish to remain anonymous. The photo was posted on the International Plastic Modelers Society (IPMS) Philippines - Bert Anido group.

As far as MaxDefense knows, the bidding for the project took a long time due to bid failures, thanks to the lack of flexibility of the Philippine government's procurement process as dictated by Republic Act 9184.

The helicopter, with tail number PNH-423, was reported as painted white as opposed to the earlier R-22 helicopter of the Philippine Navy which is painted with the old blue paint scheme of the the Naval Air Group, although MaxDefense expects that the older R-22 could also be sporting a different paint scheme by now since the NAG started changing the paint scheme of its assets, including the remaining BO-105 and N-22B Islanders, which were spotted as sporting a grey and black paint scheme very similar to those used by the newer AgustaWestland AW-109E Power naval helicopters.

As small as the helicopter can be, this enables the Philippine Navy to train its corps of pilots on basic helicopter operations before moving up the ladder on the larger BO-105 and AW-109. It has a very affordable purchase price, easy to maintain and operate, and is budget friendly for such purpose.


The PN-NAG's first Robinson R-22 helicopter, with tail number PNH-421, as seen in the original blue paint scheme applied on the PN-NAG air assets before they started using a new grey-black paint scheme. 


Currently we do not have a photo available but we are hoping that community members who has one might be able to share at least one for proof of existence, especially for people who do not trust our sources.

Edit (23/03/17): Thanks to one of our community member contributor, who wish to remain anonymous, we now have a photo of the PN-NAG's second Robinson R22 helicopter PNH-423.

Anyway, MaxDefense welcomes this new addition to the Philippine Navy's Naval Air Group. Cheers!

MaxDefense Philippines @ Facebook will be back on March 24, 2017

As you may noticed, MaxDefense has not posted anything on our Facebook page since Tuesday morning (March 21, 2017). That is because Facebook has banned Max Montero and MaxDefense Philippines from posting on Facebook.

So to those missing our posts, be patient, MaxDefense expects the ban to be lifted by Friday morning (March 24, 2017, 9;00am +11 GST). Till then, feel free to comment on our Facebook page posts, or read our Facebook posts and blog entries, and make yourself knowledgeable of defense news by reading the news (also, check the sources of your news, go legit rather than questionable sources).

See you all guys on Friday! Happy reading and thanks for your continued support of MaxDefense Philippines! Cheers!


MaxDefense Philippines @ Facebook is on a 72-hour holiday from Tuesday to Friday.



Note: Can someone post this blog entry into our community page's visitor page and on the latest wall post replies? Thanks.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Philippine Navy Expecting 4 New Mk. 38 Mod. 3 Gun Systems from 2 Contracts

Based on information made public by the US Department of Defense through its website as of September 29, 2016, the US Navy's Naval Surface Warfare Center awarded a US$25.4 million contract to BAE Systems Land & Armaments LP for the production of Mk. 38 Mod. 3 Machine Gun System (MGS), which will be installed on US Navy ships as well as Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to friendly countries.

Among those scheduled to receive from FMS is the Philippine Navy, whose share on the contract is around 8%, or roughly US$2.03 million.

This is in addition to an earlier contract, which the US Navy's Naval Surface Warfare Center also awarded to BAE Systems Land & Armaments LP in October 2015 for US$30.556 million, wherein the Philippine Navy shares around 6.24% of the contract amount.


The Mk. 38 Mod. 3 MGS with a 30mm ATK cannon. The Philippine Navy opted to use the 25mm M242 Bushmaster cannon instead, based on the DoD's information.
Photo taken from DefenseMediaNetwork.com.


Quantity:

Based on previous information gathered by MaxDefense Philippines using publicly available sources and confirmation from our sources, a Mk. 38 Mod. 3 system costs a little less than US$1 million as of mid 2016.

Thus it would be safe to assume that in each of the two contracts, the Philippine Navy stands to get two (2) brand new Mk. 38 Mod. 3 MGS, for a total of four (4) systems.


Each DPCF are expected to have two (2) Mk.38 guns, one each on its port and starboard sides in the midship. The photo above shows the Mk.38 Mod.2 of the BRP Ramon Alcaraz.
Photo taken from the former Timawa.net forum c/o geminirecon. 


Allocation:

MaxDefense sources previously confirmed that the machine gun systems covered by the 2015 contract was meant to be installed on the Del Pilar-class frigate (DPCF) BRP Gregorio del Pilar (FF-15), so it is highly possible that the MGS covered by the 2016 contract was meant for the only other DPCF left without an allocation, the BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF-17).

But MaxDefense would still put some caution on this information.

Currently, aside from the DPCFs, the Tarlac-class Landing Platform Docks are also in need for self-defense weapon systems to defend itself from fast moving surface threats and slow moving aircraft. Also, based on the acquisition plans of the Philippine Navy for the LPD's weapon systems, they are also recommending the acquisition of MGS systems like the Mk. 38 Mod. 3 for the class, at least two (2) units for each ship.

It now boils down to the latest threat assessments made by the Philippine Navy. Which ships are in need of these Mk. 38s first? While MaxDefense has no information yet on that, the possibility of the Philippine Navy making changes on the installation plans is present. So while we can assume that the four upcoming Mk. 38 Mod. 3 MGS are for the the FF-15 and FF-17, this is not yet 100% final.


Despite being in service and used in naval operations for several months now, the BRP Tarlac (LD-601) still do not have any of its planned weapon systems. The PN decided to go for a "Fitted For But Not With" (FFBNW) scheme with the Tarlac-class, so it is highly possible that the Mk.38 Mod.3 might find its way to the LPDs if the PN decides so.


Difference of Mk. 38 Mod. 2 and Mk. 38 Mod. 3

Currently the only ship in the Philippine Navy armed with the Mk. 38 Mod. 2 is the DPCF BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF-16), which received its MGS in late 2014. The Philippine Navy also has several Mk. 38 Mod. 1 units, which are not remote-operated systems.

The Mk. 38 Mod. 3 is a newer product, developed by Rafael Advance Defense Systems Ltd. of Israel, for BAE Systems.  Both the Mod. 2 and Mod. 3 variants are based on Rafael's Typhoon weapons station, and are capable of remote operation from inside the ship.

The Mk. 38 Mod. 3 is being introduced to the Philippine Navy at almost the same time as the US Navy, and has significant improvement over the older Mod. 2. The main difference is the Mod. 3 has the option to use a larger 30mm autocannon from ATK, compared to the Mod. 2 that uses the 25mm M242 Bushmaster cannon. The Mod. 3 still can use the 25mm M242 depending on customer choice, and based on the reports from the US Deparment of Defense, the Philippine Navy chose the 25mm option, possibly for compatibility with current calibres used by the service

The Mod. 3 variant also has a co-axial .50 caliber M2 heavy machine gun. It also holds 3 times more ammunition than the Mod. 2 (500+ vs 165 25mm ammo), has a stealth cupola that doubles as protection from weather, and also has improved accessibility to internal components for maintenance.

The Mod. 3 also allows for a greater range elevation than the Mod. 2 (-20 to +70 degrees vs -20 to +40 degrees), improving its capability to shoot slow moving aerial threats like helicopters and drones.


Port side of BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF-16) showing one of its Mk.38 Mod.2 MGS.
Photo taken by a MaxDefense community member who wished to remain anonymous.



Delivery:

The Mk. 38 Mod. 3 covered by the 2015 contract is expected to complete the delivery to all end users by April 2017, while those covered by the 2016 contract has a delivery completion deadline by May 2018. MaxDefense sources confirmed that the Philippine Navy will be getting theirs sometime near those dates, so MaxDefense is expecting 2 units delivered probably by this month or next month, as covered by the 2015 contract.




More information will be provided by MaxDefense as the project progresses.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Philippine Army Expecting Delivery of Sniper Rifles from Barrett USA

The Philippine Army's commanding general, LGen. Glorioso Miranda, and the Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana recently announced that the Philippine Army will be receiving sniper rifles from US arms manufacturer Barrett.

MaxDefense Philippines readers and community members may have already heard of such acquisition plan before, which is actually called the "Long Range Sniper Rifle" acquisition project which is among those included in the list of projects that replaced the Shore Based Missile System (SBMS) during the time of former Philippine Army and AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Hernando Iriberri (ret.).

It is still unclear which model did the Philippine Army choose to acquire from Barrett, although MaxDefense believes that it could either be the original M82A1 / M107 (top) already in service with the Philippine Army, or the more compact M95 (bottom) in service with the Philippine Marine Corps. Barrett also as a newer version of the M107 called the M107A1 which is lighter and better used with a suppressor.


Quantity & Delivery Date:


Based on our previous blog entry "Philippine Army's Horizon 1 Reprioritized List Explained" dated October 10, 2016, the Philippine Army is to procure 60 Long Range Sniper Rifles with an Approved Budget for Contract (ABC) worth Php 32.822 million.

Also coming from the CGPA and SND's statements, the long range sniper rifles will be arriving by May this year, and MaxDefense believes that units from the Army's Special Operations Command will be receiving these specialized rifles.



Model:

The Philippine Army already operates a number of 50-caliber sniper rifles from Barrett, specifically the M82 anti-materiel sniper rifle, and the addition of 60 more rifles, which MaxDefense is still determining which exact Barrett rifle model, is something to look forward to.

MaxDefense is not yet sure which model was chosen to be acquired by the Philippine Army, but based on Barrett's current line-up and the Philippine Army's own requirements, they could have either picked the M82 / M107 which it currently has, or the compact M95 which the Philippine Marine Corps and the Philippine Air Force's 710th Special Operations Wing uses.

Both the Philippine Marine Corps (above) and Philippine Air Force 710th Special Operations Wing (below) uses the compact Barrett M95 sniper rifle.


It is also highly possible that they picked the newest version of the M82 / M107 called the M107A1, which is lighter than the original model, and is better used with a suppressor. But it would be best to see first from sources what they really got.


Relations to Other Projects:

The Philippine Army and Department of National Defense mentioned before that they are also looking for sniper rifles from Russia and other sources. These projects are separate projects that the Philippine Army will be acquiring as part of the Horizon 2 phase of their Modernization Program. As Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana mentioned in his recent statements, the acquisition of sniper rifles will still undergo the usual acquisition progress, including undergoing evaluation and price negotiation, as well as comparing it to other sniper rifle products and offers. This process will take several months, or even a year or more especially if budget approval becomes an issue.

Another project that might be confused with the Long Range Sniper Rifle project is the 7.62mm Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) project which is also ongoing and among the projects that were given priority in exchange with the SBMS. As previously mentioned in MaxDefense's older blog entries and notes, 832 units will be acquired.


MaxDefense will be updating this blog entry as more information becomes available.


Note: To those unfamiliar with MaxDefense blogs, the green underlined captions are clickable links to sources. You may find more information there to increase your understanding of the discussion. Thank you and enjoy reading MaxDefense Philippines blogs.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Acquisition of a 4th Batch of 3 MPACs for the Philippine Navy Underway

Note (March 7, 2017): Starting today, some of the future blog entries of MaxDefense Philippines will be shorter than usual. This would be an experimental system, in which a blog entry would be used if the discussion would be considered too long to post in the MaxDefense Philippines' Facebook community page post. Updates would be made on this same blog entry as more information comes in, but in the meantime, initial information would start as a short blog entry.


In line with the new administration's policy to give importance on defeating internal security threats including terrorism, insurgency, piracy, and narcotics, the Philippine Navy has also adjusted its procurement plans as part of its modernization efforts.

Based on the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Revised AFP Modernization Program Horizon (2013-2017) 2nd List of Horizon 1, the Philippine Navy is scheduled to acquire another three (3) Multi-Purpose Attack Crafts (MPAC), with an Approved Budget for Contract (ABC) worth Php 270 million. The ABC is very much similar to the ABCs of previous MPAC acquisition projects (without the weapons systems), which means that we could be expecting a design that is very close to the MPAC Mk.3 which was awarded to Propmech Corporation based on a design from Lung Teh Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. of Taiwan and currently under construction.


One of the MPAC Mk.2, which is currently the latest MPAC class in service with the Philippine Navy. The Mk.3 which is still under construction is larger and has design changes that allow it to carry RCWS and Spike-ER missile launchers.


Purpose:

The MPACs are currently among the fastest and nimblest assets of the Littoral Combat Force, the unit in charge of littoral operations within the Philippine Fleet. Originally planned as assault boats for fast insertion and extraction of special operation troopers in coastal areas, the boats are now used for a variety of missions including littoral patrol, ship-boarding operations, search & rescue, and with the MPAC Mk. 3 armed with Spike-ER missiles, they are now also being prepped for littoral surface warfare operations using "swarm tactics" against larger ships like corvettes or frigates, or individual combat assets against similar or slightly larger naval targets like terrorist-carrying or suicide bomber boats, or enemy fast attack crafts and patrol boats.

The MPACs, specifically the Mk. 3, are also being groomed to be carried by the Tarlac-class Landing Platform Dock, and any other future large amphibious platforms that the Philippine Navy will acquire in the future. Aside from the size and capacity to carry RCWS and missiles, the MPAC Mk. 3 were designed to allow its mast to fit into the LPD/SSV's well deck. It is expected that the Batch 4 will also be designed with that in mind.

It remains to be seen, but based on information gathered by MaxDefense in the past several months, it appears now that the Philippine Navy will be focusing on the acquisition of larger fast boats, which will be equipped with short range missile systems and will be classified as Fast Attack Crafts rather than using the MPAC design which is too small and cramped for operations further out to sea. MPACs are limited by its lack of living quarters, poor seakeeping on higher sea states, smaller provisions for fuel and food/water for the crew, and the troop carrying compartment which is useless during patrol operations.

MaxDefense believes that MPACs can be used on inner littorals, especially in the southern corridors in Mindanao near the borders of Indonesia and Malaysia, while larger FACs can be used for outer littoral patrols in support of larger ships of the Philippine Fleet's Offshore Combat Force.




Funding the Batch 4 MPACs:

This 4th batch of MPAC was actually approved for acquisition during the term of former Pres. Benigno Aquino III, but was among those projects that did not see the light of day as their Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) has expired without the project moving forward. But it was forwarded again by the Philippine Navy to the Department of National Defense (DND) for re-funding for 2017. With a stroke of luck, the current administration, through Budget Sec. Benjamin Diokno made changes in the SARO system, which allowed the Department of Budget Managent (DBM) to allow for the SARO to be extended instead of doing the process of getting a new SARO which takes months, if not years to approve.



MPAC Mk. 4?

Since the project is still in its inception, it is still unclear if the MPAC Batch 4 will be similar in design to the MPAC Mk.3, or will it be another design in the making as MPAC Mk.4. But MaxDefense believes that it would be close to the design parameters of the MPAC Mk.3 which is able to mount remote-controlled weapon stations (RCWS) and Spike-ER missile launchers.



The MPAC Mk.3 as it appear in a description poster during the anniversary of the Philippine Fleet last 2015.
Photo taken from the former Timawa.net defense forum website.


Expected Weapons Systems:

Based on the proposal submitted by the Department of National Defense for the acquisition as part of the Php 25 billion AFP Modernization Program budget for 2017, the Philippine Navy was able to include the acquisition of  Combat Systems for 3 MPACs in their request for funding. This is still being pushed for approval from Malacanang, although it is already confirmed that the Php 25 billion funding for the AFP Modernization Program for 2017 will be made available by the national government. So if the Navy fails to get funding for the MPAC Combat Systems, they can still use the money for other naval projects.

But aside from the inclusion of the MPAC Combat System in the proposal for approval, MaxDefense sources already confirmed that the Philippine Navy is expected to award a contract within this year to a weapon systems manufacturer which won't name for now, to supply remote-control weapons stations for machine guns, and missile systems. Common sense shows who the supplier is.


The MPAC Batch 4 are expected to be equipped with short-range surface-to-surface missile system, just like the MPAC Mk.3. MaxDefense won't confirm the expected supplier just yet, but everyone is free to guess who it is.
Photo from NavyRecognition.com.



More information will be provided by MaxDefense as the project progresses and gets awarded. 


First edit and release: March 7, 2017 
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines

Philippine Coast Guard Modernization Projects