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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!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Philippine Air Force Selects the Rafael SPYDER Air Defense System for its GBADS Requirements


On Christmas Day,MaxDefense posted a hint in its Facebook page on the Rafael SPYDER air defense system, as photos from one of our community members was shared to us as early as 2 weeks ago. We did not post the photos back then as we thought it was only one of the product endorsements made to the Philippine Air Force which is quite normal in the past several months.

But addition confirmation from sources has finally been made available to us, and that the Philippine Air Force has officially selected the Rafael SPYDER (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby) air defense system for its Ground Based Air Defense System (GBADS) acquisition project. Apparently, the selection was already passed to the Department of National Defense (DND) for negotiation and implementation of the procurement process vis-a-vis their counterparts with the Israel Ministry of Defense – International Defense Cooperation Directorate (SIBAT) and Rafael Advance Systems Ltd.


The SPYDER-MR launcher (front) differs from the SPYDER-SR for having a larger and more launching boxes (8 versus 4 in SPYER-SR), and the launchers being vertical when in launching position compared to slanted on the SPYDER-SR.
Photo taken from Defense Update's website.


Ground Based Air Defense System and Selection of SPYDER ADS:

As early as June 2013 or 5 ½ years ago, MaxDefense reported that the Rafael SPYDER ADS is already at the forefront of any GBADS acquisition plan of the Philippine Air Force. The blog post we made on this can be accessed on the link below:

"Israeli SPYDER Air Defense Missile System for the Philippines - A Good Choice" - first published 18 June 2013


But several delays in the project implementation, including not being included in the finalized Horizon 1 phase, or even the approved 2nd List of Horizon 1 phase, that the GBADS acquisition project was forced to be move to the next Horizon 2 phase, for implementation between 2018 to 2022.

It was revealed to MaxDefense by our defense and military sources that the PAF's Technical Working Group (TWG) for the Ground Based Air Defense System (GBADS) acquisition project has finally selected the Israeli-made SPYDER ADS from Rafael Advance Systems Ltd. MaxDefense was told that the selection by the PAF GBADSAP TWG was made just recently, and was supported and approved by the PAF leadership headed by then Philippine Air Force Commanding General Lt. Gen. Galileo Gerard Kintanar.

Prior to this, there were already several hints made by the PAF in recent weeks.

First of, during the preparations for the Christmas season, the PAF's newly formed unit to handle ground based air defense systems, the 960th Ground Based Air Defense Group (960th GBADG), showcased the Rafael SPYDER ADS in their display, even including a life-size model of the missiles used by the said system, the Rafael Python 5 short range and Derby medium range surface to air missiles, in their display.

The PAF's 960th GBADG had this Christmas presentation showing a full size replica of a Python-5 and a Derby missiles, both of which are used by the Rafael SPYDER air defense system.
Photo taken and shared to us by MaxDefense community member Efraim Morota.


During the Change of Command ceremony of the Philippine Air Force last 21 December 2018 that resulted in Lt. Gen. Kintanar's replacement by new CGPAF Lt. Gen. Rozanno Briguez just before Christmas, the outgoing CGPAF disclosed that the PAF willacquire 3 GBADS from Israel. It should be noted that only Rafael's SPYDER air defense system was the only Israeli GBADS product offered to the PAF. While Lt. Gen. Kintanar did not mention any specific model, it is obvious that he was pointing to the Rafael SPYDER ADS.

An example of a SPYDER-SR mobile launching unit, this specific one owned by the Republic of  Singapore Air Force (RSAF), one of the first users of the type.
Photo taken and credited to deslee74's Flickr account, taken in 2012.



The Rafael SPYDER is said to be the PAF's favourite to win the selection process, as Rafael was among the first to offer a GBAD system even before they started the actual pre-procurement process. It was also said that the SPYDER ADS could have been used as a basis for the project's Technical Specifications, while MaxDefense previously reported several years ago that several DND and PAF officials already went to Israel to check on the system and the production in Israeli factories.

The SPYDER was said to be competing with several other weapon system from other countries, including Diehl Defense's IRIS-T SL from Germany, LIGNex1 KM-SAM from South Korea, the Bharat Dynamics Akash from India, , among others.

Main components of a typical SPYDER battery: the Missile Firing Units (which could be between 4 to 6 units, each capable of firing the Python 5 and Derby missile), the Command and Control Unit (CCU) which includes the radar system for detection, and the Missile Supply Vehicle and Service Vehicles which supports the unit.
Photo taken from Rafael's brochures.




The Rafael SPYDER Air Defense System:

MaxDefense decided to recycle several parts of what we wrote back in June 2013 about the SPYDER ADS, when it was first offered to the DND and AFP. Back then, strong interest was already shown by the Philippine side, and there were even talks that they are going to acquire the system.

The Rafael SPYDER ADS is a short to medium range air defense missile system based on the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) Python-5 short range dual waveband imaging infrared (IIR) air-to-air missile, and the IAI Derby beyond visual range (BVR) active radar air-to-air missiles and are fired from ground-based launchers. 

There are two versions of the system: The SPYDER-SR and SPYDER-MR. The "SR" is a Short Range system, while the "MR" is a Medium Range system. Both use the Python-5 and Derby missile from IAI, although the MR uses a booster system installed on the missiles to allow more flight range, as well as the system using a longer-ranged, more powerful radar. The SPYDER-SR has an intercept range of over 15 kilometers, while the SPYDER-MR has an intercept range of around 50 kilometers at an altitude of over 16 kilometers.

Above shows the missiles that can be used by the SPYDER ADS: From left to right: Python 5 short range IIR missile and Derby medium range missile both of which are used by the SPYDER-SR system; the Python-5 MR and Derby-MR which are both used by the SPYDER-MR system. The Stunner missile is another type of missile that can be fired by a modified  SPYDER-MR system and is used in the David's Sling ABM system. Definitely a future capability worth looking at by the PAF and AFP in general.
Photo taken from Deagel.com.



The SPYDER air defense system (ADS) battery/squadron is composed of a command & control unit which acts as the radar and communications unit, 4 to 6 launch vehicles (depending on size of battery), and associated missile loaders/supply vehicles and other service vehicles. 

It was also confirmed by another MaxDefense source based in Israel that the SPYDER ADS for the Philippines will be using radars and Command & Control (C2) systems from Israel's Elta Systems Ltd. The SPYDER-SR uses the Elta EL/M-2106 ATAR (a variant of which is already in service with the Philippine Air Force), while the SPYDER-MR uses the Elta EL/M-2084 MMR 3D AESA medium range multi-mission radar system.

PAF personnel from the 580th Aircraft Control and Warning Wing being oriented on the ELTA EL/M-2106 ATAR radar which is currently in service. The SPYDER-SR also uses the same radar, which is beneficial for the PAF due to their experience with the said radar. The SPYDER-MR uses a larger, longer ranged radar although still made by ELTA. The PAF's long range air defense radars are also made by ELTA, the EL/M-2288-ER AD-STAR Extended Range.
Photo screen-grabbed from 580th ACWW video as posted by Lt. Col. Franics Neri in his Facebook account. 




An advantage that MaxDefense see in the selection of the SPYDER ADS is that it uses the same IAI Python-5 and Derby missiles that can be used by fighter aircraft. This means that the compatibility, supply and maintenance issues can be simplified between them.

So why does it matter when the PAF doesn't operate the Python-5 and Derby missiles?

The PAF appears to also be interested in using Python-5 and Derby missiles for its existing fleet of KAI FA-50 fighters, and even on future Multi-Role Fighters as well. The FA-50 is said to be compatible with the Python-5 and Derby (and the newer I-Derby Extended Range) missiles, and current upgrades being made on some of the FA-50s will allow the use of both Israeli-made missiles, in addition to the upcoming AIM-9L(I)-1 Sidewinder short range IR air-to-air ordered by the PAF from Germany's Diehl Defense through US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) with Raytheon.

Due to the SPYDER's capability and the Israeli's cooperation in providing the Philippines with the arms it needs, the best delivery date, and less political strings attached, there is no doubt that a deal for the SPYDER-MR ADS will be taken easily by the government

Among its current users, it is worthwhile to note that Singapore's military uses the SPYDER-SR system as one of the cornerstones of its air defense capability. With Singapore's stringent defense product acceptance methods and consistent decisions in choosing the best military hardware out there, it is already a strong vote of confidence to the SPYDER's capabilities.

A typical configuration showing a complete battalion of SPYDER consisting of at least 3 batteries/squadrons of 6 firing units each. Since the PAF is acquiring 3 batteries, a similar configuration might be used.
Photo taken from Rafael's brochures.


Is PAF Acquiring the SPYDER-SR or SPYDER-MR?

Based on the information we gathered since 2013 until now, it appears that the PAF is actually interested in acquiring both the SPYDER-MR and SPYDER-SR for two different requirements - the GBADS - Short Range, and the GBADS - Medium Range. In this case, MaxDefense believes that the PAF could be going for the GBADS-MR.

Here's why:

In June 2013 or 66 months ago, when MaxDefense first wrote about the planned acquisition of the SPYDER ADS, the Philippine Air Force was already in the process of evaluating the different models offered to them. There was already a strong indication back then that a medium-range system would be preferred as the extra range could allow air defense units to defend at a longer stand-off range.

By mid-2016, MaxDefense received confirmation from sources from the Philippine Air Force that the SPYDER-MR is already obviously leading in the PAF TWG's evaluation compared to competitors.
Both the SPYDER-SR and SPYDER-MR were submitted by Rafael, and was in competition with different offers made including the Diehl Defense IRIS-T SL and SLM, the Bharat Dynamics Akash, and the Raytheon MIM-23 HAWK XXI. Based on this evaluation, the SPYDER-MR got the highest scoring despite Diehl Defense's IRIS-T SLM closely edging the SPYDER-MR in terms of overall performance. Apparently, the SPYDER-MR was considered more cost effective as its cost is far lower than the IRIS-T SLM, and the PAF would be allowed to acquire more systems with the budget that they have.


The PAF's own evaluation of the Medium Range GBAD System as of 2016 pitted the SPYDER-MR against competitors like the IRIS-T SLM, MIMI-23 Hawk (confirmed later to MaxDefense as the latest Hawk XXI vaariant), and the AKASH.
Photo provided by MaxDefense source to us as early as mid-2016.


Last 22 October 2016, or more than 26 months ago, MaxDefense got confirmation from sources involved in the project that the Philippine Air Force is prioritizing the acquisition of Medium Range systems for its GBADS acquisition project. It was also mentioned that other systems like Russia's 9K37M1-2 Buk and South Korea's LIGNex1 KM-SAM Cheolmae-II were also included in the evaluation. This means that despite SPYDER-MR ranking 1st in the initial evaluation by the PAF TWG, it was again evaluated against new offers made.

Inspections made by top brass officials from the DND and AFP included the SPYDER-MR in their inspections. This includes not just the missile system, but also the radar system, as seen on the photo below from November 2016 which includes former CSAFPs Gen. Visaya and Gen. Ano.

On November 2016, MaxDefense got the exclusive report of DND an AFP officials checking on Israeli offers for the AFP Modernization. Among those inspected was the Elta EL/M-2084 (background) which is used not just for the SPYDER-MR but also for the SBMS system.
Photo shared by a MaxDefense source who was also in Israel during this inspection.


Based on information MaxDefense gathered as of mid-2017, the SPYDER-MR still edged out its competition based on both performance and pricing. The Russian BUK, as expected, will have problems on compatibility and interoperability with existing and new systems of the Philippine Air Force and the AFP's overall C4ISTAR system, as it uses a different system. No mention was made on how the SPYDER-MR edged out the Korean KM-SAM Cheolmae II.

It was also confirmed that the Department of National Defense (DND) has already decided to go for a Government-to-Government (G2G) route for the PAF's GBADS acquisition project, thus any decision of the PAF TWG and approved by the PAF's senior leadership would require the DND to talk to the source's government.

Another advantage is that Israel has an agreement with the Philippines that allows G2G acquisitions. Apparently this is not available if the PAF chose the IRIS-T SLM (which was considered the closest competitor) since the Philippines doesn't have a Defense Cooperation MOU/MOA with Germany that will allow G2G acquisitions.

The same information still prevailed as of 2018, with the Philippine Air Force only waiting for funding to be provided for the project as the TWG was already decided on the SPYDER-MR early on. Negotiations with Israel's Ministry of Defense - SIBAT and Rafael Advance Systems Ltd. has been going on for several months now, as further adjustments were being made on the overall offer, inclusionsAnd lady luck head the pleas of our PAF air defense boys and girls, as it was revealed that the government has finally allocated enough budget worth Php6,846,750,000.00, said to be good enough for 3 batteries as confirmed by a source who was previously involved in the project.

The German-made IRIS-T SLM was said to be the closest competitor of the SPYDER-MR, but was found to be much more expensive. It was also more difficult to acquire since there is no agreements between Germany and the Philippines that could allow a G2G acquisition to happen. MaxDefense also found out recently that Germany may also have some issues in providing an export license to any arms deal with the Philippines, so that could be another potential problem should the PAF and DND choose the IRIS-T SLM.
Photo taken from Armada International's website.


What's Next on the PAF GBADS Acquisition Project?


Since the year is about to end, MaxDefense believes that no further negotiations can be made in the next few days leading to 2019. Thus, it is expected that any additional negotiations leading to the G2G deal with IMoD-SIBAT and Rafael would happen early next year.

MaxDefense also received a recent confirmation that a Letter of Award (LOA) is expected to be given to Rafael Advance Systems very soon, considering that Post Qualification Inspections might have already been completed.

It still remains to be seen how many rounds of Python-5 and Derby missile rounds are included in the deal, or if the PAF decided to go for 4 or 6 Mobile Missile Firing Units which would be dependent on the budget. Ideally 6 would be best but if the budget isn't enough, 4 MFUs per battery would be sufficient enough. MaxDefense won't get its hopes high though, considering the budget did not change too much from several years ago, while the value of the Philippine pesos went down since then.

A single battery of 6 MFUs will require at least 48 ready-to-fire missiles of a mix between the Pyton-5 and Derby. Thus, 3 batteries means 144 ready-to-fire missiles. A spare another 144 missiles would be the least acceptable number, although MaxDefense hopes that more missile spare rounds can be included to allow for live fire exercises, and to be ready in any eventuality.

Another question will be the model of trucks to be used. Currently the SPYDER ADS is compatible with MAN, Mercedes Benz, TATRA, and or Scania Trucks. MaxDefense believes that trucks from MAN would be best as MAN already has an good service support network in the Philippines. It would be noted that MAN is the most widely-used German-made truck model in the Philippines, and is even the official utility truck model used by the Philippine National Police.



Thus, MaxDefense hopes that 2019 would be a good year for our 960th Ground Based Air Defense Group, as we expect a contract to be signed between the DND and Rafael Advance Systems if all goes well. This is a project that has been in the making for 6 years or more, and it is definitely something that should be settled as soon as possible.

MaxDefense thanks its sources for providing us old and new information about the project.



Project Summary:

Ground Based Air Defense System (GBADS) acquisition project 

End User: Philippine Air Force (960th GBAD Group)
Modernization Phase: Revised AFP Modernization Program Horizon 2 phase
ABC: Php6,846,750,000.00
SARO Release: to be updated
Status as of this writing: Final Negotiations ongoing between DND and IMoD. Letter of Award pending.
Selected Proponent: Rafael Advance Systems Ltd. Israel
Contract Price: none yet, to be updated.

===============

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First edit and release: 26 December 2018
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines

Monday, December 17, 2018

Israel's GAIA Awarded to Supply AMIR 4X4 MRAP for the PNP-Special Action Force

MaxDefense received a confirmation from sources from the Philippine National Police, that the PNP Special Action Force has awarded the Supply and Delivery of One (1) Lot of Multi-Purpose Armored Personnel Carrier and Accessories acquisition project to Stone of David Corp. – GAIA Automotive Industries Ltd.  This was after the said JV company passed the Post Qualification Inspection (PQI) for the project.

The GAIA AMIR 4x4 armored vehicle, as seen during post-production road tests. The PNP-SAF ordered 16 units to fulfill its requirements.
Credits to original source of the photo.


Project Background:

The Multi-Purpose Armored Personnel Carrier and Accessories acquisition project of the PNP-SAF was intended to provide the said unit with a fleet of new wheeled 4x4 Armored Personnel Carriers to beef up its mechanized capabilities. The project has an Approved Budget for Contract (ABC) worth Php618,213,470.00, and was to be acquired through Public Bidding.

The lot includes the following items:

16 wheeled 4x4 Armored Personnel Carriers that are Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and can be armed or fitted with weapon stations and accessories, with the following:
* 2 APCs will be equipped with a mobile assault ramp;
* 7 APCs will be fitted with a Remote Controlled Weapon Station (RCWS) armed with a 40mm grenade launcher and a .50 caliber heavy machine gun;
* 7 APCs will be fitted with a RCWS armed with a .50 caliber heavy machine gun.

Accessories are as follows:
* Spare Barrels for the .50 caliber Heavy Machine Guns,
* 103,000 rounds of .50 caliber linked ammunition,
* 7,000 rounds of 40mm linked grenade ammunition,
* 6 towing bars.


Participating Proponents

Three (3) proponents submitted their bids to the PNP-SAF BAC last 27 November 2018:

Kolonwel Trading – Chaiseri Metal and Rubber Co. Ltd. Thailand Joint Venture, which submitted their proposal based on the Chaiseri Defence First Win 4x4 armoured vehicle;

The Chaiseri First Win 4x4 armored vehicle from Thailand.
Credits to source of photo.



Stone of David Corp. – GAIA Automotive Industries Ltd. Israel, which submitted a proposal based on the GAIA Amir 4x4 armoured vehicle;

LSV – TAR Ideal Join Venture, which was disqualified early on, thus their proposal was not verified.


In our previous Facebook post last 27 November 2018, MaxDefense mentioned that SODCorp – GAIA Automotive JV was declared to be the lowest bidder, while Kolonwel Trading – Chaiseri Metal and Rubber Co. Ltd. JV was declared the 2nd lowest bidder.


The GAIA Amir 4x4 for the PNP-SAF:

The GAIA Amir 4x4, which is the armored vehicle to be supplied by SODCorp. – GAIA Automotive JV, is the flagship armored vehicle product of Israel’s GAIA Automotive Industries Ltd. The vehicle is said to be extremely agile and manoeuvrable for its size, and was built as an MRAP-capable armored vehicle for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and for the export market. It has a STANAG 4569 Level II armored protection, and Mine Protection Level 1a and 2b.

Further improvements can be made, including increase armored protection to STANAG 4569 Level IV and protection from explosives equivalent to up to 10kgs of TNT, although this would affect the vehicle’s weight, movement performance, and payload.

The Amir is based on a body-on-ladder frame chassis, and is powered by a 4.5L Cummins diesel engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, allowing it to run at a top speed of 122kph and a maximum payload of up to 3 tons. It can be armed with a variety of weapons including RCWS, manually-operated 1-man turrets, anti-tank or anti-aircraft missile launchers, 81mm or 120mm mortar systems.

An Amir command variant with an RCWS and extendable comms antenna
Photo taken from GAIA's website.


No mention was made on the source of the RCWS for 14 of the 16 APCs, but MaxDefense believes that it could be sourced from Israel or Europe. Out of the 14 RCWS, 7 will have a combined weapon mounting for a 40mm grenade launcher and a .50-caliber machine gun. It is expected that all RCWS will be capable of night operations, which is among the lessons learned by the AFP and PNP during the Marawi campaign against Maute Group terrorists last 2017.

Originally, the plan was to install the RCWS on the PNP-SAF’s existing fleet of V-150 Commando 4x4 armoured vehicles, but it was later on revised to be installed on the new armoured vehicles instead.

Meanwhile, the mobile assault ramp would allow the PNP-SAF to conduct assault on low-level structures, including counter-terrorism actions on airliners and buildings. Presently, MaxDefense believes that only the AFP Special Operations Command (AFP SOCOM), specifically the Light Reaction Regiment (LRR) has a similar capability.


Potential Markets for GAIA’s Armoured Vehicles:

Several months ago, Israel’s GAIA Automotive Industries Ltd. Signed an agreement with Filipino company Stone of David Corp. to establish an armoured vehicle factory in the Philippines to cater for local and regional export requirements. Apparently, most of the APCs ordered by the PNP-SAF are said to be built in the almost-completed factory of GAIA Automotive Industries Philippines.

Aside from the PNP-SAF, GAIA Philippines is also looking at the potential of selling their armored vehicles to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as well as to different PNP units in the country that may require the need for light armored vehicles.

Based on MaxDefense’s gathered information, GAIA is also looking at potentially supplying the smaller Thunder 4x4 light armored tactical vehicle to the Philippine Army and the Philippine Marine Corps, both of which are looking at acquiring armored tactical vehicles as part of the Horizon 2 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program.

The Philippine Army has the Light Tactical Vehicle acquisition project, with a proposed acquisition of up to 200 vehicles under a proposed budget of Php4,000,000,000.00, or an average budget of Php20 million per vehicle, and armed with a canopy-mounted 12.7mm heavy machine gun. GAIA is said to be proposing to offer either the AMIR 4x4 or the smaller Thunder 4x4. GAIA is expected to be competing with KIA Motors of South Korea, with their KLTV, which is currently being tested by the PA after KIA provided a few units as donation for evaluation purposes.

The KIA KLTV (right) is currently being evaluated by the Philippine Army for their Light Tactical Vehicle requirements. GAIA Automotive is expected to compete in this project as well.


Meanwhile, the Philippine Marine Corps has the Tactical Combat Vehicle acquisition project, which involves the acquisition of up to 60 vehicles with a proposed budget of Php1,800,000,000.00, or an average of Php30 million per vehicle. Apparently the PMC wanted the vehicle to be equipped with an RCWS, and both the AMIR and Thunder 4x4 armored vehicles are also being considered.

Aside from these, the Philippines factory could also be used to manufacture any export requirements secured by Gaia Automotive Industries in the region in support of their operations in Israel.

The Amir up close as taken by a MaxDefense source who was in Israel during Pres. Duterte's recent visit.


Summary:

Multi-Purpose Armored Personnel Carrier and Accessories acquisition project

End User: Philippine National Police (Special Action Force)
Modernization Phase: PNP Patrol Plan 2030
ABC: Php618,213,470.00
SARO Release: to be updated
Status as of this writing: Notice of Award provided to Lowest Bidder, Contract signing pending
Winning Proponent: Stone of David Corp. – GAIA Automotive Industries Ltd. JV
Contract Price: Php596,344,000.00

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Philippine Air Force Technical Group Picks TAI's T129 ATAK as its Future Attack Helicopter

After keeping the information for sometime now, MaxDefense can finally discuss this publicly after it made public by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) itself during a major event this week.

During the founding anniversary of the PAF's 15th Strike Wing last 26 November 2018, no other than the Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force, Lt. Gen. Galileo Kintanar, confirmed in his speech that the Technical Working Group (TWG) handling the PAF's Attack Helicopter Acquisition Project has selected their choice in the form of the Turkish-made T129 ATAK attack helicopter, manufactured by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).

Although there was no further mention of the status of the acquisition, MaxDefense believes that the choice by the TWG was already approved by the Senior Leaders of the Philippine Air Force, including the CGPAF himself, and was already submitted to the Department of National Defense (DND) to prepare for the negotiations and actual acquisition process with TAI and the Turkish Ministry of Defensce. It is expected that the project will be a Government-to-Government (G2G) deal between the Philippines and Turkey.

While the PAF TWG and the Senior Leaders selected TAI's T129 ATAK, may we remind our readers that selection of the helicopter only means that this would be pushed to the DND for implementation and preparation for negotiation and acquisition. THE PROJECT IS NOT YET AWARDED, NOR CONTRACT SIGNED WITH TURKISH AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES AS OF YET. Like all other acquisition projects, this would undergo several processes that would determine not only the product's compliance to specs, but also the capability of the manufacturer to deliver the project smoothly and within schedule.


The Technical Working Group for the PAF's Attack Helicopter acquisition project selected the TAI T129 ATAK attack helicopter, and was submitted to DND for implementation.
Credits to original source of the photo.



The PAF's Attack Helicopter Acquisition Project:

Originally the PAF's Attack Helicopter Acquisition Project calls for the acquisition of 24 armed light helicopters that will ultimately replace the existing fleet of ageing McDonnell Douglas (now MD Helicopters) MD-520MG Defender single-engine light armed helicopters that have been in service with the 15th Strike Wing since 1990. The allocated budget for the project was originally at Php11.8 billion in 2016, before it was adjusted at least 2 times, and approved for implementation with a budget of Php13.8 billion in 2017.

The plan was to select a dual-engine armed light helicopter model, similar to the Leonardo AW109E Power armed helicopters that are already in service since 2015. Dual engine was preferred due to its safety features in case one of the engine fails while in flight, an important feature when flying especially over bodies of water. Among those considered were the following dual engine light helicopters:

1. An up-engined variant of the Leonardo AW109 helicopter from Italy, 
2. France's Airbus Helicopters H145M with the HForce weapon system,
3. An armed variant of MD Helicopters MD902 Explorer;
4. Hindustan Aerospace Limited (HAL) Rudra from India,
5. Armed variant of the Bell 429 GlobalRanger


Initially the PAF was looking at acquiring armed light helicopters, with the strongest contenders being a more powerful and armed variant of the Leonardo AW109 helicopter (top) and the Airbus Helicopters H145M (above).
Credits to original sources of the photos used.


Based on information gathered by MaxDefense from sources, in addition to its own research, the leading contenders based on the light helicopter platform were the Leonardo AW109, which benefits from being already in service with the PAF, and the Airbus Helicopters H145M, which is actually the leading choice of the PAF due to its superior performance over the AW109. 

But sometime in 2018, the PAF started to also consider purpose-built attack helicopter models, which are more capable in terms of performance and combat capability, but are also more expensive to acquire than armed light helicopters. 

It is believed that the proposal to acquire real attack helicopters started when the Kingdom of Jordan confirmed its donation of at least 2 used Bell AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters to the Philippines, which MaxDefense was first to report back in August 2017. The mere idea of having attack helicopters, despite old, opened up the PAF's mindset of considering purpose-built attack helicopters aside from just limiting itself to armed light helicopters.

Among those purpose-built attack helicopter models considered by the PAF, based on the press releases, information from MaxDefense source, and interviews during ADAS 2018 and other defense exhibitions include the following:

1. Bell's AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter, apparently the PAF's favourite choice;
2. Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter;
3. Russian Helicopters Mil Mi-28N Night Hunter, as marketed by Rosoboronexport;
4. Russian Helicopters Mil Mi-35 Hind, as marketed by Rosobornexport;
5. TAI T-129 ATAK attack helicopter;
6. Airbus Helicopters Tiger attack helicopter


The Mil Mi-28N Night Hunter (top) and the Bell AH-1Z Viper (above) were among those considered by the PAF when they decided to also look at purpose-built attack helicopters as options for the project. The AH-1Z was even said to be the favourite of PAF pilots.
Credits to original sources of photos.



In a previous poll started by MaxDefense in its Facebook page, majority of voters believed that the PAF would be better off acquiring purpose-built attack helicopters rather than armed light helicopters. Various reasons were made to support their choices, but MaxDefense believes that the main reason for the PAF to forego acquisition of light helicopters was for them to introduce new and additional capabilities that are not possible with armed light helicopters like the AW109 or H145M.

It was reported that the US offered attack helicopters and F-16 fighter aircraft to the Philippines, as admitted by Pres. Duterte himself. Upon checking with MaxDefense sources from Malacanang and the defense department, it turns out that the US offered the Bell AH-1Z Viper and Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian, and was packaged with US Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programs. But despite this, the DND and PAF was said to be concerned by the steep price, and the long delivery lead time common with US FMS-implemented projects. 

Apparently it is not Pres. Duterte's rejection of American hardware that made the PAF decide against these helicopters, as the DND and PAF didn't take the president's words seriously, according to a cabinet member that MaxDefense talked to a few months ago.


Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana views the Mil Mi-28N Night Hunter attack helicopter during the Russian Army 2018 defense expo in Russia last August 2018 (top), and visited the booth of TAI during IndoDefence 2018 in November 2018 (above).
Top photo credited to Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos King Sorreta's FB page, and above photo to TAI's Twitter account.



The DND and PAF did look at Russia's Mil Mi-28N Night Hunter and Mil Mi-35 Hind attack and assault helicopters, but did not take them seriously due to issues on inter-operability, compatibility, pricing, and requirements. Apparently the Mil Mi-35 Hind is too big and too expensive to operate, while the Mil Mi-28N is also expensive, although cheaper than its American counterparts.Several trips were made by the DND, including Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana himself, and the PAF to Russia to check on the Russian offers.

While the PAF also considered the Airbus Helicopters Tiger, it did not give too much attention due to its reputation of not meeting expectations of users. Apparently the Australian Army did provide feedbacks on the Tiger attack helicopter several years back, and the PAF seems to have remembered them well.

The T129 ATAK is currently Turkey's main attack helicopter operated by the Turkish Army, and is also being actively offered for export by TAI, with Pakistan signing up as its first export market.
Credits to original surce of the photo.



The T129 ATAK Attack Helicopter:

The TAI T-129 ATAK attack helicopter is apparently the second cheapest purpose-built attack helicopter in the PAF's list (the Mil Mi-35 Hind said to be the cheapest to acquire), and appears to be the smallest as well. Even compared to the AH-1Z Viper, it is smaller and lighter by a huge percentage. It was said to be first offered by AgustaWestland to the PAF in 2012, as reported by IHS Jane's, although serious consideration for the type only happened in 2018. While its small size may have reduced its operational range and carrying capacity compared to other attack helicopters, it is also an advantage for the T129 as it allows for a smaller radar cross section, as well as being more difficult to see and target especially by unguided weapons.

It is based on AgustaWestland's A129 Mangusta attack helicopter, which was first in service with the Italian Army in 1990. AgustaWestland provided the technology transfer to Turkish Aerospace Industries using the A129 Mangusta International variant as part of the deal for the Turkish Army to acquire the T129 version as its future attack helicopter. TAI then used locally-made or developed parts, increasing the Turkish content of the T129 compared to the Italian A129 Mangusta.

The Agusta (later on AgustaWestland) A129 Mangusta was the basis for the TAI T129 ATAK, as part of a deal between AgustaWestland and the Turkish government for the selection of the helicopter for acquisition as the future attack helicopter of the Turkish Army.
Credits to original source of the photo.


TAI also improved the design by using upgraded engines, and improved transmission system and rotor. It was also redesigned to allow operations in hot, humid weather as well as cool weather, which is the general Turkish environment in both the European and Middle Eastern side of the country. This would be beneficial for the Philippine Air Force as the local weather is mostly warm and humid. It is yet to be confirmed if the PAF will require its attack helicopters to have saline treatment to protect from the local naval environment of the country.

It can carry a wide variety of weapons, including an M197 triple-barrel 20mm gatling cannon and 2.75" rocket pods and BGM-71 TOW missile, similar to those installed on the AH-1F Cobra helicopters that the PAF is slated to receive. In addition, it can also carry and fire several other types of anti-tank missiles including the American AGM-114 Hellfire, Israeli Spike-ER missile (which the Philippine Navy already uses),  and the Turkish UMTAS missile. It can also fire the Rocketsan Cirit laser-guided rockets, as well as AIM-92 Stinger, MBDA Mistral, and even the AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles for protection against enemy aircraft or helicopters.

The T129 attack helicopter is fully aerobatic, as demonstrated during several air shows where the T129 was being marketed for export.
Credits to original source of the photo.


This is already an advantage compared to the weapons that armed light helicopters carry, considering the budget won't be sufficient enough for the units to arrive with upgrades to fire air-to-surface missiles and other weapons.

Currently only the Turkish Army uses the T129A and T129B variants of the ATAK, although Pakistan was already confirmed as an export market and would be receiving 30 units as part of the deal between the two countries. The T129 has also been used in combat over Syria against Kurdish forces, although at least 1 of Turkey's T129 has confirmed to have been shot down only last February 2018 after being hit by an RPG round.



Project Expectations:

MaxDefense was informed by sources that previous statements made by the DND and PAF, as well as by the president himself that the Attack Helicopter (as well as the Combat Utility Helicopter) acquisition projects are the highest priority projects of the Philippine Air Force under the Horizon 2 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP). This is in line with the national government's campaign to be prepared for any future terrorist attack, as well as to increase its combat capability against the terrorist New People's Army (NPA) and various Islamic terrorist groups.

If all goes well, MaxDefense believes that an award can be made, as well as  a contract can be signed between the DND and TAI (or the Turkish government) by 2019, after passing all requirements. Based on similar projects, it is expected that TAI may be able to deliver the first aircraft only after 2 years from contract signing. MaxDefense also believes that a maximum of only 6 units can be acquired based on the budget allocated by the government for this project, although more units can be lined up for acquisition as part of the Horizon 3 phase between 2023-2028.

Another side of the T129 ATAK attack helicopter during an airshow in France.
Credits to original source of the photo.


While 6 units won't be enough to form a decently sized squadron, it is expected that the 2 AH-1F Cobra helicopters will be used as a training platform for PAF pilots to transition from armed light helicopters to purpose-built attack helicopters, and will join the T129 squadron as well, in case no more used AH-1Fs are acquired from Jordan or any other sources. Apparently the PAF desires to raise at least 2 squadrons of 12 aircraft each, while the ageing MD-520MG Defender would be de-armed and used as a training helicopter.

MaxDefense also expects that the PAF may not initially acquire anti-tank missiles for the helicopters, and may rely more on standard 2.75" rocket pods and gun pods, although the PAF may consider acquiring laser-guided rockets, since they are already determining its viability for use on the AW109E armed light helicopter already in service.

Why MaxDefense Released This Information?

To be honest, MaxDefense believes that releasing this information is quite premature considering the status of the project being in the pre-procurement phase despite the TWG's selection of the T129 attack helicopter. But I believe it is the best time to put this out considering the CGPAF himself made the confirmation in public (although within the PAF and visitors) in addition to the information MaxDefense received from other sources.

Our reason is based on information we got that there is someone with influence and close relations to Pres. Duterte that is undermining the project, by pushing the PAF's TWG as well as the Senior Leaders themselves to cancel the recommendation on the acquisition of TAI's T129 ATAK. And instead, recommend the acquisition of another armed light armed helicopter  being offered by the foreign company represented by this influential official's close friend and associate. MaxDefense would refrain from naming people and the company represented for now. Apparently the local representative if an election contributor to this influential official, who is running for public office next year.

Publishing this blog this early allows the general public to know that there is already a decision made by the PAF's TWG and Senior Leadership, and that any changes in it, or even in the PAF's table of organization, could be because of the illicit practices of these corrupt officials close to the president of using their power and influence to make changes, despite being unqualified or inexperienced to make the decision.

What we saw in the Philippine Navy's Frigate Acquisition Project has become a prime example of what could happen if those in power intervene in the AFP's decision making - even military leaders can fall and projects affected for the sake of personal interests by a few. And it is not impossible for it to happen again, this time with the Philippine Air Force.

We hope that the PAF's TWG and Senior Leadership would be strong enough to resist any interference from government officials, or stand for what they believe is the right product to go for.



So What's Next:

At the moment, all we can do is wait until the PAF and DND iron out things, and start the negotiations and acquisition process with their Turkish counterparts and with TAI. Until a contract is signed, there are still many things that could happen that may result to changes in the acquisition plan, or even to the cancellation of the project. Until then, all information in this blog entry are still subject to changes although are all based on the latest information from our sources, as well as from the Philippine Air Force itself as explained earlier in the blog entry.

MaxDefense would monitor developments in this project, whatever happens to the TWG's decision.


Summary:

1. Attack Helicopter acquisition project


End User: Philippine Air Force (15th Strike Wing)
Modernization Phase: RAFPMP Horizon 2
ABC: Php13,800,000,000.00
SARO Release: to be updated
Status as of this writing: proposed to DND for negotiation and procurement
Winning Proponent: None yet, still in pre-procurement phase
Contract Price: not yet awarded.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Quick Update on the AFP's Acquisitions Under it's Modernization Program as of November 2018

Last weekend, local media outlet Business Mirror released an article covering updates on several ongoing and incoming acquisition projects under the AFP Modernization Program. All of those projects mentioned were already discussed by MaxDefense in previous blogs or Facebook posts and comments over the year or two, and we decided to discuss those mentioned projects further to allow for greater understanding for readers. This is also a quick way of updating our readers with the status of these projects considering many are still pending or have not yet even been started.

The acquisition of the Hermes 900 MALE UAS from Elbit Systems of Israel are among the first projects finalized within the Horizon 2 phase of the RAFPMP. The first Hermes 900 system is scheduled for delivery to the PAF by late 2019.
Credits to owner of the original photo.



The article can be accessed here:

"Military rolls out ‘dramatic’ capability upgrade" - dated 11 November 2018




MaxDefense's Take on the Projects Mentioned:

Here are our take on the projects mentioned by Business Mirror, as mentioned according to the order of the article. MaxDefense also provided links to previous MaxDefense discussions on the topics for reference.


1. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are being acquired by both the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and Philippine Army (PA). The PAF project under the Horizon 2 phase involves the acquisition of Hermes 450 and Hermes 900 medium altitude long endurance unmanned aerial systems, which is scheduled for delivery between late 2018 and early 2020. The PA UAS project is still in the pre-procurement stage and will be a G2G project, most likely with Israel as well.
Links: 

"Philippine Air Force to Procure Elbit's Hermes 900 Medium Altitude Long Endurance UAV under Horizon 2 Phase" - dated 08 August 2017, and:

"First Hermes 450 UAV for the Philippine Air Force Scheduled to Arrive Soon" - dated 22 August 2018


Above is the first actual Hermes 450 bound for the PAF, and will be used to train PAF operators for the Hermes 450 and Hermes 900 system.
Photo provided by MaxDefense source.


2. PAF’s acquisition of Long Range Patrol Aircraft (LRPA) involves 2 units, not 1 as reported. It is actually a project under the Horizon 1 phase and is still in the pre-procurement phase after several failed biddings in the last 4 years. The PAF’s 300th Air Intelligence and Security Wing is expected to be the operator of these aircraft.

http://maxdefense.blogspot.com/2015/05/updates-on-pafs-long-range-patrol.html and https://www.facebook.com/MaxDefense/posts/577187362451925

PTDI's CN-235-220ASW is one of several offers competing for the LRPA acquisition project.
Photo taken from Jetphotos.net.



3. PN’s acquisition of 2 new Corvettes and 6 Offshore Patrol Vessels under the Horizon 2 phase have been discussed thoroughly in MaxDefense FB posts and blogs. Both are still in the pre-procurement stage, although it appears that the DND is already leaning on Austal Philippines to supply the OPVs. MaxDefense was also told by sources that Hyundai Heavy Industries is leading the pact with regards to supplying the Corvettes, despite both projects not yet finalized by the Navy’s Technical Working Group (TWG). Both ship types are to be operated by the Navy’s Offshore Combat Force.
http://maxdefense.blogspot.com/2018/05/philippine-navy-releases-basic.html and http://maxdefense.blogspot.com/2018/10/more-details-on-philippine-navys.html

Austal Philippines is competing for the OPV acquisition project with a new design based on their Cape-class large patrol boats.
Photo taken from Austal's website.


4. The delivery of 6 Close Air Support Aircraft are indeed coming in by December 2019 as per the contract between the DND and Embraer SA of Brazil, with the A-29B Super Tucano being supplied. This project contract was only signed late last year, and has been in several MaxDefense blogs and discussions since 2013. The PAF’s 15th Strike Wing is expected to operate these aircraft and replace old SF-260TP aircraft, not the OV-10 Bronco as everyone expected.
http://maxdefense.blogspot.com/2017/06/embraer-advances-in-philippine-air.html

5. The acquisition of Sidewinder short range IR air-to-air missiles, specifically the AIM-9L/I-1 variant from Diehl Defense-Raytheon of Germany is part of the F/SAA/LIFT Munitions Acquisition project under the Horizon 1 phase, and is indeed coming in by July 2019. These will arm the FA-50 light combat aircraft as well as future multi-role fighters of the 5th Fighter Wing.
https://www.facebook.com/MaxDefense/photos/a.214163865420945/596869083817086

6. The aborted Combat Utility Helicopter acquisition project awarded to Bell Helicopter Textron Canada was originally part of the 2nd List of Horizon 1, but was pushed to Horizon 2 due to the delays on the project after the hullabaloo between the Philippines and Canadian governments. It would be noted that CGPAF Lt.Gen. Galileo Kintanar previously confirmed that they shortlisted the Bell 412EPI from Bell USA, Sikorsky Black Hawk, Russian Helicopters Mil Mi-171, and Leonardo Helicopters AW139M. MaxDefense also got confirmation that the KAI KUH-1 Surion is still in the running as well. MaxDefense expects the decision to be made before yearend as there is an urgent need for the immediate delivery of these helicopters.
https://www.facebook.com/MaxDefense/posts/823488144488511

7. It appears that the Philippine Navy’s leadership is still hell bent on getting the Submarine Acquisition Program to be implemented within Horizon 2 phase, but its still a big question mark on where they will be getting the funds for it. The current silence on the project appears to be temporary as the Navy focuses on the acquisition of Offshore Patrol Vessels.

The Modified Scorpene-class submarine is among those being offered to the Philippine Navy for its Submarine Acquisition Project.
Photo credited to original source.


8. For Attack Helicopters for the PAF, the current default is for the acquisition of 24 units of Armed Light Helicopters, although the PAF opened the option to acquire more expensive purpose-built Attack Helicopters in the same category as the TAI T-129 ATAK and the Bell AH-1Z Viper but with limited quantity as the budget remains the same. It remains to be seen though if the PAF and DND will continue with pursuing armed light helicopters considering the need for quantity than quality to meet current operational requirements. The PAF’s 15th Strike Wing will operate these helicopters.

9. The FA-50 Alternate Mission Equipment is a Horizon 2 project, although MaxDefense prefers to not discussing this project for now due to request by our sources in the PAF. In a nutshell, it involves acquiring equipment for the FA-50 fleet to allow additional mission capabilities. This will be for the PAF’s 5th Fighter Wing.

10. The Command and Control Fixed Wing Aircraft project actually involves the acquisition of two aircraft, not 1 as reported by Business Mirror. One would be based on a turboprop aircraft, which was awarded last month to CASA-Airbus for their C-295 medium lift aircraft, and the other using a jet-powered aircraft, which is yet to be awarded. These aircraft acquisitions are under the Horizon 2 phase of the RAFPMP, and are intended to replace the old Fokker fleet flown by the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing. And by the way, the C-295 is not a helicopter.
https://www.facebook.com/MaxDefense/posts/835197229984269

Another CASA-Airbus C-295 medium airlifters was ordered by the PAF to fulfill a requiment for a new turboprop powered VVIP/ Command and Control aircraft.
Photo taken from Wikipedia.



11. The Philippine Army has several projects pertaining to armored vehicles, so the description made by Business Mirror is confusing. But it appears that what the report was describing is not an Army project but is actually a joint project of the Philippine Navy (Marines) and the Philippine Air Force to upgrade their fleet of V-150 Commando armored vehicles. Project involves mobility upgrade for 11 V-150s, as well as upgrades on the turrets on more than 20 V-150s from both services. The PAF’s 710th Special Operations Wing operate a few V-150 Commando armored vehicles for base defense, while the V-150 is among the standard armored vehicles of the Marines.
https://www.facebook.com/MaxDefense/posts/818914774945848


12. The Navy’s acquisition of a 4th batch of Multi-Purpose Attack Crafts (MPAC) involves  for 3 missile-equipped attack boats based on the MPAC Mk. III for the Navy’s Littoral Combat Force. The projects are actually divided into multiple lots and are combinations of 2nd List of Horizon 1 and Horizon 2 funded projects, with the boats itself funded by 2nd List of Horizon 1, while the Weapon Systems and the Mission Essential Equipment with ILS are to be funded under the Horizon 2 phase. The MPAC boats and Mission Essential Equipment were awarded to the Joint Venture of Propmech Corp. and Lung Teh Shipbuilding of Taiwan, while the Weapon Systems are to be acquired separately, and is expected to be a G2G with Israel with Rafael Advance Systems supplying the Spike-ER missile and Mini Typhoon RCWS.
http://maxdefense.blogspot.com/2017/03/acquisition-of-4th-batch-of-3-mpacs-for.html and http://maxdefense.blogspot.com/2018/06/philippine-navy-to-receive-3-more.html

13. The AFP General Headquarters’ acquisition of Directional UAV Jammers / Anti-Drone Systems for the Presidential Security Group is intended for protection against surveillance drones, or even suicide drones that may target VVIPs especially during public events where the president or other VVIPs are attending. 9 sets (18 units) were to be acquired with a budget of Php33.75 million, and is expected to be made by a Chinese manufacturer. The PSG already operates similar but shorter-ranged equipment, and these new acquisitions are intended to further improve the PSG’s capabilities.
https://www.facebook.com/MaxDefense/posts/823470751156917

14. The Indian-made Force Protection Equipment as described in the report are actually made by  MKU Ltd. This project is actually an RA 7898 AFPMP project involving the acquisition of 44,080 units of FPE Body Armor that was originally awarded to Colorado Shipyards. MKU took over the contract last year after Colorado Shipyards failed to deliver, and is still in the process of delivering them.
http://maxdefense.blogspot.com/2016/06/a-comprehensive-review-of.html

15. The US-made 60mm Mortars are actually acquired under the old RA7898 AFPMP program, for originally for 60 units, but was reduced to 44 or 22 units, depending on the agreement after price escalations over the years, These are to be acquired from the US government via Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. This is actually an example on how slow the US FMS process is in acquiring weapons, as this project has been undelivered since the contract was signed a few years ago.
http://maxdefense.blogspot.com/2016/06/a-comprehensive-review-of.html

16. The ongoing project involving armored vehicles within the Philippine Army’s Mechanized Infantry Division is the M113 Firepower Upgrade project, a 2nd List of Horizon 1 project awarded to Elbit Systems Land & C4I of Israel, which involves installing RCWS to 44 of the MID’s M113A2, and the conversion of 5 of the MID’s M113A2 to armored mortar carriers and installed with the Soltam Cardom 81mm mortar system.  MaxDefense sources confirmed that the full delivery will be completed next year.
http://maxdefense.blogspot.com/2018/06/elbit-systems-wins-contract-to-upgrade.html

44 more M113A2 of the Philippine Army will soon be equipped with the Dragon 12.7mm RCWS from Elbit Systems as part of the M113 Firepower Upgrade project.
Photo credited to the late John Chua.



17. The acquisition of 3 Air Defense and Surveillance Radars for the PAF were made in the Horizon 1 phase of the RAFPMP, with at least 1 unit already delivered by Elta Systems of Israel, and the other 1 coming in before yearend. Elta delivered the EL/M-2288 AD-STAR ER extended range radars and will be equipping the PAF’s 580th Aircraft Control & Warning Wing to replace old radars and improve the ability to see air activities within the country’s airspace.
http://maxdefense.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-philippine-air-forces-medium-term.html and https://www.facebook.com/MaxDefense/posts/439877312849598


18. The Full Motion Flight Simulators were ordered from Environmental Tectonics of the US, which will train pilots on C-130, Bell 412 and AW109E aircraft. This is part of the Horizon 1 phase of the RAFPMP and was signed in 2016. Originally it was supposed to arrive last May 2018, but it appears that delivery encountered delays. The PAF’s Air Education and Training Command will operate these flight simulators and improve the training curriculum of pilots for the abovementioned types of aircraft.
https://www.facebook.com/MaxDefense/posts/707310042772989

19. The basing for Search & Rescue air assets in Palawan and Tawi Tawi are part of the old RA7898 AFPMP program, and MaxDefense believes that these are already completed. Meanwhile, the basing for the Long Range Patrol Aircraft in Batangas  Palawan and Zamboanga; the Radar Basing facilities in Ilocos Norte, Palawan, and Lubang Island; and the Fighter basing in Pampanga and Palawan are all under the Horizon 1 phase of the RAFPMP. The recent re-opening of Basa Air Base is part of this project, although the Fighter basing in Palawan is still ongoing. Apparently, all the radar basing facilities are still ongoing despite one of the radar stations already operational.
https://www.facebook.com/MaxDefense/posts/835707426599916 and http://maxdefense.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-philippine-air-forces-medium-term.html

20. The Marine Forces Imagery and Targeting Support System (MITSS) were already delivered to the Philippine Marines in November 2017, and were supplied by Triton Communications using a system based on the British Super Swiper II UAV. This project is part of the Horizon 1 phase of RAFPMP, and allows the Marines to use UAVs to provide targeting information for their artillery and infantry units.
https://www.facebook.com/MaxDefense/photos/a.214163865420945/642153332621994 and https://www.facebook.com/MaxDefense/posts/715666321937361

The MITSS as shown to Pres. Duterte during AFP Day last December 2017.
Photo credited to Presidential Communications Office.


21. The acquisition of 2 Anti-Submarine Helicopters are also part of the Horizon 1 phase of the RAFPMP and was awarded to Leonardo Helicopters in 2016. Leonardo will deliver the AW-159 Wildcat ASW helicopter, which they scheduled to deliver by March 2019 after a 6 month delay. These helicopters are the first ASW air assets of the Philippine Navy, and will be operated by the Naval Air Group from the new frigates being constructed for the Philippine Navy by HHI. They will be armed with torpedoes, short range anti-ship missiles, and is equipped with a acoustic dipping sonar.
http://maxdefense.blogspot.com/2016/04/confirmed-philippine-navy-acquires.html

The first AW-159 Wildcat helicopter bound for the Philippines Navy, as seen here undergoing it's first flight test in the UK last 01 November 2018.
Photo credited to Kevin Wills.



22. The Philippine Navy’s C4ISTAR equipment, which is essentially the acquisition of 5W VHF handheld radios from Harris Corporation USA, is a Php300 million project that allows the Philippine Navy, specifically its special operations units and the Philippine Marines ground units to communicate effectively using newer tactical radios to replace old ones, or increase the use to more troops. This project is part of the Horizon 1 phase and delivery is still being processed.
https://www.facebook.com/MaxDefense/posts/647931535377507

23. The Philippine Navy also ordered 8 Amphibious Assault Vehicles from South Korea’s Hanwha Techwin, which won the tender for the AAV Acquisition Project in 2015. Hanwha will supply their KAAV, which is a license copy of BAE Systems AAV7A1. MaxDefense believes that the first batch would be delivered to the PN before yearend, as the Philippine Marines has started training on the type as early as a few weeks ago.
https://www.facebook.com/MaxDefense/posts/838329509671041 and http://maxdefense.blogspot.com/2014/05/samsung-techwin-kaav7a1-expected-as.html

 Philippine Marines personnel undergoing training on operating the KAAV in South Korea last October 2018.
Photo taken from ROKMC FB page.





MaxDefense intentionally did not include updates on projects not mentioned in the article, as it would be make this blog entry too long and ineffective.

We continuously update everyone through our Facebook posts while further explanation will be made on blogs as necessary.

Philippine Navy Modernization Projects

Philippine Coast Guard Modernization Projects