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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Philippine Marines Tendering for 16 New Fibreglass Speedboats

The Philippine Navy (PN), through the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC), released an Invitation to Bid (ITB) for 16 units of brand new Glass-Reinforced Plastic (Fibreglass) Speedboats for the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC), with an ABC of Php340,632,603.36. A Pre-Bid Conference is scheduled on 25 October 2018, while the the Submission and Opening of Bids is scheduled on 23 November 2018.

The awarded proponent should deliver the first batch of 8 units within 90 days from Notice to Procure (NTP), and the next batch of 8 units within 90 days from due date of the first batch. This means this procurement is a quick one.

The PMC requirement also appears to be larger than the US Marine Corps' Special Operations Craft-Riverine (SOC-R), which is 10 meters long, has more weapon mounts, but can carry the same number of crew and troops, but is slower. Photo taken from Wikipedia.

The French-made Seawolf ERF-1 Styx actually has similar attributes to the Philippine Marine Corps requirement, although the PMC requires a longer, probably larger and faster boat than this. Photo taken from H I Sutton "Covert Shores" website.

Based on the technical specifications, the speedboats should have the following features:

* Length: 11 to 12 meters

* Breadth: at least 3 meters
* Draft: between 0.70 to 1.10 meters
* Cruising Speed: at least 35 knots
* Maximum Speed: at least 45 knots
* Acceleration from 0 to cruising speed: not more than 30 seconds
* Capacity: 4 crew members, and space for 2 Marine Fire Teams of 4 troops each;
* Payload: not less than 6,800 lbs
* Survivability: Full function at Sea State 2, Survive at Sea State 3;
* Weapon Mounts: 1 forward, 2 aft, with universal adaptor to allow mounting of either .50 caliber heavy machine gun, M60 7.62mm general purpose machine gun, of 40mm automatic grenade launcher;
* Radar: 36 nautical miles range
* Communications: Marine VHF, should be compatible with existing MILCOMM Harris Falcon III Vehicle/Base VHF Radio System (RF-7800V-V51X)
* Boat Trailer: included, 16,000 lbs GVWR minimum rating.

The Philippine Marines is expected to provide the weapons itself, as the proponents are only required to supply the platform itself without any weapons.

The sample diagram provided by the Philippine Navy in the Bid Documents. 

Based on the specs, the PMC's requirement is actually similar to the boats used by the US Marine Corps including the Special Operations Craft - Riverine (SOC-R) and the Small Unit Riverine Craft (SURC), although the design of the PMC's requirement appears to be similar on how the SURC is utilised by the US Marines. Currently the PMC itself has 6 units of the SURC provided by the US government in 2013, and were made by SAFE Boats USA.

MARSOG normally use the boats for riverine and coastal patrol, assault, interdiction, and insertion/extraction. The boats also provide fire support when needed utilizing the heavy machine gun and Grenade launchers for assault troops.

The PMC currently has 6 SURC boats provided by the US government a few years ago. The new boats are expected to be utilized in the same manner as the SURC by the PMC's MARSOG. Photo taken from US Naval Insitute (USNI) website.

And based on the ABC, it also appears that each boat will be worth less than Php21.289 million, which is cheaper than the American-made boats. Instead of relying on US grants, it would be more practical for the PMC to acquire their own locally-made, locally-designed boats. This is not just to allow the PMC access to other equipment that can be provided by US grants or assistance, but also allow the PN or PMC to own a design of their own that they can acquire and build anytime, while also helping the local boat-building industry.

The need for more boats for the Philippine Marines Assault Boat Battalion, which MaxDefense expects to be the actual end user, has to do with the increased operational requirements especially in the southern corridors of the country. In fact, the first batch of 8 boats were specified to be delivered in the PMC's base in Zamboanga City, where the newly opened Rio Hondo Fleet-Marine Station was actually designed to house MARSOG boats.

The screengrab from the Invitation to Bid for the project from PITC. Photo screengrab taken from Bid Documents of the project.

As always, MaxDefense expects the usual proponents to be interested, including Propmech Corporation, and Pacficfortia Marine Technologies, among others, to provide their bids for the project. It should be remembered that Propmech just recently won a contract to build 10 Fast Boats which are also made of fibreglass and is almost at the same price range as this new requirement.
MaxDefense will provide updates on this new project, and despite being a minor project that is probably not even considered part of the Horizon 2 phase of the RAFPMP, it would be considered an important project to monitor from awarding to delivery.


1. Glass Reinforced Plastic Watercraft acquisition project

End User: Philippine Marine Corps (Assault Boat Battalion)
Modernization Phase: Special Project
ABC: Php340,632,603.36
SARO Release: to be updated
Winning Proponent: None yet, still in procurement phase
Contract Price: N/A


  1. I've read in one FB defense forum/page that a filipino naval designer based in Spain is looking for such opportunity especially in building GRP boats, I hope he and his company would be able to join the bidding

  2. Only problem with the PMC/PN requirement..same with the PNP MG purchase...the outboard engines are propeller engines...unlike the USMC and USN boats that have water jet outboards...cause they already learned that propellers are a headache in riverine and swamp ops.....PMC and PN should be already aware of this..unless the waterjets are already part of the requirements?


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