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.

"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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Popular Posts