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Monday, December 2, 2019

Philippine Navy plans to acquire Shore Based Air Defense Missile System

The Philippine Navy (PN) continues to expand its capabilities as part of the AFP Modernization Program, being the naval warfare component of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

With naval warfare and naval defense becoming multi-dimensional, the PN is trying to obtain new capabilities to keep up with the added responsibilities and coverage that has started to overlap with those of the other AFP branch services.

MaxDefense will be discussing one of the most discreet asset acquisition projects of the Philippine Navy, which is actually not part of the Php300 billion Horizon 2 phase Priority Projects that was approved in-principle by President Rodrigo Duterte last June 2018.

As promised to its readers, this is actually one of the 7 projects that reached milestone last October 2019 when the Department of National Defense (DND) Senior Leaders had their roundtable discussions.

Exclusive @ MaxDefense Philippines: may we present the Philippine Navy’s Shore-Based Air Defense Missile System (SBADMS) Acquisition Project.

The Philippine Navy is currently undertaking the acquisition of a Shore Based Air Defense Missile System as part of its 2nd List of Horizon 2 acquisition plans. Photo taken from Kongsberg's website.

The Shore-Based Air Defense Missile System (SBADMS) Project:

Little is actually known on this project if you only rely from printed sources, since this is one of the Philippine Navy’s most secretive project. Since their debacle on the Frigate Acquisition Project, the Philippine Navy leadership has become more secretive on their current acquisition projects to avoid being exposed if another debacle happens, or if scandals arise again during the procurement phase.

The Shore-Based Air Defense Missile System (SBADMS) acquisition project was intended to provide the Philippine Navy with an air defense capability to protect its assets on shore or on port. This includes naval or marine bases, and naval or marine shore-based assets like anti-ship missile batteries and Marine units.

A typical air defense system would include a mobile firing unit, a radar system, and other support systems like command and control, logistics and others. Photo taken from Army Technology website.

The preferred system is a Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile system, mobile/self-propelled preferably on a wheeled platform rather than tracked. The choice on mobility requirements would allow the system to move faster and more efficiently over road networks, with partial off-road capability, without the need for tank transporters.

Range is said to be at least 40 kilometers, although a longer range is expected to have stronger preference.

New comer on the offerings to the AFP in general is the Roketsan HISAR-O which is the medium range version of the HISAR system from Turkey.

Being medium-ranged, the Air Defense Missile System would enable to defend high value assets and units under a larger umbrella, with future short range missile systems possibly added later on to provide better coverage in all range brackets.

An air defense system protecting the Philippine Navy's main base at Sangley Point, Cavite also means partial protection of the southern part of Metro Manila and Manila Bay due to proximity.

MaxDefense’s initial information suggests that the budget allocated for the SBADMS acquisition project is around Php9.8 billion, which is more than the PAF’s own GBADS acquisition project. But this is still subject to changes considering the Philippine Navy is now having problems on getting enough funding for other projects like the Submarine Acquisition Project which is expected to be the most expensive naval project in Philippine history to date.

The PN SBADMS would also be protecting future shore based anti-ship missile systems. Photo above "for reference only", if you know what I mean.

In comparison, the PAF GBADS only has a budget worth Php6.846 billion, or 30% less than that of the

It is highly possible that the PN SBADMS project would involve either more firing units, or more ammunition compared to the PAF's GBADS project to justify the Php3 billion difference in budget.

India's Akash medium range SAM system was also offered by officials from Bharat Dynamics and the Indian government. Photo taken from Economic Times India.

Options for Medium-Range Air Defense Missile System:

The Philippine Navy actually received the same offers made as the Philippine Air Force for their Ground-Based Air Defense System (GBADS) acquisition project, considering the requirements are almost similar for both the PAF GBADS and the PN’s SBADMS projects.

Among those that made their pitch or were included in the evaluations made by the Philippine Navy were:

* Rafael Advance Defense Systems with the SPyDer Air Defense System from Israel;
* Diehl Defence with the IRIS-T Surface Launched (SL) from Germany;
* LIGNex1 KM-SAM Cheolmae-II from South Korea;
* OKB TSP Buk-MB3K from Belarus;
* Almaz-Antey Buk M3 from Russia;
* Kongsberg Defense – Raytheon NASAMS from Norway;
* Roketsan HISAR-O from Turkey;
* Bharat Dynamics Akash Mk.1 or Mk.2 from India

Apparently both the Buk M3 (top) fron Russia and the Buk MB3K (above) from Belarus were offered for the project. While the Buk M3 is said to be the more advanced system, the Buk MB3K has the advantage of avoiding CAATSA sanctions due to it being from Belarus. Photos credited to original sources.

Rafael SPYDER:

MaxDefense’s sources have mentioned that among the selections, Rafael’s SPYDER ADS was said to be potentially leading due to commonality with the selection made by the Philippine Air Force for its GBADS requirement. The SPYDER-MR, similar to what the PAF was after for their GBADS requirements, is the expected variant to be offered due to range requirements.

(Top): The SPYDER MR uses a larger launcher than the other shorter-ranged variants, which means a larger truck platform.
(Above): the missiles used by the SPYDER ADS including the Python V and I-Derby missiles with boosters (3rd and 4th from left).
Credits to original sources of photos.

The SPYDER-MR is the medium range version of the SPYDER Air Defense System. It has a longer launcher due to the installation of boosters on the standard I-Derby and Python V missiles which makes them longer. Coupled with a longer-ranged IAI Elta ELM-2084 MMR 3D AESA radar that can detect even beyond the range of the missile system, full potential of the missiles can be realized.

A typical set-up of a Spyder ADS battalion with 3 batteries. Photo taken from Rafael's website.

Kongsberg Defense-Raytheon NASAMS:

While Kongsberg Defense’s NASAMS appear to be a favorite, it was said to be the most expensive system in the list above which would be detrimental in the selection process. The current push to acquire US-made weapon systems has made this system more attractive to the Philippine Air Force due to recent increased support from the US for allies to purchase their weapon systems. The larger budget allocated for the project compared to the PAF’s GBADS also is a factor that may allow the acquisition of more expensive systems like NASAMS.

While the NASAMS can be mobile and installed on a truck-based mobile unit, it can also be placed in a semi-permanent position like the unit shown above. Photo taken from Second Line of Defense website.

The NASAMS, or National/Norwegian Advance Surface-to-Air Missile System, uses a ground-launched version of the Raytheon AIM-120 Advance Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) which is more known as the medium range air-to-air missile of US forces and its allies.

Depending on the version of AMRAAM missile used, range of the system can either be below or exceed 40 kilometers. It will also be dependent on the radar supporting the system, which usually is the AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel F1 Improved 3D radar that has a maximum effective range of around 80 kilometers. An older version of the Sentinel radar has a short effective range of a little over 40 kilometers.

Finland's NASAMS are mounted on SISU heavy duty offroad trucks as shown above. Credits to original source of photo.

LIGNex1 KM-SAM Cheolmae-II:

Another strong competitor is the LIGNex1 KM-SAM Cheolmae-II (Iron Hawk) from South Korea, which is said to be affordable, and is something being considered in the long term as the Philippine Navy is also looking at the naval version of KM-SAM for deployment to future warships. Despite not being used by other countries, it still meets government procurement law on having the country of origin (South Korea) using the system.

The KM-SAM is to replace the ageing Raytheon Hawk and I-Hawk missile systems. Credits to original sources of photos.

The KM-SAM was developed by South Korea in cooperation with Russia’s Almaz Design Bureau, is said to carry technology derived from Russia’s S-350E and S-400 air defense missile systems. The KM-SAM missile is said to have a maximum range of around 40 kilometers, although proposals were made to further extend the missile’s range.

Despite evaluation said to be still ongoing, these three air defense missile systems are said to be the expected air defense systems that might find its way to the shortlist for different reasons.

Of the three, the Rafael SPYDER-MR has the longest maximum range at 60 kilometers by installing auxiliary boosters on the Python V and I-Derby missiles to extend their flight range.

MaxDefense’s Opinion:

All three air defense missile systems are said to be the best, and most easily interoperable to the Philippine Navy and the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ equipment system. Except for the LIGNex1 KM-SAM, all widely in use: the SPYDER is being used by Singapore, Vietnam, India, and Georgia; while the NASAMS by the US, Finland, Spain, Norway, Chile, and the Netherlands.

All three are mobile and are fitted unto multi-purpose trucks, including the mobile firing units, command posts, sensors and support vehicles. NASAMS is also able to be removed from the mobile unit and installed as a semi-fixed launching unit.

Based on the maximum range alone, the Rafael SPYDER-MR medium range air defense system appears to have the advantage being able to defeat air targets at up to 60 kilometers away using the boosted version of the I-Derby and Python V missiles.

The SPYDER-MR also benefits from being the selected system by the Philippine Air Force for its own air defense requirements, which means commonality and compatibility in terms of operations, interconnectivity to an integrated air defense system, maintenance and support, training and logistics.

Another advantage is that the Python V and I-Derby missiles used by the SPYDER ADS are also being considered by the PAF for use by fighter aircraft especially by the KAI FA-50PH Fighting Eagle fleet, although the NASAMS may also have a similar advantage once the Philippine Air Force finalizes its acquisition of Multi-Role Fighters since the selected aircraft from an American manufacturer normally uses AMRAAM as its medium-range air-to-air missile.

Both SPYDER-MR and NASAMS are said to be easy to integrate with the PAF and AFP’s upcoming Air Defense Network system despite being a Philippine Navy asset. It remains to be seen though if the same can be said on the KM-SAM Cheolmae-II considering the South Korean military operates in a similar NATO-standard system as the US, Philippines, and other US allies.

MaxDefense believes that the SPYDER-MR, NASAMS and KM-SAM would be great addition to the Philippine Navy and the overall air defense system of the Philippines, although MaxDefense leans more on the SPYDER-MR and NASAMS due to reasons above.

The radat and mobile launching units of the SPYDER MR system. 

The Real Question Though:

It still puzzles MaxDefense though that the Philippine Navy was allocate a budget for a Shore Based Air Defense Missile System, when their Jose Rizal-class frigates are yet to have a proper vertical launch system (VLS) for a longer-range anti-aircraft missile system due to funding issues.

So how come there is priority on a Shore Based Air Defense Missile System, but none on the Vertical Launching System (VLS) and VLS-launched air defense missiles for the Jose Rizal-class frigates? Credits to original sources of photos.

Project Summary:

Shore-Based Air Defense Missile System Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 01 December 2019.

* End User: Philippine Navy (unspecified unit/s)

* Quantity: TBA

* Modernization Phase: 2nd List of Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP

* Project ABC:

Acquisition Mode: Most likely Government-to-Government deal.

* Source of Funding: TBA

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: TBA

Product for Delivery: TBA

* Contract Price: 

* First post by MaxDefense:

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PNSBADMSAcquisition

* Status: Pre-procurement phase ongoing. Senior Defense Leaders provided approval to proceed. Technical Working Group evaluation and selection process ongoing. 

First post and edit: 01 December 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines


  1. What about the Delivery of PAF's SPYDER-MR? we haven't heard for update. :)

  2. My two cents. PN being the most lousy kimchi addicted of the AFP 3 branches. It will be no suprised if they choose the korean model which is for me the least favorable of the selection. And if should they choose SPYDER, they will get the same quantity in number as the PAF probaly blaming inflation as the reason. You do the math. As always salute to our noble and REAL patriot hero soldiers.

  3. What about the LR version of spyder? If NASAMS is alreay offered at a higher price, maybe PN can utilize this delta to persuade Rafael to offer the LR version (80 KM) at the same price of NASMAS...

  4. Nasams and spyder MR is the best but hello kpop... 🤔

  5. useless! the navy will deploy this in manila bay even if the potential conflict is in the WPS.

  6. My guess is our PN is looking for more batteries to cover major naval bases. Subic, Sangley Point, Palawan and Cebu at the very least.


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