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Friday, January 17, 2020

PH Army to Acquire ATMOS SPH, Eyes MBDA Mistral & LIGNex1 Chiron SHORAD as it Activates 2 New Units

The Philippine Army has recently activated two additional small units assigned under the Army Artillery Regiment (AAR) as it continues to expand its capabilities as modernization of the Philippine Army continues.

The units are the 2nd Air Defense Artillery Battery and the 2nd Field Artillery (155mm Self Propelled) Battery, which were activated on 15 January 2020 during ceremonies held at Army Artillery Regiment's headquarters at Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija.

With the new units means that new assets are expected to arrive as part of the AFP Modernization Program.

An example of a SHORAD system being looked at by the Philippine Army for their initial air defense artillery units. Photo from MBDA website.

2nd Field Artillery (155mm Self Propelled) Battery:

The activation of the 2nd Field Artillery (155mm Self Propelled) Battery is a continuation of the Army Artillery Regiment's goal to raise 2 batteries (equivalent to an Army Company) to train and operate the upcoming 155mm Self Propelled Howitzers being acquires by the Philippine Army.

The PA displayed this during the activation ceremony of the 2nd Field Artillery (155mm Self Propelled) Battery. Photo exclusively shared to MaxDefense by a community member.

According to the Philippine Army:

“…The Field Artillery Battery will help in troop maneuver to destroy, neutralize, and suppress the enemies through its fire support to maneuver units…”

This unit, together with the 1st Field Artillery (155mm Self Propelled Battery) activated in 2019 will be returning the lost capabilities of the Philippine Army in operating self propelled howitzer systems, which they previously had in their inventory since the 1940s with the M7 Priest 105mm Self Propelled Howitzer that were operated until the 1960s.

The PA operated the M7 Priest 105mm SPH since the 1940s. It is seen on top photo with PA troops in the 1950s, and above photo shows one of the examples displayed in the Philippine Military Academy grounds in Fort Del Pilar in Baguio City. Credits to original sources of the photos.

MaxDefense previously reported that the Philippine Army's 155mm Howitzer, Self Propelled System Acquisition Project has  been ongoing for quite sometime now. This project aims to acquire 2 batteries worth of 155mm Wheeled Self Propelled Howitzer (SPH) systems under a Government-to-Government (G2G) deal with Israel's Ministry of Defense (MOD).

A battery consists of around 6 mobile firing units and associated equipment.

The Israeli MOD offered Elbit's ATMOS 155mm/52 caliber Self Propelled Howitzer including associated support systems and vehicles.

The Elbit ATMOS 155mm SPH System. It remains to be seen what vehicle platform Elbit will be delivering to the PA. Photo taken from Elbit's website.

The Department of National Defense (DND) is in the final stages of negotiations and a Notice of Award (NOA) is expected to be released in favor of Elbit Systems Land & C4I. In addition, the funding through SARO system was released by the Department of Budget Management (DBM) late last year.

More information can be found on this specific modernization project in our resource page through our extension Philippine Defense Resource:

"155mm Howitzer, Self Propelled System Acquisition Project of the Philippine Army" - first posted on  22 June 2019

2nd Air Defense Artillery Battery:

The activation of the 2nd Air Defense Artillery Battery is in line with the Philippine Army's plan to build-up cadres and operational units to operate incoming air defense assets.

According to the Philippine Army:

“(An) Air Defense Battery is designed to provide air defense for Army units, areas, and installations against unmanned aerial vehicles or remotely-piloted vehicles as well as fixed and rotary aircraft…”

Another one infotarp displayed by the Philippine Army during the event. The system on the photo is the MBDA Mistral using the ATLAS mounting. Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense by a community member.

It would be remembered that as early as 2016, MaxDefense has posted reports on the Philippine Army training on Air Defense Artillery with the US Army in Fort Sill in Oklahoma, in preparation for these new capabilities.

The Philippine Army used to have air defense units using anti-aircraft guns received from the US government after World War II, including M45 Quadmounts using 12.7mm machine guns. 

Previously the PA had air defense assets like the M45 Quadmount as seen here used in the Korean War by PEFTOK contingent.

This time, the Philippine Army will be initially using missile systems starting with Short-Range Air Defense (SHORAD) missile systems  before progressing to longer-ranged air defense systems.

Unknown to many, while the Philippine Army unofficially do not have air defense units or assets prior to the 1st and 2nd Air Defense Artillery Batteries, the Philippine Army is safekeeping the air defense assets of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) which has MANPADS in its inventory including the MBDA Mistral and FIM-92 Stinger in limited numbers.

The Philippine Army has an ongoing project to acquire such systems under the Philippine Army Man Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) Acquisition Project, which is part of the Horizon 2 phase of the RAFPMP. The project involves the acquisition of 2 batteries worth of MANPADS with a budget of around Php2,275,200,000.00 (around US$44.6 million).

MaxDefense sources confirmed that the Philippine Army is looking at two models, the French MBDA Mistral,  and South Korean LIGNex1 Chiron short range air defense missile systems. Both missile systems are similar in capabilities as the Chiron was said to have been developed from the Mistral but using South Korean technology and content, and both having an effective range of around 6 to 7 kilometers. MaxDefense will discuss about both systems in a future blog or resource page entry.

The MBDA Mistral in ATLAS mounting (top) and LIGNex1 Chiron (above). Photo taken from MBDA website for Mistral, and Indian Defence Review for Chiron.

It still remains to be seen which one will be selected as the Philippine Army’s Technical Working Group (TWG) for the project is still conducting their evaluation as of this writing, although MaxDefense was told that competition is tight between MBDA and LIGNex1.

Standing-up both batteries for the Air Defense Artillery is already an indication that the project is coming up soon, with MaxDefense expecting a decision and contract signed by 2020. 

Based on the Philippine Army's programming, they expect the delivery of the weapon systems by 2024, while also activating the 1st Army Air Defense Artillery Battalion also by 2024.

It still remains to be seen if longer ranged air defense systems will be acquired as part of the Horizon 3 phase of the RAFPMP, which also means activating additional air defense units.

Activation of the 2nd Air Defense Artillery Battery during ceremonies last 15 January 2020. Photo ftom Philippine Army.

Project Summary:

155mm Howitzer, Self Propelled System Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 20 December 2019.

* End User: Philippine Army (Army Artillery Regiment)

* Quantity: 2 batteries

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects of RAFPMP

* Project ABC: Php2,388,000,000.00

* Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government (G2G) Procurement between the DND and Israel Ministry of Defense-SIBAT

* Source of Funding: From other sources, to be paid via Multi-Year Obligatory Allocations (MYOA).

* SARO Release: SARO-BMB-D-19-0025732 dated 18 December 2019.

* Winning Proponent: Elbit Systems Land & C4I

* Product for Delivery:
    - 12 units of Elbit Systems ATMOS 2000 155mm/52cal Self Propelled Howitzer
    - Truck Platforms, most likely using Mercedes Benz or MAN 6x6 All Terrain Trucks

* Contract Price: Php2,265,785,767.00

* First post by MaxDefense: 25 June 2013

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PA155mmSPHAcquisition

* Status: Procurement phase ongoing. Post Qualification Inspection with Elbit Systems done on December 2018, reinsepction done as of November 2019. Awaiting release of Notice of Award (NOA), SARO for 15% initial deposit released by DBM on December 2019.

Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 15 January 2020.

* End User: Philippine Army (Army Artillery Regiment)

* Quantity: 2 batteries

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects of RAFPMP

* Project ABC: Php2,275,200,000.00

* Acquisition Mode: TBA

* Source of Funding: From other sources, to be paid via Multi-Year Obligatory Allocations (MYOA).

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: TBA

* Product for Delivery:
    - 2 batteries worth of MANPADS system

* Contract Price: TBA

* First post by MaxDefense: TBA

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PAMANPADSAcquisition

* Status: Procurement phase ongoing. 

First edit and release: 17 January 2020
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