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Saturday, January 25, 2020

Philippine Army Awards Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge to Elbit-IMI JV, to Possibly Supply Joint Assault Bridge

Finally, after keeping silence on the developments of this project, MaxDefense can finally speak up as the Department of National Defense (DND) has made the developments public.

The DND has finally awarded the Combat Engineering Equipment Lot 1: Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge (AVLB) Acquisition Project to Israel's Elbit Systems Land & C4I - Israel Military Industries Joint Venture, with a Contract Price worth US$27,727,188.00 officially converted to Php1,407,459,790.10.

An example of an Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge. The PA is acquiring 2 units, their first ever. Photo taken from Defense Post website.

The NOA was released on 26 December 2019, and was received on 27 December 2019. It is expected that Contract Signing would be made within January 2020, 



The NOA released by the DND in favor of Elbit-IMI JV. Photo taken from PhilGEPS.

Based on MaxDefense's sources, Elbit Systems - IMI Joint Venture (which is a weird venture considering IMI was already procured by Elbit Systems last year and is just now a division within Elbit Systems) will be providing an extended length version of the Leonardo DRS - IMI Systems Joint Assault Bridge.

The Joint Assault Bridge is a scissor-type bridging system with a Military Load Capacity (MLC) rating of MLC-85, which means it can withstand loads of up to 85 tons. This means it can support even the heaviest main battle tanks which weigh around 65-70 tons. Leonardo DRS is the prime contractor while Israel Military Industries (IMI) is one the main partners of the project and development of the bridging system.

In the US Army and US Marine Corps, the Joint Assault Bridge will use the General Dynamics M1 Abrams tank platform, and is seen as a less expensive alternative to the M104 Wolverine, and a replacement to the old M60 AVLB system that requires replacement.


MaxDefense sources confirmed that Elbit-IMI JV might supply an lengthened version of the Leonardo DRS - IMI Joint Assault Bridge being developed for the US Army and US Marine Corps. Photos from Leonardo DRS website. 

Since the Philippine Army specified a diesel-engined tracked tank platform, it will not use the General Dynamics M1 Abrams tank platform, and will instead use a European-made platform.

If MaxDefense sources are correct, the platform will be based on the latest Leopard 2 main battle tank chassis called the Panzerschnellbrucke 2 from Germany's Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW). which is the only tank platform that meets the specified requirements of the Philippine Army.

Currently the Leopard 2 platform is used by the German Leguan bridging system, although sources confirmed that the Leopard 2 could also be modified to carry the JAB system.

The Leopard 2 tank platform is said to have been proposed by Elbit-IMI JV for the AVLB acquisition project. This would be supplied by Germany's KMW. Photo taken from KMW's website.

This means that the Leopard 2 could become more likely for the Philippine Army to consider in its future Main Battle Tank requirements, although this is more speculation due to the Philippine Army's planned MBT acquisition still in the process of being justified as part of the Horizon 3 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program, and also the procurement process still unknown.

MaxDefense will discuss more about this possibility in future blog entries.

With Elbit being the winning proponent, it is also expected that the vehicles would be equipped with new communications equipment using Elbit-Tadiran's product line. MaxDefense believes this will include also the E-LynX mobile ad-hoc network communication system which is said to be introduced to some of the Philippine Army's newer armored vehicles supplied by Elbit System like the M113A2 Mortar Carriers, in addition to standard combat net radio systems like Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) used by NATO countries and the US, including its allies like the Philippines.


Elbit E-LynX (top) and SINCGARS (above) are expected to be included as the communications system of the AVLB. Photos credited to original sources.

With a delivery period of 550 days from Notice to Proceed (NTP), MaxDefense expects the delivery of this project to be completed only by late 2021. This is reasonable enough, and MaxDefense even believes that the Philippine Army should acquire additional units as 2 units may not be enough for its current and future requirements.


Project Summary:

Combat Engineering Equipment - Armored Vehicle Launch Bridge Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 24 January 2020.

* End User: Philippine Army (unspecified Army Engineering Brigade)

* Quantity: at least 2 units, with armored tracked platform

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects of RAFPMP

* Project ABC: Php1,600,000,000.00

* Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

* Source of Funding: GAA funded, to be paid via Multi-Year Obligatory Allocations (MYOA).

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: Elbit Systems Land & C4I - Israel Military Industries JV (Israel)

* Product for Delivery: Sources describes as lengthened version of Leonardo DRS-IMI Joint Assault Bridge using Leopard 2 tank platform
    
* Contract Price: US$27,727,188.00, converted to Php1,407,459,790.10

* First post by MaxDefense: TBA

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PACEEAVLBAcquisition

* Status: Elbit Systems declared sole bidder, passed PQI on December 2019 and awarded NOA on 26 December 2019. Contract Signing said to have been made before 24 January 2020 although MaxDefense is awaiting for more confirmation.

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First edit and release: 25 January 2020
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines

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