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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Philippine Marines to acquire RPGs from Bulgaria, 81mm Mortars from Spain


Just before the year 2019 ended, the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) through the Philippine Navy (PN) has reached major milestones on two of its Horizon 2 phase modernization projects.

Both projects were intended to increase the firepower of marine units, while also replacing older assets with new, better models.

These projects are the Squad Rocket Launcher Light (SRLL) Acquisition Project, and the Mortar 81mm Acquisition Project.

Expal's M-98 81mm mortar system. Credits to original source of photo.

Bulgarian Rocket Propelled Grenades:

Before proceeding, readers are advised to read the resource page discussing the Squad Rocket Launcher Light Acquisition Project, which can be found on the link below courtesy of MaxDefense Philippines' extension, Philippine Defense Resource. This is for readers to understand the background and updates on the project prior to what is reported in this blog entry.

"Squad Rocket Launcher Light Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy (Marines)"

The PMC is acquiring 40mm RPGs under the Squad Rocket Launcher Light acquisition project. Photo credits to original source.

The Squad Rocket Launcher Light acquisition intends for the Philippine Marines to acquire new Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) Launchers that will equip each active Marine rifle squad to increase their firepower to defeat light armor, structures, and even enemy troops.

While it was thought that the RPGs were supposed to replace the old and heavy M67 90mm recoilless rifle still in use as the corps' standard company heavy weapons, the intention of the RPG acquisition was to boost squad firepower beyond the standard rifle-mounted grenade launchers without relying too much on company heavy weapon units.

The M67 recoilless rifles will be replaced by a different weapon system under the Multi-Purpose Bunker Defeat Weapon Acquisition Project which MaxDefense already discussed in a separate blog posted last November 2019.

After being declared as the Sole Calculated and Responsive Bidder, Bulgaria's Arsenal JSCo. was declared as the winner of the Squad Rocket Launcher Light acquisition project and was given a Notice of Award (NOA) of the project on 22 December 2019.

Arsenal JSCo. is the same company the supplied and delivered the Philippine Army's RPGs, the Anti-Tank Grenade Launcher - Light (ATGL-L) under its Rocket Launcher Light (Phase 1) Acquisition Project. These are the same RPGs used by the Philippine Army during the Marawi Crisis in 2017, and are considered proven weapons.

It is expected that being Arsenal JSCo's only 40mm RPG product, the ATGL-L family would be again used by Arsenal for supply and delivery to the Philippine Marine Corps.


Spanish 81mm Mortar:
Another project that reached an important milestone before 2019 ended was the Mortar Acquisition Project Lot 2 - 81mm Mortar of the Philippine Navy (Marines). Before proceeding, readers are advised to read the resource page discussing the project, which can be found on the link below courtesy of  Philippine Defense Resource. This is for readers to understand the background and updates on the project prior to what is reported in this blog entry.

"Mortar Acquisition Project Lot 2 - 81mm Mortar of the Philippine Navy (Marines)"



The Mortar Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy (Marines) intends to provide additional firepower to the Philippine Marine Corps by deploying additional mortar systems to each of the Marine Battalion Landing Teams. This includes 60mm (Lot 1), 81mm (Lot 2) and 120mm (Lot 3). So far only Lot 2 has been tendered out of the three lots.

While the PMC already operates older 81mm mortars, it appears that the plan was to increase the number of 81mm mortars to improve firepower delivery, while also replacing some older 81mm mortars that are deemed non-serviceable. It still remains to be seen if these older mortars could be repaired and brought back to service.

Originally three companies were interested in supplying the 81mm Mortar, which includes Israel's Elbit Systems, Spain's Expal Systems S.A, represented by Firepower Defense Extractors, and Austria's Hirtenberger Defense Systems represented by Hafid N' Erasmus Corp.

Based on our sources, Elbit offered the B499 81mm mortar, Expal Systems offered the M-98 81mm mortar, and Hirtenberger Defense Systems offered the Werfer M8 81mm mortar. All suppliers are required to also supply a compatible Ballistic Computer system, and Forward Observer systems.

After being declared as the Sole Calculated and Responsive Bidder, Spain's Expal Systems S.A. was declared as the winner of the Mortar Acquisition Project Lot 2 - 81mm Mortars, and was given a Notice of Award (NOA) of the project on 16 December 2019.


Reports of Anomaly on the 81mm Mortar Project:

It appears that there was an issue surrounding the project, since MaxDefense got news from sources that this is one of the project's requirements was said to have been fixed in favor of a certain product.

Apparently the issue stemmed out on the ballistic computer requirements, wherein the technical specifications was very specific and favoring Expal Systems' Ballistic Computer, while making sure that other bidders like Hirtenberger and Elbit Systems would be disqualified.

Despite highlighting this issue, the Department of National Defense Bids and Awards Committee (DND-BAC) proceeded with the tender as it is, forcing Hirtenberger Defense Systems and Elbit Systems to withdraw from joining.

The DND-BAC Chairman is the same person MaxDefense highlighted in a post in our Facebook page for disregarding the DND Senior Leadership's directive on the mode of acquisition of the Light Tank Acquisition Project as Government-to-Government (G2G) deal and instead pushing to have the project acquired through Public Bidding.




Awaiting for Contract and Notice to Proceed:

Take note that in both cases, the project Notice of Award were only provided, and not yet Signing of Contract. MaxDefense expects that Contract Signing and maybe even the Opening of Letter of Credit for both projects may occur within January 2020. And with both projects given only 360 calendar days for Opening of Letter of Credit to complete delivery of goods and services, MaxDefense expects that both the RPGs from Bulgaria and 81mm Mortars from Spain will be in the hands of the Philippine Marine Corps on or before February 2021.

Keep tabs on MaxDefense posts, or updates in our resource pages @ Philippine Defense Resource as we'll provide updates once the Contracts for both projects are signed.

Project Summary:

Squad Rocket Launcher Light Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 07 January 2020.

* End User: Philippine Navy (Philippine Marine Corps)

* Quantity: 702 units 40mm Rocket Launcher + associated accessories and ammunition

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP

* Project ABC: Php514,800,000.00

* Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

* Source of Funding: GAA Funded

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: TBA

* Product for Delivery:
  - 702 nos. Arsenal ATGL 40mm Rocket Propelled Grenade Launchers
  - 702 sets of Bipod Assembly, Iron Sights, and Optical Sights
  - 14,040 rounds of 40mm HE Fragmentation Anti-Personnel Grenade
  - 8,424 rounds of 40mm HE Anti-Tank Grenade
  - 351 rounds of 40mm Thermobaric Grenade
  - 40 nos. of Cal. 7.62x39mm Training Launcher
  - 21,061 rounds of 7.62x39mm Tracer Practice Ammo
  - Assorted accessories, tools, and others.
  - Integrated Logistics Support package

* Contract Price: TBA

* First post by MaxDefense: June 2019 (see MD's AFP Modernization Program List)

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PNSRLLAcquisition #PMCSRLLAcquisition

* Status: Notice of Award released in favor of Bulgaria's Arsenal JSCo. Contract Signing and Notice to Proceed expected by made and released by February 2020.


Mortar Acquisition Project Lot 2 - 81mm Mortar

Note: Edited as of 03 August 2019.

* End User: Philippine Navy (Philippine Marine Corps)

* Quantity: 30 nos. 81mm Mortar + associated accessories

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP

* Project ABC: Php185,891,600.00

* Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

* Source of Funding: GAA Funded

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: TBA

* Product for Delivery:  
  - 30 nos. Expal M-98 81mm Mortar
  - 40 sets Ballistic Computer
  - 8 sets Forward Observer System

* Contract Price: Php175,705,638.49

* First post by MaxDefense: June 2019 (see MD's AFP Modernization Program List)

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PN81MortarAcquisition #PMC81MortarAcquisition


* Status: Notice of Award in favor of Expal Systems S.A.as of 16 December 2019. Contract Signing and Notice to Proceed expected to be made and released by February 2020.

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First post and edit: 08 January 2020
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines


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