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Sunday, February 9, 2020

Philippine Army Finally Orders the ATMOS 155mm/52cal Self-Propelled Howitzer System from Elbit Systems

As Horizon 2 projects continue to move forward slowly, the Philippine Army has been able to push its projects forward faster than its other counterpart service branches in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

In this case, it has achieved a major milestone again for its 155mm Howitzer, Self-Propelled System Acquisition Project, as 2020 started.

MaxDefense had extensive discussions in the past regarding this project, and we advice our readers to read these blog entries to have a background of the project, before proceeding with this new entry.

 "Philippine Army pushing for the Purchase of Israeli ATMOS 2000 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer" - first posted on 25 June 2013;

"PH Army to Acquire ATMOS SPH, Eyes MBDA Mistral & LIGNex1 Chiron SHORAD as it Activates 2 New Units" - first posted on 17 January 2020;

"155mm Howitzer, Self Propelled System Acquisition Project of the Philippine Army" - Resource page for the project, as posted in our extension @ Philippine Defense Resource.

The ATMOS 155mm/52cal wheeled self-propelled howitzer mobile firing unit during tests in Israel. Photo taken from Army Guide website.

Since our previous discussions, MaxDefense Philippines was able to receive further information about the project.

Additional Information on the Project:

It would be remembered that the recent interest of the Philippine Army on 155mm self-propelled howitzer systems started as early as 2012. This was when the Philippine Army released a Request for Information (RFI) to Israel's Soltam Systems (now part of Elbit Systems) regarding their ATMOS 2000 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer (SPH) system.

During the pre-delivery tests of the M-71 155mm towed howitzers ordered by the Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps in 2017, Elbit Systems has already included demonstrations of the ATMOS 155mm/52cal Self Propelled Howitzers to the DASAT teams from both services. This photo was taken in the Negev Desert in Israel. Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense by one of our sources.

In 2013, there was already strong support within the Philippine Army to acquire 2 or 3 batteries worth of ATMOS 2000 155mm SPH, but this failed to gain traction due to lack of funding from the national government.The Philippine Army adjusted their procurement programs according to the budget on hand, taking out the planned acquisition of 155mm wheeled SPH as part of the measures.

But interest on the project remained, and the Philippine Army even requested information from France's Nexter Systems for their CAmion Équipé d'un Système d'ARtillerie (CAESAR) 155mm wheeled SPH, which is in service with several of the Philippines' regional neighbors like Indonesia and Thailand, and competes directly with the Israeli ATMOS 2000.

While the ATMOS 2000 155mm SPH (top) was originally what the Philippine Army was interested in, they also made an evaluation on Nexter Systems' CAESAR 155mm SPH (above). In the end, the PA TWG decided to go with the ATMOS. Credits to original sources of the photos.

But during the evaluation period in preparation for its procurement under the Horizon 2 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program, it was found by the Philippine Army Technical Working Group (TWG) that offer made by Soltam Systems / Elbit Systems Land & C4I using the ATMOS was better in terms of performance, support and sustainment, pricing, and other reasons compared to the offer made by Nexter Systems with their CAESAR.

Compared to the CAESAR, the PA-TWG on the project found that the ATMOS was cheaper in terms of procurement and sustainment, and has greater support from the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and the Philippine Army gains to benefit on technology transfer especially in localized support for the self-propelled howitzer systems and supporting equipment.

Updates on the Project for Early 2020:

It would be remembered that the decision of the DND during the start of the project implementation was to go for a Govenrment-to-Government (G2G) deal with the selected product's country of origin. With the PA TWG selecting the ATMOS 155mm/52cal wheeled SPH system and the Senior Defense and Military leaders approving the selection, the Department of National Defense (DND) proceeded with negotiations with the Israeli Ministry of Defense.

After passing the Post Qualification Inspection (PQI) last December 2019, and final negotiations on the deal's final contract terms and conditions and final pricing, the Department of National Defense - Bids and Awards Committee (DND-BAC) has finally released the Notice of Award (NOA) for the 155mm Howitzer, Self-Propelled System Acquisition Project of the Philippine Army to Israel's Elbit Systems Land & C4I, with a agreed contract price of around Php2.386 billion.

And aside from that, MaxDefense received confirmation from defense and military sources that the DND has also signed the contract for the project with Elbit Systems Land & C4I in late January 2020. It still remains to be confirmed if the Notice to Proceed (NTP) has been released, since this would be the basis of the proponent on the start of the countdown to the delivery deadline which is 730 days (2 years) from the release of NTP.

If NTP is released by February 2020, we could expect the completion of the project (full delivery) by February 2022, although it is expected that the deliveries will be made in tranches, allowing the Philippine Army's Army Artillery Regiment to receive the units earlier.

The ATMOS 155mm wheeled SPH for the Philippine Army is expected to use base truck platforms from Germany's MAN. Credits to original source of photo.

It was also confirmed that Elbit Systems Land & C4I may also use base truck platforms from Germany's MAN Trucks, which has a better service support network in the Philippines compared to the other platforms used by the system including those from Mercedes-Benz, Tatra of the Czech Republic, and TATA of India. In comparison, the ATMOS SPH used by the Royal Thai Army uses 8x8 trucks from Tatra.

The Philippine Army's Army Artillery Regiment has also activated two new Field Artillery Batteries, the 1st and 2nd Field Artillery (155mm, Self-Propelled) that will handle the operation and sustainment of these new equipment. Both batteries will be under the 1st 155mm Howitzer Battalion (Self-Propelled), which is expected to be activated on or before 2024.

Above is the development roadmap of the Army Artillery Regiment for their Self Propelled Howitzer capability. So far they were able to meet their milestones for 2019, and it appears that they might hit their milestone for 2024 at an earlier date. Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense by a community member.

With the ATMOS 155mm/52cal wheeled self-propelled howitzer system entering the Philippine Army inventory soon, the service joins its regional peers in having the same system available. Among those countries in the ASEAN with a similar system include Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, and Myanmar.

Project Summary:

155mm Howitzer, Self Propelled System Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 02 February 2020.

* End User: Philippine Army (Army Artillery Regiment)

* Quantity: 2 batteries (12 mobile firing units + associated support systems)

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects of RAFPMP

* Project ABC: Php2,388,000,000.00

* Contract Price: Php2,386,082,313.81

* Difference between ABC and Contract Price: Php1,917,686.19

* Expected Delivery: 2 years from NTP release - February 2022

* 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.

* First post by MaxDefense: 25 June 2013

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PA155mmSPHAcquisition

* Status: Post Qualification Inspection with Elbit Systems done on December 2018, reinsepction done as of November 2019. SARO for 15% initial deposit released by DBM on December 2019. NOA released December 2019. Contract signed as of late January 2020. Notice to Proceed release for confirmation.

First edit and release: 09 February 2020
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines


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