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


The Philippine Navy is in the process of acquiring rocket propelled grenade launchers for the Philippine Marine Corps. This is to improve the force's firepower for each of its marine rifle squad, while also replacing ageing assets like the M-67 90mm recoilless rifle which are becoming less efficient, and are too heavy for rifle units to carry around, and inefficient for modern warfare.

The project, called the Squad Rocket Launcher Light Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy, is being acquired on behalf of the Philippine Marine Corps and is one of the Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects of the Revised AFP Modernization Program approved in-principle by Pres. Duterte last June 2018.



An infantryman firing an RPG-7 rocket propelled grenade similar to those what the Philippine Marines are after under the Squad Rocket Launcher Light acquisition project. Photo taken from Soldat.pro website.

Project Summary:

Squad Rocket Launcher Light Acquisition Project


Note: Edited as of 17 October 2019.


* 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: 
  - Brand and Model TBA
  - 702 nos. 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: Bid submission on 03 October 2019. Bulgaria's Arsenal JSCo currently the lowest bidder although Motion for Reconsideration is from a losing bidder is still being settled.



An RPG training launcher, which fires 7.62mm tracer rounds to simulate a rocket launch. Photo taken from GunBroker.com.

Overview:
The plan is for each of the Marine Rifle Squads to have a rocket launcher and associated ammunition, which will increase the firepower of the unit without relying on heavy weapons from attached units of the marine company.


Currently, the heaviest weapon of a standard Philippine Marine Rifle Squad are 40mm grenade rounds fired from M203 rifle-mounted grenade launchers. These lack the firepower and range to engage enemy forces at further ranges, or targets hiding in bunkers or structures.

Having a rocket launcher also allows a rifle squad to engage light armored vehicles using anti-tank munition, and to blow-up even concrete structures using thermobaric rounds.


This also allows the Philippine Marines to withdraw the M67 90mm recoilless rifle, which are too heavy, too old, and ineffective in urban warfare and on modern light armored vehicles. The heaviness of this weapon makes it difficult for units to bring them anywhere, especially in hills or jungles where individual mobility is already difficult with just the standard rifle and troop loadout.

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U P D A T E S:
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05 August 2019:


The DND has started another project, this time for the Philippine Navy (Marines) Squad Rocket Launcher Light Acquisition Project, which is a Horizon 2 Phase Priority Project under RAFPMP.


702 units of 40mm rocket propelled grenade launchers, as well as optical sights and other accessories, as well as more than 22,000 rounds of RPG ammunition are required with a budget of Php514,800,000.00.


This would allow the Philippine Marines to strengthen its marine infantry squads by having such firepower at a low unit level, while replacing the M67 90mm recoilless rifle.


Another interesting inclusion (which the Philippine Army does not have) is the inclusion of 40 RPG training launchers that fire 7.62x39mm training rounds, plus 21,061 rounds of 7.62x39mm RPG tracer practice ammunition.



Take note that this Squad Rocket Launcher Light is different from another infantry heavy weapon that the Philippine Navy plans to acquire for the Marines under the Horizon 2 phase.

Bid submission and opening was scheduled on 27 August 2019.





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25 August 2019:

The DND released a new Supplementary Bid Bulletin (SBB) for the project, wherein it answered several queries made by at least 2 potential bidders, while also making revisions on the bid documents.

The two potential bidders are:

1. Arsenal JSCo. of Bulgaria, which is represented locally by Intrade Asia Pacific Corp. - the company previously supplied the Philippine Army's RPGs under their Rocket Launcher Light Phase 1 acquisition project, including most RPG ammunitions used by the serivce. Arsenal is expected to offer the ATGL-L family of RPGs.



Arsenal JSCo already displayed their RPGs at ADAS 2018 in Manila, giving weight on their product being used in the Battle of Marawi by the Philippine Army. Photo shared to MaxDefense by a community member.



2. S&S Enterprises Inc. - not really familiar with this company so we are not sure what foreign manufacturer are they representing.

Several queries were made by both companies, which MaxDefense believes are major issues considering most of the recommendations and requests made by both companies were denied by the Technical Working Group (TWG). This may possibly led for the bidding to fail.

Despite this, there are also several recommendations made that the TWG agreed to amend, including the dimensions of the rocket launchers, test requirements, and in-country training period requirements.

To see all the queries and replies, you may access the SBB document from the DND by clicking the link HERE.


Submission and Opening of Bid Envelopes (SOBE) remains on 27 August 2019.


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12 September 2019:
MaxDefense received confirmation that the bidding for the Squad Rocket Launcher Light acquisition project failed after bidders were disqualified for failing to meet specific requirements, as expected.

No further information was provided although a new bid attempt is expected to come up soon.

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17 September 2019:
The DND as well as PHILGeps both released new bidding documents for the Squad Rocket Launcher Light acquisition project, which can be accessed HERE.

No major changes were noted on the requirements including quantity and specs, as well as the budget allocated by the DND.

Pre-bidding Conference is scheduled on 19 September 2019, wherein changes in the technical requirements and others may change based on what is agreed upon by the TWG, BAC, and the interested proponents.

Submission and Opening of Bid Envelopes (SOBE) is tentatively scheduled on 03 October 2019, subject to possible changes depending on the outcome of the Pre-Bid Conference or if the DND releases Supplementary Bid Bulletins before the SOBE date.

Invitation to Bid for the 2nd attempt to bid the project. Photo cropped from official DND bid documents.
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26 September 2019:
A new Supplemental Bud Bulletin was released by the DND dated 24 September 2019, wherein some changes in the bid documents discussed and agreed upon during the Pre-Bid Conference were posted.

Among those changes was allowing proponents to sub-contract the supply of ammunition, optical sights, and sub-caliber training devices, which were apparently among the reasons why the previous bid attempt failed. This is provided that the proponents will provide the necessary supporting documents and guarantee on those products.

Previously the requirement was for the RPG launcher manufacturer to also be the manufacturer for these items, which is not the case for some of the interested proponents. This will now allow a more open playing field for bidders.


As during the initial attempt to bid the project, it was confirmed that one of the potential bidders is S&S Enterprises, although a query coming from Hafid N Erasmus Corp. means that they are also potentially joining the tender. No confirmation though if Arsenal JSCo. of Bulgaria will still be joining although MaxDefense believes that they have the highest chances of winning, being able to meet all requirements and previously supplying RPGs, RPG ammunition and other related products to the Philippine Army before.

Hafid N Erasmus Corp. can be remembered as one of the potential bidders for the Mortar 81mm Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy (Marines), which was discussed in a separate resource page.

Submission and Opening of Bid Envelopes (SOBE) remains on 03 October 2019 despite requests made by S&S Enterprises to move the date.





Interesting infographics on the RPG-7 from Russia. Credits to original sources of the photos.
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17 October 2019:

Hispanic defense page InfoDefensa.com reported that Airtronic USA’s president and COO Rick Vandiver confirmed to them that Airtronic USA is participating in an open tender in the Philippines to supply Rocket Propelled Grenade Launchers. 

Although no specifics were mentioned, the only open tender now in the Philippines for RPGs is the Squad Rocket Launcher Light Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy (Marines). It also appears that Airtronic USA is offering their PSRL-1 lightweight RPG launcher, which was the original model offered by Airtronic USA back in 2013 for the Philippine Army’s own Rocket Launcher Light Acquisition Project.

It appears that the re-bidding for the project pushed through last 03 October 2019.

According to a source, the lowest bidder was Arsenal JSCo. of Bulgaria, the same company that supplied the first batch of RPGs for the Philippine Army. We expect them to supply the ATGL-L family again, allowing commonality between Army and Marine RPGs.

But there is currently a Motion for Reconsideration ongoing from one of the losing bidders, so until this is not sorted out, the PN's TWG and DND BAC cannot proceed with post-tender activities like Post Qualification Inspections (PQI).

More of that on InfoDefensa's article which can be accessed HERE.


Photo from Army Recognition website.

Here's a brief on the Airtronic USA PSRL-1 from Army Recognition:

"The PSRL-1 system was redesigned from the world's most widely used anti-tank weapon, the RPG-7, to be safer and more effective. Every aspect from the material and manufacturing to the sighting system was evaluated and redesigned to modernize the PSRL-1 for today's battlefield environment. These improvements resulted in a longer lasting, U.S. Army safety certified weapon system with a max effective range of 800+ meters. AirTronic prides itself on providing a complete weapons package including various accessories to adapt to any environment.

The PSRL-1 is able to fire all types of rockets which are used with the Soviet-made RPG-7. It has a total weight of 6.6 kg and total length of 915mm. This rocket launcher can be fitted with a Flip Up Iron Sight or PSRL 3.5 X 24mm optical sight. Picatinny rails are mounted on each side and on the top of the launcher.

In conjunction with the weapon, to complete the system, AirTronic offers various accessories that allow for the soldier to comfortably transport the system and its ammo, while also allowing the soldier to adapt to any situation. These accessories vary from different sighting systems, spare parts, slings, cases, ammo bags, bipods, and more. Additionally, AirTronic offers various Cerakote™ Firearm Coatings that further add to the versatility of this system."

Army Recognition's article can be accessed HERE.


Photo from Army Recognition website.

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First edit and release: 25 August 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines



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