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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Updates on the Sensors, Fire Control System, and Weapons Systems Upgrade of the Philippine Navy's Jacinto-class vessels

The Philippines' Department of National Defense (DND) has confirmed that the bidding for upgrades of the Philippine Navy's Jacinto-class ships is being restarted, and released more information regarding the said projects. There are 2 projects that are made available for this work, titled:

"Phase 3A: Restoration and Sustainment of 76mm Gun Systems for two (2) JCPVs & three (3) 25mm Gun Systems for three (3) JCPVs for two (2) JCPV,s Upgrade of two (2) Electro Optical Fire Control Systems and Sensors for two (2) JCPVs, and Supply of One Hundred Fifty (15) Target Practice (TP) rounds of 76mm OTO Melara Gun and Six Hundred Sixty (660) TP rounds of 25mm Gun Ammunition for the three JCPVs",

and the second one as:

"Phase 3B: Restoration and Sustainment of 76mm Gun System, Upgrade of Electro Optical Fire Control System and Sensors for one (1) JCPV".

BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS-36) during exercises with the US Navy.
Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons.

JCPV refers to the Jacinto-class patrol vessel, formerly known as the Peacock-class patrol vessel of the Royal Navy. Phase 3A has a Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC) of Php 630,637,163.60 (around US$13.6 million), while Phase 3B has an ABC of Php 224,000,000.00 (around US$4.83 million).

Combining both projects, it is summarized as an effort to upgrade/replace the radar and electro-optical fire control systems, and restoration works for the 76mm Oto Melara 76/62 Compact main gun and 25mm MSI Defense DS25 autocannons of the three Jacinto-class ships, namely BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS-35), BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS-36), and BRP Artemio Ricarte (PS-37). It also includes acquiring several target practice rounds for the two types of guns.

This project is actually in its re-bid phase, with an initial effort failing earlier this year. With the project among those approved by President Benigno Aquino III last July 2015, it now has the financial backing it requires and may now proceed without funding problem hook-ups.

The new bid documents for both projects were not shared by the DND's website last time. But the DND recently released a new Supplemental Bid Bulletin (SBB # DND/PN-JCPV-P3-15-01) last October 19, 2015 which answered queries submitted by potential bidders for both projects. 

Further information can also be gathered from previous Supplemental Bid Bulletins provided by the DND, SBB # DND/PN-JCPV-P3-15-02 dated 20th February 2015, and SBB # DND/PN-JCPV-P3-15-04 dated 17th March 2015. Some information may still remain relevant although whatever similar information provided on the newer SBB is considered latest.

Potential Bidders:

Among the information made available are the potential bidders for the projects:

1. Insis System Engineering - an Italian company, Insis S.p.A. is involved in design and manufacture of multi-technological systems, including those used for military applications. Their company profile and products can be viewed HERE. It appears that they can provide certain items of the project, specifically the electro-optical fire control component, but not the rest. 

2. OTO Melara - another Italian company, they are the original designer and manufacturer of the 76mm OTO Melara Compact gun being used by the JCPVs. Restoration and sustainment of these guns would definitely be their forte, even if the Compact gun is already out of production. MaxDefense believes they can also supply the ammunition for the gun, since they design and manufacture them as well. 

3. Propmech Corporation - a Filipino company with experience in bagging DND/PN projects including the Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (MPAC), Landing Craft Utility (LCU), and refurbishing and repair works on patrol gunboats. While they do not manufacture any electronic component, it appears that they would be working with specialist companies either as the contractor or the sub-contractor. 

4. Navantia - the Spanish shipbuilder is also a systems integrator, and can do ship refurbishing works. They would probably be working with partners, as stated in their query due to their lack of presence in the Philippines. Navantia also produces several naval systems including the Dorna Fire Control System, although they are expected to outsource the sensors, gun rehabilitation, and ammunition requirements.

5. Sagem Safran - is a major French defense company involved in electronics and communications systems. Their naval solutions include surveillance and fire control system, as well as navigation equipment. are well known and proven products used by major navies. Being specialized, 

6. Thales S.A. - another major French defense conglomerate, and among the largest defense companies in the world, a major global manufacturer of electronics and naval solutions. They could be involved in the EO-FCS and sensor/radar systems part of the project.

7. Ultra Electronics - another active European defense electronics company based in the UK, they also have an extensive product offering that will suite the requirements of the JCPV upgrade, although guns and ammunition are not their forte. 

The first attempt to bid out these projects saw the presence of Indian conglomerate Larsen & Toubro and French company Nexeya Group, as shown in the previous Supplemental Bid Bulletin answering bidder's queries early this year. So far they did not appear to be among the prospective bidders as far as the latest SBB is concerned.

The presence of specialized companies in the prospective bidders list could mean that they would undertake parts of the upgrade project but will be working with a local company or partner where the works would be done.

For easier discussion, MaxDefense will divide the discussion into several components.

Upgrade of Sensors & Fire Control System :

First are the electronics systems of the ship, which include the sensor/radar system and the electro-optical fire control system.

Currently, the Jacinto-class ships are equipped with a  Radamec 1500 electro-optical fire control system, and the Sperry Marine Bridgemaster-E navigational and surface search radar. Both were installed more than 10 years ago as part of the original AFP Modernization Program under RA 7898, to replace an older system used during its service with the British Royal Navy.

a. Radar:

Based on the SBB, it seems that the Philippine Navy is looking for a new surface search radar which is protected from electronic jamming, and is integrated to the fire control system. Standard navigation radar are not designed for such, including its existing radar. The radar should be brand new and not overhauling the existing on-board systems, as per the reply on Sagem-Safran's query. 

As replied to Propmech's query, the radar will have a maximum instrumented range of at least 96 nautical miles (178 kilometers), although the maximum detection & tracking range is a maximum of at least 40 nautical miles (74 kilometers). Although not indicated in the new SBB, previous SBB indicated that it should be able to track two hundred (200) targets at the same time, and must have a minimum detection range of 0.075 nautical miles (around 40 meters)

It would be a X-band type solid state radar, as replied by DND to Navantia, but must have multiple frequency transmission capability. It will have at least 3 displays for navigation, tactical - fire control, and command & control (C2). 

Thales have several naval radar models in their catalogue, although its difficult to say which one they could offer. The NS100 is among those in their product list, but further technical checking is needed to see if it fits the bill. MaxDefense believes a simpler radar system might be used, probably less capable than the NS100.
Photo taken from Thales Nederlands website.

b. Fire Control System:

For the fire control system, the projects are intended to replace the existing Radamec 1500 EO-FCS with a brand new system, and overhauling of existing system is not allowed, as confirmed by the DND replied to Sagem-Safran's query

It is required to have a track and lock-on target capability of at least 10 nautical miles (18.5 kilometers) distance on a clear visibility using daylight TV camera. Detection Recognition Identification feature is not required.

It is also required that the new FCS be open for growth capacity or will have an open architecture design to integrate other weapons systems, but the PN expects the other weapons to be smaller caliber guns and not missiles.

Not much queries were made with regards to the FCS as compared to the radar, and MaxDefense assumes that previous SBB or the revised Technical Specifications may have already provided the information needed by the bidders. 

Sagem Safran has several models of EO-FCS that can be offered that may cater to what the Philippine Navy needs for its Jacinto-class patrol vessels, with the most capable being the Vampir NG (bottom left).
Photo taken from Safran SAGEM's website.

c. Other Sensors:

The ships are also in need to replace several onboard sensors with new ones, including its Speedlog, Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS), Anemometer, and Ring Laser Gyroscopes. Discussing this will require more technical terms, so we'll skip on these issues.

It was confirmed that dry docking is needed to install some systems like the Speedlog, and the DND has confirmed that all three ships would be made available if works are about to start. As confirmed by DND on Propmech's query, the naval yard can't be used for dry docking, and instead the proponent must use a civilian shipyard.

Previous queries by Navantia also indicated that there will be no work on Combat Management System for both phases of the project.

Previous requests by Larsen & Toubro, Thales, and Nexeya Systems to use a Fibre Optic Gyro (FOG) instead of a Ring Laser Gyro (RLG) has been declined by the DND, even if both claim that the FOG performs better and needs less maintenance the the RLG.

Restoration and Sustainment of 76mm and 25mm Guns:

Another important part of the projects are the works related to the 76mm Oto Melara 76/62 Compact main gun and the MSI Defense DS25 25mm secondary gun.

a. OTO Melara 76mm Compact Gun:

DND confirmed that Phase 3A will involve the 76mm guns of BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS-35) and BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS-36), while Phase 3B will be for the gun of BRP Artemio Ricarte (PS-37).

The SBB indicated that the guns may only need thorough inspection and minor refurbishing operations, although it also indicated the need to have its barrels replaced with new ones, although it appears that the barrels are furnished by the Philippine government/Philippine Navy. 

It also appears that the gun works will require the proponent to have all sub-systems to be brought to full operational status and updated to the latest design standard, thus requiring upgrades for the gun systems. It is unclear though if upgrade to latest design standard means retaining the gun as a Compact model or upgrading it to later Super Rapid standard. MaxDefense believes it would be retained as a Compact model as changing to Super Rapid standard may require more work, and more budget.

It also indicate that the projects will require the proponent to provide spares, special tools, and test equipment, as well as training package that will allow the Naval Combat Systems Center to have the capability to do intermediate level repair. This is a very important clause since the Philippine Navy have previous history wherein it cannot do the repair of the guns by itself and needed assistance from a foreign navy (previously coming from the Royal Australian Navy) to provide training.

For testing, the new and older SBBs retain that the 76mm guns must be static and dynamic aligned that 1st salvo (1 salvo = 10 rounds) must hit a 16ft. x 16ft. target at a minimum distance of 4 nautical miles. This should be tested on a sea state 5 status.

It is interesting to note that based on the PN's market study, there are at least 10 other companies that are licensed manufacturers of the OTO Melara 76mm gun, and they allowed to join the tender as a joint-venture with the main proponent should OTO Melara decide to become a main proponent itself.

The OTO Melara 76mm Compact gun, mounted on a ground platform and showing its magazine that is normally hidden on the ship's hull. Phase 3A involves work on 2 guns, while Phase 3B is for work on a 3rd gun.

b. MSI Defense DS25 25mm Gun:

Most of the requirements for work on the DS25 gun is similar to those of the OTO Melara 76mm gun, including the need to replace the barrels and for the testing of accuracy.

Previous queries by Ultra Electronics also indicated that the gun console for the DS25 25mm gun is to be replaced with a new one, with target information coming from the radar and gun camera, but not the EO-FCS.

Contrary, MSI Defense was already expected to join as a common sub-contractor for all major proponents to work on the MSI DS25 25mm guns.

The MSI Defense DS25 Seahawk mounting a 25mm autocannon, installed on all 3 Jacinto-class patrol vessels. The DS25 can be controlled remotely or manually as shown in the photo above.

Similar Works, 2 Projects?

The entire upgrade works for the 3 ships was divided into 2 separate and distinct projects, named Phase 3A and 3B. As confirmed in the replies by the DND on both the new and older SBBs, there is a possibility that 2 different proponents may win the 2 projects (1 proponent for each project), thus it is possibile that the products and services to be used or made on the ships involved will not be the same.

There were previous calls by some of the bidders to combine the two projects into one, but the DND insisted on maintaining two separate projects for the 3 ships. This would allow only 1 winner to bag the Phase 3A and 3B projects, allowing commonality and economics of scale.

As to why, MaxDefense has not yet found out from the DND. But MaxDefense believes that the DND should have just combined the 2 projects into 1, as Phase 3. This is to avoid multiple groups involved in similar works, resulting to having different types of radars, sensors, EO-FCS, and parts used on the ships, as well as varying quality of work and ILS problems in the future.

Issues on Commonality and Future Proofing:

There was no indication if whatever products acquired for the Jacinto-class ships will also be used by existing or upcoming assets of the Philippine Navy. Two upcoming ships, the Strategic Sealift Vessel (SSV) and the Frigate, are expected to require radar and EO-FCS systems as well, and having a similar system used to whatever is the winning proponent can benefit in terms on commonality, compatibility, logistics and spares, and training. 

The point that the project is divided into 2, and the possibility of having 2 different proponents winning the 2 separate projects already showed that the PN and the DND may have not considered this issue of coming at all. If they allowed this to happen, it is then very possible that the upcoming ships will definitely have different models of sensors as well.

Another is the indication of missile or more advanced weapons systems installed on the ships in the future. It appears that there are no plans as of this time, except for small caliber guns as replied by DND to one of the queries. This, despite previous information that the Philippine Navy is interested in installing lightweight, short range surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missile systems to the ships. The only possibility now is for more advanced tracking systems supporting missiles to be installed later on, and for the PN to decide on a lightweight missile system that would not affect the inherent top-heaviness design of the class.

With the Radamec 1500 EO-FCS and Sperry Marine Bridgemaster-E radar being replaced, it is possible that these systems are still repairable or overhauled, and can be installed on existing PN ships using older systems like the BRP Rajah Humabon, the Rizal-class, or the Miguel Malvar-class ships. With just over 10 years under its belt, MaxDefense believes that these could still be useable for other purposes especially with the limited resources the PN has. Previous queries by Sagem Safran as shown on older SBBs proved this to be possible.

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PS-36 is seen here on drydock together with PS-35, taken several years ago while both ships were undergoing works.
Photo taken from

This time, MaxDefense won't be suggesting possible radar and EO-FCS systems that could be offered by the proponents since it is also unclear who will go as a main proponent, and who will opt to be a sub-contractor. MaxDefense believes that not all companies that submitted queries will join the project as the main proponent since majority are specialists that could only provide certain items of the project. 

It would be difficult to determine also which companies are partnered or in a joint-venture with the possible proponents since it was not indicated nor needed to be listed in this SBB, and will only be named as part of the bid submission.

In the end, it is expected that not much will be added to the ship's capability after the upgrades are done. MaxDefense is only expecting a slight improvement on the ship's surveillance and detection capability with the introduction of a better radar and EO-fire control system compared to the previous models the ship uses, but aside from these the Jacinto-class will remain as what it currently are.

Aside from answering queries, the SBB from the DND also confirmed that the bid submission and opening is now scheduled on 10th November 2015. It is expected that re-schedule may happen but MaxDefense hopes that there is no need for that.

As the bid opening proceed, MaxDefense will provide more updates as information starts to come in, especially on the outcome of the bidding. It is also expected that we can get information on the entities involved with the proponent, enabling us to provide analysis on what the Philippine Navy might be getting.


March 13, 2016: 

The Department of National Defense has awarded the JCPV Phase 3B project to a joint venture between Filipino company Propmech Corporation and Swedish defense manfacturer Saab A.B. The project will involve the restoration and sustainment of an Oto Melara 76mm Compact naval gun, and upgrade of Electro-Optical Fire Control System and Sensors of a single Jacinto-class patrol vessel. 

A separate award for the same works will be made for two other Jacinto-class patrol vessels under the JCPV Phase 3A project.

Propmech will probably be in-charge of the dockworks and installation works, while Saab manufactures and will supply its own EO/IR systems, Fire Control System, Radars and other sensor components for naval vessels.

The DND has awarded the JCPV Phase 3B project to Propmech-Saab JV.
Photo taken from c/o 40niner_com.


  1. Cguro mga kasing tanda na ni humabon bago magka missile sina jacinto.

  2. It's already late 2015, and yet there are no plans for arming the Jacinto-class with missiles. This is disappointing.

    PH has very few surface assets, I'm not asking for every one of them to have missiles, all I'm asking is for the capable ones to have 'em. At the very least, the Jacinto class and the Hamiltons should have them.

    Even the cheapest and oldest type of missile systems will do. Our navy needs to learn missile tech, kahit di naten magamit sa gyera yan, the missiles on the Hamilton's and Jacinto class vessels will serve a purpose.

    - Neo

    1. How about torpedo first?

    2. dont worry, irribiri will equip them with long-ranged anti-ship rifles

    3. What I like the Jacintos to have are either the Mistral (for anti-air) or the Spike (NLOS would be better). I don't think the PN has a budget for both. And correct me if I am wrong, either would be cheaper than having torpedoes on the Jacintos.

      I'm not sure torpedoes would be a cheap upgrade, since you have to install ASW capabilities on the Jacintos.

      - Neo

    4. I agree. unfortunately most of our leaders both civilian and military are stupid. that's why we have no respect throughout the world.

    5. asa kapa kay irriberi!!!!!!1

  3. Sobrang nakaka dissappoint na ang DND and government natin. Kaya naman i modernize ang mga asset natin pero hindi nila ginagawa at sobrang kupad pa. What can we do para bumilis naman kahit papano. Sana magkaroon tayo ng President at mga DND leaders na may tapang na i modernize ng tuloy tuloy ang ating AFP - vino

  4. Noooooo Im not the First!!!!!

    Two things:
    1. Dividing the program into two phase and allow another bidder to win is a stupid decision.

    2. Unless the radar is compatible with future missile requirement, u can bet there will be no missile at all. Because there is no way they will replace still brand new radar for new radar that suitable for the future missile (that we still don't know the brand is).

    - Sebastian

    1. This blog was posted last night, although only posted at the FB page this morning.

      It is a stupid thing if that happens, that's why I don't know what's running in their minds. Some bidders already asked if they can just combine the 2 projects into 1 since this is what they saw as well.

      As for missiles, I don't expect long range missiles, and short range missiles will just require additional fire control & tracking
      radar that is suitable for the maximum range coverage.

    2. Its OK Sir Max i just practicing my Darth Vader voice: Nooooooo!!!!!!

      Anyway i think the bidder wish to avoid two project, because the second project date can be separated in long time. Also they have pay the second administration fee and repeat the process again. Its annoying for the supplier.

      What kind of short range missile that u expect sir? Short range missile that have simple system may not worth it. At minimum it should harpoon or exocet. If that is a problem, then torpedo is another cheap alternative.

      - Sebastian

    3. Sir Max, how expensive would it be to integrate the Mini Typhoon on the Jacintos? If the PN is considering this on the upcoming MPACs, maybe the PN could get a discount by acquiring not just 3 for the MPACs but more if we are including the Jacintos.

      Yes, the NLOS wouldn't be ideal anti-ship missiles because of the lack of range, but it's better than nothing. Even if the PN designates the Jacintos as patrol vessels, it wouldn't hurt if your patrol vessels have this capability. Plus it wouldn't hurt too if the PN gets missile training as soon as possible.

      - Neo

    4. If my memory serves me right, the project was split into two because there are 2 sources of funding. The 224M is under GAA while the rest is under AFPMF.. interestingly, the DBM released another 224M for a second can verify this at the website of DBB. It is under Capital Outlay of the PN.

  5. sir max, dalawang project, dalawang bidding, dalawa rin ang taker..aside pa yan sa doble din ang makukuha nilang bayad sa bid docs sa pagsali ng mga bidders na siyang gagastosin ng BAC para sa kanilang honoraria at iba pang expenses sa meetings..isinakripisyo na ang commonality for interoperability para lang makakuha ng mas malaking proceeds..tsk,tsk..mahirap talagang intindihin ang dnd sir max..

  6. kahit gastusan natin iyan pang pirata parin ang mga iyan ,mabuti pang bitayin natin ang mga magnanakaw na senador at mga opisyal bitayin narin natin ang mga communistang tongresman

  7. Max, Din you have any comments of this data ...

    On its list of the Top 10 worst military organizations are:

    1. Costa Rica
    2. Iraq
    3. North Korea
    4. Eritrea
    5. Nigeria
    6. The Philippines
    7. Tajikistan
    8. Mongolia
    9. Saudi Arabia
    10. Afghanistan

    1. How can Costa Rica be the #1 worst military in the world when everyone knows that this Central American country has no military in the first place? They might as well put the Vatican, Liechtenstein and Nauru on this list.

  8. Max, Do you have any news regarding this ..?? If this news is true, it will be better if we can focus on 'Man behind Gun" ...
    On its list of the Top 10 worst military organizations are:

    1. Costa Rica
    2. Iraq
    3. North Korea
    4. Eritrea
    5. Nigeria
    6. The Philippines
    7. Tajikistan
    8. Mongolia
    9. Saudi Arabia
    10. Afghanistan

    1. Is it even necessary to respond to such a sloppily researched article? It reflects insecurity and defensiveness on the part of the PH doesn't it?

      A country builds an armed force as a hedge against uncertainty, not to take part in dumb Internet ranking exercises.

    2. Seeing Saudi Arabia on the lists alone makes me doubtful on this article

  9. While i am happy that after a long time the DND proceeded for this project. But its not the DND it is the President himself delayed this project the DND already submitted this plan since last last year if im not mistaken but you see the president think thank just today kaya people with wide imagination will think again that part of this fund will go again for politics (election) tks tks tks....... napakahaba ng sinayang na panahon kaya itong bansa natin d na aasenso dahil sa kalokohan ng mga magagaling nating politiko!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Sir max kung pwdi lang pumatay ang mura patay na cilang lahat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! gi-atay!!!!!

  11. missiles, missiles, missiles!!!
    kasama ba sya sa sail plan ek-ek?

    buti pa si PhAF meron na list of missiles for FA-50PH kahit short range lang.

  12. we already had so much for internal threats, PhN should plan how we can achieve yun sinasabi nila na "minimum credible defense"

  13. Out of topic: Is their any news with regards to the micro satellite that our Government plans to put in space this 2016? Is this going to pursue or not? I thought it was name "DIWATA".

  14. I guess DND officers are lack of education. Unlike those from Thailand \, Indonesia and all other ASEAN nation ar egood in planning and decision making when it comes to military modernization.

  15. The bidding will again and again because of that confusing two face bidding even missile capability for this ship is still nothing after almost 20 years since acquiring them. Ah the Philippines prides itself on everything except on its Armend Forces not even a moral boost (which means a lot for our men in uniform) to show proof of commitment one least decent averaged technologically missile ship. ADMIT IT ALL THOSE IN THE TOP OF THE MILITARY HIERARCHY AND SOME LEGISLATORS ARE ALL IN THE PAYROLL OF THE chinese GOVERNMENT. Sad but true.

  16. important to refresh and maintain these old hulls - they are 30 years old after all...

    but beyond the guns and radar, i thought a simple, low cost item that should be equipped is a high-pressure water cannon.

    as tension in the SCS increases, ships need non-lethal options so they can support the state to achieve limited political objectives. get real - the guns are important but no-one's really gonna shoot at a chinese coast guard ship with an oto-melera 76.

    u want to ram them, harass them, squirt them with water cannons, jam their comms and radar, etc. Once they leave, its a limited victory - till next time.

    the minute anyone sinks someone else's naval vessels might be the start of WW3 in Asia.

  17. kung ayaw nila gumastos sa credible defense upgrades eh isara na lang nila ang Phil Navy. wala na lang Navy and AirForce. Puro Army na lang with helmets. diyan makatipid talaga sila.

  18. Kaya naman ng gobyerno natin na bumili ng missile...pero nakapagtataka hangang ngayon ayaw pa rin ng afp or dnd na mag purchase?????? Siguro hanggang pangarap nalang muna yan sa sambayanang filipino.

  19. hi!
    this comment/query might be out of place considering the topic, but i figured what the hell.

    i grew up taking superficial looks at things military, never really appreciating the fine details in the awesome way this blogger has, and is able to apply. ;j

    with idle time recently though, gave into my vice of wikipedia surfing, and one thing led to another -- ended up, self-flagellating again, comparing the AFP to other SEA armed forces.

    I hope can then ask, to i guess people with somehow shared interests as mine that i just never found before - what are the main reasons why we lagged behind? sure, medyo pointless siya to spend time on, with airstrips being built inside our eez, the abu sayaf still operating within sight of a major metropolis (davao) etc. etc. but aside from satisfying the trivia part of our brains, maybe it might help really determine where the logjams are in our efforts to keep in step and yes, at least have a credible posture for security.

    I suppose many factors are there, but might i ask - might corruption/organizational culture unique to the philippines and the legacy of the US defense umbrella be the main culprits?

    Haha, it spawns many questions - but if the blogger, or, any informed reader would make it to here, maybe there might be some value in each.

    I couldn't help but compare our assets to those of nations with similar or lower GNP - central american or north african states for example. How can Morocco have supersonic air superiority fighters? And Uruguay, missile carrying and ASW capable vessels? Having airspace near areas of operation for well, key communist states (considering historical power relations), and, the archipelagic nature of our country, why didn't we acquire all these capabilities as other SEA nations did in the 70's to 80's?

    If only the general populace knew how defenseless our military would be to a missile strike of a single missile armed boat from any neighbor, or, how we would be pretty much hostaged by a foriegn power if they positioned a submarine in philippine waters.. it really befuddles the mind.

    Would it be a "spoiled" AFP - to the military umbrella of the US, that morphed into an internal counterinsurgency operations institution? Nabigla lang tayo sa Pinatubo + Philippine Senate? Kasi sa laki ng gnp natin, tapos ganon lang kadami ang napupunta sa logistics/equipment and operations, grabe ang.. malamang na pagnanakaw na nagawa. Sus, even just SAR choppers, short-strip cargo aircraft or patrol boats versus piracy, or large transports for goods across the seas. As a reflection of responsivenss and attunedness to the people's needs, wouldnt the running of the AFP be a profound failure?

    And the other poignant question - how come other allies of the US get meatier equipment transfers from the USA? Considerable ang pagkafrontline ng Thailand halimbawa sa Vietnam, pero grabe naman - all those M60 battle tanks, the Knox class frigate, design for the Ratanakosin corvette. Sige, no permanent friends and enemies only permanent interests; succeeding generations of Americans might limit their feelings of kinship with the PHL by naming vessels Bataan, Leyte Gulf and so on and so forth.. But one would.. maybe some how expect a more magnanimous effort for a nation with a shared history and shared sacrifice as the PHL.

    Those are pretty much the queries; habang napakatindi ng insight at sophistication na nashashare ng maxdefense - at salamat - di matiis na maisip ito. Baka kako sa mga sagot, makiliti rin ang isip. At malay, makaambag.


    1. Good analysis and question Mr Anonymous. I read some interesting theory somewhere that i want to share.

      The Philippines messy military start in Marcos era where they grow corrupt and patronizing is rampage. It also doesn't help when the military is abusing its power to the peoples.

      After Marcos gone, Philippine enter the era of many military coup. This again tarnish the image of the arms forces in the public eyes and decrease its professionalism.

      At this point Civilian government and public don't want the military to grow stronger as their fear of another coup or another repression. Thus deny big budget and limit the spending. Why would they want the army to have tank, if they fear the tank will be use to oppress them?

      At the same time limited budget and support, reduce the Philippines arm forces in quality, discipline and morals. This resulting the corruption is even more rampant and thus decreasing the public image even more.

      So it became a vicious cycle where the government reduce the military support and the military grow corrupt, resulting the government reducing its support even more.

      The other two factor is the believe that USA will always support Philippine and the mentality of the peoples.

      The believes that USA will always support Philippine is so chronic that many believe that USA will go help them beyond the treaty that was set. This is not true as the USA will not go beyond the treaty obligation, but public and politician seem to ignore it. In fact many politician still use USA protection and support as reason to not modernize the AFP and divert the funds.

      As for mentality, it also show that many peoples stuck with the past and bring up old past deeds. They will remind USA about Philippine support, as allies in the regions. Ignoring that USA have little sentimental feeling and probably already do so much for Philippine in the past. In fact u also mention this in your post. Why? What do u expect? All of your neighbors buy their weapons with cash, not sympathy or old sentiment. This mentality will not work.

      Hope that help answer your question and sorry if im wrong as im not a Filipino. Best luck for your nation.

    2. Corruption alone does not explain it. If you are a close friend to a Malaysian or Indonesian, ask him/her about corruption in his/her homeland and you will hear a litany about corrupt government officials. This probably is true for every Southeast Asian country except maybe Singapore (and even then they aren't clean either). Transparency International ranks the Philippines in the middle of the pack in their Corruption Perception Index, both worldwide and within Southeast Asia.

      While corruption worsens the problem, I think there are two other reasons that are more significant. The first is overdependency on American help. This dates back from Marcos' time. Much of the supposed strength of AFP during his regime was actually handouts from America. This legacy is still crippling the AFP. Perhaps not directly, but the attitude of "America will protect us" has an unspoken corollary of "thus it is unnecessary to spend money on the AFP". And thus the AFP remains chronically underfunded. This also shows up in lack of urgency (what's the hurry? America will protect us), reluctance to fund the modernization (that's so expensive, why not wait until America gives us their used equipment instead?), long term planning and R&D (why bother? Let's just follow America), etc. There is a big difference between coordinating with your allies (good) and being a dependent (bad). The AFP is trying to do the former, but we can see the later attitude is still quite widespread even today. That attitude needs to go.

      The other factor is/was distrust of the military. During President Corazon Aquino's time there were six military coup attempts. These failed, but it created the impression that the military must be defanged so it wouldn't threaten the civilian government. It didn't help that there were a few more coup attempts after that. The perception was "if the military doesn't support me, why should I support them?"

      Thing are getting better these days. The antipathy toward the military, while still present in some segments of the people, are lessened. More people are recognizing that the AFP must be able to stand on its own too and while allies are great, one must not assume that they will take care of everything. Still long ways to go though.

      Regarding military aid, the U.S. already helps the Philippines a lot. However, the U.S. has their own interests too and their military aid is a means to achieve those interests. They do not give military aid out of the kindness of their heart (that would be building wells in remote villages and funding local clinics and the like, not aircrafts and warships). For the past two decades military aid to the Philippines gave bad return on investment. The Philippines spent very little on defense, so if the U.S. gave higher end stuff it would be wasted and probably will break down too soon due to lack of maintenance. Too many politicians back then automatically derided everything the U.S. did. The Philippines had nothing solid in exchange for military aid. So what's in it for the U.S.? Allies are supposed to help each other, but up until recently the flow of help is one-sided. The AFP's patrol assets are inadequate in number and quality, so the U.S. provides the intelligence, not the other way around. The AFP doesn't have any significant capability to project power. In any realistic fight the AFP might as well not be there. Prior to EDCA the U.S. can't count on logistic support from the Philippines (and even today it isn't certain yet). So what's in it for the U.S.? It's actually thanks to the shared history that the Philippines weren't cut off entirely.

      Things are starting to change in that respect too. But honestly worrying about the amount of U.S. military aid is tangential. When people looks for an ally, they look for a strong one. They don't want an ally that's so weak that it will just drag them down. Build a credible defense and allies will come to you offering help.

  20. Thanks for the post and also for updating us about what is going on around us. Hope so that you may get your own gun with ease by joining the Firearms safety training classes and get the license. These licensed gun can help you in gaining the confidence to walk on roads alone without any fear.

  21. Wag na kayo mga umasa mga ungas... Wala nang mangyayari sa Bansa natin mga gago.. Puro lang naman nasinungalingan si Max.. hahahaha

  22. sir max! this could be an interesting article.

  23. This can be more cost effective giving the Jacinto class 7km range missile capability and CIWS with sensors

  24. Sir Max,

    Just today November 14, 2015 @ 7am a saw a Frigate docking at our international port with body # F28 or F29 with PHP Flag, is this a new unit for us? its model is the same as Del Pilar.....


    1. Its the BNS Somudra Avijan, a Hamilton-class of the Bangladesh Navy. She's on her way home after delivery by the US.

  25. OT Max, German navy has decommissioned last year a few of their disel propulsioned Gepard fast attack and Bremen frigates class. Any chance Phil can get a hand on those? Thank you.

  26. By 2017, I'd like to see our navy operating:

    Three Gregorio del Pilar class frigates armed with Phalanx CIWS and harpoon missiles

    Three Jacinto Class Corvettes with something like the Sea Skua missile or Spike NLOS

    One "fully armed" Pohang corvette, I don't care if it's Flight 1, 2, or 3 as long as it has missiles

    Two SSV's with armaments

    And I'd like to have the bidding process for the two new frigates finally finished


  27. Sir Max, who will the next Hamilton-class frigate and the Pohang be named after? Do you have any idea?

  28. If the Italian package pushed through then today our navy would have two Maestrale class-frigates and a Lupo-class frigate which would give us five frigates in service but...

    1. Yes indeed the Maestrales and the Lupo could have already been here pattolling the WPS so del Pilar and Alcaraz can get their upgrades but then again the two new frigates can square off against them so it's not really a bad deal except for this stupid bidding

    2. Yes you are right that the Maestrales / Lupos could have been here. But that wont change the will of the Chinese on building their artificial islands. It won't be easy with the Reds. We need to be ready for the long haul here and having brand new and more capable ships & equipment will have its rewards.


Philippine Navy Modernization Projects

Philippine Air Force Modernization Projects