Your 1st for Philippine Defense

Austal leads Philippine Navy's OPV Acquisition Project!

SecDef Lorenzana confirms Austal is still the preferred OPV supplier for the PN

The Philippine Navy commissions its 2nd Jose Rizal-class frigate!

The Philippine Navy welcomes BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), its newest frigate!

The Philippine Navy selects Shaldag Mk. V for Fast Attack Interdiction Craft!

The DND has awarded the FAIC-M Acquisition Project to Israel Shipyards

The Philippine Air Force wants more Black Hawk helicopters!

The Philippine Air Force asks for more Black Hawks to allow the retirement of their Bell UH-1 Huey fleet

The Philippine Army orders the Sabrah Light Tank System from Israel!

Israel's Elbit Systems was declared the winner to supply light tanks to the PA

The Philippine Air Force receives full order of Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 UAVs!

All 9 Hermes 900 and 4 Hermes 450 MALE UAVs have been received by the PAF!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

ADAS 2016: The ONLY Defence, Security And Disaster Management Exhibition In The Philippines OPENING ON 28 SEPTEMBER!

The ONLY Defence, Security And Disaster Management Exhibition In The Philippines

Manila, 25 September 2016 – The 2nd edition of ADAS, Defence, Security and Crisis Management Exhibition will take place from 28-30 September 2016 at the World Trade Centre, Metro Manila.  ADAS 2016 will be officially opened by The Honourable Delfin N Lorenzana, Secretary of the Department of National Defense on 28 September 2016.

ADAS 2016 is the ONLY Defence and Security Exhibition in the Philippines which is again fully endorsed and supported by the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND), the Philippine Armed Forces (PAF) and other related Government Agencies.  The Philippine National Police (PNP) have for the first time, also added their support and endorsement to ADAS2016.

This year’s show has grown by over 40% as compared to 2014, and there will be over 140 exhibitors from 25 countries showcasing the latest cutting edge equipment and technologies.

Anchoring the international lineup are bellwether companies such as Airbus Defence and Space, ASELSAN, Bell Helicopter, Brahmos Aerospace, DuPont, ELBIT, Israel Aerospace Industry, Kia Motors, KAI, Leonardo, MBDA, MKU, RAFAEL, SAAB and HARRIS, to name but a few.  A major feature of the Show will be the 7 National and Group Country Pavilions from Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Philippines, Singapore and the USA, with the Israeli and Korean Pavilions requiring impressive exhibition areas for this year.

Given the extensive Global Industry participation, ADAS 2016 will again attract a large gathering of procurement specialists, system integrators, suppliers, and evaluators. It is anticipated this year’s show will attract 10,000 professional and trade visitors which will underscore the statement that ADAS 2016 will be the BIGGEST Defense, Security and Disaster Management Event in the Philippines.

FREE-To-Attend Technology Seminars is also a unique feature for Visitors to update themselves on the latest developments, products and systems that are currently available on the market.

Special invitations have been distributed to Defense Ministers and Chiefs of Defense Forces from all members of ASEAN and Korea.  Also in attendance will be Senior Personnel from the Philippine DND, the AFP and other supporting Agencies.

ADAS 2016 presents an invaluable opportunity for the Global Defence Industry to meet the VIP Delegations and high-level Senior Officers and Personnel from the Philippines to explore and discuss their country’s current and future defence requirements.

About ADAS 2016:

28 to 30 September 2016

World Trade Centre, Metro Manila, Philippines
Halls A, B, C, D, Outdoor Display Area

Opening Hours:
28 September, Wednesday     1030 hr – 1730 hr (Show opens after Opening Ceremony)
29 September, Thursday         0930 hr – 1730 hr
30 September, Friday              0930 hr – 1700 hr

ADAS 2016 is open to Trade and Professional Visitors only.

For more information, please visit or contact:
Michelle Leong
Project/Marketing Manager
Tel: +65 6291 4128

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Naval Combat Management System - MaxDefense's Choice for the Philippines' New Frigate & Existing Warships

With the Philippine Navy recently awarding the bidding to construct two new light general purpose frigates, MaxDefense has decided to discuss an important feature of the ship: its Combat Management System (CMS).

What is a CMS?

In simple terms, the Naval Combat Management System is the what most call “the heart of naval combat vessel”,  a computer and software system package that integrates all the sensors and weapons systems of the ship into a single system, and managing of command and weapon control functions. This allows the ship’s crew to do their job faster and more efficiently especially during combat or security operations. 

Being such, this could be considered as among the most important features of a naval warship, and should not be compromised.

A typical architecture of Thales TACTICOS is a large frigate-destroyer type warhsip.
Photo taken from Thales' presentations.

Combat Management System in the Philippine Navy

Currently, the Philippine Navy does not operate a combat management system in any of its ships. Even its newest asset, the Tarlac-class landing platform dock, is not yet installed with a CMS although it appears to be designed to have such system installed in the future should the PN decide to.

In the Philippine Navy frigate’s setting, MaxDefense believes that there could probably be only two competing entities for the supply of Naval Combat Management System. These are the French company Thales Group, and Hanwha (formerly Hanwha Thales, and prior to Hanwha’s acquisition of Samsung's Techwin division, was also known before as Samsung Thales) of South Korea.

With the frigate to be built by South Koreans, it is expected that Hanwha will be among the choices that will be offered by Hyundai for use on the frigates. This is due to cost, local avaiability and easy acquisition, and possibly Korean government pressure to use local products to gain foothold and improve its portfolio in the export market. Hanwha's partnership with Thales was reportedly dissolved lately, although their website still uses the name Hanwha Thales as of this writing. Hanwha currently offers their FFX Naval Shield Combat Management System, a version specifically made for their new frigates including the Republic of Korea Navy's Incheon-class frigate which was based on Hyundai’s HDF-3000 frigate design. Apparently HHI’s frigate design for the PN is based on the same model.

Meanwhile, MaxDefense also expects that, since Thales being among the largest supplier of naval sensors and combat management systems in the world, and their previous ties to Hanwha, it is expected that Thales will be another competitor for the CMS of the PN's new frigate. Thales has been actively offering their systems to the PN for the past few years, so it is not a surprise if this is the case. Thales is expected to offer their successful TACTICOS line of CMS.

The recent news of a team from the DND and PN going to France last May gave a clue on French companies being included in the frigate project, and since our previous blog entry showed that only the MBDA Mistral in Simbad launcher are the only French weapon submitted by Hyundai Heavy Industries, there's only Thales as the suspected entity that did the Post Qualification phase inspection

Other offers are not expected aside from these 2 competitors, 

The FFX Naval Shield' can accommodate sensors and weapons system, mostly those currently being used by the Republic of Korea Navy.
Photo taken from Hanwha Thales' website.

Other Possible CMS Users in the Philippine Fleet:

Aside from the new frigates, other existing Philippine Navy assets are planned to be installed with a Combat Management System. These includes the Del Pilar-class frigates and Tarlac-class landing platform docks. 

It was already mentioned before in previous interviews with Philippine Navy officials, that the upgrades for the Del Pilar-class frigates will be patterned after the new frigates, which means that the PN is just waiting for the confirmation of the subsystems to be installed on the new frigates. 

The Tarlac-class LPD, doubling as command and control assets, are also confirmed by MaxDefense sources from the PN, will also need a CMS considering that it will also be armed with defensive systems.

Other incoming new assets are also expected to be equipped with a CMS, incluidng plans to acquire fast attack crafts, anti-submarine corvettes, additional amphibious assault ships and frigates which are all scheduled for procurement under the Philippine Navy Capability Upgrade Program "Horizon 2" Phase. 

 Thales Nederland TACTICOS:

TACTICOS is currently the most widely used Naval Combat Management System in the world, is used for combat and maritime security operations, and has been a proven product since the first version’s introduction in 1993. It is in use with many navies, including the United States, Japan, Australia, and even the PN frigate's shipbuilder home country in South Korea.

TACTICOS has evolved several times through the years, improving as technology level increases, with more features introduced into the system as mission requirements evolve, and as new subsystems are introduced in the global market.

One of the advantages of TACTICOS is its open architecture that allows third party applications and to speed up the adaptation of new or modified functions.

It is also modular and scalable, which could be made available for less complex or smaller naval surface assets like patrol boats, which are also becoming more technologically advanced and increased use of electronics despite their simplicity.

Some of the ships using Thales' TACTICOS CMS, which has around 22 countries using it since 1993.
Photo from Thales' presentation as of 2016.

Hanwha FFX Naval Shield

Being a product of Samsung Thales, it is good to note that Naval Shield was actually based on the initial version of Thales TACTICOS (which some groups call Baseline 0 model), part of a technology transfer agreement when the Republic of Korea Navy decided to choose Thales products like TACTICOS and Goalkeeper CIWS for its KDX indiginous destroyer program.

This system was first used in Republic of Korea Navy's FFX frigate program (thus the name), starting with the Incheon-class (FFX-1) frigates, and continuing to the Daegu-class (FFX-2) frigates. Both frigate classes are quite new, meaning that the Naval Shield has only been in service for less than 5 years.

There's not much available information on Naval Shield, but several sources including Hanwha Techwin's own website indicated that the FFX Naval Shield was derived from the PKX CMS. PKX (Patrol Killer Experimental) is South Korea's replacement for the Chamsuri-class PKM (known in the Philippine Navy as the Tomas Batilo-class) and is a large patrol boat that probably allowed then Samsung Thales to test its new product due to its size. The PKX CMS was then expanded to accommodate an expanded number of sensors and weapons systems found on frigates, thus the development of FFX Naval Shield.

Currently the FFX Naval Shield is configured to accommodate sensor and weapon systems used by the ROKN, although it is being updated to be able to accommodate other foreign-made subsystems for possible export of the Naval Shield to other countries like the Philippines.

FFX Naval Shield is one of the variants of Hanwha's Combat Management System offering, specifically for ships of frigate size.
Photo taken from Hanwha Thales' website.

So What Is MaxDefense's Choice?

This could be MaxDefense's first blog specifically discussing its product choice over another product, although this is not the first time MaxDefense wrote something that prefers a certain product.

In this regard, MaxDefense chooses the use of Thales Tacticos Naval Combat Management System over Hanwha's FFX Naval Shield.

Here are MaxDefense's reasons:

1. TACTICOS is a more advanced CMS product, as compared to  FFX Naval Shield. It has been in constant development since its introduction in 1993, amd with more years of development in its belt, MaxDefense believes it has gone farther than Hanwha Thales did with the Naval Shield.

2. TACTICOS is in service with more ships of different types and sizes than FFX Naval Shield, even if you include the PKX version of the CMS. There are 23 countries using TACTICOS, while only Korea uses Naval Shield. 

3. Since it has more ships and country users, MaxDefense expects the TACTICOS to be a more proven product than Naval Shield. With some countries doing repeat orders and the number of users swelling in the past few years, it shows that TACTICOS has been able to show that it performed well with its current customer base, and other navies have noticed it too and trusted Thales for the product.

4. TACTICOS is designed to allow easier integration to more weapons and sensors available in the international market, which includes European, American, and NATO-standard weapons systems. Compared to Naval Shield which is currently only designed to accommodate weapons and sensors system in use with the Republic of Korea Navy. TACTICOS' open architecture also allows easy adjustments on the system to allow the integration of new weapons systems, as demonstrated by the Koreans themselves when they integrated the locally-made LIGNex1 C-Star missiles to the TACTICOS-equipped ships of the KDX series.

And last but not the least;

5. Thales is expected to supply the sensors for the Philippine Navy's new frigate if Thales is chosen as the CMS provider. It makes perfect sense to choose Thales products if Thales provides the CMS considering that it would be easier to integrate compared to getting another CMS model like FFX Naval Shield. Thales is the best integrator for Thales products, and could guarantee their work without the need to point to any other company. 

It is riskier to mix and match different brands for the subsystems as this would complicate integration and increasing the risk of failures. Being the first Philippine Navy ship equipped with modern electronic and computer systems, failure is not an option.

The PN is also expected to choose Thales-made sensors for the new frigate. If this happens, it is logical that Thales be selected to supply the CMS that will integrate these sensors together in a single manageable system.
Photo taken from PDFF forum c/o Raider1011.

Price-wise, MaxDefense expects Thales to command a more premium price, considering French defense wares historically are expensive even compared to other western products (think of Rafale as a perfect example). This is where Hanwha could undertake Thales. But being the most important part of the ship's combat system, MaxDefense believes that Thales has a valid reason to get more premium considering all the reasons mentioned above.

There could be several other valid reasons of MaxDefense's choice, but the ones we provided above would be enough to validate our reason.

What About the Frigate Contract?

MaxDefense sources from DND, PN, and other entities confirmed that the contract will be signed very soon between HHI and PN. The ironing out of kinks is almost done as we speak, and the next phase will be the contract drafting, confirmation, and formal signing itself. While it could be too positive to say that it will happen this month, it could possibly happen on early October 2016.

MaxDefense is hopeful that the Philippine Navy will make the best choice for its new frigates, even with such a limited budget.

The Philippine Navy is expected to sign a contract with Hyundai Heavy Industries very soon, after kinks are ironed out.

May 11, 2017:
Just to clarify and update what I already posted on the blog entry.

As of October 2016 (1 month after this blog entry was published), Thales Group divested from Hanwha Thales and sold its shares to Hanwha, with the new managemeny renaming the company Hanwha Systems. As early as July 2016, Thales already indicated their plan to move away from their venture in South Korea.

So officially, there's no more Hanwha Thales, and if Hanwha continues to use the name, that is considered misleading and definitely illegal.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Philippine Navy's Future Frigate from Hyundai: Discussing the Ship's Design and Some of its Expected Subsystems

After years of slow movement in the hands of inexperienced but determined people from the Philippines' Department of National Defense (DND) and Philippine Navy (PN), an award was finally made for the Frigate Acquisition Program Lot 1 (Platform & Launchers) recently. The project involves the acquisition of 2 frigate platforms, including all necessary equipment and weapon launchers. The only missing component of the frigates are the ammunition comprising the gun ammo, missiles, and torpedoes, which are covered by the project's Lot 2.

MaxDefense was the first to report of this milestone last September 1, 2016, and is thankful for the support and patronage of its sources and contributors, community members, readers, and other news aggregation sites.

 Although MaxDefense has numerous blog entries dedicated on the frigate project, it is better off to create a new one that will now focus more on the winning bidder, South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), and their offered product.

How Hyundai got it?

If readers remember the events from around May to July 2016 leading to the awarding of this project, there were two remaining bidders out of the original 6 that passed the Stage 1 of the project bidding, India's Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE) and South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries.

During the Stage 2 phase of the bidding, GRSE was declared the lowest compliant bidder with a bid amount of Php 15.047 billion, while HHI's bid was the second lowest at Php 15.744 billion, a difference of almost Php 700 million. The bids from Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and Navantia were found to be non-compliant, while STX and STX France did not submit a bid.

When it seems that GRSE is on the road to winning the project with their offer using the Indian Navy's Kamorta-class large ASW corvette as a base hull, they were post-disqualified by the Project Management Team (PMT) during the Post Qualification Stage after their Net Financial Contracting Capacity (NFCC) was found to be below the requirement based on the guidelines stipulated on the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Government Procurement Refort Act (RA  9184).

GRSE tried to correct the problem days after the Post Qualification Stage, but it still did not meet the requirements. To be fair with GRSE, they submitted an eligible document on NFCC during the Stage 2 Submission & Opening of Bid Envelopes (SOBE) last December 2015.

Government procurement rules says that in such cases, the PMT is then allowed to conduct Post Qualification inspections on the next lowest compliant bidder, which is HHI. And upon completion of the PQ Stage with HHI last June 2016, they were found to be the compliant and was later on declared as the lowest post-qualified bidder for the project.

Copies of the resolution post-disqualifying GRSE can be found on our previous Facebook post at the MaxDefense FB community page.

While an award was expected to be made in June 2016, it was decided by no less than former President Benigno Aquino III to give the next administration the respect and honour of re-checking the project details and do the awarding. This is to allow the project avoiding the risk of labelled as a "midnight deal", which could be detrimental to the project's survival. Remember when former Pres. Gloria Arroyo was succeeded by Pres. Aquino in 2010, and cancelled the already awarded Multi Role Vessel (MRV).

After vigorous defense and justification made by the Philippine Navy to allow for the project to continue and awarded, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana finally signed the Notice of Award on August 2016.

The Notice of Award to Hyundai Heavy Industries, which was signed and awarded this month.
Photo from PhilGeps website.

Based on MaxDefense's sources, the DND and PN are said to be preparing for the Contract Signing ceremonies with HHI on September 12, 2016. MaxDefense also expects that both Hyundai and the Philippine Navy will showcase the Philippine Navy's future frigate in the upcoming Asian Defence, Security & Crisis Management Exhibition & Conference (ADAS 2016) from September 28 to 30, 2016.

Hyundai's Offer - A MaxDefense Interpretation:

For those who were following MaxDefense in its early years, we reported based on information provided by sources that Hyundai Heavy Industries replied to a Request for Proposal from the Philippine Navy, and submitted an offer to supply 2 frigates based on HHI's HDF-3000 frigate design. The design is a 3,000-ton full load displacement category frigate, and was adapted by the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) for their FFX-1 Project which eventually became the Incheon-class coastal defense frigate.

A. The Platform:

The Philippine Navy made its own specifications for its requirements, and is different from those specified by the ROKN. This required HHI to make the necessary adjustments on its HDF-3000 design, integrating and incorporating the specified requirements of the PN. Example of differences between ROKN's Incheon-class and the PN's frigate include:

- the layout and type of weapons to be used, as the PN frigate will allocate space for a vertical launch system (VLS) and will use a smaller main gun, etc.;

- use of different sensors, as the PN frigate will not be using exactly similar sensors and communication systems as the Incheon-class;

- use of different propulsion system and fuel tank size and layout, as the PN frigate will have an all-diesel powerplant in CODAD configuration compared to the gas turbine & diesel combination in CODOG configuration used by the Incheon-class;

- possible change in freeboard dimensions as the PN frigate's operation and deplotment differs from the Incheon-class;

- possible changes in the superstructure design to accommodate PN requirements.

Another consideration that needs to be factored-in is HHI's release of a newer design which they call the HDF-3500 frigate, which will be used for the ROKN's FFX-3 Project, considered stealth and better radar cross section, and has improved several lapses on the HDF-3000's design based on inputs from active duty Incheon-class frigates in the ROKN.

Hyundai Heavy Industries recently released their FFX-3 Frigate offering, which is based on their HDF-3500 design. MaxDefense believes that slight design cues from HDF-3500 might be used for the Philippine Navy's future frigate.
Photo owned and taken from Panzercho's website.

MaxDefense's own interpretation of the resulting design of the Philippine Navy-spec'ed frigate would have a close physical dimension to the Incheon-class, but will be superficially different based on the considerations made, and may even take slight design cues from the HDF-3500 especially on stealth application.

Based on the Supplementary Bid Bulletins provided by the DND during the bidding. and on the information provided by MaxDefense sources, Hyundai should be able to provide a working design for approval and implementation within 10 months from issuance of Notice to Proceed (NTP). MaxDefense expect

HDF-3000 (left) and HDF-3500 (right) side by side. The difference in design is very much visible despite HHI being the designer for both ships. An integration of both designs is what MaxDefense expects the PN frigate will possibly look.
Photo owned and taken from Ambassador @ TheMess forums.

B. The Weapons Systems:

While we are still doing our own interpretation of the possible physical design of the frigate, it is different in terms of weapons systems. MaxDefense, through its sources, has finally obtained the weapons fit-out for the Philippine Navy's future frigate, as offered by HHI based on the documents they submitted during the tender stage.

It turns out that our previous analysis early this year were very close to what was offered to the Philippine Navy by various shipbuilders. On this page, we will discuss the weapons systems offered not only by Hyundai, but also by its competitor, Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers, so we can have a clear understanding and comparison between the two offers, and also with the previous analysis we made, which can be found on the blog entry link below:

"The Philippine Navy's Frigate Acquisition Program Finally Moves in 2016! New Technical Specification Released and Tender Soon" - dated February 7, 2016, summarizes previous analysis and predictions made since 2013. This was the latest blog entry regarding the frigate prior to this.

B1. Anti-Submarine Lightweight Torpedoes:

MaxDefense prediction:  LIG Nex1 K745 Blue Shark torpedo

GRSE Offer:                  N/A
HHI Offer:                     N/A

MaxDefense already posted before in the FB community page, that LIG Nex1's K745 Blue Shark lightweight torpedo was chosen by AgustaWestland's mother company Leonardo (formerly known as Finmeccanica) for the Philippine Navy's upcoming AW-159 Wildcat ASW naval helicopters.

While the torpedoes ordered are for the helicopters, it should be noted that the technical specifications of both the Anti-Submarine Helicopter and Frigate Acquisition Projects mentioned that both platforms should have the same torpedoes for commonality, as the helicopter would be an integral part of the frigate. The K745 Blue Shark torpedoes, being the helicopter carried torpedo, is the practical choice to become the frigate's torpedoes too.The acquisition of torpedoes for the frigate is actually covered by the Lot 2 of the project, thus it is not HHI's responsibility to acquire them.

According to our sources, Hyundai selected the UK-based company J+S Ltd., now under SEA Group, to supply the triple trainable lightweight torpedo launchers. The launcher is capable of firing other similarly-sized torpedoes of different models, so the use of the K745 for the frigate is still open for debate even if practicality leans more on the Korean torpedo.

SEA Group was selected by HHi to supply the PN future frigate's tripe trainable lightweight torpedo launcher.
Photo taken from SEA Group's website.

B2. Main Gun:

MaxDefense prediction:   Oto Melara 76/62 Super Rapid gun

GRSE Offer:                   Oto Melara 76/62 Super Rapid gun
HHI Offer:                       Oto Melara 76/62 Super Rapid gun

For the 76mm main gun requirement, MaxDefense's prediction was actually between Oto Melara's 76/62 Super Rapid gun, and Hyundai WIA's 76mm Naval Gun. Based on the Philippine Navy's specification that the gun should have at least 120 rounds per minute firing rate, the Oto Melara gun would be qualified, while the Hyundai WIA-made gun would fail as it can only do 100 rounds per minute.

It was not mentioned if the guns will be using a stealth cupola, but MaxDefense believes Oto Melara would provide this as standard.

B3. Stabilised 30-40mm Secondary Gun:

MaxDefense prediction:  BAE Systems / Rafael Mk.38 Mod. 3
                                    Hyundai Wia 40mm naval gun

GRSE Offer:                  Oto Melara Marlin 30mm RCWS
HHI Offer:                      MSI Defence Seahawk 30mm RCWS

It was specified by the PN that the frigate should have at least a single stabilised secondary gun with a gun calibre between 30mm to 40mm, Common sense says that shipbuilders are expected to provide only one stabilised secondary gun with the lowest allowable calibre to save on costs, so MaxDefense expected that a single 30mm gun will be provided, even if we hoped that there would be at least two guns, one each on both port and starboard sides.

The MSI Defence Seahawk RCW is actually in service with the Philippine Navy's Jacinto-class patrol vessels (JCPV), and is expected to be easily absorbed into the logistics train.

B4. Anti-Ship Missile System:

MaxDefense prediction:  MBDA Exocet Block 3
                                    LIG Nex1 SSM-700K Haeseong C-Star

GRSE Offer:                  MBDA Exocet Block 3
HHI Offer:                      LIG Nex1 SSM-700K Haeseong C-Star

MaxDefense previously considered the possibility that Boeing's Harpoon Block II, MBDA's Exocet Block 3, LIG Nex1's SSM-700K Haeseong/C-Star, and India's BrahMos anti-ship missiles might be considered for the future frigates.

Considerations for the Harpoon was due to possible American influence and compatibility, while the BrahMos was considered a possibility should GRSE use a local missile to allow foothold of Indian products. We also considered the Haeseong/C-Star should a Korean shipbuilder win in a similar reason as the BrahMos, while the Exocet has long been whispered as a favourite should shipbuilders opt to use French systems, especially the Indians which was reportedly using several French-made systems as reported by IHS Jane's in the past.

While the requirement is only for two twin launchers, the LIG Nex1 C-Star launchers allows the conversion to quadruple launchers if opted by the PN in the future.

Lot 1 of the Frigate Acquisition Project only include launchers for the missiles to be supplied by Hyundai, and the missiles themselves will be procured separately under the Lot 2 of the project.

LIG Nex1's C-Star anti-ship missile (top) was confirmed to be used by HHI to fulfill the surface-to-surface missile requirement for the Philippine Navy's future frigate. 

B5. Short Range Surface-to-Air Missile System:

MaxDefense prediction:  MBDA Mistral missile, Simbad-RC launcher
                                    LIG Nex1 Chiron, Korean-made twin launcher

GRSE Offer:                  MBDA Mistral missile, Simbad launcher
HHI Offer:                      MBDA Mistral missile, Simbad launcher

The Philippine Navy requirement is for two trainable twin launchers for surface-to-air missiles with a 6 kilometer minimum effective range.

MaxDefense predicted that offers may include the MBDA Mistral VSHORAD system mounted on a Simbad-RC remote trainable twin launcher, and the LIG Nex1 Chiron VSHORAD system mounted on a Korean-developed remote trainable twin launcher. It was expected both the Mistral-Simbad and the Chiron system could be included with any Korean shipbuilder's offer, while the Mistral-Simbad solution is seen as a choice for non-Korean bidders including GRSE.

It appears that the Mistral-Simbad system was offered due to the Philippine Navy's insistence to use the system. It is unclear though if the Simbad system offered by Hyundai will be the RC variant.

MBDA's Mistral-Simbad combo was said to be specifically preferred by the Philippine Navy, and HHI complied. This will become the ship's primary air defense weapon system until a VLS with longer-ranged anti-aircraft missiles are installed in the future.
Photo taken from MBDA's website.

B6. Close In Weapons System (CIWS):

Being a Fitted For But Not With (FFBNW) item, this is not part of the Frigate Acquisition Project, but will be acquired separately using a separate budget and separate project.

There were previous mentions by MaxDefense sources that the Philippine Navy is trying to negotiate for the possible acquisition of Phalanx 20mm CIWS from the US, but that remains to be seen later on.

B7. Vertical Launch System (VLS): 

Being a Fitted For But Not With (FFBNW) item, this is not part of the Frigate Acquisition Project, but will be acquired separately using a separate budget and separate project.

Although not included in the project, the latest technical specifications mentioned a specific dimension for the space sthat needs to be provided for a VLS by the shipbuilder.

C. Combat Management System, Sensors, and EW Systems:

Due to sensitivity of the coverage of this section, MaxDefense will not be disclosing the sensors to be used by Hyundai Heavy Industries for its frigate offer. MaxDefense can only confirm for now that HHI already has a set of products it intends to use under this section.

Instead, this section will be left open for future editing as the project progresses. MaxDefense readers are free to make their guesses on the comments section, or on a separate discussion which MaxDefense will open at the Facebook community page.

(Do not expect MaxDefense to confirm if your guesses are correct!)

Are These Subsystems Final?

(Note: correction was made on this part after a source pointed out the error)

While these are said to be what the shipbuilders submitted during the tender stage, it is NOT ALLOWED for Hyundai Heavy Industries to make some changes on its subsystem list, as whatever is in their submitted list must be followed by the shipbuilder during the construction phase, except if the Philippine Navy specify the changes with a valid reason, including the improvement of certain capabilities by replacing less capable subsystems. But definitely there should be no downgrading.

Mention of this concern is pointed out as there is still a posibility that external pressure could intentionally or unintentionally push the Project Management Team to allow changes that are not just illegal, but could also be detrimental to the project, and to the end product.

Should legally acceptable or unusual changes are made, MaxDefense will provide updates or criticisms as necessary during the course of the project phase.

So When Do We See A Finalized Design?

While the project is scheduled for contract signing very soon, MaxDefense reminds its readers that there is a schedule to be followed by HHI, and it is tied to the issuance of the Notice to Proceed, which is expected by MaxDefense to be released before the end of the year.

Based on this, Hyundai is only expected to have a detailed design for approval by the 4th quarter of 2017, which is around a year from now. It means that we cannot expect a design showing what exactly the Philippine Navy future frigate will look like until late 2017. That's one year of patiently waiting just for the design!

Construction completion and hand-over of the first frigate to the Philippine Navy is expected to happen before the end of 2019, while the second frigate is expected to be had by mid 2020. This is assuming no delays are encountered during the entire contract phase.

So MaxDefense readers, we still have a long way to go! In the meantime, MaxDefense will regularly update you either here on the Facebook community page on the project's situation or if new information are available for public consumption. Patience is a virtue, and this is what is expected from you from now.

For now, let's appreciate the current frigates of the Philippine Navy, including the upcoming BRP Andres Bonifacio which is on its way to the Philippines by November 2016.
Photo of BRP Ramon Alcaraz from Philippine Navy PIO.

Philippine Navy Modernization Projects

Philippine Air Force Modernization Projects