Your 1st for Philippine Defense

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Completed Modernization Projects of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for 2017 - A Summary (Part 1)

For the AFP Modernization Program, the start of 2018 actually means two things. First, the Horizon 1 Phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program has officially ended. And secondly, the new year also marks the beginning of the Horizon 2 Phase of the same program.

MaxDefense was not able to make a year-ender before the New Year of 2017, but we promised readers that we will be providing more for the start of 2018. And that means aside from a year ender to discuss what defense projects were completed for 2017, MaxDefense will also be discussing the status of procurements of ongoing and impending modernization programs as of the end of 2017, for both the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP) Horizon 1 phase under RA10349, as well as from the original AFP Modernization Program (AFPMP) under RA7898.

An FA-50PH of the Philippine Air Force in a ground display.
Credits to owner of photo.

Difference of AFPMP RA7898 and RAFPMP RA10349:

Despite the discussions MaxDefense has made for the past 4 years, there still appear to be confusion for some of its readers on the difference of the modernization programs of the AFP. So here we are again explaining as it is relevant in this blog entry.

For those still unfamiliar with the difference, the AFP Modernization Program (AFPMP) under RA7898 was the original modernization program conceived during the Ramos administration and covers 15 years from 1995 to 2010. It was divided into 3 phases of 5 years each. By 2011, many projects from this program were still ongoing, or has not even started yet due to, but not limited to funding and planning issues, among others. 

Meanwhile, the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP) under RA10349 was the approved 15-year extension of the earlier program and was conceived during the administration of Benigno Aquino III, and will cover the years 2013 to 2028. Like the AFPMP, the RAFPMP was also divided into 3 phases of 5 years each, which are more known by the term "Horizon" phases. Currently we are now at the Horizon 2 phase which runs from 2018 to 2022.

While officially we are now at RAFPMP Horizon 2 phase, there are still several projects from both AFPMP RA7898 and RAFPMP H1 RA10349 that are still ongoing or impending due to many reasons, and would be implemented simultaneously with Horizon 2 projects.

Completed Projects as of 2017:

The past year was the first time the DND, lead by Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, was run completely in an entire year by officials appointed by Pres. Duterte, although all completed deliveries were actually projects that were initiated by the previous DND team lead by former Defense Sec. Voltaire Gazmin under the administration of Pres. Aquino.

AFP Modernization Program under RA7898:

For the AFP Modernization Program under RA7898, the Department of National Defense and Armed Forces of the Philippines completed 11 projects - 5 for the Philippine Army, 4 for the Philippine Navy, and 2 for the AFP General Headquarters.

For the Philippine Army, the completed projects are as follows:

1. Force Protection Equipment:

Originally awarded to local company Talon Security Consulting & Trade Ltd. using body armor and vests from Um Merkata DOO of Serbia, the deal did not proceed smoothly as their product was not accepted by the Philippine Army for apparently failing to meet technical specifications, specifically the armour plate. It was later restarted as a Negotiated Contract Take-Over project, and awarded to another bidder, MKU Ltd. of India, which received a contract worth Php120.435 million in 2016, and completed delivery of 3,480 body armor as of 2017. Many of these were used during the Marawi City crisis by different Army units, which we commented back then as "uncomfortable to use" according to the accounts of several ground troops due to its unconventional design.

Previous discussions on the link below:

2. 155mm Towed Howitzer with Ammunition:

A joint acquisition with the Philippine Navy (Marine Corps), and was acquired via a Public Bidding. A contract worth Php410.849 million was awarded to Elbit Systems Land & C4I to supply 12 units 155mm Towed Howitzers plus associated ammunition, with 6 howitzers each to the Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps. Elbit Systems delivered the Soltam M-71 155mm Towed Howitzer in 2 batches and was completed in 2017.

Previous discussion on the link below:

One of the Soltam M-71 155mm towed howitzer bound for the Philippine Army being tested in the Negev Desert in Israel before it was delivered with several other units.
Photo exclusive to MaxDefense Philippines.

3. 40mm Grenade Launcher:

This project is a Foreign Military Sales with the US government. Based on previous documents obtained by MaxDefense from the DND, there were 2 phases on this project: Phase 1 with a contract worth Php188 million is for 2,200 units of M203 grenade launchers, while Phase 2 with a contract worth Php61.56 millionis for 684 units of M203 grenade launchers. All will be supplied and delivered by Airtronic USA.

Based on our information, only Phase 1 was completed in 2017, while Phase 2 is still in the Contract Implementation Stage and could be ready for delivery by 2018. These grenade launchers are to be installed on the Philippine Army's Remington R4A3 rifles. Many were seen in use during the Marawi City crisis by different Army units.

Previous discussion on the link below:

One of the M203 40mm grenade launchers during handover by the US government to the Philippine Army.
Photo taken from US Embassy to the Philippines' website.

4. Rocket Launcher Light with Ammunition:

Despite the ATGL-L (RPG-7) launchers and system supplied by Bulgarian arms company Arsenal JSCo., this project is actually another Foreign Military Sales (FMS) project with the US government. With a contract amount of Php81.7 million, 335 units plus ammunition were delivered to the Philippine Army, with several units used by the Army's Special Operations Command during the Marawi City crisis.

Previous discussion on the link below:

A Philippine Army trooper firing an ATGL-L RPG during the Battle of Marawi City.
Screengrabbed from GMA News 24 Oras.

5. Upgraded M113 Armored Vehicle Acquisition:

Awarded to Elbit Systems Land & C4I under a Php882 million Government-to-Government contract with Israel, this project involves the supply and delivery of 28 upgraded M113A2+ tracked armored vehicles divided into 3 lots: Lot 1 for 14 M113A2+ upgraded and converted to Fire Support Vehicles using L23A1 76mm guns and turrets from retired Scorpion reconnaissance vehicles of the Philippine Army's Mechanized Infantry Division; Lot 2 for 4 M113A2+ converted to Infantry Fighting Vehicles installed with Elbit's UT-25 unmanned turret with 25mm cannon, and Lot 3 for 6 M113A2+ Armored Personnel Carriers installed with Elbit's Dragon 12.7mm Remote Controlled Weapon System (RCWS) and 4 M113A2 armored recovery vehicles.

All the M113A2s were former Belgian Land Component units and were While Lots 2 and 3 were delivered in 2015, Lot 1 was only completed and delivered in batches in 2017. These armored vehicles were responsible for the death of ISIS-inspired Maute-Abu Sayyaf terror group leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute.

Previous discussion on the link below: 

One of the upgraded M113A2+ tracked armored vehicles armed with a UT-25 unmanned turret, as displayed on Elbit System's booth during ADAS 2016.
Photo shared to MaxDefense by a MaxDefense community member.

For the Philippine Navy, the completed projects are as follows:

6. 7.62mm Sniper Rifle:

Not much details were made available to MaxDefense although it is believed to involve the acquisition of more Remington 700 or M40A3 sniper rifles from the US. MaxDefense believes that this is the one the US delivered last February 2017. The project is also a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) project with the US government.

Previous discussion on the link below:

7. 155mm Howitzer with Ammunition:

As discussed earlier, the Philippine Marine Corps received 6 units of Soltam M-71 155mm Towed Howitzer from Elbit Systems Land & C4I in a joint acquisition with the Philippine Army. Please see Item #2 for more details.

Previous discussion on the link below: 

8. Strategic Sealift Vessel:

A contract worth Php3.864 billion was awarded to Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL (Persero) in 2014 after winning a Public Bidding, and involved the supply of 2 Landing Platform Docks based on the company's Banjarmasin-class LPD. The ships, now collectively called the Tarlac-class LPD, were named BRP Tarlac (LD-601) and BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602).

The project was completed in 2017 after the delivery of BRP Davao del Sur. Both ships were instrumental in bringing in troops, materiel, supplies and relief goods during the Marawi City crisis as well as during HADR operations.

Previous discussion on the link below: 

BRP Tarlac (LD-601), the lead ship of the Tarlac-class Landing Platform Dock of the Philippine Navy as it enters the Philippines during delivery from PT PAL shipyard in Indonesia.
Photo taken from Phlippine Navy's FB page.

9. Light Armor System Upgrade (LARSU) Firepower Upgrade:

This involves the improvement of the weapon system for 4 of the Philippine Marine Corps' V-150 Wheeled Armored Vehicles by improving their gun turrets, guns and optics, aside from usual repair and rehabilitation works on the vehicles. A contract was provided to Indian company Larsen & Toubro worth Php34.5 million for the said works, which were completed in 2017.

Meanwhile the General Headquarters, AFP saw the completion of two projects, which are:

10. First Forward Medical Emergency Deployable Intermediate Care System (MEDICS):

A project under the AFP Medical Center. The unit was established to provide quick medical support in HADR and civil defense operations. This project originally did not appear on our project lists although it is considered an AFP Modernization Project under RA7898.

More information can be found in this outside source: 

11. Force Protection Equipment for the AFP Joint Special Operations Group (JSOG):

A contract worth around Php50 million was awarded to Israeli company Marom Dolphin involving the supply of 1,190 force protection body armor, which were delivered in early 2017.

Previous discussion on the link below: 

Revised AFP Modernization Program under RA10349:

Aside from completed projects under AFPMP RA7898, the DND and AFP also completed 3 projects under the RAFPMP under RA10349 as part of its Horizon 1 phase.

The Philippine Army completed 1 project:

12. Night Fighting System:

After winning the Public Bidding for the project, a contract worth Php712.069 million was awarded to Turkish defense company Aselsan Elektronik Sanayi vi Ticaret A.S. to supply 4,464 units of A100 Night Vision monocular night vision goggles. There were also reports that MaxDefense highlighted last October 2016 that the Philippine Army might have used the option to acquire 2,808 units of additional A100 Monocular NVGs using the difference between the project's ABC and the 1st Contract's amount, which is worth Php403.94 million. These A100 NVGs can be mounted on rifles like the Remington R4A3, or used with a head mount.

Previous discussion on the link below: 

One of the Aselsan A100 NV monocular installed on a Remington R4A3 rifle of the Philippine Army.
Photo exclusive to MaxDefense.

The Philippine Navy also completed 1 project:

13. Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (Lot 1):

The joint venture of Filipino company Propmech Corporation and Taiwanese boat-builder Lung Teh Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. bagged a contract worth Php268,880,000 to build 3 MPACs, designated the Mk.3, that has a different mission profile than the earlier models, with more emphasis on interdiction and firepower including being missile capable, rather than on shoreline insertion and extraction of troops. All 3 boats, with hull number BA-488, BA-489, and BA-491, were all delivered to the Philippine Navy by mid-2017. Meanwhile the Lot 2 of the project which covers the weapons systems, will be delivered within early this year.

Previous discussion on the link below: 

The first of the MPAC Mk. 3, BA-498, undergoing tests last April 2017 in Subic Bay.
Photo exclusive to MaxDefense.

And finally, the Philippine Air Force also completed 1 project:

14. Fighter/Surface Attack Aircraft/Lead-in Fighter Trainer (F/SAA/LIFT) Acquisition Project:

The most expensive project ever acquired by the PAF in its entire history involved the acquisition of 12 FA-50PH Fighting Eagle light combat aircraft from Korea Aerospace Industries under a contract worth US$421,638,000. The order was completely delivered by May 2017 as the last 2 units arrive in Clark Air Base in Pampanga. All 12 aircraft are form the backbone of a newly revived 5th Fighter Wing, with the 7th Tactical Fighter "Bulldogs" Squadron flying the fleet.

Previous discussion on the link below: 

The first of the PAF's FA-50PH light combat aircraft as it take-off from Taiwan en route to the Philippines.
Credits to owner of photo.

2017 also saw the awarding of different defense contracts to several multinational and local manufacturers and suppliers, as well as the delivery of procurements outside the AFP Modernization Program including special projects, military assistance from friendly and allied countries, among others. These would be discussed separately by MaxDefense to avoid having a very long blog entry.

We will also discuss the status of several pending and ongoing projects from AFPMP RA7898 and RAFPMP RA10349 Horizon 1 phase, so readers can understand where the AFP Modernization really is as of now.

In the meantime, we congratulate the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the completion of these projects mentioned above within 2017, all of which improve the defense capacity of the country while also providing the necessary tools to our warfighters so they can do their job and mandate well. Looking forward to a more productive 2018 despite starting bad start, if you know what I mean.


  1. Hmmmm most of the procurements are low end and very little for the modernization of philippines old and useless military missiles,no advanced jets, nothing...most are about body armor and guns

    1. Low end agreed, but old and useless? The Fa-50's alone costs 34M USD a jet and we bought 12 of them, in parallel the missiles has been purchased and some units already delivered to PAF and PAF pilots flew the recently acquired fully refurbished C-130T models to Arizona to pick it up. The units picked up were AGM Maverick G model ASM with a range of 38KM, and AIM9L models AAM.

      The SSV was received and we already have 2 of them which can carry 500 fully armed troops, and 20 armored units. The Army received fully refurbished M-113's with automated gun mounts and dead accurate even if the unit is mobile and the target moving.

      Mind you the FA's are advance and its even marketed by KAI as a light fighter jet/.

  2. Once again, thank you Maxdefense. Hope you still have the energy and enthusiasm to do what you are doing for years to come. You are doing a great service to the Filipino people.

  3. I was looking for the deliveries of sidewinder and maverick missiles. Hmmm maybe it will be in the next part. I don't have a fb acct. But I will greet you here sir max. Happy New Year and more power to you. Keep the flame burning bright

  4. I hope that the AFP will get better equipment as the years go by. For the longest time we have neglected external defense. I hate to think what would happen if we are caught unawares and a regional conflict erupts.

  5. Thanks for your effort in updating us Filipinos about the AFP modernization programs.


  6. What about the PTDI NC212i project sir Max? when will be the turn-over?

  7. These really are baby steps for afp modernization. The real test i suppose on how the current administration will tackle this is the frigate project. The most powerful and expensive purchase of the afp in its history. I really hope they dont screw up because i think this will really set the tone. Good work sir max. Keep us posted. And congratulations for being noticed by our own afp and dnd. They listen din pala in social media.

  8. Hmm...aren't we going for the newer M320 grenade launchers, which I believe we're already fielding?

  9. If our AFP wanted to be credible force and ahead they should be serious acquiring advance technology hardware with powerful offense and defense systems. They have to invest also in producing own advance defense technology even to start from small step.

    For PAF would be good for them to have the advance system or technology, hope PAF will get Gripen for 2nd phase and then F-35 for 3Rd phase (hope). The more advance our PAF or AFP the more capable they can defend Philippines and get respect from neighbor countries.

    If Philippines want capable defense, Should focus and get along the future trend and not just upgrading and maintaining old hardware. Training should be upgraded also.

  10. Article XII of the Constitution starts by stating: "The goals of the national economy are a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income, and wealth; a sustained increase in the amount of goods and services produced by the nation for the benefit of the people; and an expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all, especially the underprivileged.

    The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound agricultural development and agrarian reform, through industries that make full and efficient use of human and natural resources, and which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets."

    In regards to the AFPs modernization efforts, more contracts should be awarded to companies that are willing to offset the deals by manufacturing the hardware in the Philippines, creating jobs for Filipinos and helping strengthen the Philippine economy.

    There’s more to war-fighting that just having “x” number of equipment–it’s more to do with having the industrial and economic capabilities to endure and prevail.

    The Axis powers started WW2 having better equipment than the allies. But the Allies had the industrial and economic resilience to take the losses and ultimately prevail.

    All the Philippine economy seems to be capable of is to endure, but not to prevail.

    Industrialize and prevail.

  11. The Philippines will get brand new dual purpose stuff first. Attack Helicopters that can do transport too. Naval ships that can do disaster relief. Submarines and Gripens are probably out.

  12. Kudos to maxdefense my source for information
    Are we acquiring any other fighter jets aside from the FA-50 (based on the falcon)?
    I hear koreans also have a jet based on the eagle which can go much faster than the FA-50 . I am proud the Philippines is supersonic now and has entered the missle age hehe forward !


Philippine Navy Modernization Projects

Philippine Air Force Modernization Projects