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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Delivery Imminent for the Philippine Air Force's 2 new Elta ELM-2288ER AD-STAR Air Defense Radars

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will be receiving two brand new ELM-2288ER AD-STAR Extended Range long range ground based air defense and surveillance radars very soon. This is after the delivery of both radars were delayed by several months based on the contract signed by the Philippines' Department of National Defense (DND) and Israeli defense technology company IAI Elta Systems Ltd.

MaxDefense received first hand information that the two radars, which were supposed to have been delivered last 2018, will be received by the Philippine Air Force in a very short time.

An example of IAI Elta's ELM-2288 AD-STAR air defense radar. In the ASEAN region, it is currently being used by the Philippine Air Force and the Vietnamese armed forces.
Credits to original source of photo.


The Department of National Defense, on behalf of the Philippine Air Force, awarded the contract to supply three (3) Air Defense and Surveillance Radar Systems to Israel's IAI Elta Systems Ltd. on December 2014 under a Government-to-Government (G2G) deal between the Philippines and Israeli defense ministries.  

The project is part of the Horizon 1 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program as government by Republic Act 10349 (RA 10349).

IAI Elta Systems offered their Elta ELM-2288ER AD-STAR Extended Range air defense radar system, plus also offered a free Elta ELM-2106NG tactical air defense radar as part of the deal.

The deal is worth Php2,680,000,000.00, although MaxDefense expects the actual peso cost to increase due due to the devaluation of the Philippine pesos against the US dollar since the contract was signed in 2014.

It was reported that the Opening of Letter of Credit (LOC) only happened on January 2016, or 13 months after contract signing.

Usually the Opening of LOC is the basis for the start of the contract implementation, as it guarantees the supplier that they would be paid for being able to deliver the products.

IAI Elta Systems was able to deliver the 1st unit of the ELM-2288ER AD-STAR Extended Range radar, and also the ELM-2106NG tactical radar, ahead of the contract delivery date. But the same cannot be said of the two other AD-STAR ER radars.

Last 24 November 2018, MaxDefense posted in its Facebook community page that the delivery of both radars were already delayed, since the PAF and DND are expecting the second ELM-2288ER AD-STAR radar by May 2018, and the third unit by November 2018. Prior to the post, MaxDefense received confirmation from reliable sources that IAI Elta was indeed delayed, to the dismay of the DND and PAF.

It appears that the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) and its International Defense Cooperation Directorate (SIBAT) assisted the Philippines in facilitating the delivery and avoid further issues.

Now, MaxDefense got confirmation that  the delivery of 2 radars to the PAF is imminent, and will be arriving at the same time. These radars will be installed on current radar stations of the PAF which underwent rehabilitation and reconstruction works to allow them to operate the Israeli radars. One radar will be installed at the Gozar Air Station in Lubang Island, Mindoro, and another one in Salakot Air Station in Palawan.

An old photo of Gozar Air Station in Lubang Island, Mindoro, as taken during the 1960s. The facility has undergone reconstruction works as it fell into poor state leading to 2016 due to under funding of the PAF.
Credits to original source of the photo.

The IAI Elta ELM-2288ER AD-STAR Extended Range Air Defense Radar:

The IAI Elta ELM-2288ER AD-STAR is a long range air defense and air surveillance radar system made by Israel's IAI Elta Systems Ltd. The radar was first introduced in 2011, and is considered as a 3D solid-state S-band long range radar system designed to be a low-cost, high performance replacement to legacy radar systems like those used by the PAF.

According to its posted specific, the ELM-2288ER has an instrumental range of at least 480 kilometer, although MaxDefense believes it could be more that that considering manufacturers usually downplay their claimed maximum performance and only show the real values to the end-user as classified information.

It is being marketed in the ASEAN market, with successes particularly with the Philippines and Vietnam which both purchased the AD-STAR radar system. So far the Philippine Air Force operates one unit installed in the PAF's Paredes Air Station in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte.

With the introduction of the 2 pending deliveries to the Philippine Air Force, it is expected that the PAF will be able to see all air activities in the western and north-western side of the country facing the disputed territories and interests in the West Philippine Sea, and boundaries with Vietnam, China, Taiwan and Sabah.

Gozar Air Station and Salakot Air Station are among those that are being rehabilitated to allow the use of these facilities for meeting the PAF's goals.
Photo taken from PAF report on Flight Plan 2028.

What's Next:

With the delivery delays affecting the 3 radar units under the Horizon 1 phase, there is a strong chance that the issue could be considered by the DND and PAF technical team as a risk during considerations of getting more radars from IAI Elta Systems, and may have effects on their bid for the upcoming Air Defense Radar acquisition project under the Horizon 2 phase.

As part of the Horizon 2 phase, the PAF is looking to acquire another 5 units of long range air defense and surveillance radars to complete the radar coverage of the entire Philippines and it's surrounding EEZ.

The proposed budget for this new radar requirement is projected to cost around Php5,500,000,000.00.

MaxDefense previously received information from our sources that IAI Elta is currently competing with  Lockheed Martin and Mitsubishi Electric, and some other radar suppliers from Europe including Saab, Thales, and Leonardo.

But since the PAF is already a user of the IAI Elta ELM-2288ER, it could be a benefit that might help IAI Elta to receive follow-on orders from the DND and PAF. 

So far, IAI Elta Systems believe that the PAF would still position their product on the top of the PAF's shortlist which is expected to be out within this year.

Meanwhile, it would take several weeks from delivery for the radar systems to be installed to their intended locations, and the entire system might take months before it can be considered operational. 

The advantage at the moment is that personnel of the PAF's 580th Aircraft Control and Warning Wing are already exposed to using the system that was delivered in 2017, thus the transition would be easier compared to 2 years ago.


Air Defense Surveillance Radar System acquisition project 

End User: Philippine Air Force (580th Aircraft Control and Warning Wing)
Modernization Phase: Revised AFP Modernization Program Horizon 1 phase
ABC: Php2,680,000,000.00
SARO Release: to be updated
Status as of this writing: Deliveries ongoing
Selected Proponent: IAI Elta Systems Ltd. Israel
Contract Price: Php2,680,000,000.00

U P D A T E S:

14 March 2019:

When MaxDefense posted this blog entry last January 2019, we mentioned that the delivery of the two remaining Elta Systems ELM-2288ER AD-STAR air defense and surveillance radar systems were "imminent".

But "imminent" means very soon, but how soon was it really?

Actually, MaxDefense was just not very specific on the actual status of delivery of the radars due to operational security concerns that may affect the delivery and safety of the materiel for delivery.

When MaxDefense said "imminent", the radar systems were actually already in the Philippines and just awaiting for the Philippine Air Force to receive the delivery and take them to the radar sites assigned to receive the radars.

Now we can safely say that the radars could already be installed by now, although it would take some time before these could be considered operational. Further system checks, tests, and training and familiarity of personnel are required before these can be considered operational and ready to serve as part of the air defense system of the country.

Expect more news on these new radar systems in the next few months.


  1. Mr. Max, radars are parts of a warning system. Real fighters need to be on standby. Do you have any insight as to the purchase of 2- squadrons of fighters?

  2. They need to be supplemented with camouflage mobile radar and SAMs because those fixed radar will be taken out by China when war starts.


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