Your 1st for Philippine Defense

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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!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Issues on the Air Surveillance Radar Project (Horizon 2) of the Philippine Air Force

MaxDefense has been requested by one of its reliable source to post this article regarding the ongoing proposed acquisition by the Philippine Air Force of what is Phase 2 of its Air Surveillance Radar (ASR) Project under Horizon 2 (H2) of the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP).

As there has been very limited information about the status of this project after the successful delivery and deployment of the three (3) ELM-2288ER AD-STAR Radar Systems supplied by IAI/Elta Systems of Israel under the Horizon 1 phase of RAFPMP last March 2019, MaxDefense decided to allow the article to be posted on the basis of the contributor’s credibility and track record of access to first-hand information provided to MaxDefense for the past few years.

The IAI/Elta Systems ELM-2288ER AD-STAR Extended Range is currently the centerpiece of the Philippines' network of Air Defense and Surveillance radar systems. Photo taken from PAF's 580th ACWW.



Recent information has come to light about the ongoing acquisition for Phase 2 of the Air Surveillance Radar (ASR) by the Philippine Air Force (PAF), which like the choice of the AFP-GHQ to go for the non-military standard Motorola P25 handheld radios to replace the current Harris handheld radios of the AFP, appears to be equally disturbing, if not questionable.

The original objective for Phase 2 of the Air Surveillance Radar (ASR) Acquisition project as conceptualized and presented, is primarily, “To expand Air Surveillance and Aircraft Control capabilities in support of Air Defense Operations over Benham Rise / Philippine Rise, the southern areas of the country and other areas of the West Philippine Sea.”

The ASR project has an Approved Budget for Contract (ABC) of Php5.5 billion, or USD$100 million (at an exchange rate of Php55 to USD$1), as listed in the “Priority Project List of Second Horizon of the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP), also recently identified to be sourced from BCDA Remittances Funds.

Given the complexity and sensitivity of the project, the mode of procurement, similar to that on Horizon 1, is to be undertaken through a Government-to-Government negotiated deal.

Under the original Horizon 2 project plan, the ASR Package consists of the following:

* Horizon 2 stipulates the acquisition of three (3) fixed ASRs and two (2) mobile ASRs.

* Horizon 1 ADSR platform performance (which is the IAI Elta Systems ELM-2288ER AD-STAR Extended Range) will be utilized as the minimum standard for the projected fixed ASRs of the Horizon 2 Project.

* An “Add-On Package,” in addition to the radar tower and radome, are the remaining radar operating facilities and equipment (Command and Control building; communication equipment and infrastructures; ELINT; etc.).

The PAF requires the acquisition of mobile radar systems aside from fixed radars. Above photo is an example from Thales. 

These Fixed and Mobile ASRs are intended to augment and expand the air surveillance capability of the recently delivered ELM-2288ER AD-STAR Radar Systems supplied by IAI/Elta of Israel under the Horizon 1 phase and are planned to be deployed at Sta. Ana, Cagayan; Panganiban, Camarines Norte; Balut Island, Saranggani; Hill900B, Zamboanga; and Balabac, Palawan, which will effectively cover at least most of the critical areas of our country.


For the fixed ASRs, the project aimed to have the detection performance of the Horizon 1 Radars as the minimum standard for the Horizon 2 requirement:

* At least 300nmi Instrumented or Maximum Detection Range;

* At least 200nmi Effective Detection Range;

* At least 100,000 feet altitude;

For the mobile ASRs, due to the expected lower performance of the mobile platforms, the detection range requirement was hence reduced by 30nmi.

The project also places emphasis on the compatibility of the platform’s systems with those of Horizon 1.

The Thales Ground Master 400 was offered for the fixed radar requirements.

Original Proponents:

For the Fixed Radar requirements, only Elta Systems and Thales managed to meet the specifications and criteria set for the project. Among those that were considered and evaluated are:

* Elta Systems (Israel), which re-offered its ELM 2288ER;

* Lockheed Martin (USA) with the TPS-77;

* SAAB (Sweden) with the Giraffe 4A;

* Thales (France) with the Ground Master GM400;

* SPETS (Ukraine) with the 80K6T; and

* LIGNex1 (South Korea) with the LRS 180.

As with the Fixed Radar requirements, only IAI/Elta Systems and Thales made the grade for the Mobile Radar, with five (5) prospect proponents evaluated:

* Elta Systems (Israel), ELM 2288MR;

* Lockheed Martin (USA), TPS-77MRR;

* SAAB (Sweden), Giraffe 4A;

* Thales (France), GM 400;

* SPETS (Ukraine), 80K6T.

IAI Elta is again offering the ELM-2288ER AD-STAR for the fixed and mobile radar requirements.

Then came the Japanese Offer:

Sometime last December 2018, Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana announced that Japan is offering for the PAF’s Air Surveillance Radar (ASR) Acquisition Project, an “upgraded” model of its 1990s Mitsubishi Electric J/FPS-3 Air Defense Radar System, seven (7) of which are in used by the Japan Air Defense Ground Environment (JADGE), since the early 1990’s. This upgraded model offered by Japan was later identified as Mitsubishi's J/FPS-3ME.

It may be recalled that prior to the offer made by Japan to the Philippines of its J/FPS-3 radar system last December, Mitsubishi Electric Corp. has lost to Indra Systemas S.A., in a public tender held several months earlier by the Royal Thai Air Force for a similar project offering the same “updated” version of its J/FPS-3 radar system. This could have been the very first export of domestically produced defense equipment by Japan after its government lifted the ban on the export of arms and related technologies in 2014.

The array panel of Mitsubishi Electric's J/FPS-3 radar.

The Original PAF/DND Decision and the Israeli Offer:

To reiterate, prior to the entry into the evaluation and selection process for the ASR project of Mitsubishi Electric’s J/FPS-3 radar system, the Philippine Air Force has already completed the evaluation of at least six (6) prospect proponents for the project.

The recommendations thereafter submitted were as follows:

* Approval of the ASR Horizon 2 package for three (3) fixed and two (2) transportable/mobile systems to include the required “add-ons”

* Approval of the initial selection of proponents (IAI/Elta Systems and Thales) that qualified based on the project’s Radar Coverage / Detection Range Requirements

* Approval to validate the Japanese proponents’ ASR platforms for qualification to the Project’s Radar Coverage/Detection Range requirements once coordination has been made between our country’s respective Defense Department

* Approval for a Government-to-Government mode of procurement for the Project

* Approval of the conduct next Analysis pass for the selection of platforms for the three (3) fixed and two (2) transportable/mobile ASR Systems package

At that time, Israel's IAI Elta’s offer for the project stood at Php6.997B, which is way beyond the ABC, while France's Thales did not submit any price quotation.

Possibly realizing its imminent disqualification for going above the ABC, IAI Elta submitted a revised price proposal of US$97.1 million to the Department of National Defense on March 2019, significantly reducing its price offer compared to its original offer, and even improving their proposal by offering to accept only a fifteen percent (15%) Advance Payment, with the balance of eighty-five percent of the contract price spread over the years 2019 to 2022, but still maintaining the same delivery schedule as before.

This revised price proposal and Terms of Payment submitted by IAI/Elta Systems included the following:

* Three (3) Fixed Radar Systems – ELM-2288ER AD-STAR Extended Range,

* Two (2) Mobile Radar Systems – ELM-2288MR AD-STAR

* “Add-On” Package consisting of:
o Radar Tower and Radome
o Command and Control Building
o Communications Infrastructure
o Mobile/Transportable ADSR storage facilities
o Electrical Power Generators including Infrastructure
o Data Link and ELINT/SIGINT requirements
o Communications equipment: Microwave radios, VHF/UHF radios, multi-band and HF radios
o Transport vehicles for Radar platforms, Command and Control and Support (for Transportable/Mobile ASRs only)

The ELM-2288ER and MR variants both meet the requirements of the PAF for fixed and mobile radar systems.

Changes in PAF's Requirements:

Shortly thereafter, in a surprising and unexpected turn of events, and prior to the visit of DND Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana to Japan last April 2019, the Procuring Entity - Philippine Air Force again made and submitted another presentation of the project, this time highlighting the offer made by Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, of its modified version of the J/FPS-3, dubbed as the “J/FPS-3ME,” including what appears to be its own “Add-Ons” which are not originally included in the package proposal criteria asked of from the other proponents.

This latest presentation made by the Philippine Air Force listed the ASR project requirements to be as follows:

* At least 300nmi Instrumented or Maximum Detection Range;
* At least 200nmi Effective Detection Range;
* At least 100,000 feet altitude;

a.) Three (3) Fixed and One (1) Mobile Radar Platforms
b.) Radar Tower and Radome
c.) Command and Control Building
Command and Control Operations equipment
Communications equipment
Data Link System interoperable with Link 16 Protocol
ELINT/SIGINT Systems equipment
Perimeter Fence
d.) Communications Infrastructure
e.) Electric generators and housing
f.) Mobile Radar requirements
Transport vehicle
Command and control vehicle
Support vehicles (Security vehicles, Refueling truck, etc.)
g. Mobile Radar Training and Storage facilities

The Offer Changes:

We particularly took note that the above project requirements now lists only Three (3) Fixed and One (1) Mobile Radar Platforms, a reduction of one (1) Mobile Radar Platform from the original requirement of two (2).

Even more surprising in this latest presentation made by the PAF, is the re-inclusion of Lockheed Martin’s TPS-77, which was already declared as disqualified in its first evaluation for not having met the range requirements, and the exclusion of Thales, which made it during the “first pass.”

One very striking reality in the conduct of the evaluation of the proposed system of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation’s modified version of its 1991-model J/FPS-3, is that this specific model, presented as FPS-3ME has never seen actual deployment and operations in Japan's own Japan Air Defense Ground Environment (JADGE).

For the above “re-packaged” project requirements, the Philippine Air Force reported the following Comparative Costs vis-à-vis an ABC of Php5.5 billion:

* IAI Elta Systems – Php6.237 billion for 5 radars (3 fixed, 2 mobile). Apparently PAF still used the original offer in their comparison, when IAI Elta Systems already revised the offer to just US$97.1 million, which is approx. PHP5.34 billion based on US$1=Php55 exchange rate;

* Mitsubishi Electric – Php5.292 billion for 4 radars (3 fixed, 1 mobile);

* Lockheed Martin – Php5.238 billion for 4 radars (3 fixed, 1 mobile) and Php6.048 billion (3 fixed, 2 mobile).

Noteworthy in the above disclosures of the price offers by the three evaluated proponents is what followed as the conclusion thereto:

• Mitsubishi Electric’s price for their ASRS Package Proposal is Php208 million below the budget limit for four (4) radars.

• To get five (5) radars, Mitsubishi Electric will exceed the budget limit by Php702 million.

• Lockheed Martin will also exceed the ABC if it offers five (5) radar units.

Revised Recommendation by PAF:

The “Recommendation” given by the PAF in this latest evaluation presented as stated:

“The DASAT recommends Mitsubishi Electric as the most competitive proponent that can satisfy the capability requirements of the Second Horizon ASRS Project due to superior technical performance, most competitive price package, and for having the most advantageous maintenance and support package due to proximity.”

While the standard J/FPS-3 radar is in use by the Japan Air Defense Ground Equipment (JADGE), the variant offered for export to the Philippines is not.

As it is, there seems to be some major issues in this latest evaluation report submitted by the Philippine Air Force requiring some serious explanation.

1. Foremost, why was the TPS-77 of Lockheed Martin re-included in this latest Assessment Report when it was already declared as disqualified during the first pass?

2. If the “Recommendation” made primarily arose from the Assessment criteria as listed  above, how is it that the Mitsubishi FPS-3ME was given a perfect 10 in the criteria “Ease of Integration” when this radar system has never been integrated with any other system produced by other foreign manufacturers of air defense systems? To reiterate, had Mitsubishi won the Thailand tender, it would have been its very first export of the FPS-3 Radar System outside Japan. 

3. What was the basis or criteria used in determining the “Operational Effectiveness” of each system? How did the PAF scored the J/FPS-3 to make it ranked #1 on “Operational Effectiveness” by the PAF?

Despite Japan operating the J/FPS-3 as part of its integrated air defense system, the variant for export was not optimized for Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD), and is not the same variant used by Japan. 

4. On the matter of supportability, one can hardly declare that proximity of the supplier is a major factor to be considered for a favorable determination. The latter can always be resolved and addressed by employing an efficient spare parts inventory system, local training and or maintenance of a local service facility by the prospect supplier.

Also, the world is so small in this era and physical distance of the manufacturer is never an issue anymore.

5. In fact, it also appears that the Assessment Team in the course of its evaluation totally disregarded the long accepted concept and advantage of maintaining commonality of parts and systems. It only follows that an acquisition of multiple platforms for the radars will eventually result in increased maintenance costs for the Philippine Air Force and the government.

Moreover, acquisition of multiple types of platform for a single purpose will also require training a separate team of operators and maintenance personnel, thus maximization of human resource cannot be employed;

6. Relative to Item No. 2, the primary objective of acquiring an Air Surveillance Radar System is to provide early detection of any intrusion or incursion in our airspace in order to effect a successful intercept of any threat. It is for this reason that the Philippine Air Force has also recently selected Rafael’s Ground Base Air Defense Missiles, which will eventually be integrated into the ASRs. It is also worthy to note that the radars currently installed in the PAF’s FA-50 fleet were also supplied by IAI/Elta.

7. On the matter of price offering, the revised price proposal submitted by IAI/Elta, was deemed to be the LOWEST price offering for this project. This is even made more advantageous to the government, by its offer of multi-year payment terms, without any change in the required delivery period. These conditions are essentially translated to be an interest free “USE NOW, PAY LATER” proposal.

As such, for 2019, it allows the DND/AFP to only allocate Php825 million instead of Php5.5 billion. The remaining Php4.675 billion can therefore be treated as savings for fiscal year 2019, and utilized by the DND/AFP for other priority projects, as opposed to any other alternative proposal submitted, the payment of Php5.5 billion is to be completely allocated and paid (via a Letter of Credit) for 2019;

8. What is rather odd and not clear in this latest assessment made is the fact that the original number of five (5) radars were suddenly reduced to four (4) units only.

9. And lastly, how did the J/FPS-3 meet the requirements on Effective Range and Maximum Instrument Range when based on the product specs, its Maximum Effective Range is only 200nmi, or 50nmi less than required by the PAF?

And as stated, had the original number of radars been retained, the offer made by Mitsubishi Electric would have exceeded the budget already, whereas the revised offer of IAI/Elta at USD$97.1 million, which was actually based upon the original five (5) radar units, but only disclosed as equivalent to four (4), would have resulted as the proponent with the lowest price offer.

Which begs the question of whether there was an “accommodation” extended to Mitsubishi Electric Corporation when this assessment was done for it to qualify and be Ranked as No. 1?

To summarize the issues:

1. Originally the PAF selected the IAI Elta Systems ELM-2288ER and ELM-2288MR for fixed and mobile radar requirements, respectively. While not selected, the only other shortlisted product was Thales' Ground Master GM400 radar.

2. To support the PAF's selection, the DND also approved the acquisition mode to be a G2G deal with Israel. But due to the sudden entry of Japan's Mitsubishi Electric J/FPS-3ME, the earlier decisions to go G2G with Israel for IAI Elta's radar came to a halt.

3. The DND and PAF suddenly decided to restart the selection process, with a reduced quantity from 3 Fixed and 2 Mobile radars to just 3 Fixed and 1 Mobile radar. This is questionable since the original selected product (IAI Elta Systems)  was confirmed to meet the budget while still supplying 5 radar units.

4  The new selection process declared Mitsubishi Electric's J/FPS-3ME, despite being more expensive, possibly not meeting required range parameters, and being a product variant not used by Japan or any other country. In contrast, the previous selected product (IAI Elta Systems) improved its previous offer of still offering 5 radar units within the ABC while also improving the payment scheme.

5. Questions were also raised on J/FPS-3ME's interoperability and integration with the existing PAF Air Defense system that are mostly made up of products from IAI Elta Systems, including incoming products also made in Israel (e.g. GBADS from Rafael).

With this, the author only wants to ensure that this very important and essential project to secure our borders and air space, would not end up like most of the other inutile and failed endeavors entered into by the different government administrations.

Project Summary:

Air Surveillance Radar Phase 2 Acquisition Project

* End User: Philippine Air Force (580th Aircraft Control and Warning Wing


       Original: 3 fixed and 2 mobile radar systems
       Revised: 3 fixed and 1 mobile radar systems
* Modernization Phase:
 Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP

* Project ABC:
Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government
* SARO Release: TBA
* Winning Proponent: TBA
Product for Delivery:  TBA

* Contract Price: TBA

* First post by MaxDefense:

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PAFASRPhase2Acquisition #PAFASRAcquisition

* Status: Pre-procurement ongoing, awaiting final decision from PAF TWG and DND.


First edit and release: 28 May 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Upgraded Jacinto-class patrol vessels PS-35 and PS-36 to re-enter Philippine Navy service soon

The Philippine Navy's Jacinto-class Patrol Vessel (JCPV) Upgrade Phase 3 Combat Systems Alignment project has been going on for years, with both Phases 3A and 3B had their contracts awarded to their respective winning proponents as early as early 2016.

But after a very long delay that can attributed to all sides of the project, it looks like we're getting some light at the end of the tunnel. Not full, but somehow very much needed to boost the current state of the Philippine Navy.

MaxDefense got confirmation that at least two of the three Jacinto-class patrol vessels, namely the BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS-35) and BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS-36) will both be entering service with the Philippine Navy soon, with PS-36 even be reaccepted into service as part of the Philippine Navy's 121st Founding Anniversary celebrations this May 2019.

The BRP Emilio Jacinto as of 18 May 2019. Photo provided by and credited to MaxDefense community member Garry Borromeo during the HQPN Open House. Credits belong to him.

Note: for further information regarding the ships and the projects, you may refer to these older blog entries which previously discussed the JCPV Phase 3A and 3B projects:

BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS-36):

The BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS-36) had its upgrade under the Phase 3A project, with the United Kingdom's Ultra Electronics said to be officially completing the upgrade works on the ship as of last week.

Apparently Ultra Electronics passed the Harbour Acceptance Test (HAT) and Sea Acceptance Tests (SAT) conducted by the Philippine Navy's Project Management Team (PMT) and Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee (TIAC), which is a prerequisite for the TIAC to accept the completed product in preparation for official hand-over to the Philippine Navy's end-user.

MaxDefense was able to view an actual video from the gunnery tests, wherein the new Ultra Electronics Fire Control System controlling the MSI Defence DS25 25mm gun system at the ship's fantail to fire multiple rounds at more than 1400 meters distance, with a 100% hit rate.

The PS-36 now has a new Fire Control System suite from Ultra Electronics, a new Kelvin Hughes Sharpeye X-band surface-search radar system to replace the existing Sperry Marine Bridge Master E radar installed in 2005. It also has a new Electro-Optical / Infra-Red (EO/IR) targeting camera system, most likely the Ultra Electronics Series 1700. This replaced the existing system from Radamec.

The Ultra Electronics Series 1700 EO/IR camera, which is most likely the one used by Ultra Electronics for the JCPV Upgrade Phase 3B project. Photo taken from Ultra Electronic's brochures.

It also has a newly repaired Oto Melara 76mm/62cal Compact naval gun with a new Philippine Navy-supplied gun barrel from Oto Melara, as well as a newly refurbished MSI DS25 25mm naval gun system, with now both working more efficiently and perform better than before.

Gun barrel from an Oto Melara 76/62 Compact naval gun. Photo taken from RAN Armements Depot website.

Based on sources' information, the BRP Apolinario Mabini could be part of the actual celebrations of the Philippine Navy anniversary, one of the reasons why the PN wanted it to be delivered early this month.

BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS-35):

The lead ship of the Jacinto-class Patrol Vessel had a separate upgrade package under the JCPV Upgrade Phase 3B Combat Systems Alignment project, which was awarded to Propmech Corporation - Saab AB Joint Venture.

Being a JV with Saab, it was expected that Saab would be supplying most of the electronic and combat systems-related scope of works.

The ship is now equipped with a new X-band surface search radar system from Italy's GEM Elettronica, as well as a new Saab EOS-500 electro-optical/infra-red (EO/IR) camera system to replace the ageing existing system from Radamec.

The Saab EOS-500 EO/IR camera system, which was used on the BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS-35). Photo taken from Saab's website.

The newly repaired Oto Melara gun aboard the BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS-35). The new Saab EOS-500 EO/IR camera and radar antenna for the GEM Elettronica X-bad SSR can be seen from this angle. Photo shared to MaxDefense by community member Garry Borromeo. Credits belong to him.

The ship is also now equipped with Saab's 9LV system to allow control of the weapon systems. But this is the interesting part. Originally it was believed that Saab will only provide their standard 9LV Fire Control System, which is the most appropriate product in their line-up based on the technical specifications of the project.

But MaxDefense sources confirmed that Saab instead went overboard, and installed a compact version of the 9LV Combat Management System (CMS) similar to those used by the Visby-class corvettes of the Swedish Navy.

The Saab 9LV Compact Combat Management System, which is said to be installed on the BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS-35). Photo taken from Saab's website.

This means the BRP Emilio Jacinto is actually the first ship of the Philippine Navy to be equipped with a proper Combat Management System, which will actually allow Philippine Navy personnel to train on the ship on CMS operations while incoming ships with CMS like the Jose Rizal-class are still under construction.

Like the other ships of the class, the PS-35 also got its Oto Melara 76mm/62cal Compact naval gun repaired and had its barrel replaced, while also rehabilitating its MSI Defence DS25 25mm naval gun system.

The ship conducted its HAT and SAT recently, although there could be some delays on the ship's acceptance due to some issues that MaxDefense would prefer not to discuss for OPSEC reasons. But the ship is expected to be returned to service with the Philippine Navy by June 2019.

In fact, the ship was actually among those displayed by the Philippine Navy during the headquarters Open House event on 18 May 2019 wherein visitors were allowed to visit the PN headquarters including the asset displays which includes PS-35. The photo below was from the said event.

The PS-35 has a newly repaired Oto Melara 76mm gun (right) as part of the Phase 3B Combat Systems Alignment upgrade. Photo taken by and credited to MaxDefense community member Garry Borromeo. Credits belong to him.

The MSI Defence DS25 25mm naval gun system aboard the BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS-35). All 3 ships had their guns repaired and realigned, with this specific unit said to have hit targets accurately during tests. Photo shared to MaxDefense by community member Garry Borromeo. Credits belong to him.

How's BRP Artemio Ricarte (PS-37)?

While two ships of the class are being prepared for return to service with the Philippine Fleet, another sistership will remain in the dockyard for several months more.

BRP Artemio Ricarte (PS-37) is scheduled for more rehabilitation work, including a re-powering job that will replace its existing Pielstick diesel engines, and other works on its mechanical and electrical systems as part of the JCPV Phase 2 Upgrade works.

MaxDefense was informed that has also received the same upgrade as the BRP Apolinario Mabini, since both ships were covered by the JCPV Phase 3A Combat Systems Alignment project. The only difference is that works are still ongoing.

At best, MaxDefense expects this ship to be back in service hopefully by early 2020.

x  x  x

The Philippine Navy is currently having a shortage of naval assets that they could use not just to patrol the country's territorial waters, exclusive economic zones (EEZ) and territorial interests, despite the Philippine Navy appearing to deny it.

The re-entry of two assets into the fleet means a good relief the Philippine Navy and country as it allows more coverage of areas to be patrolled, as well as for use in other engagements like joint exercises with allies and partners, goodwill visits and exposures, and allow maintenance time for other assets.

MaxDefense hopes to see a ready-to-sail BRP Apolinario Mabini in the coming few days, while also wishing to the success in returning the BRP Emilio Jacinto as early as possible.

Photo shared to MaxDefense by community member Garry Borromeo. Credits belong to him.


Jacinto-class Patrol Vessel (JCPV) Combat Systems Alignment Upgrade Phase 3A and 3B

* End User: Philippine Navy (Offshore Combat Force)


         Phase 3A: 2 ships
         Phase 3B: 1 ship

* Modernization Phase:
 Horizon 1 Phase of RAFPMP

* Project ABC:

         Phase 3A: Php630,637,163.60
         Phase 3B: Php224,000,000.00

Acquisition Mode
        Phase 3A: Public Bidding 
        Phase 3B: Negotiated Procurement

* SARO Release: 
        Phase 3A: SARO-BMB-D-16-0017282 dated 25 May 2016 (partial)
        Phase 3B: TBA

* Winning Proponent:
        Phase 3A: Ultra Electronics Ltd. (United KIngdom)
        Phase 3B: Propmech Corporation (Philippines) - Saab AB (Sweden) Joint Venture

Product for Delivery: 

       Phase 3A: Ultra Electronics FCS, X-Band 2D SSR, Ultra Series 1700 EO/IR
       Phase 3B: Saab 9LV CMS, GEM Elettronica X-band 2D SSR, Saab EOS-500 EO/IR

* Contract Price:
       Phase 3A: Php498,001,906.33
       Phase 3B: Php224,000,000.00

* First post by MaxDefense: 15 January 2015 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

FF-150 it is! Future BRP Jose Rizal shows its hull number...and TASS concerns

Note: this is a MaxDefense shortblog. thus the length of the entry. 

A lot of things have happened since MaxDefense made an exclusive post in our Facebook community page last 25 January 2019 on what the ship's name (which automatically names the class name) and pennant number of the first new frigate being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in their yard in Ulsan, South Korea.

This was based on a photo of the frigate Jose Rizal as of April 2019. In this photo, the pennant number pained in the hull is not yet there. Photo exclusively shared to MaxDefense by source.

Many did not believe what we reported and confirmed,until the Secretary of National Defense (SND) himself announcement later on that the first ship HHI is constructing (internally labelled as "P159" by HHI and PN in their project name), is to be named "Jose Rizal" (the "BRP" will be added once the ship is commissioned officially to the Philippine Navy). 

But so far, none even from the DND and the PN have confirmed our previous announcement that the ship's hull/pennant number will be "FF-150" for the first ship, and "FF-151" for the second frigate which will be named "Antonio Luna". 

Now that HHI has finally painted the ship's hull as the ship's launching comes near, it is very clear now if what we previously announced was right or wrong.

See for yourself.

As the launching date for the HHI-built frigate Jose Rizal is nearing, the ship is finally getting clearer, including its hull/pennant number. 

It should be noted that based on the latest Philippine Navy ship classification standard which was revised on April 2016, frigates in the Philippine Navy will have the prefix "FF". So in this case, the future BRP Jose Rizal will have the pennant number FF-150.

The Main Concern:

With the stern of the ship now visible, MaxDefense raises this question to the Philippine Navy: if the Towed Array Sonar System (TASS) is a Fitted for But Not With (FFBNW) subsystem for the Jose Rizal-class frigates, then why is the stern of the ship so clean, without even an opening provided for the use of a TASS in the future? Based on previous documents from the Philippine Navy, the original Technical Working Group (TWG) selected the Thales CAPTAS-2 towed array sonar system, and is actually looking at the newer and smaller CAPTAS-4 as an alternative.

Edit: we'll replace the photo of the Incheon-class frigate's stern since there are some quarters making noise that the ship doesn't have TASS. Anyway...

Warships with openings for Towed Array Sonar, in this case, specifically using the Thales CAPTAS family which have large tow bodies that require large holes in the stern. Top photo shows the smaller CAPTAS-4 in the Bergamini-class, and bottom photo shows the larger and older CAPTAS-2 system in a Royal Navy warship.
Credits to owners/sources of the photos.

In fact, the Philippine Navy even included in its Technical Specs that the frigate shall have space and power provision for a Towed Array Sonar, even indicating the size of the projector towed body for the shipbuilder to consider. The size provided actually was based on the Thales CAPTAS-2's towed body.

Photo taken from Supplementary Bid Bulletin DND/PN-FAP-16-01 dated 02 February 2016, months before the bidding date. Document from DND website.

Here's more evidence: this came from a section plan of the frigate. It shows that there is no room for a TASS below the helicopter deck, and instead the space is for Steering Gear Emeregency Steering Room. 

No TASS space below the helicopter deck just behind the stern. This came from HHI's own drawing of the frigate.
Photo exclusively shared by a MaxDefense contributor who saw our discussions.

The ship's launching is approaching fast, which is expected to be sometime between 17-19 May 2019. MaxDefense will make the final confirmation soon, as everything can still change depending on the availability of DND officials to grace the event in South Korea, or depending on circumstances in HHI's yard.

Philippine Navy Modernization Projects

Philippine Air Force Modernization Projects