Spanish firm sole eligible bidder for P5.3B aircraft
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 13, 2014 - 6:21pm

MANILA, Philippines - A Spanish firm has been declared the only eligible bidder for the supply of three new Air Force medium lift fixed-wing aircraft worth P5.3-billion.

EADS/CASA - Airbus Military was the sole bidder that met the Defense department’s technical and financial requirements during Monday's bidding in Camp Aguinaldo.

It offered to supply the aircraft for about  P5,289 billion, lower than the P5.3-billion approved budget for the project.

The Spanish company plans to deliver C-295 planes, which were described by the Airbus website as “the most capable and versatile transport and surveillance aircraft.” Airbus said the air assets can carry up to nine tons of payload or up to 71 personnel, at a maximum cruise speed of 260 kt or 480 km/h.

The C-295 plane manufactured by EADS/CASA landed on the news in previous years due to issues involving its quality.

Reports published in 2012 said the Czech military had returned the C-295 planes to EADS/CASA after they were found to be faulty. The same model figured in a 2008 crash in Poland that left 20 people dead.

Philippine defense officials, however, are expected to inspect the planes during the bidding’s post-qualification phase. The phase will allow the Defense department to validate the claims made by the bidder in its documents and to assess the quality of aircraft to be supplied.

The post-qualification phase is expected to begin within the month or after the SBAC-1 addresses the issues raised by Italian firm Alenia Aermacchi, one of the firms that expressed interest on the project. 

“Since the post qualification will be in Spain, it will probably take not less than one week to do the post qualification,” Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo said.

Alenia Aermacchi has questioned the source of funding for the project as well as the supposed links between EADS/CASA - Airbus Military and the other bidder PT Dirgantara Indonesia.

Defense officials vowed to respond to the complaints of Alenia Aermacchi once they are filed formally.

Two companies submitted offers for the project, which is one of the big-ticket items in the military’s upgrade program.

The other bidder, PT Dirgantara Indonesia, was declared ineligible because its offer did not satisfy some technical specifications.

The Air Force technical working group said PT Dirgantara’s planes could only carry 34 troopers while the requirement states that it should be at least 40. The Indonesian firm’s offer is also not compliant with some payload requirements.

Part of EADS/CASA’s bid is a P795.87 million worth of integrated logistics, which include training and spare parts.

If EADS/CASA - Airbus Military satisfies the post-qualification requirements, it will be declared the winning bidder.

Defense Assistant Secretary Patrick Velez said the first of the three planes may be delivered in the latter part of the year. The Air Force may receive the remaining two aircraft within eight months after the initial delivery.


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