Big-ticket items for AFP modernization await implementation
Alexis Romero ( - January 3, 2016 - 9:56pm

MANILA, Philippines - Four big-ticket items of the military’s modernization program, including radars for territorial defense and drones for combat operations, are awaiting the issuance of notices of award by the Defense Department.

A notice of award is issued when a project already has a winning bidder. The issuance paves way to the actual implementation of the project.

Data obtained by The STAR showed that the military projects waiting the issuance of notices of award are the air surveillance radars worth P2.68 bilion, Marine Forces Imagery and Targeting Support System Acquisition Project or drones worth P684 million, eight amphibious assault vehicles worth P2.5-billion, and Air Force full motion flight simulators worth P246 million.

The suppliers of all the projects have satisfied the requirements of the post-qualification phase. The post-qualification phase allows the government to check if the equipment or supplies being offered suits the needs of the military unit that will use them.

The procurement process of the four projects moved forward after President Aquino approved the shopping list of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program last July.

Before the president’s approval, the projects were put on hold because their budget could not be released.

The air surveillance radars will be supplied by Elta System Ltd., a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.

Last year, The STAR reported that the Philippines would buy three air search radars from Israel to strengthen its monitoring activities in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). Defense officials signed an implementation arrangement that would pave way to the purchase in February 2014.

The Philippines is boosting its external defense capabilities to protect its territorial interests amid China’s aggressive expansion in the South China Sea, where more than $5 trillion worth of trade passes through every year. 

The supplier of the drones under the Marine Forces Imagery and Targeting Support System Acquisition Project will be Triton Communication Corp.

The project involves the acquisition of six sets of drones or small unmanned aerial vehicle sub-system, nine sets of target acquisition device sub-systems, 12 kits of tactical sensor integration sub-systems, and an integrated logistics support package. According to the bid bulletin of the project, the equipment will be used by the three Marine brigades in Sulu, Central Mindanao and Palawan. 

The eight amphibious assault vehicles, which will enable Marine troops to move from sea to shore, will be supplied by South Korean firm Hanwha Techwin. The project is one of the big-ticket items in the military’s upgrade efforts.

The full motion flight simulators will be provided by Pennsylvania-based firm Environmental Tectonics Corp. The equipment seeks to enhance the training and skills of military pilots.

Other big-ticket items approved by the president include two Navy frigates worth P18-billion; six close air support aircraft worth P4.97 billion; two units of long range patrol aircraft worth P5.98 billion; multi-purpose attack craft project worth P864.32 million; night fighting system worth P1.116 billion; two C-130 aircraft worth P1.6 billion; two naval helicopters worth P5.4 billion; and lead-in fighter trainer jets ammunition worth P4.47 billion.

The shopping list also includes four basing support system and logistics projects with a total budget of P2.15 billion. These projects are in various stages of procurement.

The military modernization shopping list submitted to the president require more than P60 billion. 

AFP to buy ammunition for jets

Meanwhile, the military will spend P106 million to buy ammunition and explosives for the lead-in fighter trainer jets it acquired from South Korea.

The project involves the purchase of 93,600 rounds of 20mm ammunition for the modified A50 gun system of the jets, a bid bulletin published on the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System showed. The opening of bids is expected to be held this month.

The military has purchased 12 jets from South Korea’s Korea Aerospace Industries for P18.9 billion to strengthen its external defense capabilities. Two of the 12 jets were delivered to the Air Force last November 28.

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