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Friday, May 31, 2013

Philippines to Receive Riverine Patrol Boats from US

The Silver Ship’s new 40 feet Riverine Patrol Boats can hit speeds of 40 knots. (all photos : Militaryphotos)

The Philippine Navy (PN) is set to receive six riverine patrol boats (RPBs) from the United States in August under a US Navy (USN) Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract.

A Silver Ships riverine patrol boat (RPB) on trial in the United States.1513348A Silver Ships riverine patrol boat (RPB) on trial in the United States. (Silver Ships)

According to an official at manufacturer Silver Ships, a contract was signed with the USN in September 2011 and the boats were completed a year later. However, delivery was delayed until early May this year due to "non-availability of marine transport".

Although the boats are capable of open-water operations, they will be used primarily in shallow waters. They have a length of 40 ft, a beam of 10 ft 8 inches and a draft of less than two feet.

The boats feature a centre console configuration and a bow ramp to permit egress of embarked troops during beaching operations. They have three weapon mounts - two forward and one aft - for machine guns and grenade launchers as well as ballistic protection.

Powered by two Hamilton HJ-292 waterjets, each driven by a Yanmar 6LY2A-STP diesel producing 440 hp, top speed is 40 kt. Fully loaded, range is greater than 250 n miles at a cruising speed of more than 30 kt.

Besides Silver Ships, fellow US boatbuilder Willard Marine is supplying unspecified numbers of 7 m Sea Force 730 outboard rigged-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) to the PN under an FMS programme.

In other news, the PN announced in March it was looking to buy three more multi-purpose attack craft (MPAC) to add to its fleet of six vessels. "This acquisition is under our mid-term development plan for 2014-2017," said PN spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Gregory Fabic.

The MPACs are similar to the CB-90 Combat Boat. The first three were constructed by Lung Teh Shipbuilding in Taiwan, while the following three were built locally to a revised design by Propmech Corporation, based in Subic Bay. The PN is hoping to later acquire 42 MPACs but funding remains an issue.


BRP Ramon Alcaraz Outfitted with ASW Capabilities

PF-16 BRP Ramon Alcaraz (photo : Benjamin Apostol)

The Philippine Navy's (PN) second Hamilton Class cutter, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), will be fitted with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability, a military spokesman said.

Alcaraz, now undergoing sea trial off the waters off South Carolina, is  expected to leave the US and sail to the Philippines first week June. The ship is scheduled to arrive in the country by August.

Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic, the PN spokesman, said the ASW capability will be installed on the Alcaraz and a helicopter that will be assigned to her. ASW or Anti-submarine warfare capability refers to the capability to detect, track and destroy submarines. 

"As an additional asset it will greatly improve our maritime domain/situational awareness (capability) because of its capable of long range deployment," said Fabic.

At present, the Filipino warship is believed to be carrying an 76mm Oto Melara automatic cannon, two 25 Bushmaster guns and assorted machine guns.

It is also reported to be carrying a Harpoon anti-ship missile system.

Also, since the ship is fitted with hangar facilities, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz can embark a naval helicopter that can further extend its monitoring and detection capability.

"A helicopter can be launched from the vessel allowing wider and further coverage," said Fabic, who also disclosed that additional surveillance equipment like radar can also be installed on the ship.

"As a platform, radar equipment like that of the littoral observation stations (coast watch stations) can be mounted for wider range data gathering. All of these will be linked in a shore facility for better command and control for effective decision making," the PN spokesman stressed.

According to Fabic, Alcaraz  is "fully mission capable" on her arrival. 

(Manila Bulletin)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

DND to Change the Bid System Through Negotiated Procurement

After two biddings failed, DND will acquire through a negotiated procurement system (photo : Rice Aircraft)

DND set to acquire 21 Huey helicopters

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) will acquire 21 UH-1 helicopters through a negotiated procurement after the two public biddings for the air assets failed.

Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo said they need to fast-track the acquisition of the helicopters to beef up the Air Force’s security and disaster response capabilities.

“We cannot afford not to have additional helicopters for a long time. The rainy season is approaching. We need the helicopters for disaster response,” Manalo told The STAR over the weekend. “We also need them for our existing internal security operations.”

The government has allotted P1.2649 billion for 21 helicopters, which were originally intended to support election-related duties. However, the procurement of the air assets has been delayed due to failed biddings.

“The decision is to proceed with the procurement. Since there are two failed biddings, it will be through negotiated bid,” he said.

Manalo explained that under a negotiated bid, companies that signified interest to supply the equipment would be invited to submit a proposal. Other firms could also submit offers.

A team composed of representatives from the agency that would use the equipment would evaluate the proposals.

The first public bidding for the 21 helicopters was held last December.

The Defense System/Radom Israel and Rice Aircraft Services, Inc. participated in the bidding but both companies failed to meet the requirements set by the DND.

The second bidding was held last February and only one bidder - the US-based Rice Aircraft Services - was declared eligible to submit an offer.

The DND, however, declared that the company had failed to satisfy some financial requirements during the post-qualification phase.

“The problem lies on the technical and administrative matters on the part of Rice,” Manalo said.

“(Rice) did not meet (some requirements) based on the financial statements (it submitted). Through such documents, we can see a bidder’s financial capacity,” he added.

The DND requires bidders to submit financial documents to determine if they are capable of undertaking the project or supplying the needed equipment.

The Air Force requested for additional helicopters as early as 2011.

It only has 16 mission-capable UH-1 helicopters in its inventory, 51 units short of the ideal number of operational combat utility helicopters.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

DND to Procure 2 Naval Vessels

PT Pal also offers SSV concept to Philippines Navy (all photos : Defense Studies)

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) is now rushing the procurement of big-ticket items, including the acquisition of two naval vessels to improve the country’s territorial defense.

In line with this, DND planners held a pre-procurement conference yesterday for the acquisition of two service support vessels (SSVs) worth P2 billion each for an outlay of P4 billion.

“We are rushing our procurement of big-ticket items for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),” said Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo, whose office is directly in charge of the acquisition of military hardware.

Defense sources said that Japan, Singapore, South Korea, France, and Italy have expressed interest in supplying the country with two SSVs that are multi-role vessels which could serve as a Navy platform for search and rescue operations during disasters since the ships could be fitted with hospital facilities and a helipad, aside from its primary role as a transport vessel capable of transporting one battalion of troops with armored vehicles.

“It’s a mission capable ship, though a little smaller than the MRV (multi-role vessel),” the source said.

He said the pre-bidding conference would be held soon for the procurement of the two vessels with several defense contractors expected to participate.

On top of this, the DND is also in the final phase of its procurement of a squadron of T50 trainer jets from South Korea through a government-to-government deal.

South Korea is also being eyed to supply the country with two brand new missile-firing frigates instead of the two Maestrale warships being offered by the Italian government.

The AFP has lagged behind its neighbors in terms of military assets and equipment due to neglect by the past administrations.

However, with the recent developments in the region, the Aquino government is prioritizing the acquisition of military hardware for the AFP to rebuild a credible defense capability to secure the country’s territory.

China’s aggressive posture in its territorial claims in disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea had prompted the AFP to speed up procurement plans for new military hardware.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Second Warship Armed with Anti-Ship Missile System : DND Official

Missile container consist of eight SSM (all photos : Philippine Embassy for USA)

The BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), the country’s second Hamilton-class cutter due to arrive this August, is a far more potent weapon platform than her sister ship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15), a Department of National Defense (DND) official who asked not to be named bared yesterday.

“Her weapons system is heavier and sophisticated than those of the BRP Gregorio del Pilar,” he said.

However, the DND officer declined to specify these weapon systems and stressed that such items cannot be divulged due to matters of national security.

He made this announcement when asked if there is truth to reports that a Harpoon anti-ship missile system was installed as part of BRP Ramon Alcaraz’s armament fit.

At present, the Filipino warship is believed to be carrying a 76mm Oto Melara automatic cannon, two 25 Bushmaster guns and assorted machine guns.

In contrast, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, which arrived in the country in December 2011, is only armed with the 76mm Oto Melara automatic cannon, making it prudent to install additional 20mm automatic cannons as her secondary weapons.

BRP Ramon Alcaraz is presently carrying out sea trials off the waters of South Carolina in the United States.

She is expected to depart for the Philippines by first week of June.

The ship is “fully mission capable” on her arrival.

Maritime observers said this development speaks well of the PN efforts to modernize and boost its power projection capabilities.

“With the arrival of our Hamilton-class cutters, which are being converted to frigates, the PN has started its first step in developing its blue-water capability or the ability to detect or engage intruders in the high seas,” they said.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

New Navy Choppers to be Delivered December

AW109 Power, naval helicopter (photo : firenews)

FORT SAN FELIPE, Cavite City - The Navy is expected to receive this December three new helicopters that are seen to boost its maritime security capabilities.

Navy chief Vice Adm. Jose Luis Alano said the three helicopters would constitute the first batch of air assets to be delivered by the supplier AugustaWestland S.P.A.

The government is acquiring a total five AW 109 Power helicopters from the Anglo-Italian firm for P1.3 billion.

“We are looking at the acquisition of naval helicopters. The initial batch will be arriving by December this year,” Alano said on the sidelines of the Navy’s anniversary celebration here.

“The helicopters (were acquired through) the proper procurement process,” he added.

In its website, AugustaWestland described the AW 109 as “a versatile aircraft that offers the highest level of benefits for government and military markets, combining optimum performance with cost-effectiveness.”

The helicopters can be used for maritime security, search and rescue and surface surveillance, among other operations.

The government and AugustaWestland signed the contract for the acquisition of the helicopters last December.

In a recent statement, Vincenzo Alaimo, AgustaWestland’s head of regional sales for Southeast Asia, said the AW 109 would “provide the Philippine Navy with an enhanced maritime operational capability.”

Meanwhile, Alano said they are looking forward to the arrival of a warship they acquired from United States (US) this August.

Alano said the acquisition of the BRP Ramon Alcaraz would provide them with the added capability to enforce Philippine maritime laws.

Officials previously expected the ship to arrive last January but the schedule was pushed back due to the need for repairs and personnel training. The government spent more than P600 million to acquire the vessel.

BRP Alcaraz was acquired from the US Coast Guard and was largely used for law enforcement, drug and migrant interdiction and search and rescue.

BRP Alcaraz can accommodate up to 180 personnel and was named after Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, a Navy officer who commanded a patrol boat during World War II.

It is the second vessel acquired by the Philippines from the US, the first one being BRP Gregorio del Pilar, which was commissioned in December 2011.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Philippines Interested in the 'Principe de Asturias'

In the bid for the Spanish carriers have also entered several Arab. The sale agreement includes that reform or adjustments shall be Spanish shipyards (photo :  Jack C. Bahm)

Indonesia has ruled out the purchase of the ship after the visit that turned several representatives of his government to the arsenal of Ferrol.

The aircraft carrier 'Principe de Asturias' has several suitors since the Spanish Armada gave low fleet in February. At the moment it is docked in the arsenal of Ferrol, which is handling the liquidation proceedings and at the same time, it continues with the tasks of withdrawal of their useful material. The plans that were originally planned for that has been the jewel in the crown of the Spanish Armada was being scrapped, but the Ministry of Defence has opened out to the possibility of its sale. This option has become stronger in recent weeks, as LA VOZ announced last April, to the interest shown by the purchase of the vessel by Asian and Arab countries. The Spanish Navy has confirmed that there are potential buyers, but so far has not materialized any sales transaction.

A delegation from the Indonesian Navy moved to late March to Ferrol to visit the ship and learn about their capabilities. However, the government has ruled out the purchase. The auction is now in the hands of Philippines. If definitely take the step to purchase, enter into the select club of countries with these characteristics boats among its fleet. Only nine governments have aircraft carriers. So, the closest to Indonesia is China and Thailand. The latter state has a nearly identical aircraft carrier 'Principe de Asturias'. Ferrol was built between 1994 and 1996 and gave the Thai government in 1997.

The Spanish Navy has indicated that no further visits planned similar to that made by Indonesians, although the door is open. For sale carried out one of these nations, in the marketing agreement could include a necessary modernization that could run in the shipyards of Navantia, which would provide a significant workload for the company. Just the cost of the reform and the high maintenance costs of the aircraft carrier was prompting Defense to declare their withdrawal. In February, the ship docked in Ferrol, after leaving their base in Rota, to remove from within all elements that can be reused. If no country finally acquires the carrier, will be auctioning an end, following a public call, to be scrapped as junk.

The Defence Ministry would take economic return with the sales transaction and, at the same time would be a dignified exit for this vessel, which has been the flagship of the Navy for over two decades. Defense announced on November 22 the ship retirement after 25 years of service, but clearly did not disclose what his final destination, although in some forums they talked about scrapping. This possibility, of course, does not convince the pointing control and less traumatic options.

The carrier left the Feb. 7 based in Rota to go to Arsenal of Ferrol, which holds its termination process Fleet units. The parting of the 'Prince of Asturias' took the honors during a naval parade that was attended by Don Felipe and Defence Minister Peter Morenés. In its cover held a ceremony and a display of military aircraft have integrated their tactical equipment, helicopters and planes Harrie '.

The floor of the carrier process will take between six and nine months. The Navy LA VOZ recently confirmed that the process of demilitarization of the ship began earlier this year at the base of Rota and is now in the Arsenal of Ferrol. The same sources stressed already dismantled a series of elements, mainly historical value goods, also the equipment for aircraft operations and transmission equipment as well as ammunition and combat systems. By prior, the Navy made an inventory of the material of the ship and, at present, we study the incorporation of some of its parts to other units of the Spanish fleet. This withdrawal process is similar to that carried out in 2009 with two Baleares class frigates (F-71), which were replaced by the new F-100. The Navy has scrapped a boat in the last decade and vessels have left the service are moored.

Ship Reconstruction

The Navy insists that, once the process is completed low, the aircraft carrier will be ready for disposal, ie for sale. Clear, however, that if during the process of disarmament is a country interested in your purchase, automatically stops the removal, so that the carrier does not lose all its military capabilities. At this point, it is the pursued, will sign an agreement with the country concerned compromising the work of adaptation and remodeling industry with some Spanish.

That is, the option includes the reconstruction of the boat to the new needs of the buyer country is made in Spain. So, Navantia, the builder of the ship, has very competitive studies for the possible adaptation of the boat to the needs of third countries.


BRP Ramon Alcaraz to Cross Panama Canal

The BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF16) of the Philippine Navy leaves the pier at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in North Charleston, South Carolina, to undergo three days of sea trials in preparation for its departure for the Philippines next month. (photo : USCG)

The Philippines' second Hamilton cutter, BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), will sail through the Panama Canal during its voyage home in the first week of June.

This was confirmed by Philippine Navy (PN) spokesperson Lt. Cmdr Gregory Fabic.

"She will cross the Panama Canal before making port calls in the US West Coast. After those stops, BRP Ramon Alcaraz (ex-USGC Dallas) will then proceed to Guam before resuming her journey to the Philippines," he said.

All in all, he said the voyage will take between 45 to 60 days.

The ship is presently docked at North Charleston, South Carolina.

Fabic said that BRP Ramon Alcaraz is the first ship of the PN to cross the historic waterway.

South Carolina is located on the US Atlantic seaboard making it practical for BRP Ramon Alcaraz to transit through the Panama Canal to get to the Pacific on her home to the Philippines.

The 82-kilometer Panama Canal connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean.

It cuts across the isthmus of Panama and is a key conduit for international maritime trade.

Fabic also said that the ship is "fully mission capable" on her arrival.

"She will be fully capable of carrying out all functions assigned to her upon her arrival," the PN spokesperson added.

He declined to comment on what other weaponry, communications and navigation systems were fitted to BRP Ramon Alcaraz but stated that the latter is "more formidable than BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-16)."

Maritime observers said that this developments speak well of the PN efforts to modernize itself and boost its power projection capabilities.

"With the arrival of our Hamilton-class cutters, which are being converted to frigates, the PN has started its first step in developing its blue-water capability or the ability to detect or engage intruders in the high seas," they added.

At present, the PN is rated only as coastal protection naval force and nothing else.

The ex-USS Dallas was a high endurance cutter commissioned in 1967 at the Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans.

She was the sixth ship or boat to bear the name of Alexander J. Dallas, the Secretary of the Treasury under President James Madison (1814–1816).

The ship is one of 12 Hamilton class cutters built for the US Coast Guard.

It weighs 3,250 tons, has a length of 378 feet, beam of 43 feet, and draft of 15 feet.

Its propulsion systems consist of two diesel engines and two gas turbine engines, giving it a top speed of 29 knots.

The ship has cruising range of 14,000 miles and has a sea and loiter time of 45 days.

It has a complement of 167 officers and men.

The ship was originally equipped with an AN/SPS-40 air-search radar Mark 92 Fire Control System and armed with one Oto Melara Mark-75 76mm gun, Two Mark K-38 25mm machine gun system, two Mark 36 SRBOC systems, One Phalanx CIWS missile defense gun, along with multiple mounted M2HB .50 caliber machine guns and M240 7.62mm machine guns.

Under PN service, all of the above-mentioned weapons and sensor systems were removed with the exception of the Oto Melara Mark-75 76-mm main gun.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Remington Wins Bid to Supply 50,000 M4 Rifles for AFP

M4 rifle (image world gun)

The Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of the Department of National Defense (DND) has declared the United States-based Remington company the winning bidder to supply 50,629 pieces of M4 rifles, according to the Philippine representative of the company. The bid was for little less than P2-billion.

"Remington was declared the winning single calculated bid on the AFP requirement for 50,629 pieces M4 cal 5.56mm assault rifles," Neri Dionisio, head of the P.B. Dionisio & Co., Inc., said. Dionisio  is the official local representative of Remington.

In a follow-up phone interview, Dionisio said the bidding was conducted on Tuesday at the DND. Apart from Remington, it  was participated in by Colt Defense, Sig Sauer and Manroy, he added.

"Remington submitted a total bid price of P1,944,261,591.66, saving government coffers P1,245,365,408.34, (based on) the total authorized budget of contract of P3,189,627,000." This would place the price for each rifle at around P38,400, or around $960.

Even as Dionisio announced Remington's winning bid, however, a source from the DND-BAC said they expected at least one of the losing bidders, particularly Colt, to file a motion for reconsideration.

"We've been expecting that, but we're confident the DND-BAC is certain they got the right bidder. With or without the contest of Colt we will be filing our request for a post-qualification bid on Friday," Dionisio said.

The post-qualification process will revalidate the documents for bidding. After this, the DND-BAC moves to the conduct of a pre-delivery inspection of the items from the winning bidder.

"A group from DND, most probably the Technical Group (TWG), will be going to the factory in the US to inspect the firearms. If there is no problem then the DND-BAC will finally award the contract to Remington," Dionisio said.


Military to Acquire P40-M Grenades

Smoke and fragmentation grenades (photo : jeeper)

MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will acquire close to P40 million worth of hand grenades to be used for security operations.

A bid bulletin published in The STAR yesterday showed that the AFP will acquire 11,364 smoke grenades and 11,460 fragmentation grenades.

The government has allotted P19.944 million for the smoke grenades and P19.998 million for the fragmentation grenades.

The opening of bids will be on May 20 at the AFP Bids and Awards Committee Conference Room in Camp Aguinaldo.

The AFP assures the public that the process would comply with the provisions of the procurement law.

The acquisitions of smoke and fragmentation hand grenades are separate projects. Interested parties can submit bids for one project or for both.

To be qualified, prospective bidders should have undertaken similar projects within the last five years.

Bidders should have inked a single contract equivalent to at least 25 percent of the approved budget for each project.

They should also have completed at least two similar contracts, the total amount of which should be equivalent to at least 25 percent of the approved budget for the project.

The larger of the two contracts must be equivalent to at least 12.5 percent of the approved budget for the project.

Prospective suppliers may buy a set of bid documents worth P6,000 for each project from May 2 to 29 in Camp Aguinaldo.


DND Awaits'DAPA' to Finalize Acquisition of South Korean F/A-50

KAI F/A-50 (photo : chosun)

MANILA -- The Department of National Defense (DND) is still waiting for its South Korean counterpart to release the so-called "DAPA" before proceeding with the acquisition of the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI)'s F/A-50 "Golden Eagle" jet aircraft.

The "DAPA" is a technical document certifying that the aircraft has passed all standards requisite for military planes.

Besides this, "DAPA" is also a guarantee that the South Korean government and KAI will assist the Philippines in rectifying possible technical malfunctions or defects in the F/A-50.

"We have meet with South Korean defense representatives this Tuesday and they have pledged to give us this document as soon as possible. Once we have this document in our hands, the acquisition for the F/A-50 will start rolling," the DND observer stressed.

The latter added that the ball is literally in the hands of the South Korean officials if the Philippine Air Force (PAF) is to fly the F/A-50 anytime soon.

"But until we have the 'DAPA' in our hands, the DND is still open to any aircraft manufacturer who is willing to sell affordable and yet quality jet planes to the Philippines," he added.

But the DND observer also clarified that the F/A-50 is the ideal aircraft for the PAF due to its capabilities.

"What we are asking now is that the South Korean act on this matter immediately so that the acquisition process can be expedited," he pointed out.

The Philippines is in the market for 12 supersonic trainer aircraft which can double as interim fighter and attack planes for the PAF. It has allocated P18 billion for this program.

The Government Procurement Policy Board earlier gave the DND the "green-light" to start pre-negotiations with the South Korean government for 12 F/A 50 aircraft last January.

The plane is manufactured by the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The F/A-50 is also known as the TA-50.

The F/A-50 design is largely derived from the F-16 "Fighting Falcon", and they have many similarities: use of a single engine, speed, size, cost, and the range of weapons.

KAI's previous engineering experience in license-producing the KF-16 was a starting point for the development of the F/A-50.

The aircraft can carry two pilots in tandem seating. The high-mounted canopy developed by Hankuk Fiber is applied with stretched acrylic, providing the pilots with good visibility, and has been tested to offer the canopy with ballistic protection against four-pound objects impacting at 400 knots.

The altitude limit is 14,600 meters (48,000 feet), and airframe is designed to last 8,000 hours of service.

There are seven internal fuel tanks with capacity of 2,655 liters (701 US gallons), five in the fuselage and two in the wings.

An additional 1,710 liters (452 US gallons) of fuel can be carried in the three external fuel tanks.

Trainer variants have a paint scheme of white and red, and aerobatic variants white, black, and yellow.

The F/A-50 "Golden Eagle" uses a single General Electric F404-102 turbofan engine license-produced by Samsung Techwin, upgraded with a full authority digital engine control system jointly developed by General Electric and KAI.

The engine consists of three-staged fans, seven axial stage arrangement, and an afterburner.

The aircraft has a maximum speed of Mach 1.4-1.5.

Its engine produces a maximum of 78.7 kN (17,700 lbf) of thrust with afterburner. 

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