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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

PA Boosts Firepower with New 81-mm Serbian-Made Mortar

The 81-mm mortar on display at AFP's 78th Anniversary (photo : Mckoyzzz)

MANILA, Dec. 20 (PNA) -- The Philippine Army (PA) fire support capability has gotten a significant boost with the arrival and deployment of the new 81-mm Serbian made mortar which was put into display during the AFP's Thanksgiving Day Thursday.

Capt. Anthony Bacus, Army spokesperson, said their newest mortar has a bore length of 1455 mm and weighs 47.1 kilograms. When fitted with its beechring, the weapon has a weight of 16.6 kilograms. It also has a bipod weight of 13.5 kilograms.

Around 100 units are now in service with various PA units.

Bacus said the Serbian made 81-mm mortar can be fired without sighting corrections at 20 rounds per minute, and 15 rounds with sight corrections.

He added that it can fire high explosive rounds and smoke shells at a range of 5,070 meters and illuminating mortar shells for 3,644 meters.


Talks for Possible Acquisition of 3rd Hamilton-Class Cutter Still Ongoing, Says PN

Talks and discussions for the possible acquisition of a third Hamilton-class cutter is still ongoing (photo : Gregorio del Pilar)

MANILA (PNA) Philippine Navy flag officer-in-charge Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano has said that talks and discussions for the possible acquisition of a third Hamilton-class cutter is still ongoing.

"This is still in the process of contention; we are still determining the operational requirements that are seen and at the same time also determining what are the necessary resources that are available to fund this requirement," he added.

The PN has acquired two Hamilton-class cutters and is using these vessels to patrol and guard the country's vast maritime territories.

The latest acquisition, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), was commissioned last Friday. 

"The decision to acquire these ships is part of an overall plan of the PN to boost its capabilities and be more efficient," Alano said.


US Firm Wins P439-m 155mm Howitzer Deal

The bidding involves the supply of 155mm howitzers and ammunition (photo : dagamerstable)

US firm wins P439-m arms deal

An American firm is said to have been awarded the contract to supply artillery worth P438.62 million to the Philippine Army in the bidding conducted by the Bids and Awards Committee of the Department of National Defense.

In the opening of the bid documents on Dec. 5, the bids committee, led by Assistant Secretary Efren Fernandez, initially considered Elbit Systems Land and C4I as the winning bidder.

The pre-bid conference was held on Nov. 22 at the BAC Conference Room inside the Defense Department building in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

But some Defense insiders who spoke on condition of anonymity said they noted possible irregularities in the bidding process “just to beat the deadline.”

“The bidding process was very fast,” one insider said.

“Elbit’s documents were problematic. The Technical Working Group’s supplemental documents were chaotic.”

Contacted through his mobile phone, Fernando Manalo, Defense undersecretary for Finance, Munitions, Installations and Materiel, could not immediately give a comment on the matter.

“I’m sorry I have no information yet about the progress of the bidding. I have to consult first the chairman of the BAC,” Manalo said.

The bidding involves the supply of 155mm howitzers and ammunition for P438,620,000.

From October to December there had been a rush of biddings being conducted by the Defense Department for some big-ticket items to upgrade the military’s capability, which involves billions of pesos from the P75 billion approved by President Benigno Aquino III to modernize the military.

A second source said the Defense Department was rushing the bidding of all projects for 2013 to meet the December deadline, else the budget reverts back to the National Treasury.

(Manila Standard Today)

Gregorio del Pilar Frigates to Undergo 'SLEP'

PF-15 BRP Gregorio del Pilar and PF-16 BRP Ramon Alcaraz (photo : Azkals)

MANILA (PNA) -- To ensure that the two Gregorio Del Pilar frigates will continue serving the country as long as possible, the Philippine Navy (PN) announced that the two vessels will undergo the so-called "service life extension programs" (SLEP).

The latter refers to the systematic upgrades to the warship's power-plant, navigation, weapons system, communication, and hull.

This has the effect of making the ship serviceable for much longer period of time.

Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic, PN spokesperson, said that the two Gregorio Del Pilar frigates in Philippine service, BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), will undergo SLEP upon serving the Navy for a specified number of years.

The upgrades will make the ship at par with other modern vessels being fielded by other navies.

SLEP will also ensure that the PN will have these ships in service much longer.

It is also a cheaper alternative.

Fabic added that ships constructed during the 1960s up to present are easily upgradeable due to their modular construction.

The two Gregorio Del Pilar frigates in PN service had their keels laid up during the early part of the 1960s. 


Philippine Navy Receives First Three AW109 Power Helicopters

AW-109 Power helicopter of the Philippine Navy (photo : Mckoyzzz)
3 of 5 Agusta choppers delivered to PH Navy

MANILA, Philippines – Three of five Agusta Westland AW109 maritime choppers for the Philippine Navy were delivered over the weekend, the military said.

Philippine Fleet spokespersons Lieutenant Junior Grade Rommel Rodriguez told on Wednesday that the three choppers arrived last Sunday and are currently being assembled at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

The choppers are being assembled and checked for testing.

“When you buy something you want to make sure it is [completely working],” he said.

But Rodriguez could not immediately give details, such as commissionship of the choppers, saying that they were still “straightening out” details.

He said, however, said that the choppers will be commissioned within the month.

Two batches of pilots and crewmembers underwent six months training in Italy for the choppers. After commissionship, the choppers will likely be deployed with the two biggest warships — BRP Gregorio del Pilar and Ramon Alcaraz, but more pilots would also undergo training first.

Two more choppers are scheduled to arrive in the first quarter of 2014. All the five choppers are worth P1.33 billion and they are part of the military’s capability upgrade program.

The naval choppers are capable of “wide range” missions such as economic zone protection, surface surveillance, search and rescue and maritime security. The contract includes initial logistics support and training for aircrew and maintenance personnel.


Firm Wants Plane Bidding Reviewed

The project involves the acquisition of three brand new Medium Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft mishandling by the DND Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) in the recent failed bidding and subsequent rebidding (photo : Defense Update)

A bidder is asking the Department of National Defense and the Government Procurement Policy Board to look into the failed bidding of November 11, 2013 and re-bidding of the P5.3 billion contract to buy new aircraft for the Philippine Air Force.

In a complaint-letter, Alenia Aermachii said it was not called by the bidding and awards committee to attend the pre-bidding conference last Dec. 2.

The firm said the supplemental bid dated December 6 for a December 16 bidding was not posted on the Philippine Government Procurement System nor in the official website of the DND, as required by Bidding Rules and Procedures.

“Moreover, no communication about said issuance has been sent to Alenia,” the company said in a statement. “Potentially interested bidders have been denied the right to submit a comprehensive proposal due to the lack of information on the December 2 pre-bid conference and the supplemental bid bulletin for a December 16 bidding.”

(Manila Standard Today)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Philippine Marine Corps Seek for Small UAV

Three Marine Brigade will operate 6 small UAV (photo : pdff)

The Department of National Defense (DND) has announced plans of acquiring Marine Forces Imagery and Targeting Support System (MITSS) consist of : 6 small UAV, 9 target acquisition device and 12 tactical sensor integration for P684.2 million.

All of the MITSS will be used for three Marine Brigade of PMC.

Delivery of MITSS is required within 5 years from the date of submission and receipts of bids.

Bids must be delivered before on or January 06, 2014 and will be opened in the same day.

(Defense Studies)

4 Firms Qualify for P18-B Navy Frigate Bidding

STX corvette (photo : naver)

MANILA, Philippines - Four companies have qualified for the next stage of the bidding for the acquisition by the Philippine Navy of two frigates worth P18 billion.

Navantia Sepi (RTR Ventures) of Spain and South Korean firms STX Offshore & Shipbuilding, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd. and Hyundai Heavy Industries, Inc. hurdled the first stage of the bidding process, which involved the inspection of company documents, The STAR learned.

Fourteen firms bought bid documents but only seven submitted bids for the frigate acquisition project, one of the big-ticket items in the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ upgrade program. The ships can be used to boost the Philippines’ security presence in the West Philippine Sea and conduct humanitarian missions.

The Department of National Defense’s bids and awards committee said documents submitted by three of the seven bidders had deficiencies. Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd. of India, STX France SA and Thyssenkrupp Marine System can still file a motion for reconsideration to prove that they are qualified to bid for the project, the committee said.

The seven firms that bought bid documents but did not submit offers were  Piriou Naval Services, Damen Shipyards, Fincantieri, DCNS France, Magazon Dock Pipavav Defense Pvt. Ltd., Stone of David and Rouvia Yachts / Rouvia Defense Inc.

Second stage

The second stage of the bidding will involve the opening of financial proposals and technical documents. This phase will determine if the bidders’ offers are well within the approved budget of P18-billion and if their goods are in line with the specifications provided in the bid documents. The second phase of the bidding will be held this month.

The government decided to conduct a two-stage competitive bidding due to the technical and detailed nature of the project.

The winning bidder is required to deliver the ships within four years from the opening of a letter of credit, a document that assures the supplier that the government will honor its financial obligations.

This means that that the vessels may arrive in the country after President Aquino steps down from office in 2016.

Defense officials, nevertheless, said what is important is they have started to modernize the Philippine Navy, said to be one of the ill-equipped units in the region.


Philippine to Acquire Shore-Based Missile System

Shore based anti ship missile system (photo : Militaryphotos)

MANILA — In line with its efforts to modernize the military, the Department of National Defense (DND) has announced plans of acquiring a shore-based missile system for P6.5 billion.

Patrick Velez, DND vice chair for the bids and awards committee, said once acquired, the weapon will be placed under the control and supervision of the Army.

The shore-based missiles will be carried out through “limited source bidding."

Velez defines limited source bidding a process where certain companies are invited to submit bids for a project.

No other details were given for security reasons. 


No Bidders in DND’s Assault Vehicle Deal

Samsung Techwin AAV-7A1 (photo : Militaryphotos)

MANILA, Philippines - Defense officials declared a failure last month’s bidding for the supply of eight brand new amphibious assault vehicles worth P2.5 billion for the Marines.

The STAR learned that the bidding did not attract any offer from suppliers, and that only Samsung Techwin of South Korea purchased bid documents, but did not submit a bid.

In a letter to the Department of National Defense’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), Samsung Techwin said it might not be able to satisfy some conditions set by the bid documents, including the government’s position to seek a two-year warranty, a major cost driver.

Samsung Techwin said the amphibious assault vehicles are normally for combat operation, and that their suppliers are not willing to extend the warranty coverage beyond the first year.

“For our company to solely assume the responsibility for the 2nd year warranty will come at a high cost that will drive our price proposal way above the approved budget,” read the letter.

Samsung Techwin also believes that the government’s decision to increase the number of operation bases to four from two would also raise costs.

“The combined costs of the Harris radios and additional two operational bases cannot be accommodated in the budget,” read the letter.

Samsung Techwin also mentioned the need to clarify certain features of the Harris radios to be installed and the turnaround time, which it wanted increased to 90 days from 60 days.

“We deeply regret not joining the bid because we are sure to be disqualified anyway due to the previously mentioned reasons,” read the letter.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Defense Set to Acquire P700-M Howitzers, Ammunitions

DND set to acquire 12 units of 155mm Towed Howitzer (photo : Elbit)

MANILA - The Department of National Defense (DND) has announced the public bidding for the purchase of P700 million worth of howitzers and ammunitions.

Assistant Defense Secretary and DND-Bids and Awards Committee chairman Efren Fernandez said the acquisition of 12 units of 155mm Towed Howitzer has an approved budget of P438.6 million.

The other project, which has a budget of P303.8 million, requires the purchase of 5,990 rounds of ammunition for 25mm gun, 43,578 rounds of ammunition for 40mm gun, and 4,500 rounds of ammunition for 105mm gun and explosives.

He said the acquisitions will be for the use of the 80,000-strong Philippine Army, which is at the forefront of addressing internal threats.

The military is aiming to defeat the New People’s Army and the Abu Sayyaf on or before the end of the term of President Aquino in July 2016 as provided in the Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan.

The projects will be via open competitive bidding as anchored on the Government Procurement Act. Local and foreign bidders are welcome.

The howitzers must be delivered within 360 days from the opening of the letter of credit, while the ammunitions will have to be delivered within 210 to 240 days.

(ABS CBN News)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

PAL Arrives Riyahd

Philippine Airlines (PAL) returns to Riyadh yesterday after suspending service two years ago on March 2011. This time, PAL uses the smaller variant of its fleet, a brand new Airbus 330-343X (RP-C8782) that  replaces the bigger B747-400 aircraft it once used. It will also re-introduce regular services to Dammam on Dec. 3 and Jeddah early next year also with the same aircraft type.

Flights to Riyadh (PR654) depart Manila every Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 8:15 AM, arriving at King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh, at 1:30 PM of the same day.

Flights to Dammam (PR682) leave Manila every Monday, Tuesday and Saturday at 1:35 PM, arriving at King Fahd International Airport, Dammam, at 6:00 PM of the same day.

PAL first flew to Riyadh on March 1st, 1987 while flights to Dammam started on July 3, 1982 landing at Dhahran International Airport. The service moved to King Fahd International Airport in November 1999 after the new airport was open. The service was suspended in August 2001 after the company went into receivership.

Philippine Military Awards Rifle Contract to Remington Defense

Remington R4 carbine (photo : Remington Military)

Madison, N.C. - Remington announced today, that it has been awarded, a $47 million dollar initial contract, to supply and deliver over 40,000 R4 carbines with accessories and training by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. This contract award is the result of an open bid competition conducted by the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND).

"This contract is representative of Remington's strong and growing presence in international military markets. We look forward to providing the best military-grade weapon systems to the Philippine Military," said Mike Haugen, Director International Military/Law Enforcement Sales, Remington Defense. "We take great pride in knowing the AFP will use our products to defend the interests of their nation."

"This award is not only an impressive reminder of Remington's leading position in the manufacturing of arms and ammunition on a global scale, but also demonstrates that American manufacturing is still the top choice for military personnel around the world," said John Day, Vice President, Remington Defense. "Our American workforce is pleased to provide AFP with the excellent craftsmanship and state-of-the-art technology that has proven Remington invaluable in combat time and time again."

Over the past four years, Remington Defense has invested in its ability to compete in the government small arms space by modernizing production facilities, focusing research and development on end-user requirements, and ensuring consistent and repeatable quality in a high-volume, high-mix manufacturing environment. Remington Defense also holds the Precision Sniper Rifle contract from the United States Special Operations Command, which was awarded in 201X, as well as numerous law enforcement agency contracts and international military awards. Together, these contracts demonstrate Remington Defense's commitment to development and production of high-quality, affordable sniper systems, shotguns, and carbines for military and law enforcement customers.

(The Outdoor Wire)

DND: No Consensus Yet on P18.9-B Fighter Jets' Purchase

KAI F/A-50 aircraft (photo : twicsy)

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines and South Korean firm Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) are still hurdling issues related to the military’s plan to buy 12 lead in fighter trainer jets worth P18.9-billion.

Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo admitted on Monday that they have yet to reach consensus on some issues including the down payment to be given to the supplier and the period of delivery of spare parts.

“The lead in fighter (project) is within the process of negotiation with the government of South Korea and there are major issues, there are several issues that we still have to hurdle,” Manalo said in a press conference.

Among the issues to be threshed out is the advance payment to be given to KAI.

Manalo said the law allows state agencies to pay a 15 percent down payment while the rest of the amount would be paid upon the delivery of goods.

KAI wants the Philippines to pay a 52 percent down payment but Manalo said this would require the approval of President Aquino.

“The approval of a down payment that is more than 15 percent does not rest on the BAC (Bids and Awards Committee). It will be up to the president,” Manalo said.

“Even if we consider their request on the terms of payment and more progressive billing, we cannot do it. We can only recommend to the president,” he added.

Another issue being threshed out is the turnaround time, the period required for the delivery of the jets’ spare parts under a two-year warranty.

Manalo said the turnaround time usually lasts for 30 to 45 days but KAI wants it prolonged to 180 days.

When asked whether he is still optimistic that the issues surrounding the project will be resolved, Manalo said: “This project should push through but we cannot continue without looking at it and ensuring that aircraft we will buy won’t be left unused without the spare parts.”

Manalo said they would decide whether to push through with a deal with KAI within the year.

“We are already preparing our firm position and then we are going to submit it to KAI for them to determine whether that is acceptable. We cannot just let it hang for a long time. We will immediately resolve the issue,” he said.

The government plans to acquire 12 FA-50 jets from South Korea to boost the territorial defense capabilities of the Air Force. The negotiations with KAI started last July.

Earlier, Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino dela Cruz said two FA-50 jets could be delivered by the end of 2014 if all the contracts and other necessary documents are signed this year.

The acquisition of FA-50 jets is one of the big ticket items in the military’s multi-billion upgrade program.

A total of P85.29-billion is needed to bankroll the program for the next four years, Defense department data showed.

Other items to be acquired were Navy frigates, ammunitions, rocket launchers, handheld radios, long range patrol aircraft, amphibious assault vehicles, anti-submarine helicopter, aerial radars, engineering equipment and base support facilities

Manalo said the government is also planning to spend P6.5-billion to buy a shore-based missile system but declined to say where it will be located.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

2 of 5 AW-109 PN Helicopters Equipped with Weapons, Electronic Warfare Systems

The helicopters are expected to be deployed aboard the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16). (all photos : geminirecon)

MANILA — The Philippine Navy (PN) on Friday announced that two out the five AgustaWestland AW-109 "Power" helicopters that it will be acquiring this year are classified as combat helicopters.

Navy spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic made this announcement after noting that these aircraft are fitted with weapon and electronic warfare systems.

He did not give the exact specifications, citing operational security reasons.

"The two helicopters which will arrive next year are classified as combat helicopters than the initial three that are classified as naval helicopters. They are more upgraded in terms of firepower and electronic warfare systems," Fabic said.

3 Helicopters to be Delivered this December

Three of the PN's AW-109 helicopters are scheduled to arrive this December.
These are the naval versions, Fabic stressed.

The PN spokesperson said that these combat helicopters can be deployed aboard their Gregorio Del Pilar class frigates and in the future, as two of the modern frigates and strategic sealift vessels are set to be bidded out.

The PN's AW-109 helicopter deal is worth P1.33 billion.

Fabic said that the decision of to acquire two more is based on the PN's desired force-mix of 18 naval helicopters to serve the fleet.

The AW-109 "Power" is a three-ton class eight seat helicopter powered by two Pratt and Whitney PW206C engines.

The spacious cabin is designed to be fitted with a number of modular equipment packages for quick and easy conversion between roles.

The aircraft’s safety features include a fully separated fuel system, dual hydraulic boost system, dual electrical systems and redundant lubrication and cooling systems for the main transmission and engines.

The AW-109 has established itself as the world’s best selling light-twin helicopter for maritime missions.

It's superior speed, capacity and productivity combined with reliability and ease of maintenance make it the most cost effective maritime helicopter in its class.

For shipboard operations, the aircraft has a reinforced-wheeled landing gear and deck mooring points as well as extensive corrosion protection measures.

The ability to operate from small ships in high sea state enables the AW-109 to perform its mission when many other helicopters would be confined to the ship’s hangar.

Over 550 AW-109 "Power" and AW-109 light utility helicopters have been ordered for commercial, parapublic and military applications by customers in almost 50 countries.

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