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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Malaysia's SMEO in Talks with Philippines Over M-4 Carbine Deal

M-4 carbine (photo : Colt)

Malaysia's SME Ordnance (SMEO), a subsidiary of the NADI group, is in talks with the Philippines' Government Arsenal on a joint venture over SMEO's licenced-built M-4 in order to meet the Armed Forces of the Philippines' requirements for the carbine.

Colt has licenced SMEO to manufacture the M-4 for domestic use and for ASEAN countries already using the weapon.

General Mohd Sharom (rtd), NADI's Executive Director Defense & Business Development, told IHS Jane's at DSA 2014 that discussions were at an advanced stage and the joint venture would include the Government Arsenal manufacturing magazines of the M-4s to be produced for the Philippines.


Philippines Navy Asking for 3rd Warship from US

Philipine Navy estimated that it needs at least 6 ships to patrol the country's long coastline. (photo : Manila Bulletin)

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is pursuing its request for a 3rd Hamilton Class cutter from the United States, Navy chief Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano told Rappler.

“As far as we are now looking at it, there will be a positive action for getting a 3rd Del Pilar frigate as we now call the Hamilton Class cutters,” said Alano on Monday, April 14.

Decommissioned US Coast Guard ship BRP Gregorio Del Pilar and its twin ship BRP Ramon Alcaraz are currently the Philippine Navy’s most capable warships. Both have been deployed to the patrol the West Philippines Sea (South China Sea).

The Philippines acquired them from the US in 2012 and 2013, respectively, through the Excess Defense Articles program. The Philippines only had to pay for the refurbishment of the decommissioned ships.

The plan to acquire a 3rd cutter was previously scrapped.

The Philipine military earlier estimated that it needs at least 6 ships to patrol the country's long coastline. Alano said the number is constantly being evaluated. He also cited existing cooperation agreement with the navies of neighboring ASEAN countries.

Bidding for 2 brand new frigates worth P18 billion (US$400 million) is also ongoing.

PH wish list

The Philippines and the US are finalizing a new military deal that will increase the presence of American troops in the Philippines and give them wider access to military bases.

This comes at a time when the Philippines is locked in a bitter maritime dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea.

The draft agreement has been submitted to Malacañang. Talk is rife that it will be signed during the visit of US President Barack Obama later this month, April 28-29.

Philippine Ambassador to US Jose Cuisia Jr said he is hopeful that the new agreement will also mean “we can get more equipment in the future.”

“The Armed Forces must decide what are the things they would like to get. I have not seen the wish list of the AFP,” said Cuisia.

The AFP is constantly evaluating its requests for assets. It was previously looking at F-16 fighter jets from the US but changed its mind because of maintenance costs.

“You recall we were looking at F-16s before. The AFP decided not to. Why? Because the maintenance costs are very high,” Cuisia said.

The military instead opted to acquire for P18.9 billion a squadron of FA-50 lead in fighter jets from South Korea’s Korea Aerospace Industry (KAI).

The Philippines and KAI signed the contract last month, March 28. It has been almost a decade since the Philippine Air Force retired the last of its US-designed F-5 fighters in 2005.

The FA-50 has minimum fighter capabilities. Its design is derived largely from the F-16 meaning it won’t be a problem if the Philippines in the future gets the money to upgrade to the more expensive jet. 


Saturday, April 12, 2014

DND Purchases RFTE for Military

Radio frequency test equipment (photo : ferret)

RFTE for counter-terror operations, not for spying --DND

MANILA, April 10 (PNA) -- The Department of National Defense (DND) said on Thursday the acquisition of the so-called "radio frequency test equipment" (RFTE) for the military is solely for counter-terror operations and not for spying purposes.

"The DND emphasizes that all its purchases are in line with its constitutionally mandated duty of safeguarding the nation and its people. Our efforts to upgrade the capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) remain one of our highest priorities as we move our focus from internal security operations towards building a credible external defense," DND acting public affairs office chief Arsenio Andolong said.

He added that the acquisition of the RFTE is not a secret as it has been identified as a capability requirement of the AFP and is intended to boost the latter’s capacity to combat terrorism and protect the Filipino nation and its people.

"Furthermore, the acquisition project falls within the ambit of the Human Security Act of 2007 or the 'Act To Secure The State And Protect Our People From Terrorism'," Andolong stressed.

Simply put, "the RFTE is intended for counter-terrorism and monitoring the activities of those who intend to wreak havoc and sow terror in our communities," he said.

"The acquisition of such equipment is meant to safeguard the Filipino people and not to violate the rights and intrude on the privacy of our citizens," he added.

"As such, the Department categorically denies the existence of any project called 'Spectrum' and would like to assure the Filipino people that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is a professional organization, and would in no way, use its resources for any political purpose," Andolong stressed. 


Philippines will Get U.S. Foreign Military Financing Possibly Getting a Third Hamilton-Class Cutter

This year, the Philippines will get $50 million under U.S. foreign military financing, the largest amount in more than a decade, and $40 million from a U.S. global security contingency fund. (photo : Brunei Mindef)

U.S.-Philippine pact to highlight Obama's Asia rebalance - minister

(Reuters) - An agreement on U.S.-Philippine defence cooperation, expected to be signed this month during a visit by President Barack Obama, will be a clear sign of a U.S. "rebalance" to Asia despite U.S. preoccupations elsewhere, the Philippines' top diplomat said.

The deal will enable the sharing of Philippine bases, an increase in the rotation through the Philippines of U.S. ships, aircraft and troops, and will reassure U.S. allies of support against a rising China.

"There is full resolve on the part of the U.S. to fulfil their commitments on this Asia rebalancing, not only in terms of defensive security but also in terms of enhancing economic cooperation," Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario told Reuters in an interview late on Monday.

"This enhanced defence cooperation is a clear manifestation of that," he said, days before the eighth and final round of talks on the pact between the old allies.

"The situation in the Middle East, the situation in Ukraine - this has been of some distraction in terms of their focus on doing this. But I believe that the resolve is very strong in terms of fulfilling their rebalance to Asia."

The deal will boost the Philippines' surveillance capabilities in the disputed South China Sea, del Rosario said, as it strives to keep in check an increasingly assertive China.

Even without the agreement, the Philippine military is getting more support from the United States. This year, the Philippines will get $50 million under U.S. foreign military financing, the largest amount in more than a decade, and $40 million from a U.S. global security contingency fund.

The funding will be used strictly to boost naval capability, with the Philippines possibly getting a third Hamilton-class high endurance cutter, del Rosario said.

The first two Hamiltons that the Philippines got from the United States in the last three years are the largest and most modern warships in the Philippine navy.

"The South China Sea can be very rough, and smaller ships ... cannot manage the South China Sea in periods that are not summer, very few of our ships can withstand the waves there," del Rosario said.

"Centre of Attraction"

Military sources have told Reuters the United States plans to rotate to Philippine bases a squadron of fighters, P3C-Orion long-range maritime surveillance aircraft, and a littoral combat ship after the pact is signed.

The United States has also promised to help install coastal radars to help the Philippines watch it its maritime borders.

Apart from China and the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan also lay claim to South China Sea, or at least parts of it. The sea provides about 10 percent of the global fish catch, carries at least $5 trillion in ship-borne trade a year and is believed to be rich in energy resources.

China claims virtually the entire sea and has sought to resolve disputes with other claimants on a bilateral basis.

In the face of rising tension, Manila has filed an arbitration case, seeking a ruling to confirm its right to exploit the waters in its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone as allowed under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

China has dismissed the case but del Rosario said it was aimed at clarifying everyone's entitlements and ensuring freedom of navigation.

"Everyone is watching that now. I think the Philippines has become the centre of attraction in terms of how this is going to pan out," he said.


Bidding for P270-M MPAC for Navy Deal Fails

MPAC for Philippine Navy (photo : Blue Maxxx)

MANILA - The bidding for the supply of three multi-purpose attack craft for the Navy failed as bidders did not meet the documentary requirements set by the government.

Five parties expressed interest on the P270-million project, which seeks to boost the Navy’s operational readiness in maritime security, domain awareness and mobility for territorial defense operations.

These are the joint venture of Propmech Corp. and Taiwan’s Lung Teh Shipbuilding; the joint venture of Stoneworks Specialist International Corp. and Indonesia’s Multi Prima; Rovia Road Yacht Boat Builder, Colorado Shipyard Corp. and Hong Kong’s Armacraft Co. Ltd.; and Santiago Shipyard and Shipbuilding Corp.

Only four of the five companies that bought the bid documents submitted offers. Local firm Santiago Shipyard and Shipbuilding Corp. did not join the bidding because it lacked time to comply with documentary requirements.

None of the bidders, however, was able to fully satisfy the requirements under the procurement law.

Most of the bidders failed to submit a detailed bill of quantities, a document that specifies all the items and services they plan to provide.

The submission of the detailed document is required under the law to discourage lump sums, which have been perceived as a possible source of corruption.

One of the bidders, the joint venture of Stoneworks and Multi Prima, failed to present a certification from the Indonesian embassy that the English translation of its documents was accurate.

Because of the unsuccessful bidding, the documents of the project will be returned to the Navy for mandatory review.

Security sources told The STAR that the Bids and Awards Committee is likely to hold another public bidding for the project.

The project involves the purchase of the three vessels and initial integrated logistics support, including crew training. A separate project or lot will involve the acquisition of advanced weapons system, including missile launch systems.

The vessels will be installed with a day and night electronic navigation system, communications suite, safety-of-life-at-sea equipment, propulsion system, and seamanship and ship-handling equipment and gears.

The winning bidder is required to deliver the vessels within 540 days from the opening of the letter of credit, which guarantees the supplier that the government will fulfill its obligations.

To be qualified, a prospective bidder should be the manufacturer of the boats it will offer. The vessels being offered must be used by the military of the supplier’s country of origin or by the armed forces of at least two other countries.

(ABS-CBN News)

DND will be Acquiring a Multi-Role Fighter by 2018

After F/A-50 contract has signed, DND announced that it will be acquiring a multi-role fighter by 2018. (photo : military wallpaper)

PHL to get MRF by 2018

MANILA, (PNA) — With the country now on its way to acquire its first-ever supersonic jet aircraft in 34 years, the Department of National Defense (DND) announced that it will be acquiring a "multi-role fighter" (MRF) by 2018.

This was revealed by DND undersecretary for finance, modernization, installations, and munitions Fernando Manalo

2018 is the second phase of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program.

During this period, the defense and military establishment will determine whether to acquire additional units of the South Korean F/A-50 "Fighting Eagle" or go full stream with the acquisition of the MRFs to enhance the country's external defense capabilities.

Studies are now underway to determine the best MRF designs for the Philippines.

The Philippines and Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd (KAI) signed the P18.9 billion deal for 12 units of the F/A-50 last Friday. Manalo said that the first two F/A-50 jet aircraft will be delivered 18 months after the opening of the letter of credit, the next two will be delivered 12 months later and the remaining eight jet planes to be delivered in staggered basis within eight months.


DND Plans to Sign P18-B Navy Frigates Project in July

Navantia (Spain), STX (Korea), Daewoo (Korea) and Hyundai (Korea) are passed the first stage of bidding. (photo : Navy Recognition)

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) aims to sign the deal for the P18-billion Navy frigates project in July to fast-track the upgrade of the country’s territorial defense capabilities.

“We aim to perfect the contract for the frigates in July. The contract will have been completed by that time,” Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo told The STAR in a recent interview.

Workshops were done last February to determine if the four firms that pre-qualified can move on to the next stage of the bidding.

The four firms that pre-qualified are Navantia Sepi (RTR Ventures) of Spain and South Korean firms STX Offshore & Shipbuilding, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd. and Hyundai Heavy Industries Inc.

The Navy recently finished studying the documents of the four companies eyeing the project.

The Navy technical working group that conducted the workshops has declared all the four companies as eligible bidders.

“They passed the first stage of the bidding, hence they are qualified to participate in the second stage of the bidding,” said Commodore Ronald Mercado of the Navy technical working group.

The second stage involves the submission of financial documents, including the price tag of the ships they are offering.

Seven companies joined the bidding for the frigate project, the second largest item in the military’s upgrade program after the P18.9-billion lead-in fighter trainer jets.

Three other companies – Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd., STX France SA and Thyssenkrupp Marine System – were disqualified during the first phase due to deficiencies in the documents they submitted.

Issues were raised on the net financial contracting capacity of Garden Research and STX France and the list of completed contracts submitted by Thyssenkrupp Marine.

The three firms have asked the DND bids and awards committee to overturn their disqualification.

The DND asked the opinion of the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPBB) on the three firms’ appeal but has yet to receive a response. The queries were contained in a letter written by Manalo and sent to the GPBB last December.


F/A-50s Also Capable of 'Maritime Strike Missions'

F/A-50 is also capable of conducting maritime strike missions. (photo : PTV News)

Manila -- Aside from having the capability to defend and protect the country's airspace against hostile intruding aircraft, the F/A-50 "Fighting Eagle" is also capable of conducting maritime strike missions.

This was confirmed by Department of National Defense (DND) undersecretary Patrick Velez at the sidelights of the signing of the P18.9 billion F/A-50 contract Friday(March 28).

This refers to the capability to attack targets (e.g. ships) in the high seas.

Velez said that the F/A-50s can be configured to do this role by installation of weapons and sensors designed for this function.

The F/A-50 has provisions for anti-ship missiles, stand-off weapons, and sensors, he said.

Aside from this, the aircraft is fitted with three-barrel cannon version of the M-61 Vulcan internally behind the cockpit, which fires linkless 20 mm ammunition.

Velez said its wingtip rails can accommodate the AIM-9 "Sidewinder" air-to-air missile.

Compatible air-to-surface weapons include the AGM-65 "Maverick" missile, Hydra 70 and LOGIR rocket launchers, CBU-58 and Mk-20 cluster bombs, and Mk-82, −83, and −84 general purpose bombs, he said.

(PTV News

Bidding for P5.4-B ASW Helicopter Deal Set on April 24

The bidding process for the acquisition of two ASW helicopters will start this week (image : Militaryphotos)

MANILA, Philippines - The bidding process for the acquisition of two anti-submarine helicopters worth P5.4 billion will start this week, the Department of National Defense (DND) said yesterday.

The procurement of the helicopters is expected to boost the country’s maritime defense capabilities.

A bid bulletin obtained by The STAR showed the bidding would be held on April 24.

The DND will have the bid invitation published this week to formally start the bidding process for the project that will cover the integrated logistics support for the helicopters including training for naval pilots.

“The two anti-submarine helicopters are primarily ship-based helicopters with mission essential equipment,” Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic told The STAR.

This will be the first time for the government to acquire anti-submarine helicopters.

The bidding will be conducted through a two-stage open competitive procedure, due to the technical aspects of the air assets.

It will be open to local and foreign companies subject to the conditions for eligibility provided in the implementing rules of the procurement law.

A complete set of bidding documents will be available next month for a non-refundable fee of P75,000.

A pre-bid conference for the project has been tentatively scheduled on April 10 at Camp Aguinaldo. The conference will allow bidders to ask questions about the projects’ terms.

The deadline for the submission of bids will be on April 24. The bids will be opened on the same day. Those that are higher than the approved budget of P5.4 billion will be rejected.

The delivery of goods or the contract duration is 730 calendar days based on the bid documents of the project.

The anti-submarine helicopter acquisition project is one of the big-ticket items in the military’s upgrade program.

President Aquino announced the acquisition of the helicopters during the graduation of the Philippine Military Academy Class 2014 early this month.


DND Seek for 6 Close-Air Support Aircraft

PAF OV-10 Bronco aircraft (photo : Matsura21)

DND in the Market for 6 Close-Air Support Aircraft

MANILA (PNA) -- The Department of National Defense (DND) is in the market for six units of close-air support (CAS) aircraft to augment the existing North American Rockwell OV-10 "Bronco" attack plane being operated by the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

This was confirmed by DND undersecretary for finance, modernization, installations, and munitions Fernando Manalo during the sidelights of the P18.9-billion F/A-50 contract signing Friday.

He said the DND is looking at the possibility of acquiring the Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano.

The Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano is a turboprop aircraft designed for light attack, counter-insurgency, close-air support, aerial reconnaissance missions in low threat environments, as well as providing pilot training.

Designed to operate in high temperature and humidity conditions in extremely rugged terrain, the Super Tucano is highly maneuverable, has a low heat signature, incorporates 4th generation avionics and weapons system to deliver precision guided munitions, Manalo said. 


DND Looking at Improved and Enhanced Versions of HAWK SAM

Hawk medium range SAM (photo : pdff)

MANILA (PNA) -- The Department of National Defense (DND) is looking at the possibility of acquiring improved and enhanced versions of the Raytheon MIM-23 HAWK (Homing All the Way Killer) surface-to-air missiles (SAMs).

The HAWK is a US medium range SAM.

The DND stated that acquisition of this weapon aims to protect the country from air threats its shore-to-ship missile (SSM) launchers which it is planning to acquire for the Philippine Army at P6.5 billion.

The SSM project consists of 12 launchers, trailers and tracking systems and missiles that could be fired to hit naval or sea targets.

It will be carried out through “limited source bidding", a process where certain companies are invited to submit bids for the program.

The HAWK is capable of intercepting and destroying any hostile aircraft, drone, or rocket that may be sent to incapacitate or disabled the Army's SSM system.

It was initially designed to destroy aircraft and was later adapted to destroy other missiles in flight.

The missile entered service in 1960, and a program of extensive upgrades has kept it from becoming obsolete.

Israel, one of the operators of the HAWK missile, have upgraded the Phase 2 standard with the addition of a Super Eye electro-optical TV system for detection of aircraft at 30 to 40 kilometers and identification at 17 to 25 kilometers.

They have also modified their system for engagements at altitudes up to 24,000 meters. 


DND Eyes BVR Upgrades for F/A-50s

Samsung Thales (STC) formally announced the development an AESA radar for FA-50 to compete with LIG Nex1's AESA radar model (photo : SamsungThales)

MANILA, (PNA) -- The Department of National Defense (DND) is planning to install equipment that would give the F/A-50 "Fighting Eagle" a "beyond visual range" (BVR) capability.

BVR is the capability to detect, track and if needed attack air targets beyond 20 nautical miles (around 37 kilometers).

DND Assistant Secretary Patrick Velez said that this is one of the upgrades they are planning to make the F/A-50 a much more capable aircraft in defending the country's airspace.

But due to the cost, estimated at P800 million to P1 billion per BVR fitting, not all 12 aircraft will be fitted.

"We are looking at the possible installation for three to four aircraft to provide us with a long range intercept capability," Velez said.

He added that installing BVR capability to the F/A-50s is relatively simple as the aircraft is already fitted with a decent air-to-air radar.

Adjusting it to BVR standards would just mean upgrading the radar to be capable of detection at much longer range and fitting of BVR weapons like the Raytheon AIM-7 "Sparrow" missile.

The Philippines and Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. signed the P18.9-billion contract for the acquisition of the 12 aircraft last Friday.

DND Undersecretary Fernando Manalo said that the first two F/A-50 jet aircraft will be delivered 18 months after the opening of the letter of credit; the next two will be delivered 12 months later, and the remaining eight jet planes in staggered basis within eight months.

The F/A-50 has a top speed of Mach 1.5 or one-and-a-half times the speed of sound and is capable of being fitted with air-to-air missiles, including the AIM-9 "Sidewinder" air-to-air and heat-seeking missiles aside from light automatic cannons.

The F/A-50 will act as the country's interim fighter until the Philippines get enough experience of operating fast jet assets and money to fund the acquisition of more capable fighter aircraft.

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.

The aircraft can carry two pilots seating in tandem. 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 the 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 "Fighting 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 after-burner.

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 after-burner. 


Government of Canada Confirms Sale of 8 Helicopters to Philippine

Canada’s aerospace sector workers to benefit from two-year contract to the Philippines (photo : Mark Kyst)

Export Win for Canadian Aerospace Company

The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today announced that Canada has signed a US$105-million contract with the Philippines to supply eight specialized helicopters manufactured by Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Ltd.

The contract was negotiated under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Canadian Commercial Corporation and the Philippines’ Department of National Defense. Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the MOU during his visit to the Philippines in November 2012.

Facilitated by the Canadian Commercial Corporation, the Government of Canada’s international government-to-government contracting organization, the eight helicopters will be manufactured at Bell Helicopter’s Mirabel, Quebec, plant over the next two years, solidifying Quebec’s reputation for excellence in aircraft manufacturing and services.

Aerospace is a priority sector under Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan.

Quick Facts

As one of Canada’s largest exporters, the Canadian aerospace industry exports nearly 80 percent of its products.

Canadian exports of aircraft, aircraft engines and aircraft parts reached a near-record high of $10.8 billion in 2013, a 5.4 percent increase from the year before.

Canada’s aerospace industry comprises more than 700 companies of all sizes from coast to coast and employs more than 170,000 Canadians.

In 2012-13, the Canadian Commercial Corporation was active in 72 countries with more than 210 Canadian companies, signing contracts worth approximately $1 billion.

Barry Kohler, President of Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Ltd :

“For 28 years, Bell Helicopter has been the only domestic helicopter original-equipment manufacturer in Canada. Our 2,000 employees have produced over 4,300 helicopters at our Mirabel facility and have been a crucial part of both Bell’s commercial manufacturing strategy and the Canadian aerospace industry. We appreciate the Government of Canada’s assistance in supporting our export opportunities and winning this contract.”
(Government of Canada
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