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Amphibious Assault Vehicle (Phase 1) Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy (Marines)

To improve the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) capability to meet its purpose of assaulting and deployment of Marine forces through the sea, its parent service branch the Philippine Navy (PN) embarked on the Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) Acquisition Project. This would allow the PN and PMC to acquire AAVs and rebuild its capabilities that were lost when its previous similar asset, the LVTP-5 and LVTH-6 amphibious assault vehicles lost their amphibious capabilities and were eventually retired from service starting in the 1990s.

These new AAVs represent a revitalized Philippine Marine Corps, and will be launched from the PN's existing fleet of floating assets, primarily the 
Tarlac-class landing platform docks that were designed to allow the use of AAVs.

As part of the first phase of AAV acquisition, eight (8) units were planned for purchase under the Horizon 1 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP). After a public bidding, South Korea's Hanwha Techwin (now Hanwha Defense Systems) was awarded a contract to supply their KAAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles, which are license-built copies of the BAE Systems AAV7A1 from the US.

One of the KAAV-7A1 AAVs of the Philippine Marine Corps. As of September 2019, this project is considered COMPLETE after all eight (8) vehicles ordered were commissioned into service. Photo taken from AFP PAO.

More are planned in succeeding Horizon phases, although it was noted that none were programmed for acquisition under the Horizon 2 phase.

The Philippine Marines still hope that another batch can be procured under the proposed 2nd List of Horizon 2 phase, which will be dependent on the ability of the Philippine government to raise more funds beyond the Php300 billion allocated for the approved Horizon 2 phase.

Project Summary:

Amphibious Assault Vehicle Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 23 September 2019.

* End User: Philippine Navy (Philippine Marine Corps)

Quantity: 8 amphibious assault vehicles

* Modernization Phase:
 Horizon 1 Phase of RAFPMP

* Project ABC:

Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

* SARO Release: SARO-BMB-D-16-0006345 (deposit)

* Winning Proponent: Samsung Techwin (now Hanwha Defense Systems)

Product for Delivery: Hanwha Defense Systems KAAV-7A1 

* Contract Price: US$55,553,000.00 (Php2,423,499,625.01)

* First post by MaxDefense: 27 September 2013

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PNAAVAcquisition #PMCAAVAcquisition

* Status: Deliveries completed as of August 2019. All vehicles commissioned into service as of 23 September 2019. PROJECT COMPLETED.


The Amphibious Assault Vehicle Acquisition Project is actually among the first projects implemented in the Horizon 1 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP), and was already in the planning since 2009.

It was to be procured through a public bidding mode of procurement conducted by the Department of National Defense (DND). 

Being the first, it was also among the most revised projects as the system to procure was still being tweaked by the DND and AFP. A series of bid failures happened between 2013 and 2014. But in all biddings, only one company persistently participated, South Korea's Hanwha Techwin (now Hanwha Defense Systems).

In 2014, MaxDefense released a blog entry (see below) which named Hanwha Techwin as the most likely supplier of the PN's AAV project, as there were only two potential companies to supply the vehicle (the other being BAE Systems), and only Hanwha Techwin participated in all the bid attempts.

While Hanwha Techwin was ultimately declared as the sole bidder for the project in 2014, it took a long time before an award was made. The project only made progress in 2015 after former Pres. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III signed the approved Horizon 1 acquisitions which held the budget released for several projects.

 Post Qualification Inspection was made by DND and Philippine Navy officials by 4th quarter 2015, and found Hanwha Techwin to be post-qualified and capable of undertaking the project.

The Hanwha Techwin (now Hanwha Defense Systems) KAAV7A1 amphibious assault vehicle, this example operated by the Republic of Korea Marine Corps (ROKMC).

But it was only on April 2016 that a Notice of Award was given to Hanwha Techwin, and a contract signed with DND by around May 2016. The Notice to Proceed was only received by Hanwha Techwin on June 2016, which will be the basis of delivery timeline of the vehicles.

Additional information on Hanwha Techwin and the KAAV7A1 can be found on our earlier blog entry which can be accessed through the link below:

Samsung Techwin KAAV7A1 Expected as PMC's New Amphibious Assault Vehicle" - first posted on 31 May 2014

A basic inforgraphic on the KAAV7A1. The communications and intercom system might be replaced for the Philippine model to meet interoperability requirements with the current system used by the PMC, PN and the AFP, but that remains to be confirmed. 

U P D A T E S:

04 January 2016:

MaxDefense posted a news report from the Philstar, wherein it was confirmed that the DND has not yet released the Notice of Award (NOA) for 4 major projects of the AFP including the AAV Acquisition Project.

Hanwha Techwin already completed Post Qualification Inspections in 2015, and will require the NOA to be formally awarded with the project.

The Philstar report can be accessed HERE.


10 April 2016:

MaxDefense posted in its community page that the Notice of Award (NOA) was finally given by the DND to Hanwha Techwin in an earlier date.

This means Hanwha Techwin will need to complete certain requirements including payment of bonds and discussing with the DND on contract issues before a contract can be signed at a later date.


30 September 2016:

MaxDefense received confirmation that Hanwha Techwin received their Notice to Proceed (NTP) and opened the Letter of Credit (LOC) on June 2016, which means that they will need to deliver the first batch of 4 units KAAV7A1s by August 2018, and the second batch of 4 units by December 2018. This is following the 790 days and 910 days delivered schedule, respectively.

Also, Hanwha Techwin participated in this year's ADAS 2016 defense exhibition in Manila, featuring their products including the KAAV7A1.

Hanwha joins ADAS 2016, and featured a scale model of their KAAV7A1 amphibious assault vehicle, the same model to be delivered to the Philippine Navy (Marines). Photo taken by our official photographer Jessie Gamis during ADAS 2016.


31 October 2018:

The Facebook page of the Republic of Korea Marine Corps (ROKMC) posted photos of the training they are providing for the future AAV crew of the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC). 

This arrangement was actually part of the contract, with Hanwha arranging the training on actual usage of the vehicles. PMC crewmembers used ROKMC's training simulators and actual KAAV7A1 vehicles, allowing them practical hands-on experience on the vehicles.

There will be very minimal differences between the ROKMC and PMC vehicles mostly on the communications and intercom equipment, but everything else could be almost the same.
This post was also shared to our MaxDefense @ Facebook page on the same day.

All photos taken from and credited to the ROKMC's Facebook page.


15 November 2018:

Korean defense forum Bemil@Chosun posted photos of the visit of Philippine Marine Corps Commandant Maj.Gen. Alvin Parreno to the detachment undergoing training with the Republic of Korea Marine Corps on operating and maintaining the KAAV7A1 amphibious assault vehicles. The visit was held on 13 November 2018, although MGen. Parreno may have stayed longer for other meetings with his counterparts from South Korea.

MaxDefense got the photos of the visit from one of the forum's member Glen Lee's Facebook post.

All photos from Bemil @ Chosun defense forum, through Glen Lee.


04 January 2019:

The first publicly available photo of one of the KAAV7A1s amphibious assault vehicles bound for the Philippines was posted by Korean defense page
 κΉ€λŒ€μ˜μ˜ M-Inside and was shared in our MaxDefense community page on Facebook.

It appears that it is still being assembled despite the delivery schedule already delayed by 5 months.

Photo of a KAAV71A1 for the Philippines under assembly was shared by M-Inside Korean defense page. The Philippine flag on it makes it more obvious that it is indeed for the Philippine Marine Corps.


02 May 2019:

MaxDefense reposted news on the activation of the Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) Company, Armored Assault Battalion of the Philippine Marine Corps.

The unit will be the one operating the initial batch of KAAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles of the PMC, and will probably be the unit in charge of training AAV crew and embedded personnel on AAV operations while the PMC prepares the activation of another unit to accept the second batch of KAAV-7A1 vehicles this August 2019.

PMC Commandant Maj. Gen. Alvin Parreno hands over a scale model of the KAAV-7A1 to Lt.Col. Bill Pasia.


03 May 2019:

Korean news outlet BizHankook reported that Hanwha Defense Systems already shipped the first batch of four (4) KAAV7A1 amphibious assault vehicles to the Philippines on April 2019, and confirmed that a second batch of 4 units are being prepared for shipping a few months from now. This article (in Korean) was shared in our MaxDefense @ Facebook community page.

MaxDefense later confirmed with sources if the vehicles have arrived, and apparently they are not yet in the Philippines as of today. 

Also today: finally, a clear pair photos of completed KAAV7A1s bound for the Philippines were posted by Korean defense page DefenseTimes.kr, which were later shared in Bemil@Chosun Korean defense foum. Both photos were shared by MaxDefense in its community page on Facebook. It was confirmed that the photo was taken from Hanwha Systems'  facility in South Korea.

Original photos were from DefenseTimes.kr, and were shared to Bemil@Chosun Korean defense forum where MaxDefense got the photos. Credits to DefenseTimes.kr.


09 May 2019:

One of our community members shared photos taken today showing some of the first batch of four (4) KAAV-7A1s as they were seen in Pier 5 in the Manila International Port.

They were covered in grey tarpaulin and only has some portions of the vehicle visible. Among those exposed were the front side, which shows some of the Enhanced Applique Armor Kits (EAAK) as well as the Up-Gunned Weapon Station (UPWS) turrets without any mounted weapon.

MaxDefense believes that the weapon were also supplied by Hanwha Defense Systems together with the vehicles, but will be installed later on as they could be delivered in crates.

Apparently the vehicles were placed in the receiving area on 08 May 2019.

Some of the KAAV-7A1 vehicles while in Pier 5 in the Manila International Port, awaiting for them to be shipped out as of 09 May 2019. Both photos credited to MaxDefense community member who wish to remain anonymous.

The vehicles were shipped out of the port in the afternoon of 09 May 2019, which were photographed and shared by AngMarinongPulis.com's Facebook page.

The KAAVs as they were shipped out of the port. Photos taken from AngMarinongPulis.com's Facebook page.

MaxDefense believes that the vehicles were shipped to the Philippine Marine Corps' headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, which will then be prepared for the Philippine Navy's anniversary later this month.

Information we received mentioned that the 121st Philippine Navy Anniversary 2019 will be held on 27 May 2019, and will include the blessing and activation of the KAAV-7A1s as assets of the recently activated Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) Company, Armored Assault Battalion.

It would not be long before these vehicles will see action, as MaxDefense believes that it would be used during the next PH-US Joint Military Exercise KAMANDAG 3 this year.


20 August 2019:

MaxDefense sources confirmed that the shipment for the second batch of four (4) KAAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles from South Korea’s Hanwha Defense Systems were delivered in August 2019.

It appears that the vehicles were not delivered in Manila’s port based on photos shared to MaxDefense. 

This batch completes the delivery of the actual vehicles, which will undergo inspection and acceptance by the Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee (TIAC) of the Philippine Navy before accepted into service.

No date was provided yet on when the vehicles will be formally commissioned into service with the Philippine Marine Corps, which already operates the first 4 vehicles delivered in May 2019.


28 August 2019:

Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command (FOIC) Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad confirmed to the media that the last batch of amphibious assault vehicles, as well as the Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (MPAC) Batch 4 will be blessed and commissioned with the Philippine Navy by 16 September 2019. 

Empedrad confirmed this during a press briefing today.

Inquirer.net reported on the news, which can be accessed HERE.


06 September 2019:

Photos released by the US Department of Defense as part of subject matter expert exchange (SMEE) programs between the US and Philippine Marine Corps showed that the first batch of KAAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles of the PMC were already painted to their standard paint scheme instead of the standard olive drab paint scheme when it was delivered in May 2019.

The new paint scheme is similar to those used on existing armored vehicles of the PMC, although it appears a little darker due to the possible use of more black pixels than usual.

The SMEE training allows the US and Philippine Marines to improve further on the application and sustainment of the AAVs in preparation for their deployment in future PH-US Joint Military Exercises, with Exercise KAMANDAG 04-19 expected to take place in October 2019.

All photos credited to DVIDS - US Armed Forces.


17 September 2019:

MaxDefense released a photo shared by one of our contributors of all eight (8) KAAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles in front of the PMC’s headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

All 8 also appears to be painted in the PMC armored vehicle paint scheme, in preparation for their commissioning, which did not take place on 16 September 2019 as reported earlier due to circumstances not shared to MaxDefense.

Instead the vehicles together with the MPAC Batch 4 will be commissioned with the Philippine Navy on 23 September 2019.

Photo credits to the original source of the photo.


21 September 2019:
Four (4) of the Philippine Marine Corps' KAAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles commissioned into service last June 2019 participated in its first amphibious assault exercise as part of the AFP unilateral Joint Exercise DAGIT-PA 03-19 held in Subic Bay.

This was in preparation of larger exercises including next month's PH-US Joint Exercise KAMANDAG 03-2019.

Photos taken from Rappler, AFP PAO, Manila Bulletin, and PNA



23 September 2019:

The Philippine Navy has finally commissioned the last four (4) of the KAAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles it bought from South Korea's Hanwha Defense, which marks the completion of the AAV Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy on behalf of the Philippine Marine Corps.

Photos from the commissioning event as shown below were taken from and credited to Ms. Frances Mangosing of Inquirer.net, and Ms Chiara Zambrano of ABS-CBN News.


With the AAVs already delivered and formally commissioned with the Philippine Marine Corps, Philippine Navy, MaxDefense officially consider the Amphibious Assault Vehicle Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy as COMPLETED.

x x x x x x x x x x x 

First edit and release: 02 May 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource

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