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Fibreglass-Reinforced Plastic Watercraft Acquisition of the Philippine Navy (Marines)


The Philippine Navy has raised a requirement for the procurement of sixteen (16) Fibreglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) Watercrafts, which are essentially small multipurpose speedboats to support operations by the Philippine Marine Corps' Assault Boat Battalion.

Take note that this project is different and separate from an earlier project to acquire FRP watercrafts for the Philippine Navy's Naval Special Operations Group, which we would tackle in a separate resource page.

One of the FRP Watercraft undergoing sea trials in Subic Bay. Photo credits to Frances Mangosing.

Project Summary:

Fibreglass Reinforced Plastic Watercraft Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 13 April 2023.

* End User: Philippine Navy (Philippine Marines Corps - Assault Boat Battalion)

* Quantity: 16 units

* Modernization Phase: Special Projects outside Horizon 2 period

Project ABC: Php340,632,603.36

* Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding through Philippine International Trading Corp (PITC), after 2 Negotiated Procurement attempts failed, Originally for Public Bidding with three attempts made.

* Source of Funding: Philippine Navy 2018 GAA Funds

* SARO Release: TBC

* Winning Proponent: Joint Venture of Propmech Corporation and Safehull Marine Technologies Inc.

* Product for Delivery: Propmech-Safehull FRP Watercrafts

* Contract Price: TBC

* Residual Amount: TBC

* First post by MaxDefense: 28 October 2018

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PNFRPWatercraftAcquisition #PMCFRPWatercraftAcquisition 

* Status: still for procurement, after another attempt for tender last December 2019 was cancelled. New tender attempt was made on November 2020, with SOBE on 15 December 2020. Awarded to Propmech Corp - Safehull Marine Technologies Inc. JV based on PITC's recommendations made on February 2021, with NOA released sometime in 2021. First batch of 7 boats delivered on May 2023.

The concept is similar to the Special Operations Craft - Riverine (SOC-R) used by the US Marines Special Operation Group, although less armed and less expensive than its American counterpart. Photo taken from Wikipedia.


In 2017, the Philippine Navy called for the acquisition of Fast Boats which would be used by the Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG) to patrol littoral areas especially for counter-terrorism and counter-piracy operations in the Sulu-Basilan-Tawi-Tawi-Zamboanga area. This was highlighted during the Marawi City crisis when reports that the ISIS-inspired Maute Terrorist Group were said to have been reinforced and resupplied via gaps in the waterways around Marawi City, as well as by forces scattered in the Western Mindanao area.

Another requirement came out, this time in 2018 calling for additional boats to be acquired for the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC). Sixteen (16) units are planned with a proposed budget of Php340,632,603.36 (or around Php21,289,537.71 per boat) inclusive of Value Added Tax (VAT).  It is still unknown why the Philippine Navy decided to reduce the average budget per boat considering the earlier contract to build boats was priced at an average of Php1 million higher per boat than the current budget.

Only local ship or boat-builders licensed by MARINA will be entertained, thus giving the local boat-building industry an exclusive priority for the project.

The design and technical requirements were mostly retained.

Initially it was proposed to be acquired through Public Bidding, with the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) responsible with the bidding process through its own Bids and Awards Committee (BAC).

An initial Public Bidding attempt was made on 25 January 2019, and this was considered a failed bidding. A second attempt was conducted on 02 April 2019, and this was again another failed bid.

For the third attempt, the PITC and PN decided to go for a Negotiated Procurement mode which may increase the chances of having a winning proponent after 2 failed attempts.

The submission of proposals or offers was scheduled on 17 May 2019, and so far it appears that there was no changes made on the deadline.

A new tender attempt was made in November 2020, with the submission of bids scheduled on 15 December 2020.

Technical Requirements:

Based on the project's bid documents, the boats are to have the following technical requirements:

* Length: 11 to 12 meters --> revised to "not less than 11 meters"
* Breadth: at least 3 meters
* Draft: between 0.70 to 1.10 meters 
* Cruising Speed: at least 35 knots --> revised to minimum of 30 knots
* Maximum Speed: at least 45 knots --> revised to 40 knots
* Acceleration from 0 to cruising speed: not more than 30 seconds
* Capacity: 4 crew members, and space for 2 Marine Fire Teams of 4 troops each; --> revised to "not less than 12 personnel"
* Payload: not less than 6,800 lbs
* Survivability: Full function at Sea State 2, Survive at Sea State 3;
* Weapon Mounts: 1 forward, 2 aft, with universal adaptor to allow mounting of either .50 caliber heavy machine gun, M60 7.62mm general purpose machine gun, of 40mm automatic grenade launcher;
* Radar: 36 nautical miles range
* Communications: Marine VHF, should be compatible with existing MILCOMM Harris Falcon III Vehicle/Base VHF Radio System (RF-7800V-V51X)
* Boat Trailer: included, 16,000 lbs GVWR minimum rating.

The Philippine Marines is expected to provide the weapons itself, as the proponents are only required to supply the platform itself without any weapons.

Delivery of the first batch of eight (8) units are expected to be made within ninety (90) days from release of Notice of Produce (NTP), while the second batch of eight (8) units shall be delivered within ninety (90) days from the delivery of first batch. 

The bid documents provided this illustration to guide proponents on the requirements. Photo taken from the PITC's Bid Documents for the Project.

U P D A T E S:

28 October 2018:

MaxDefense released a blog entry on the planned acquisition of sixteen (16) fibreglass reinforced plastic watercraft by the Philippine Navy for the Philippine Marine Corps' Assault Boat Battalion.

Most of the details on the project were discussed, including the technical requirements which were also highlighted in this resource page.

The bid opening is scheduled on 23 November 2018, and it is expected that the bidders for the Philippine National Police's requirement for High Speed Tactical Watercraft would be participating in this tender (which includes Propmech Corporation, Als Marine, and Josefa Slipway).

MaxDefense believes that the base requirements of the Philippine Navy is similar to those of the Philippine National Police, thus the same proponents are expected to submit their bids. Above is a fibreglass speedboat built by Als Marine for the PNP Maritime Group. Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons.


20 January 2019:

The PITC released updates on the project, with the tender now scheduled to to have the bid opening by 25 January 2019.

No changes were made on the bid documents and requirements.


30 March 2019:

It appears that the bidding for the project failed, as a new deadline for bid submission and opening was posted by PITC, this time by 02 April 2019.

As expected, no changes were made on the bid documents, technical requirements, and budget.


10 June 2019:

Based on the new bid documents posted by PITC, it now appears that the 2nd bidding attempt on the project also failed.

The new requirement now calls for a Negotiated Procurement, with interested proponents given to submit their proposals or offers by 17 May 2019.

So far MaxDefense has not receive any information if a decision has been made or if a proponent was already confirmed the lowest compliant bidder.

PITC posted an amended invitation, this time calling for Negotiated Procurement after several failed bid attempts. Photo taken from PITC's posted Bid Documents.


11 July 2019:

With the reintroduction of a new Re-Bidding Document set at the website of the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC), it only means that the previous Negotiated Bid for the project failed in some point.

This should be the 3rd bid failure for this project. Surprisingly, they are still going for a 4th attempt instead of going for direct negotiations.

The Submission and Opening of Proposals and Offers is scheduled on 17 July 2019, although there is no schedule yet on the date of Negotiations with the preferred proponent.

New schedule as per Bid Docs released in July 2019.


15 October 2019:

MaxDefense received word that the project was being negotiated with Solinda Enterprises Inc. - Pacificfortia Marine Technologies Joint Venture. Both are local companies, with Pacificfortia actually involved in several supply and delivery projects involving FRP fast boats for the Philippine Navy, as well as the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Coast Guard.

It remains to be seen if the discussions will be successful, as the project is already experiencing delays due to its inability to be able to be awarded.


06 December 2019:

It appears that negotiations with Solinda Enterprises - Pacificfortia Marine Technologies has bee unsuccessful, as the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) has released another Invitation to Bid for the project last November 2019.

This would be the 3rd attempt to publicly tender the project, although no changes were made on the budget and requirement. The new SOBE was scheduled on 12 December 2019

MaxDefense believes that the short delivery time and sampling requirements may have been the reason why the discussions failed, but it is surprising that the decision was to have it re-tendered rather than do another round of negotiations that considered changing the reasons why the bidding and earlier negotiations failed.


16 February 2020:

The 3rd bidding attempt for the project was cancelled. No reason was provided on why but this is not a good sign for the project. MaxDefense is still trying to get confirmation if the bidding even pushed through.

It would be remembered that this project is being funded by Philippine Navy General Appropriations from 2018, which means this project is already almost 2 years in the making and is already delayed by so much. And considering the PITC already conducted both public bidding and negotiated procurement and still failed means that the procurement process is not the problem.

It remains to be seen if the project will still proceed a few months from now, and what procurement method will be used.

The ITB for the 3rd bidding attempt, showing that the tender was cancelled. Photo taken from PhilGEPS.


01 January 2021:

A new 3rd re-bidding was scheduled was held last November 2020, with the new SOBE deadline on 15 December 2020.

Based on the Pre-Bid Conference minutes that was released, potential bidders may include the following companies:
1. Stoneworks Specialists International Corp. - the company manufactured and is delivering the Philippine Army's FRP-hulled Riverine Light Boats, with more than 50 boats for delivery.
2. Propmech Corp. and Safehull Marine Technologies Joint Venture - both companies were involved in the supply of more than 20 FRP High Speed Tactical Boats to the Philippine National Police Maritime Group, not to mention the Multi-Purpose Attack Crafts for the PN.
3. Pacificfortia Marine Technologies - another company that specializes in FRP boats, and is currently supplying the PN's Fast Boats for the Naval Special Operations Command.
4. Hexagon Distributing Corp.
5. Dynacast Shipbuilding & Repairs Inc. - a Cebu-based shipbuilder which also recently supplied 22 FRP-hulled High Speed Tactical Watercraft to the PNP-Maritime Group.
6. Herma Shipyard Inc. - has been participating in naval projects and has ventured into small boat production.
7. S&S Enterprises Inc.
8. Sustainable Charters Inc. - a local supplier of yachts and private boats

In addition, the Supplemental Bid Bulletin issued later on showed that another company, Bangkapro Aquatics Inc. which submitted queries on the tender.

Also as shown on the Supplemental Bid Bulletin, the requirements for delivery was changed compared to previous tenders, giving more time for the winning bidder to deliver the boats.

Some changes were made to the specifications, which are now highlighted on the "Technical Requirements" portion of this resource page.


22 April 2021:

The PITC has posted that they are recommending the awarding of contract for the project to the Joint Venture of Propmech Corporation and Safehull Marine Technologies as of February 2021, although no further details were provided on how much did the joint venture offer for the project. 

Since this was done through PITC, we expect minimum information to be posted by the DND and the Philippine Navy regarding this procurement.


13 April 2023:

Propmech Corporation has invited the media to view their facility and in conducting testing of one of the upcoming High Speed Tactical Watercraft for the Philippine National Police's Maritime Group.

And with this, we are able to view for the first time the FRP Watercrafts being manufactured for the Philippine Navy by the said company.

The footage from CNN Philippines shows 6 of the boats being manufactured, with the hull almost complete and will be completing fitting-out works soon.

Six of the new FRP Watercrafts for the Philippine Navy (Marines) as seen in Propmech's facility as of April 2023. Photos screengrabbed from CNN Philippines' video.

It also included the trailers that will allow the movement of the boats over land.

The design also appears to be different from the drawing included in the tender documents from the Philippine Navy, which probably means that negotiations happened between the Philippine Navy and Propmech-Safehull JV before finalizing the design.

It also looks totally different from the US Marines' SOCR boat.

The six boats shown on the video appears to be ready for delivery in a few months time. 

According to the post of Inquirer.net's Frances Mangosing, there are seven boats that are scheduled for delivery next month (May 2023), which all appear to be undergoing sea trials and are completed.

One of the 7 completed FRP Watercrafts undergoing sea trials prior to delivery to the Philippine Marine Corps by May 2023. Photo credits to Frances Mangosing.

She also confirmed that Propmech-Safehull JV intends to deliver all 16 boats by September 2023.

The photos below show some of the boats still under construction, which probably is part of the last batch. 

Hull construction of the FRP Watercraft. Photo credits to Frances Mangosing.


First edit and release: 11 June 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource

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