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Transfer of K136 Kooryong Multiple-Launch Rocket Launchers for the Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps

The Philippine Army, as well as the Philippine Marine Corps have both been looking at improving its artillery systems and have considered acquiring rocket artillery systems as a future capability.


With funding issues hampering the plans of both the Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps to acquire rocket artillery systems. the plans were placed at the backburner of their modernization programs, and instead focused on improving its core capabilities like gun artillery.

But with a cheaper option becoming a possibility through the friendly gestures of the South Korean Ministry of National Defense, their chances of having such capability at an earlier date and at a lower cost were grabbed without hesitation.

This resource page talks about the Transfer of K136 Kooryong Multiple-Launch Rocket System (MLRS) to the Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps, which is funded under the 2nd List of Horizon 2 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program.

K136 Kooryong MLRS of the Republic of Korea Army during exercises, Photo credits to original source.

Project Summary:

Transfer of K136 Kooryong Multiple-Launch Rocket System for the Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps

Note: edit as of 18 July 2023.


* End User: Philippine Army and Philippine Navy (Philippine Marine Corps)

Quantity: 22 units of K136A1 Kooryong MLRS launchers on KM809A1 trucks, 22 M60 ammunition loader/carrier trucks, 50,000 130mm rocket ammunition, other support equipment, ILS and training. Also includes construction of facilities in Philippines, and logistics support for transport.


* Modernization Phase: 2nd List of 
Horizon 2 Phase Projects

* Project ABC: Php1,900,000,000.00


Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government with South Korean Ministry of National Defense


* Source of Funding: GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund


* Tender Number: 
N/A

* SARO Releases: SARO-BMB-D-22-0002353 dated 18 February 2022 worth Php63,877,910.00 covering full amount


* Winning Proponent: South Korean Ministry of National Defense (main), several contractors and service providers in Philippines and South Korea (still to be awarded)

Product for Delivery: K136A1 Kooryong 130mm MLRS launchers, supporting equipment and vehicles, and 50,000 rounds of 130mm rocket ammunition
 

* Contract Price: TBC, awarded to multiple contractors and service providers

* Residual Amount: TBC

* First post by MaxDefense: 28 May 2018 

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag/s:  #PA
K136KooryongMLRSAcquisition #PNK136KooryongMLRSAcquisition #PMCK136KooryongMLRSAcquisition

Status: Original negotiation was for 18 units for 3 batteries for Philippine Army, increased to 22 units for another battery for Philippine Marines. Budget allocated was Php1.9 billion although its difficult to confirm how much the project really costs since there were several sub-contracts within the project that were awarded to multiple companies. Originally includes more than 200,000 rounds ammunition but was reduced to 50,000 rounds. Delayed due to requirement imposed by SK MND for the AFP to have a proper climate-controlled storage facility for the ammunition, which took time to construct. Delivery schedule said to be as early as June 2022. PROJECT CANCELLED based on media reports and confirmation made by DND through official documents as of 2nd quarter 2023.

The Philippine Marines may use the MLRS for coastal defense against approaching landing crafts and assault vehicles. 

Overview:

The Philippine Army received insights on rocket artillery technology as it was trying to proceed with the now-cancelled Shore Based Missile System (SBMS) Acquisition Project under the Horizon 1 phase of RAFPMP, wherein Israel Military Industries (IMI) originally offered to sell the Coastal & Island Defense System (CIDS).

The CIDS consisted of the IMI Lynx mobile multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) and fixed MLRS launchers, armed with the Extended Range Artillery (EXTRA) guided rockets, which can be used to attack naval targets especially landing crafts conducting amphibious assault operations.


The IMI Lynx can also be used as a land-attack MLRS that can fire standard unguided artillery rockets, as well as a variety of guided rocket munitions like the EXTRA, and the ACCULAR guided rockets, as well as the Delilah surface-to-surface missile.

In addition to the CIDS for the SBMS Project, IMI also offered the Lynx for a proposed MLRS artillery system project, with unguided and guided rockets and missile munitions as optional choices.





But due to funding issues, the proposal to acquire new MLRS based on the IMI Lynx failed to take-off.

Another proposal was made to the Philippine Army, this time by America's Lockheed Martin, with their M142 HIMARS, which was proposed as early as 2017, although a more serious offer was made in 2020 when the Philippine Army was already in the process of getting the K136 Kooryong MLRS from South Korean excess defense articles (EDA).


A Philippine Army soldier taking selfie with a US Army M142 HIMARS rocket launcher as part of PH-US Joint Exercise BALIKATAN. Photo credits to GMA News.


The M142 HIMARS was found to be too expensive for the Philippine Army, while also found issues with the MGM-140 ATACMS tactical ballistic missile, specifically on needing to obtain US Government approval before using it in anger.

The project to acquire the K136 Kooryong MLRS from South Korea was first reported by MaxDefense Philippines from information provided by its sources from the Department of National Defense, which indicated that in 2017, the South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND) informed the Philippines Department of National Defense (DND) that they are willing to transfer K136A1 Kooryong MLRS systems to the Armed Forces of the Philippines as Excess Defense Articles (EDA).

Philippine Army originally negotiated for the transfer of 18 K136A1 Kooryong MLRS systems to equip 3 MLRS batteries including supporting vehicles and equipment, and ammunition. This was later on increased to 22 units to allow the Philippine Marine Corps to have a battery's worth.

Transfer negotiations started in 2018, although it took time for the deal to be finalized due to funding requirements from the Philippine side, as well as preconditions set by the South Korean MND especially with regards to securing and storing the rocket ammunitions.

The absence of a climate-controlled storage facility was the main reason for the delay, as funding for such facility, tendering it, and the actual construction period took at least 3 years to complete.

The other issues including repair and rehabilitation of the MLRS and support equipment could have been done sooner but were only made in sync with the completion of other requirements.

The Philippine Army has confirmed to have activated its 1st and 2nd MLRS Batteries in 2018 and 2019, respectively. So far, no confirmation on the activation of a 3rd MLRS battery.

It was announced in early 2022 that the K136 Kooryong MLRS including support equipment and ammunition could be delivered to the Philippines as early as June 2022, but this will depend if logistics services had been allocated by then.

A K136 Kooryong battery of 4 firing units.


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U P D A T E S :
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28 May 2018:

MaxDefense Philippines posted its new blog regarding the potential transfer of K136 Kooryong MLRS to the Philippine Army.

More on the link provided below:
"Philippine Army negotiates to acquired used K136 Kooryong MLRS from South Korea" - first posted 28 May 2018.


===============

14 August 2018:

MaxDefense received confirmation that the Philippine Army already completed their inspection and evaluation of the K136 Kooryong MLRS that the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Korea is willing to donate.


Based on information we received, the Philippine Army was satisfied with the units that will be provided. They also completed their evaluation of the MLRS' purpose, the capability of the Philippine Army to acquire the ammunition, spare parts, and logistics support for the type, and in determining what capabilities it would be adding to the Philippine Army.

This means the next step for this deal to push forward is for the Philippine Army to secure funding for the transfer of the MLRS, which would require paying for the minor repair works, transportation from Korea to the Philippines, and purchasing the required ammunition from South Korean ammo suppliers or manufacturers.

===================

05 December 2019:

As part of the Philippine Army Technology Day 2019 events, the PA displayed what appears to be a mock-up of the K136A1 Kooryong multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) mobile firing unit using existing M939 6x6 5-ton truck.

This is to support the display of the Army Artillery Regiment's 1st and 2nd MLRS Batteries.

An information board was also posted by the Philippine Army indicating that they already activated the 1st Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Battery on 01 August 2018, and the 2nd MLRS Battery on 16 September 2019.

Despite the delays on the delivery due to issues that the Philippine Army still needs to settle (storage, delivery etc), the deal with the South Korean government is still a go.

Photo credits to Frances Mangosing of Inquirer.net.



===============

17 June 2020:

The Philippine Army's Army Artillery Regiment (AAR) had their 13th founding anniversary recently, and among those displayed was the mock-up for the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) which they did using an M39 5-ton truck.

The Philippine Army is expected to receive at least 3 batteries of used K136 Kooryong MLRS from South Korea, and the Philippine Army has requested Php1.9 billion for repairs and refurbishing, logistics to bring the launchers and munitions home to the Philippines, and for building the needed facilities to store the rocket munitions in a controlled environment.

Because of the huge amount needed, the project was escalated now as part of 2nd List of Horizon 2, from being just a normal project of the Philippine Army.

So far, the government has not released funding yet, although it was earmarked for FY2020.

Photo from Philippine Army.


===============

11 November 2021:

The Inquirer reported that the Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps are expecting the transfer of 22 K136 Kooryong multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) formerly used by the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA), after more than 2 years of delay.

It was reported that the MLRS will be delivered to the PA and PMC in the next few months, and will include ammunition and supporting equipment.

Back in 2018, MaxDefense PH reported about this impending transfer, although we mentioned that 18 units to form 3 batteries for the Philippine Army. We revised this report more than a year later to 24 units for 4 batteries, one of which would go to the Philippine Marines.

We also reported the delays on the transfer, which were due to the Philippine side's inability to raise funds for their logistics/shipping (especially the munitions which would be the bulk of the cargo involving several dozens of 20-footer containers), as well as the lack of proper facilities (with controlled environment) to store the rocket ammunition.

It remains to be determined why it dropped to 22 units .

Once delivered, these would be the first MLRS system for both the Philippine Army and Philippine Marines, and would serve as transition platforms as both services aim to procure much modern systems in the near future.

Photo credits to Frances Mangosing of Inquirer.

A K136 Kooryong MLRS firing unit being inspected in South Korea. Photo credits to Frances Mangosing.

===============

02 April 2022:

MaxDefense Philippines received information from sources that the Philippine Army already completed the construction of the ammunition storage facility for the 130mm rocket ammunition of the K136 Kooryong MLRS.

No picture or further details can be posted as this is considered Operational Security (OPSEC) issue.

===============

26 April 2022:

Finally some movement on the transfer of K136 Kooryong 130mm multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) for the Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps, as the DBM released Php21 million for the logistics to bring in these  systems plus ammunition to the Philippines.

These MLRS and ammunition are said to have been donated by the South Korean Government, but the Philippines will pay for logistics, repair, training, and others.

We received information as well that the Philippine Army has completed the construction of an ammunition storage facility for the 130mm rockets, which was required by the Korean Government for the PA to have before they allow the shipment of the MLRS and rockets to the Philippines.

The Philippine Army is expected to receive 3 batteries worth of MLRS, while the Philippine Marine Corps is expected to have 1 battery.

===============

06 May 2022:

Frances Mangosing of Inquirer posted on her Twitter account that the Philippines is receiving 22 units K136A1 Kooryong rocket launchers on KM809A1 trucks, 22 M60 ammunition carrier and re-loader trucks, and 50,000 rounds of rocket ammunition
.


The ammunition appears to be less than what MaxDefense PH previously learned from sources, which originally was around 200,000 rounds or even more. There could be changes in the discussions although it is also possible that more ammunition rounds would be transferred in the future.


===============

18 July 2023:

The DND has confirmed that the transfer of K136 Kooryong MLRS systems including ammunition, associated support equipment and other components are  not being pursued anymore, together with the construction of facilities for it.

According to our parent page MaxDefense Philippines' sources, the Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps found that the K136 Kooryongs were too old and may be difficult and expensive to sustain.

Instead, they decided to pursue the acquisition of new systems like the K239 Chunmoo, Lynx PULS or M143 HIMARS, or a combination of the these systems.

It will still cost around Php340 million to transfer the MLRS and ammunition systems to the Philippines, and a lot more for repairing and shipping them, which was originally quoted to cost around Php2 billion in total.

Two media sources appears to have confirmed this as well.

===============

With these new developments on the decision making to pursue the project, MaxDefense Philippines and Philippine Defense Resource could declare that the Transfer of K136 Kooryong Multiple-Launch Rocket Launchers for the Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps Project has been CANCELLED INDEFINITELY.

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First edit and release: 07 May 2022
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource




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