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Unmanned Aerial Systems (Level) 3 Lot 2 - Electronic Warfare System for Hermes 900 Acquisition Project of the Philippine Air Force

The Philippine Air Force has raised a requirement for the acquisition of Electronic Warfare Systems for its fleet of Hermes 900 medium altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (MALE UAV), to maximize the capabilities of the platform in performing other roles that it was designed for.

With this, the Department of National Defense (DND) was able to include the Unmanned Aerial Systems (Level 3) Lot 2 - Electronic Warfare System for the Hermes 900 Acquisition Project as part of the 2nd List of Horizon 2 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program, as it was deemed an urgent requirement.



Project Summary:

Unmanned Aerial System (Level 3) Lot 2 - Electronic Warfare System for Hermes 900 Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 15 January 2024

* End User: Philippine Air Force (300th Air Intelligence & Security Wing)


* Quantity: TBD

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


* Project ABC:
 Php1,100,000,000.00


Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government (G2G) with Israeli Ministry of Defense

* Source of Funding
GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund, to be paid via Multi-Year Obligation Authority (MYOA) process.


* SARO Release: SARO-BMB-D-23-0018007 approved and released 05 June 2023, worth Php1,096,781,400.00


* Winning Proponent: TBC, most likely Elbit Systems

* Product to be Delivered: TBC, most likely Elbit-Elisra SKYFIX & SKYJAM

* Contract Price: Php1,096,781,400.00

* Residual Price: Php3,218,600.00


* First post by MaxDefense: 22 January 2023


* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag:  #PAFUASLot2EWSAcquisition #PAFHermes900UAS 


* Status: Electronic Warfare System to be carried specifically by the Hermes 900 UAV. Procurement will be through negotiated procurement and no details have been released so far except that it would be procured from Israel. Elbit Systems said to be the proponent of choice. Notice of Award was released on 05 July 2023 as per DND Procurement Monitoring Report dated 04 January 2024, although no mention of winning proponent, and no indication that contract has been signed.


Overview:

The Hermes 900 unmanned aerial system (UAS) of the Philippine Air Force was selected during the acquisition for the UAS Level 3 Acquisition Project due to several features that the system are capable of conducting, while also taking into consideration other factors like ease of interoperability with its current systems, as well as support from the country of origin's government.

Israel has been very supportive of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' modernization efforts and has been open to sell many of their technology and materiel without any issues.

While the primary purpose of the UAS Level 3 was to provide surveillance capabilities to the AFP, it has been shown that the AFP is willing to maximize the platform's capability by adding more features that it can take to conduct other missions.

First was the use of the Hermes 900 for Search and Rescue (SAR) missions, and the use of the platform to carry life rafts. It was reported before that the Philippine Air Force received this capability as part of its Hermes 900 acquisition.


A Hermes 900 with the SAR life rafts mounted on its wings. Photo credits to Elbit Systems.


Now, the PAF is looking at using the platform for Electronic Warfare missions. While it was not confirmed what exact Electronic Warfare capability is the PAF looking at, looking at the Hermes 900's overall capability shows what systems can be installed for such capability to be possible.

Elbit Systems through its subsidiary Elisra has the SIGINT/COMINT capabilities using its SKYFIX and SKYJAM system which allows the Hermes 900, or even the smaller Hermes 450 UAV which the PAF also has, of conducting Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) and Communication Intelligence (COMINT), as well as jamming on different frequency bands, or predefined list of threats.

A SKYFIX + SKYJAM antenna on a Hermes 450. Photo credits to Elbit Systems.


So far, it makes sense for the PAF to use the Hermes 900, being both products of Elbit Systems and the Elisra EW systems made with the Hermes family of UAVs in mind.

So far, all these are based on our analysis only as there is not much information on what the PAF is looking at, as they kept the technical specifications and terms of reference of the project out of the public's eye.





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U P D A T E S:
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22 January 2023:

The DND has released an advisory to Israeli Ministry of Defense and to its unnamed designated supplier dated 23 December 2022, regarding the Pre-Negotiation and Negotiation Conference for the project on 28 December 2022.

So far this is the only lead that points to Israel being the supplier of the system.

It is highly possible that since Elbit Systems supplied the Hermes 900, that it would be the same company that would supply the Electronic Warfare System for these UAVs.

Another possibility could be Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) which also specializes in these kind of technology although IAI is Elbit's competitor in the Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAS market.

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23 March 2023:

MaxDefense Philippines received confirmation from its sources that Elbit Systems was indeed the proponent of choice as selected by the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD).

This makes sense considering the Hermes 900 UAS was also from Elbit Systems.

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10 June 2023:

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released the SARO for the full amount of the contract on 05 June 2023. 

With this, it is expected that a Notice of Award would be provided soon, most likely to Elbit Systems which built the Hermes 900 UAS, and has products that fit the UAV including Electronic Warfare systems from its subsidiary Elisra.

Since this project is not publicly tendered, we do not expect the Notice of Award and other documents to be posted publicly so we will have to rely on sources to provide us information on this one.

Screeenshot of the SARO release for this project. Screengrabbed from DBM SARO report.


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15 January 2024:

The Department of National Defense has released its latest Procurement Monitoring Report dated 04 January 2024, which has included the Unmanned Aerial Systems (Level) 3 Lot 2 - Electronic Warfare System for Hermes 900 Acquisition Project of the Philippine Air Force in its update.

According to the report, the DND has released the Notice of Award for the project on 05 July 2023, although no mention was made on the winning proponent or any indication that the contract has been signed as of the document's release.




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First edit and release: 22 January 2023
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource


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