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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Squad Rocket Launcher Light Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy (Marines)

The Philippine Navy is in the process of acquiring rocket propelled grenade launchers for the Philippine Marine Corps. This is to improve the force's firepower for each of its marine rifle squad, while also replacing ageing assets like the M-67 90mm recoilless rifle which are becoming less efficient, and are too heavy for rifle units to carry around, and inefficient for modern warfare.

The project, called the Squad Rocket Launcher Light Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy, is being acquired on behalf of the Philippine Marine Corps and is one of the Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects of the Revised AFP Modernization Program approved in-principle by Pres. Duterte last June 2018.

An infantryman firing an RPG-7 rocket propelled grenade similar to those what the Philippine Marines are after under the Squad Rocket Launcher Light acquisition project. Photo taken from website.

Project Summary:

Squad Rocket Launcher Light Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 07 November 2020.

* End User: Philippine Navy (Philippine Marine Corps)

* Quantity: 702 units 40mm Rocket Launcher + associated accessories and ammunition

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP

* Project ABC:

Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

* Source of Funding: GAA Funded

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: Arsenal JSCo. (Bulgaria)

Product for Delivery:
  - 702 nos. ATGL-L 40mm Rocket Propelled Grenade Launchers
  - 702 sets of Bipod Assembly, Iron Sights, and Optical Sights
  - 14,040 rounds of 40mm HE Fragmentation Anti-Personnel Grenade
  - 8,424 rounds of 40mm HE Anti-Tank Grenade
  - 351 rounds of 40mm Thermobaric Grenade
  - 40 nos. of Cal. 7.62x39mm Training Launcher
  - 21,061 rounds of 7.62x39mm Tracer Practice Ammo

  - Assorted accessories, tools, and others.
  - Integrated Logistics Support package

* Contract Price: 

* First post by MaxDefense: 
June 2019 (see MD's AFP Modernization Program List)

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PNSRLLAcquisition #PMCSRLLAcquisition

* Status: 
Notice of Award (NOA) released in favor of Bulgaria's Arsenal JSCo. as of 22 December 2019. Contract Signing and release of Notice to Proceed completed as of 11 March 2020. Full delivery started on April 2021, and was tested by the Philippine Marine Corps before formally inducted into service by 3rd quarter 2021. PROJECT COMPLETED.

An RPG training launcher, which fires 7.62mm tracer rounds to simulate a rocket launch. Photo taken from


The plan is for each of the Marine Rifle Squads to have a rocket launcher and associated ammunition, which will increase the firepower of the unit without relying on heavy weapons from attached units of the marine company.

Currently, the heaviest weapon of a standard Philippine Marine Rifle Squad are 40mm grenade rounds fired from M203 rifle-mounted grenade launchers. These lack the firepower and range to engage enemy forces at further ranges, or targets hiding in bunkers or structures.

Having a rocket launcher also allows a rifle squad to engage light armored vehicles using anti-tank munition, and to blow-up even concrete structures using thermobaric rounds.

This also allows the Philippine Marines to withdraw the M67 90mm recoilless rifle, which are too heavy, too old, and ineffective in urban warfare and on modern light armored vehicles. The heaviness of this weapon makes it difficult for units to bring them anywhere, especially in hills or jungles where individual mobility is already difficult with just the standard rifle and troop loadout.


U P D A T E S:

05 August 2019:

The DND has started another project, this time for the Philippine Navy (Marines) Squad Rocket Launcher Light Acquisition Project, which is a Horizon 2 Phase Priority Project under RAFPMP.

702 units of 40mm rocket propelled grenade launchers, as well as optical sights and other accessories, as well as more than 22,000 rounds of RPG ammunition are required with a budget of Php514,800,000.00.

This would allow the Philippine Marines to strengthen its marine infantry squads by having such firepower at a low unit level, while replacing the M67 90mm recoilless rifle.

Another interesting inclusion (which the Philippine Army does not have) is the inclusion of 40 RPG training launchers that fire 7.62x39mm training rounds, plus 21,061 rounds of 7.62x39mm RPG tracer practice ammunition.

Take note that this Squad Rocket Launcher Light is different from another infantry heavy weapon that the Philippine Navy plans to acquire for the Marines under the Horizon 2 phase.

Bid submission and opening was scheduled on 27 August 2019.


25 August 2019:

The DND released a new Supplementary Bid Bulletin (SBB) for the project, wherein it answered several queries made by at least 2 potential bidders, while also making revisions on the bid documents.

The two potential bidders are:

1. Arsenal JSCo. of Bulgaria, which is represented locally by Intrade Asia Pacific Corp. - the company previously supplied the Philippine Army's RPGs under their Rocket Launcher Light Phase 1 acquisition project, including most RPG ammunitions used by the serivce. Arsenal is expected to offer the ATGL-L family of RPGs.

Arsenal JSCo already displayed their RPGs at ADAS 2018 in Manila, giving weight on their product being used in the Battle of Marawi by the Philippine Army. Photo shared to MaxDefense by a community member.

S&S Enterprises Inc. - not really familiar with this company so we are not sure what foreign manufacturer are they representing. (Edit as of November 2020: they are in Joint Venture with AirTronic USA)

Several queries were made by both companies, which MaxDefense believes are major issues considering most of the recommendations and requests made by both companies were denied by the Technical Working Group (TWG). This may possibly led for the bidding to fail.

Despite this, there are also several recommendations made that the TWG agreed to amend, including the dimensions of the rocket launchers, test requirements, and in-country training period requirements.

To see all the queries and replies, you may access the SBB document from the DND by clicking the link HERE.

Submission and Opening of Bid Envelopes (SOBE) remains on 27 August 2019.


12 September 2019:

MaxDefense received confirmation that the bidding for the Squad Rocket Launcher Light acquisition project failed after bidders were disqualified for failing to meet specific requirements, as expected.

No further information was provided although a new bid attempt is expected to come up soon.


17 September 2019:

The DND as well as PHILGeps both released new bidding documents for the Squad Rocket Launcher Light acquisition project, which can be accessed HERE.

No major changes were noted on the requirements including quantity and specs, as well as the budget allocated by the DND.

Pre-bidding Conference is scheduled on 19 September 2019, wherein changes in the technical requirements and others may change based on what is agreed upon by the TWG, BAC, and the interested proponents.

Submission and Opening of Bid Envelopes (SOBE) is tentatively scheduled on 03 October 2019, subject to possible changes depending on the outcome of the Pre-Bid Conference or if the DND releases Supplementary Bid Bulletins before the SOBE date.

Invitation to Bid for the 2nd attempt to bid the project. Photo cropped from official DND bid documents.


26 September 2019:

A new Supplemental Bud Bulletin was released by the DND dated 24 September 2019, wherein some changes in the bid documents discussed and agreed upon during the Pre-Bid Conference were posted.

Among those changes was allowing proponents to sub-contract the supply of ammunition, optical sights, and sub-caliber training devices, which were apparently among the reasons why the previous bid attempt failed. This is provided that the proponents will provide the necessary supporting documents and guarantee on those products.

Previously the requirement was for the RPG launcher manufacturer to also be the manufacturer for these items, which is not the case for some of the interested proponents. This will now allow a more open playing field for bidders.

As during the initial attempt to bid the project, it was confirmed that one of the potential bidders is S&S Enterprises, although a query coming from Hafid N Erasmus Corp. means that they are also potentially joining the tender. No confirmation though if Arsenal JSCo. of Bulgaria will still be joining although MaxDefense believes that they have the highest chances of winning, being able to meet all requirements and previously supplying RPGs, RPG ammunition and other related products to the Philippine Army before.

Hafid N Erasmus Corp. can be remembered as one of the potential bidders for the Mortar 81mm Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy (Marines), which was discussed in a separate resource page.

Submission and Opening of Bid Envelopes (SOBE) remains on 03 October 2019 despite requests made by S&S Enterprises to move the date.

Interesting infographics on the RPG-7 from Russia. Credits to original sources of the photos.


17 October 2019:

Hispanic defense page reported that Airtronic USA’s president and COO Rick Vandiver confirmed to them that Airtronic USA is participating in an open tender in the Philippines to supply Rocket Propelled Grenade Launchers. 

Although no specifics were mentioned, the only open tender now in the Philippines for RPGs is the Squad Rocket Launcher Light Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy (Marines). It also appears that Airtronic USA is offering their PSRL-1 lightweight RPG launcher, which was the original model offered by Airtronic USA back in 2013 for the Philippine Army’s own Rocket Launcher Light Acquisition Project.

It appears that the re-bidding for the project pushed through last 03 October 2019.

According to a source, the lowest bidder was Arsenal JSCo. of Bulgaria, the same company that supplied the first batch of RPGs for the Philippine Army. We expect them to supply the ATGL-L family again, allowing commonality between Army and Marine RPGs.

But there is currently a Motion for Reconsideration ongoing from one of the losing bidders, so until this is not sorted out, the PN's TWG and DND BAC cannot proceed with post-tender activities like Post Qualification Inspections (PQI).

More of that on InfoDefensa's article which can be accessed HERE.

Photo from Army Recognition website.

Here's a brief on the Airtronic USA PSRL-1 from Army Recognition:

"The PSRL-1 system was redesigned from the world's most widely used anti-tank weapon, the RPG-7, to be safer and more effective. Every aspect from the material and manufacturing to the sighting system was evaluated and redesigned to modernize the PSRL-1 for today's battlefield environment. These improvements resulted in a longer lasting, U.S. Army safety certified weapon system with a max effective range of 800+ meters. AirTronic prides itself on providing a complete weapons package including various accessories to adapt to any environment.

The PSRL-1 is able to fire all types of rockets which are used with the Soviet-made RPG-7. It has a total weight of 6.6 kg and total length of 915mm. This rocket launcher can be fitted with a Flip Up Iron Sight or PSRL 3.5 X 24mm optical sight. Picatinny rails are mounted on each side and on the top of the launcher.

In conjunction with the weapon, to complete the system, AirTronic offers various accessories that allow for the soldier to comfortably transport the system and its ammo, while also allowing the soldier to adapt to any situation. These accessories vary from different sighting systems, spare parts, slings, cases, ammo bags, bipods, and more. Additionally, AirTronic offers various Cerakote™ Firearm Coatings that further add to the versatility of this system."

Army Recognition's article can be accessed HERE.

Photo from Army Recognition website.


08 January 2020:

MaxDefense released a blog entry discussing the win of Bulgaria's Arsenal JSco. for the project, which is being represented locally by Intrade Asia Pacific Inc. The blog entry can be accessed through the link provided below:

hilippine Marines to acquire RPGs from Bulgaria, 81mm Mortars from Spain" - first posted on 08 January 2020.

The ATGL-L from Arsenal JSCo. Photo taken from Arsenal JSCo's website.

The Notice of Award (NOA) for the project was released in favor of Arsenal JSCo. on 22 December 2019, after being declared as the Single Calculated & Responsive Bidder.

It appears that other expected bidders did not submit a bid, including Airtronic USA which claimed to be interested in supplying to the Philippine Marines.

It is most likely that the product to be supplied by Arsenal JSco. is the ATGL-L family of 40mm Rocket Propelled Grenade Launchers, which is similar to those already in use by the Philippine Army.

This is not the first time Arsenal JSCo. will be supplying to the AFP as it already did supply not just ATGL-L RPGs to the Philippine Army, but also the ammunition they use for all types and models of RPG in Philippine Army service including Russian and Chinese variants.

The differences between variants of the ATGL-L family are the optics and sighting systems that they use, and the availability of bipod assembly. In the case of the Philippine Marines, they require a bipod assembly, iron and optic sights. Photo from Arsenal JSCo's website.

With the project having a short turnaround time, Arsenal JSCo. is expected to deliver all the products within 1 year after the release of Notice to Proceed (NTP) which is expected to be released on or before February 2020. This means we should expect the Philippine Marines to receive the RPG launchers, ammunition and all associated accessories on or before February 2021.


07 November 2020:

The Department of National Defense (DND) has publicly released a copy of the Contract's main page and Notice to Proceed (NTP) of the Squad Rocket Launcher Light Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy (Marines), which was signed by the DND and released in favor of Arsenal JSCO of Bulgaria on 10 March 2020.

A copy of the NTP for the project. Photo taken from DND's website.

In addition, the document confirmed that Arsenal JSCO has allowed for the provision of the following items for free as part of the contract:

* 30 pcs of Monocular Night Vision attachment compatible with the SGL-7MAO optical sight (NVA-50);
*50,000 rounds of 7.62x39mm Tracer cartridges for gunnery training on the PUS-7 7.62x39mm training device;
* 12 units of 40/106mm RSMK-7MA with GSMK-7MA smoke grenades;
* 1 unit of 40mm ATGL-2 SRLL launcher demilitarized for display purposes;
* 6 units of 40mm ATGL-2 SRLL launcher cutaway units (for training and display purposes);
* unspecified number of 40mm round HE fragmentation anti-personnel grenade (40mmOHi-7MA)
* unspecified number of 40/73mm round HE anti-tank grenade (40/73mm RHEAT-7MA2);
* unspecified number of 40/106mm round thermobaric grenade (40/106mm RTB-7MA).

These are on top of the required deliverables as indicated in the tender documents (see Project Summary portion of this resource page). 

Just for the record: The 50,000 rounds of 7.62x39mm tracer cartridges are actually for RPG firing training, since the RPG training launcher, the PUS-7 which Arsenal JSCO will also deliver, uses 7.62x39mm rounds rather than a 40mm RPG round.

We could now expect deliveries to be made within 365 days from release of NTP, which is on or before 10 March 2021. It is also possible that Arsenal JSCO could deliver the lot in at least 2 batches, which means a partial delivery months before the deadline.

Watch out for updates from either MaxDefense Philippines or Philippine Defense Resource.


15 April 2021:

MaxDefense Philippines received confirmation and evidence that the Philippine Navy has recently received delivery of its ATGL-L rocket propelled grenade (RPG) launchers, as well as optical sights, assorted ammunition including HE anti-tank, HE fragmentation, and thermobaric rounds.

Photos shared to MaxDefense Philippines by sources showed truckloads of crates containing the RPG launchers, accessories and munitions delivered from Bulgaria's Arsenal JSco by air, with Azerbaijani cargo airline Silkway Airlines making the trip, and the cargo picked-up at Clark Air Base in Pampanga on 14 April 2021.

MaxDefense Philippines is still waiting if full delivery was made, considering it would be costly to conduct a second delivery when it can be made in one go.

If completed, we can consider the completion of this project.


15 September 2021:

Our parent page MaxDefense Philippines received confirmation that full delivery has been made by Arsenal JSco., and that the ATGL-L RPGs have been inspected, tested and inducted into service with the Philippine Marine Corps.


With the ATGL-L rocket propelled grenade launchers and accessories as well as RPG ammunition already delivered and inducted into service as of 3rd quarter of 2021, 
MaxDefense Philippines and Philippine Defense Resource officially consider the Squad Rocket Launcher Light Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy as COMPLETED.

x x x x x x x x x x x 


First edit and release: 25 August 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Corvette Acquisition Project (Lots 1 and 2) of the Philippine Navy


The Philippine Navy (PN) is in the process of increasing its naval surface combat capability by acquiring new surface warships as part of the Horizon 2 phase. This includes the introduction of a new class of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capable guided missile corvettes for the Offshore Combat Force (OCF) under the Corvette Acquisition Project.

This is in line with the PN's Desired Force Mix and Capability Upgrade Program, which actually calls for 12 Corvettes to be acquired between 2013 to 2028.

The HDC-3100 design from Hyundai Heavy Industries, which was offered to the Philippine Navy for its corvette requirements. Photo credits to HHI.

Project Summary:

Corvette Acquisition Project (Lot 1: Platform and Launchers)

Note: Edited as of 22 November 2023.

* End User: Philippine Navy (Offshore Combat Force)

* Quantity: 2 ships and assorted ammunition

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects of RAFPMP

* Project ABC: Php25,000,000,000.00

* Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government (G2G) Procurement

* Source of Funding: From other sources, to be paid via Multi-Year Obligatory Allocations (MYOA).

* SARO Release/s: 
   - SARO-BMB-D-21-0013357 dated 10 December 2021, released 10 December 2021, worth Php3.75 billion to cover 15% initial downpayment.
   - SARO-BMB-D-22-0004135 dated 20 May 2022, released 20 May 2022 worth Php3,000,000,000.00 to cover 2nd milestone payment worth 12% of contract
   - SARO-BMB-D-23-0017382 dated 24 May 2023, released 24 May 2023 worth Php6,000,000,000.00 to cover 3rd milestone payment worth 24% of contract

* Winning Proponent: Hyundai Heavy Industries

* Product for Delivery: HHI HDC-3100 Corvettes 

* Contract Price: Php25,000,000,000.00

* First post by MaxDefense: 25 June 2013

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PNCorvetteAcquisition #PNCAP

* Status: Pre-Procurement phase ongoing. Final negotiations ongoing with Hyundai Heavy Industries. DBM has released SARO for 15% downpayment of Lot 1 on 10 December 2021. NOA released in favor of Hyundai Heavy Industries as of 15 December 2021, Contract signed on 28 December 2021. 2nd milestone SARO released on May 2022. Preliminary Design Review completed on July 2022, Critical Design Review expected to be completed by February-March 2023. First Steel Cutting for 1st ship conducted on 11 May 2023, 2nd ship's First Steel Cutting scheduled by November 2023. Keel laying ceremony of first ship and First Steel Cutting of second ship held on 22 November 2023, with HD Hyundai announcing dimensions of the ship which is slightly larger than originally claimed. 
Delivery of 1st ship is scheduled on 2025, and 2nd ship by 2026.


Corvette Acquisition Project (Lot 2: Munitions)

Note: Edited as of 02 October 2023.

* End User: Philippine Navy (Offshore Combat Force)

* Quantity: 7 lots of assorted ammunition for 2 corvettes

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 3 Phase 1 - H2 Subsystems, moved from Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects of RAFPMP 

* Project ABC: Php9,383,000,000.00, increased from Php3,000,000,000.00

* Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government (G2G) and Direct Negotiation Procurement

* Source of Funding: To be paid via Multi-Year Obligatory Allocations (MYOA).

* SARO Release: TBC

* Winning Proponent: TBC

* Product for Delivery: TBA

* Contract Price: TBA

* First post by MaxDefense: 25 June 2013

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PNCorvetteAcquisition #PNCAP

* Status: To be procured depending on weapons agreed upon during Critical Design Review. Originally part of Horizon 2 Priority Phase but moved to Horizon 3 Phase 1 - H2 Subsystems as it failed to reach contracting at the end of Horizon 2 phase in 2022. As part of Horizon 3 Phase 1, budget has been increased from Php3 billion to Php9.383 billion and will have a total of 7 lots. 


The acquisition of Corvettes is among the most important programs of the Philippine Navy in beefing up its surface combat capabilities. Several versions of the PN's procurement plans from 2013 to 2028 included the corvettes, although total quantity and number of ships to be procured on which phase varies.

Based on the Philippine Navy's Desired Force Mix introduced in 2014 as a guideline for their Horizons 1 to 3 asset acquisition plan, the service hopes to get 12 corvettes capable of anti-submarine warfare (ASW). No specific timeline was provided on when these corvettes will be funded for acquisition.

In 2015, another Philippine Navy infographic was released on their official website, wherein 4 corvettes are planned for Horizon 2 phase (between 2019 to 2023), and another 4 as part of the Horizon 3 phase for a total of 8 corvettes.

The Philippine Navy's official publications released another list of plans on April 2016, wherein it included the plan to have 6 corvettes for Horizon 2 phase, and another 6 for Horizon 3 phase, totalling 12 corvettes.

Based on the submitted procurement plans of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on December 2016, it again included corvettes for the Philippine Navy, wherein 8 are planned for Horizon 2, and another 4 for Horizon 3 for a total of 12 corvettes.

Finally, based on the submitted plan by the Philippine Navy for approval under the Horizon 2 phase in 2017, only 2 Corvettes were requested for funding. And based on the approval released by Pres. Duterte last June 2018, this was approved with a proposed budget of Php28 billion.

Updated Technical Requirements (as of June 2019):

General Platform (Hull) Requirements:
- Minimum length of 80 meters, no limit on maximum length;
- A draft of equal or greater than 4 meters,
- A maximum of speed of at least 25 knots at 80% Maximum Continuous Rating,
- Endurance of at least 20 days, and operating range of at least 4,000 nautical miles,
- Displacement of between 2,000 to 2,500 tons
- Helicopter Landing Deck capacity of at least 10 tons capacity,
- A hangar for at least one 10-ton helicopter,
- A minimum complement of 80 officers and sailors,
- Having unrestricted ship and subsystem operability at Sea State 6
- Includes two 7-meter Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat for Ship-boarding
- Low Radar Cross-Section, Low Infra-red design,
- Low Underwater Radiated Noise and Low Magnetic design
- Includes a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare citadel
- Tier 3 diesel engine rating

Sensors Fit:
- Two Navigational (X & S-band) Radars
- 3D Air/Surface AESA Radar with Identification Friend or Foe (IFF),
- A Fire Control Radar,
- An Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS),
- Hull Mounted Sonar (HMS), 
- Towed Array Sonar System (TASS),
- Incorporating Tactical Data Link 16 and 22 (which are PN-supplied) ,
- Naval Communications-Electronic Support Measures (C-ESM),
- Naval Radar-Electronics Support Measures (R-ESM),
- Tactical Air Navigation (TACAN), Satellite Communications (SATCOM)
- Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD)

Combat Systems:
- Combat Management System with Tactical Data Link
- Integrated Platform Management System,
- Integrated Bridge Control System,
- Integrated Communications System,
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle component
- Chaffs & Decoys

Weapon Systems:
- 1 x 76mm Super Rapid gun,
- 2 x quadruple anti-ship missile launchers,
- 1 x Close-In Weapon System (CIWS),
- At least 1 x 30mm secondary gun,
- 2 x triple torpedo launchers
- At least 1 x 8-cell Vertical Launching System (VLS)

Based on the information released by HD Hyundai on 22 November 2023, the ship is now displacing 3,200 tons, 118.4 meters long, 14.9 meters wide, a cruising speed of 15 knots and a range of 4,500 nautical miles.

This is slightly larger than the original HDC-3100 design which is displaces at 3,100 tons, 116 meters long, 14.9 meters wide. Cruising speed and range remains the same as before.


U P D A T E S:

30 September 2019:
MaxDefense released a blog entry discussing recent updates on the Corvette Acquisition Project, including what MaxDefense believes would be the direction of the project, which is for it to be designed and built by South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) based on an improved variant of the Jose Rizal-class frigates (HHI's HDF-2600 design) being constructed now for the Philippine Navy.

We conveniently called this the Jose Rizal-class Flight II, based on how the South Koreans name the improved variant of their warship classes as the design progress.
The blog entry can be accessed from the link provided below:

"Philippine Navy's Corvette Acquisition Program - Jose Rizal-class Flight II?" - first posted on 30 
September 2019.

Among those MaxDefense sees as most likely competitors to HHI's offer are Dutch shipbuilder Damen with their SIGMA 9814 corvette design (top) and a simplified version of the Gowind-class from French shipbuilder Naval Group (above). Photos credited to original sources.


09 November 2019:

As part of their report on the launching of the second Jose Rizal-class frigate Antonio Luna (FF-151) on 08 November 2019, News1 Korea reported that Defense Sec. Delfin Lorezana and top officials of Hyundai Heavy Industries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on HHI's exclusive participation in the design and construction of a "new patrol ship" that the Philippine Navy will acquire next year.

There are only two new patrol / combat warship projects ongoing with the Philippine Navy, the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) acquisition project and the Corvette acquisition project. 

It was already reported before by MaxDefense that the Department of National Defense (DND) has already made the direction to acquire the OPVs from Australian shipbuilder Austal, while MaxDefense previously reported that Pres. Duterte has already approved the Corvette Acquisition Project last May 2019 with HHI's proposal being the one to be used as basis for the project.

Obviously the report was talking about the Corvette Acquisition Project, which means this firmly seals up HHI's selection as the shipbuilder and designer of choice for the Philippine Navy's next generation corvettes.

This proves that our earlier blog posted on 30 September 2019 was indeed correct, wherein we did mention that the DND and the Philippine Navy has set the direction to acquire the future new corvettes based on an unsolicited proposal submitted by HHI rather than with other shipbuilders.

The blog entry can be accessed from the link provided below:

"Philippine Navy's Corvette Acquisition Program - Jose Rizal-class Flight II?" - first posted on 30 
September 2019.

Looks like the plan to have the new corvettes based on an improved version of the Jose Rizal-class frigate is becoming a reality. Photo taken from News1 Korea.


18 June 2021:

There are mixed reports and statements coming from both the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Philippine Navy (PN) regarding this project.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic expenditures of the government, the Corvette Acquisition Project was said to be delayed due to lack of funding. Despite proposals for the financing to be through soft loans from foreign governments, the Philippine Government still needs to raise an initial payment of around 10 to 15% of the total value of the project.

With this, it was mentioned by the DND in reports that the Corvette project will be pushed back to either 2022, or to the Horizon 3 phase of the RAFPMP which starts in 2023 and will be implemented by a different administration.

But other reports suggest that the project was merely delayed, but will still push through within the Horizon 2 phase. The Philippine Navy has also confirmed that the project is still ongoing.

MaxDefense Philippines also confirmed that the project is still alive, as the PN and DND are still discussing with foreign shipbuilders, specifically Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), ASFAT of Turkey, and some European shipbuilders.

The procurement still remains to be through soft-loan financing by the country of origin's government of the winning shipbuilder.


22 July 2021:

MaxDefense Philippines confirmed that South Korea shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries' new corvette design dubbed the HDC-3100, also known as the HDF-3100 frigate, is the model offered by the shipbuilder to the Philippine Navy's Corvette Acquisition Project. 

Hyundai Heavy Industries updated its Naval and Special Ship Business Unit product brochure, and it interesting that they added a new ship design called HDC-3100.

Brochure says the length is 114m, width is 14.8m, and draft is 3.8m, with maximum speed of 25 knots. This makes it longer and wider than Jose Rizal-class frigates, but with the same speed which could mean the use of diesel engine propulsion only, no gas turbines.

HDC-3100 is an indication that it is a Corvette design (C in HDC), with a displacement of around 3,100 tons.

Based on CGI, the design is almost very similar to the HDF-2600, which is the baseline design of the Jose Rizal-class frigate of the Philippine Navy. 

Differences noted on the HDC-3100 compared to HDF-2600 include:
* longer forward section
* larger space for more VLS launchers
* additional superstructure cover wall on mid-section for improved radar cross section reduction
* bigger space behind the funnel for more anti-ship missile launchers

The VLS on CGI shows 16 cells of what appears to be MBDA VL-MICA launchers, while space appears to be available for more VLS launchers.

The wall covering in the superstructure mid-section was what MaxDefense PH previously mentioned as something HHI can improve on the Jose Rizal-class design, although there is still an open gap forward of the funnel.

Access for davit-mounted RHIBs will be using a retractable access gate similar to most modern warship designs.

Also noted were increased number of countermeasure launchers, looks like Terma C-Guard similar to what PN uses on Jose Rizal-class frigates.

Another is the use of Hensoldt TRS-4D AESA radar which is a more advanced version of the TRS-3D used in the Jose Rizal-class frigates.

It remains to be seen if PN and DND will accept HHi and South Koran Govt's offer for the Corvette project, which is competing with other designs including from Turkey, Netherlands, and other countries.


14 December 2021:

The Department of Budget Management (DBM) has finally released the SARO to support the funding for the 15% downpayment of the project.

SARO-BMB-D-21-0013357 dated and released on 10 December 2021 has an amount of Php3.75 billion, or around 15% of Php25 billion which is the budget allocated for Lot 1 - Platform and Launchers which involves the Corvettes itself and the weapon systems.

Lot 2 will still be funded separately, which has a budget of Php3 billion for the acquisition of munitions (missiles, torpedoes, etc).

SARO allocation for downpayment of Corvettes. Photo screengrabbed from DBM SARO.


23 December 2021:

Senior defense officials confirmed to that the Notice of Award (NOA) has been released last 15 December 2021 for the Corvette Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy, in favor of South Korean naval shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries.

As mentioned before, HHI's HDC-3100 design was offered to the Philippine Navy to meet the requirements.

A contract is expected to be signed soon, with the DND and PN hoping to have it done before yearend.

Below is the report from regarding this development:

By: Frances Mangosing - Reporter / / 11:48 AM December 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — It’s official: South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has secured a contract to build two corvettes for the Philippine Navy for P25 billion.

A notice of award was issued by the Department of National Defense (DND) last Dec. 15, two senior security officials familiar with the matter told

The development came shortly after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released funding for the 15 percent downpayment of the corvette acquisition project worth P3.75 billion last Dec. 10.

A contract signing could happen before yearend, said the senior officials.

The acquisition would be financed by a government-to-government loan agreement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in earlier statements.

HHI has been the favored supplier for the program since it was announced in 2019, based on statements of top defense and navy officials. The South Korean shipbuilder also built two multi-role frigates for the Philippine Navy in a P16 billion contract in 2016.

But the frigate acquisition project attracted public interest in 2018 after a conflict in the selection of the combat management systems (CMS), considered as the “brain” of the warships.

The disagreements stemmed from the failure of the shipbuilder to meet the original preference for a Link 16 compatible CMS by the Philippine Navy’s technical working group. In the end, the South Korean Ministry of Defense issued a guarantee that the ships’ CMS is compatible with Link 16 despite the absence of US certification, and the shipbuilder has offered to pay for the integration of the CMS to Link 16 when the Navy acquires this capability in the future.

The corvette acquisition project, which is estimated to cost P28 billion including weapon systems, is one of the big-ticket items in the Philippine Navy’s upgrade program. Plans to acquire the corvettes had been stalled last year because of the diversion of defense funds to pandemic response.

The warships would boost the country’s presence around the archipelago especially in the West Philippine Sea, where tensions continue to rise.

The Navy recently retired the last two of its World War 2-era patrol ships despite the lack of immediate replacements. Navy chief Vice Adm. Adeluis Bordado said the two corvettes and six offshore patrol vessels would see initial deliveries in two to three years.


28 December 2021:

The Department of National Defense has signed a contract today with South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries to build 2 new missile corvettes for the Philippine Navy.
The Corvette Acquisition Project is the Philippine Navy's most costliest project under the Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects approved in principle in 2018.

Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana said having a HHI as the shipbuilder means ease of maintenance for both the new corvettes and the Jose Rizal-class frigates.

We reported before that HHI offered the HDC-3100 corvette/light frigate design.

No further details were provided, but it is expected that HHI will require to receive a Notice to Proceed (NTP) from the DND probably by January-February 2022, which is the starting date for the contract to start, and will also include the documents supporting the initial payment as part of the contract.

Based on the construction of the Jose Rizal-class frigate by HHI, it is expected that the process would be faster this time due to having no "issues" that resulted in investigations, as well as no opposition from the Philippine Navy on the subsystems to be used.

We expected the first frigate to start construction by mid-2022, and delivered to the Philippine Navy by mid-2024. The second frigate may start construction by 3rd or 4th quarter of 2022, and delivered to the Philippine Navy by 4th quarter 2024.

Sec. Lorenzana is shown signing the contract of the Corvette Acquisition Project between DND and HHI. Photo credits to DND.

MaxDefense Philippines is still trying to get the full details of the ship's final fit-out, but the following are expected to be part of the ship's subsystems based on its analysis:

Weapon Systems:
* 1 x Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid naval gun;
* 1 x Aselsan SMASH 30mm naval gun;
* 1 x Aselsan Gokdeniz 35mm twin close-in weapon system (CIWS);
* 2 x LIG Nex1 SSM-700K C-Star quadruple anti-ship missile launchers;
* 2 x SEA triple torpedo tubes for LIG Nex1 K745 Blue Shark torpedoes;
* a 12 or 16-cell VLS for still unconfirmed air defense missile system, most likely the MBDA VL MICA
* 4 to 6 12.7mm 50-cal heavy machine guns, most likely S&T K6;

* Hanwha Systems Naval Shield Integrated Combat Management System, still confirming if Baseline 2.xx or 3.xx.
* Hensoldt TRS-4D AESA air/surface search radar system, or equivalent;
* Hensoldt SharpEye X & S-band navigation & surface search radar system, or equivalent;
* Selex ES NA-25X Fire Control Radar, or equivalent;
* Safran PASEO NS electro-optical tracking system, or equivalent;
* still unconfirmed hull-mounted sonar, most likely ELAC Sonar Hunter 2.0
* still unconfirmed towed-array sonar system;
* Hanwha Link-P tactical data link.


23 February 2022:

British defense company SEA has confirmed that it would supply the triple torpedo launchers for the 2 new HDC-3100 corvettes the Philippine Navy ordered from Hyundai Heavy Industries.

The SEA TLS will be installed on the new corvettes, 2 triple launchers on each ship. This is the same model used in the Jose Rizal-class frigates, which reflects HHI and PN's satisfaction with the torpedo launchers.

This is so far the first confirmation made by a subcontractor/supplier for the 2 new corvettes, and we are expecting more companies to release press statements in the next few months.

More on the report from Naval News.

The SEA TLS torpedo launching system. Photo credits to SEA.


06 April 2022:

Hyundai Heavy Industries is tendering the Hull Structure and Fatigue Strength Analysis for the corvettes being built for the Philippine Navy.

It means a 3rd party would conduct these analysis for the HHI.

More on this from the press release by HHI.


12 April 2022:

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) updated its online product brochure for naval and special ships, which now features the ship design that will be used for the Philippine Navy's future corvette project.

The HDF-3100 frigate (previously also called the HDC-3100 corvette) is an enlarged version of the HDF-2600 design used for the Jose Rizal-class frigate, which confirms that the new corvettes are indeed larger and more capable than the Jose Rizal-class.

It also appears that the comment MaxDefense Philippines made back in 2018 which is to cover the superstructure midsection gap to improve radar cross section reduction has been implemented. 

Also noted on the photo is a CIWS that appears to be similar to the ASELSAN Gokdeniz CIWS that MaxDefense Philippines exclusively reported before as the selected CIWS for the corvette (and potentially the Jose Rizal-class frigate as well).

While the main gun appears to be the Hyundai WIA 76mm model, we believe the Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid gun will be used for the Philippine Navy. 

Photo credits to Hyundai Heavy Industries, with heads-up provided by Herbie.

Photo credits to HHI.


26 April 2022:

Hanwha Systems announced that they signed a contract to supply their Naval Shield Integrated Combat Management System for the Philippine Navy's 2 new guided missile corvettes being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries.

According to Hanwha System's displayed infographic in ADAS 2022, the new corvette would be using Hanwha's Baseline 4 series, which appears to be previously called Baseline 3.

Hanwha Systems' infographic posted in ADAS 2022 shows a "PN FFG" under Baseline 3, which is believed to be the Jose Rizal-class frigate based on the timeline of beyond 2015, and another "PN FFG" under Baseline 4, believed to be the HDC-3100 corvette with timeline beyond 2020. Photo credits to Hanwha Systems.

This is actually confusing, since the infographic appears to show that further developments of Naval Shield's Baseline 2, most likely from Baseline 2.4 and above are now considered as Baseline 3, and the previously considered Baseline 3 was now pushed and renamed as Baseline 4.

It would be remembered that in past defense exhibitions and press releases, Hanwha Systems confirmed that the Jose Rizal-class frigate is to be equipped / equipped with Naval Shield ICMS Baseline 2. This can still be seen in Hanwha Systems' own website.

Photo credits to Hanwha Systems' website as of 26 April 2022.

Surprisingly, the new infographic from Hanwha Systems did not show which CMS variant was installed/being installed on the Del Pilar-class frigates, which was labelled as "PN-DPCF" in previous infographics (see below).

Nonetheless, MaxDefense Philippines believes that the Philippine Navy would probably get the latest Naval Shield ICMS variant with the larger display screens, which was officially shown to the public in 2018.

Photo credits to Shephard Media.


27 April 2022:

In a surprise move from Hyundai Heavy Industries, it appears that the new HDC-3100 corvettes they are building for the Philippine Navy will be getting the IAI Elta ELM-2258 Advanced Lightweight Phased Array (ALPHA) 3D AESA air/surface search radar, rather than the Hensoldt TRS-4D radar that was previously offered during the pre-procurement process of the project.

Based on the report from Israel media, IAI signed a contract with HHI to supply the radars for the corvettes, and would be integrated to Hanwha Systems' Combat Management System (HHI selected Hanwha's Naval Shield ICMS).

It remains to be seen if the changes were made with full approval by the Philippine Navy considering HHI's previous experience of "switching" its initial offer to a different model when they got the contract.

One can see the HDC-3100 CGI sporting a radar that closely resembles the TRS-4D with irs square-ish shape than the ALPHA 3D with its trapezoidal shape.

Note the trapezoidal shape of the IAI ALPHA antenna compared to the rectangular radar antenna found on the initial CGI photo of the corvette from HHI. Photo credits to IAI and HHI.

Both HHI and PN are also very secretive on the specs of the radar they were looking for the new corvettes, unlike during the Frigate Acquisition Project where we can see the specs and what were offered.

It also remains to be seen if IAI Elta will supply the Basic or Extended variant of the ALPHA 3D radar for the Philippine Navy, with the Basic having an effective range of 200km, while the Extended variant at 400km.

In comparison, the TRS-4D has an effective range of 250km.


30 April 2022:

Hyundai Heavy Industries displayed the scale model of the HDC-3100/HDF-3100 corvette that they are going to build for the Philippine Navy for its Corvette Acquisition Project.

And it is interesting that they showed it side-by-side with the HDF-2600 frigate design which is used for the Jose Rizal-class frigate.

Among the things noticed by MaxDefense Philippines and posted in its social media account:

1. It is obvious that the HDC-3100/HDF-3100 is longer than the HDF-2600, as the corvette is around 8 meters longer based on previous announcements by HHI. 

The length of the VLS platform, the space for anti-ship missile launchers, and a longer helideck contributed to the increased overall length of the corvette.

2. MaxDefense Philippines previously noted that the helideck appears to be lacking in length on the HDF-2600/Jose Rizal-class that makes it less safe for longer helicopters like the MH-60R Seahawk to operate it. The increased landing deck appears to be now compliant to Sikorsky's recommended helideck length.

3.  The cover on the superstructure mid-section (funnel area) was included in this new design which MaxDefense Philippines highlighted back in 2018, and its now really better looking and probably reduced the radar cross-section of the corvette compared to the HDF-2600/Jose Rizal-class.

4. The air/surface search radar panel now appears to be the same as the one used in the IAI Elta ELM-2258 ALPHA 3D AESA radar that was recently announced for installation on the new corvettes. Remember that initial CGI plus information from our sources initially point at the Hensoldt TRS-4D AESA radar which has a rectangular panel rather than trapezoidal as it shows now.

5. The secondary 30mm gun appears to be excluded in the corvette. This is surprising since the PN originally wanted 1 or 2 of them in each ship as improvement over the Jose Rizal-class, which only has 1 x 30mm gun.

6. The superstructure design on the helicopter hangar is also different from the HDF-2600/Jose Rizal-class. It is even more simplified due to the absence of the 30mm gun, allowing the CIWS to sit lower on the deck rather than on a pedestal.

7. 76mm gun looks like the Hyundai WIA model, but like what happened on the Jose Rizal-class, eventually the delivered model is the 76mm Oto Melara Super Rapid gun, which is the model selected by the Philippine Navy.

The HDC-3100/HDF-3100 design side-by-side with the HDF-2600 design. Photo credits to MDP community member who wished to remain anonymous.


23 May 2022:

The DBM has released the project's 2nd milestone progress payment worth Php3,000,000,000.00 through a SARO issued on 20 May 2022. 

This means the project has reached a milestone based on the Payment Schedule. While it is not known to us what the milestone is, MaxDefense Philippines has the Payment Terms and Delivery Schedule for the Frigate Acquisition Project which shows the payment milestones.


30 July 2022:

The DND confirmed that First Steel Cutting of the first  new HDC-3100 Corvette for the Philippine Navy would happen in 4th Quarter 2022, after Hyundai Heavy Industries and PN finalize and complete the Critical Design Review of the ships.

The Preliminary Design Review (PDR) was said to have been completed last week, and the Critical Design Review will start once the project's TIAC complete the review and accept the outcome of the PDR.

Based on how HHI built the Jose Rizal-class frigates, we believe HHI could also start the First Steel Cutting for the second corvette by 1st Quarter 2023.

HHI has a history of quickly building warships as shown by the recent launching of the latest KDX-III Batch 2 destroyer a few days ago after building the destroyer in just around 8-9 months.

It is then highly expected that HHI would launch the 1st Corvette by 3rd quarter 2023.


10 February 2023:

Delays appear to have pushed back the start of construction of the first corvette for the Philippine Navy by Hyundai Heavy Industries.

As of January 2023, it appears that the Critical Design Review (CDR) for the ship design has not been completed yet, despite both the PN and HHI's experience in working together in the past, using a design that is not too far different from what they have worked with before.

But it was mentioned by the Philippine Navy that the First Steel Cutting for the first ship is scheduled to be made on May 2023, and the second ship by November 2023. This means a six month gap between the construction, and potentially on the delivery of the ships to the Philippine Navy.


19 May 2023:

Hyundai Heavy Industries reached a milestone as it conducted the First Steel Cutting Ceremony for the Philippine Navy's Corvette Acquisition Project last 11 May 2023 at HHI's Ulsan Naval Shipyard.

This is for the 1st of two ships, which was previously announced to have its First Steel Cutting by May 2023.

Surprisingly the DND and PN both did not announce this, and the photo was released through the press by their sources.

HHI and PN officials during the 1st Steel Cutting Ceremony for Corvette #1 last 11 May 2023. Photo credits to Frances Mangosing of


21 March 2023:

Hensoldt UK confirmed they received 2 contracts from Hyundai Heavy Industries to supply  Sharpeye Mk 11 navigation radars for  Corvettes & OPVs for the Philippine Navy.

The orders total for 8 ships, which is quite significant for a single order for a 2nd/3rd rate navy. 

Other PN ships using the Sharpeye Mk. 11 radars are 2 Jose Rizal-class frigates, 2 of 3 Del Pilar-class patrol frigates & 2 of the 3 Jacinto-class patrol vessel.

Commonality is key in this decision, not to mention Sharpeye is one of the best navigation radar for military application in the market, which can also be used as a secondary surface search and helicopter approach radar.

The Hensoldt Sharpeye Mk. 11 navigation & surface search radar.


25 May 2023:

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released the 3rd milestone MYOA payment for the Corvette Acquisition Project, with SARO-BMB-D-23-0017382 worth Php6,000,000,000.00 dated and released on 24 May 2023.

This is worth 24% of the project cost and was probably made after Hyundai Heavy Industries completed its first Steel Cutting Ceremony for the 1st ship of the class last 11 May 2023.

We expect another milestone payment to be made by November 2023 based on these developments.

Screengrabbed from DBM 2023 SARO. 


03 July 2023:

French defense company Safran has confirmed during an interview by Naval News that the Philippine Navy's new corvettes and offshore patrol vessels will be equipped with the Safran PASEO XLR extra long range optronic identification & fire control system.

The system is an improvement from previous models including the PASEO NS used by the Jose Rizal-class frigates, and has been selected also by several other navies for their frigates including the French Navy's future FTI Amiral Ronarc'h-class frigates and Jacques Chevallier-class Logistic Support Ships, Brazilian Navy's Tamandare-class frigates, among others.

The PASEO XLR EO/IR system from Safran. Photo screengrabbed from Naval News' video.


02 October 2023:

In a reply to Philippine News Agency, South Korean shipbuilder HD Hyundai Heavy Industries confirmed that they will deliver the first HDC-3100 corvette to the Philippine Navy by 2025, and the second ship by 2026, and that they are on-track with the delivery dates and construction of the ships.

HHI also confirmed that the First Steel Cutting ceremony for the 2nd corvette is scheduled this November 2023.


22 November 2023:

HD Hyundai has reported that the first HDC-3100 corvette for the Philippine Navy has conducted the Keel Laying Ceremony, and the second HDC-3100 corvette held its First Steel Cutting Ceremony earlier today 22 November 2023 at its Ulsan Shipyard.

These are important milestones as the corvettes are scheduled for delivery to the Philippine Navy by 2025.

Based on the information released by HD Hyundai, the corvettes are now displacing 3,200 tons, 118.4 meters long, 14.9 meters wide, a cruising speed of 15 knots and a range of 4,500 nautical miles.

This is slightly larger than the original HDC-3100 design which is displaces at 3,100 tons, 116 meters long, 14.9 meters wide. Cruising speed and range remains the same as before.

Keel laying for the 1st ship, and First Steel Cutting for the 2nd ship. Photo credits to HD Hyundai.


First edit and release: 17 August 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource