Thursday, November 28, 2019

Rocket, 2.75" with Guided Advance Tactical Rocket (GATR) Guidance System (Phase 1) Acquisition Project of the Philippine Air Force

The Philippine Air Force has decided to acquire a new capability, the guided air-to-ground rocket system to improve its strike capability. 

The system is not yet available in PAF service, and a selection process was made. In the end, it was Elbit Systems-ATK Guided Advance Tactical Rocket (GATR) system that was selected.

A test buy-was made to allow the PAF to introduce itself to the system, which resulted to the Rocket, 2.75" with Guided Advance Tactical Rocket Guidance System acquisition project.

For now, MaxDefense called the test-buy as Phase 1 since MaxDefense received information that acquisition of more units are planned.

The GATR is an economical alternative to guided missiles since they are cheaper to acquire and carries a smaller warhead which would be enough for certain targets. Photo taken from Elbit Systems's website.

Project Summary:

Rocket, 2.75" with Guided Advance Tactical Rocket (GATR) Guidance System (Phase 1) Acquisition Project 

Note: Edited as of 27 November 2019.

* End User: Philippine Air Force (15th Strike Wing)

* Quantity: undisclosed due to OPSEC reasons

* Modernization Phase: Special Projects outside Horizon 2 phase (standard munitions acquisition using PAF operational funds)

* Project ABC: Php156,785,590.00

* Acquisition Mode: Negotiated Procurement (Government-to-Government) deal with the Israel Ministry of Defense

* Source of Funding: Philippine Air Force 2018 GAA Funded 

* SARO Release: TBC

* Winning Proponent: Elbit Systems Ltd. (Israel)

* Product for Delivery:  
   - unspecified number of ATK Orbital 2.75" rockets
   - unspecified number of ATK Orbital-Elbit Systems GATR guidance systems
   - unspecified number of rocket launchers

* Contract Price: Php156,785,590.00

* First post by MaxDefense: 30 November 2018

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PAFGATRAcquisition

* Status: Project awarded in early 2019. Delivery confirmed as of October 2019. Completed as of November 2019.

U P D A T E S :

30 November 2018:

The Philippine Air Force is now in the process of negotiating the acquisition of laser-guided air-launched rockets, with Israel's Elbit Systems selected by the PAF with its Guided Advanced Tactical Rocket (GATR). The ABC for the project is Php156,785,590.00 (around US$2.95 million). MaxDefense and its contributors believe that the PAF may only be after kits instead of all-up rounds, as the GATR can be used to upgrade standard NATO 2.75" unguided rockets, and launched from standard 2.75" rocket launchers.

The GATR can be used against moving and stationary targets up to 8 kilometers away (depending on base rocket used, with the range based on Orbital ATK's own 2.75" rockets), and supports lock-on before or after launch as well as autonomous or remote laser designation.

The acquisition of the GATR would allow the PAF to use an affordable precision munitions onboard its current attack platforms with EO/IR turrets like the AW109E armed light helicopter, and the upcoming OV-10G+ Combat Dragon and A-29B Super Tucano attack aircraft. This would be added to a growing number of air-to-ground guided munitions being employed by the PAF.

This acquisition appears to be another solution that was born our of the PAF's experience in the Marawi conflict, which also brought the decision to acquire a purpose-built attack helicopter.

The PAF previously released this Notice of Negotiated Procurement in their website.

23 September 2019:

MaxDefense has released a blog entry discussing the Elbit Systems GATR 2.75" guided air-to-ground rocket system, as well as the Philippine Air Force's order and impending delivery.

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

"Philippine Air Force to receive test-buy of Guided Advance Tactical Rockets soon" - first posted on 23 September 2019.


27 November 2019:

MaxDefense received confirmation that the delivery of the GATR guided rocket kits, rocket launchers, and the base 2.75" unguided rockets were already delivered to the Philippine Air Force's 15th Strike Wing as of October 2019.

The rockets were integrated with the PAF's AgustaWestland AW109E Power armed helicopters, which has the capability to provide targeting using its FLIR turret, an asset no found on the smaller MD-520MG Defender armed helicopters.

With this new asset, the 15th Strike Wing now has a guided propelled munition added to its capabilities that was only previously something the 5th Fighter Wing has with its AGM-65G2 Maverick air-to-ground missiles.

The Elbit GATR guidance system on an ATK 2.75" rocket.


28 November 2019:

As a follow-on to our earlier news yesterday on the delivery of the first order of Elbit Systems GATR guided air-to-ground rocket systems, MaxDefense received information that the 15th Strike Wing is preparing to order another batch of GATR guidance kits, 2.75" unguided rockets, and rocket launchers for the GATR system from Elbit Systems.

This time, the order is said to be larger than the initial batch.

No specifics yet on how much the new order is worth though, but deliveries are expected to be made by late 2020.

This new order will allow more aircraft of the unit to have such launching capability.

It still remains to be seen though if the PAF will give priority to their recently delivered Bell AH-1S Cobra attack helicopters since these helicopters will become the primary rotary strike assets of the unit.

A full scale mock-up of the GATR 2.75" guided rocket was displayed by the PAF during a previous event. Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense. 

With all the rockets, guidance systems, and rocket pods delivered to the end user, MaxDefense believes we can now consider the Rocket, 2.76" with Guided Advance Tactical Rocket (GATR) Guidance System (Phase 1) Project of the Philippine Air Force as COMPLETED.

x x x x x x x x x x x 

First posted 27 November 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource

Sunday, November 3, 2019

ORD PABAC-21-18 Assault Rifle 5.56mm M4/AR-15 Platform Acquisition Project (2018) of the Philippine Army

In line with the Philippine Army's requirement to acquire additional rifles to meet growing needs, the branch service conducted the acquisition of 2,702 new rifles in 5.56x45mm NATO caliber under the Assault Rifle 5.56mm M4/AR-15 Platform Acquisition Project.

The SIGM400 5.56mm carbine. Photo from SIG Sauer website.


The acquisition of additional 5.56mm Assault Rifles was needed as the Philippine Army expands in size, while also replace damaged, lost, or unrecovered rifles from engagements with enemy forces.

Instead of going through the AFP Modernization Program, the Philippine Army instead used its own annual budget to acquire more than 2,700 units of M4/AR-15 platform rifles.

Public Bidding was made on the rifles despite the Philippine Army already using several similar rifles like the Colt M4 and M4A1, Remington R4A3, among others. The decision to undergo public bidding  allowed several local and foreign companies competing.  So far MaxDefense can confirm that SIG Sauer USA through its local representative Intrade Asia Pacific Inc, and United Defense Manufacturing Corp. were among those who competed for the project.

SIG Sauer USA was confirmed the sole compliant bidder after all other bidders were disqualified for failing to meet document requirements. This is despite SIG Sauer not being the lowest bidder.

MaxDefense sources confirmed that SIG Sauer USA will deliver their SIGM400, which is one of their best selling rifles in 5.56x45mm NATO caliber. The SIGM400 is an air-cooled, direct impingement gas operated, magazine-fed carbine, with the Philippine Army preferring the use of 14.5" barrel length.

SIG Sauer USA offered to deliver the SIGM400 5.56mm carbine. Credits to original source of photo.

Due to our poor relations with UDMC due to them being a sore loser after receiving negative comments from us, we do not know exactly what they offered for this project. But we can assume that its possibly one of their bread and butter M4 copies like the F5 DGIS. Photo taken from UDMC's website.

Project Summary:

Assault Rifle 5.56mm M4/AR-15 Platform Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 21 May 2020.

* Project Number: ORD PABAC-21-18

* End User: Philippine Army (unspecified units including TRADOC)

* Quantity: 2,702 units

* Modernization Phase: N/A, Philippine Army procurement outside RAFPMP for 2018

* Project ABC: Php126,540,000.00

* Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

* Source of Funding: Philippine Army GAA 2018

* Winning Proponent: SIG Sauer USA through Intrade Asia Pacific Inc.

* Product for Delivery: SIG Sauer SIGM400 SBR 5.56x45mm 14.5" Direct Impingement rifle

* Contract Price: Php125,994,989.54

* First post by MaxDefense: 8 October 2018

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PAAssaultRifle5562018Acquisition

* Status: Awarded to SIG Sauer USA, NTP released April 2019. Delivery ongoing, with first batches seen with Philippine Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) used with the Tactical Engagement Simulation System (TESS). Delivery deadline as per contract is February 2020. Project completed as of February 2020.

The SIG M400 SBR, although the Philippine Army ordered the one with longer 14.5" barrel. Photo credits to Ricardo Torres @ Pinterest.

U P D A T E S:

08 October 2018:

As posted in our social media community page:

A certain local rifle manufacturer is crying foul that they and another well established local arms company were disqualified in a bidding for the Philippine Army's acquisition of 2,702 units of 5.56mm M4/AR-15 type Assault Rifles, which MaxDefense believes to be the under bid reference no. ORD-PABAC-21-18. ABC for the said acquisition project is Php126,540,000.00.

Apparently, the local companies were disqualified due to deficiency in the bid documents they submitted, and for this certain company crying foul, its specifically the No Pending Deliveries certificate from the AFP which they admittedly incorrectly submitted.

But they questioned the passing of 3rd company SIG SAUER USA, using the argument that while they do not have a pending delivery for the AFP, they do have a pending delivery for the Philippine National Police. They also questioned the government's policy on SRDP and Filipino First, which they believe did not apply in this tender.

This local rifle company also questioned SIG SAUER's bid amount, which is Php200 less than the ABC, as they believe SIG SAUER knew that they would be the last company to remain and would surely be considered as the only qualified bidder, which MaxDefense believe is pure BS.

First of, the Philippine National Police is not the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The requirement was very clear: No Pending Deliveries with the AFP, not PNP. There was no contract awarded to SIG SAUER USA or SIG SAUER in general for several years now. It is unfair to use the PNP issue when it is very clear that the requirement is specifically saying AFP.

Secondly, SIG SAUER's contract with the PNP was already cancelled after the US government confirmed that they cannot provide export licenses for the M4-type rifles ordered by the PNP. With the contract officially cancelled, there is no more pending deliveries to be expected. So even if the Philippine Army's requirement included the PNP, technically SIG SAUER doesn't have any pending deliveries too.

Third, it is not the fault of SIG SAUER if the US government decides against releasing export licenses. Why put the blame on SIG SAUER for not being able to deliver their commitments to the PNP if the US government was the one that placed the restrictions? SIG SAUAR, like any other company, would want the contract to push through since it means profit for them. The local company crying on its disqualification should place its feet on SIG SAUER's shoes. If for example they got another contract to export rifles to, lets say Myanmar, and the Philippine government imposed export license restrictions, would this company be blamed for not being able to release the rifles for export?

Fourth, while SRDP is the best way to go, this does not mean that the local companies should be given priority or special treatment. This is a competitive bidding, and it is unfair to put preferencial treatment to local companies, especially if the other local company that was disqualified was actually offering rifles made by a foreign partner. Based on this logic, in effect, this local company complaining of disqualification is also complaining on allowing both SIG SAUER and the other local company (which they are proud to say was their partner in the past) to join this tender, since they are the only one actually offering a locally-made rifle model!

And lastly, having a bid that is Php200 less than the ABC doesn't mean that SIG SAUER is confident of being the last man standing. I'll give an example.

Since MaxDefense has been researching about the PNP's recent acquisitions, we found 1 contract won by the other disqualified local company wherein their bid for Enhanced Combat Helmet Level III was actually the same as the ABC, and while they were the highest bidder, the lower bidders were all disqualified, promptin the PNP NHQ BAC to award the contract. Does it mean that other local company was confident of being the last man standing in that tender?

Instead of crying over its disqualification, they better shut up and just file a Motion for Reconsideration if they think they were unjustly disqualified. And if the Army's BAC rejects their MfR, then they better accept it fair and square instead of hitting on their competitor. This same company always whine everytime they are disqualified or their products criticized, yet is very good in attacking their competitors and critics, even going down to making lies and being unprofessional.

MaxDefense believes SIG SAUER offered their SIG M400 5.56 rifle, which is currently their basic milspec 5.56x45mm rifle. Should the MfR of the 2 local companies be rejected, SIG SAUER will advance into Post Qualification Inspections which they need to pass before a Notice of Award is provided. MaxDefense hopes that the Philippine Army will move fast on this project, although we are surprised that Remington Defense did not submit a bid consdering their R4A3 5.56mm rifle is the current standard issue rifle of the Philippine Army.

Taken from the bid documents which shows the project's Pre-Bid Conference date and SOBE date.


04 August 2019:

As posted on our social media community page:

The Philippine Army has awarded a contract for the supply and delivery of 2,702 units of M4/AR-15 type 5.56mm rifle to US arms manufactuer SIG Sauer, with the Notice to Proceed released last April, with a delivery deadline by 9 February 2020.

The rifles are said to fill in the gaps in the inventory, to be provided to newly formed units as the Philippine Army expanded in the last few years in terms of manpower.

MaxDefense believes that SIG Sauer will provide a derivative of their SIGM400 5.56x45mm rifle, which is similar to the Remington R4A3 used by the Philippine Army as its standard rifle.

Last October, MaxDefense reported that a certain shady company from Paranaque complained on SIG Sauer winning the bidding after the Swiss-American company was declared the single calculated responsive bidder. It turns out their noise has gone nowhere.

The acquisition was made outside the Horizon 2 phase of the RAFPMP, and for purpose of easy identification, MaxDefense will consider this as a Special Project in our AFP Modernization Program portal.

Credits to original source of photo.


22 October 2019:

Photos shared by the Armed Forces of the Philippines during the visit of new CSAFP Gen. Noel Clement to Philippine Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) appears to show some of the new SIG Sauer SIGM400 rifles being used as part of the Tactical Engagement Simulation System (TESS) which is also a new acquisition of the Philippine Army.

It remains to be seen how many were delivered since SIG Sauer is contracted to deliver all 2,702 units by February 2020. Nonetheless their presence this early on is a good sign that SIG Sauer may be able to deliver within their contracted period.

AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Noel Clement with one of the SIG Sauer SIGM400 rifles as part of the Army's Tactical Engagement Simulation System. Photo taken from AFP's FB page.


31 October 2019:

As posted on our social media community page:

While the US government has imposed arms export ban on the Philippine National Police starting with the rejection of export license of 40,000+ units of SIG Sauer USA 5.56mm rifles, it is not the case for other armed agencies of the government like the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The only reason the PNP got slapped with an export ban was because it is believed to be involved in EJK and HR issues, while the AFP and other agencies like the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and even the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are believed to be cleared from such issues. That's why these services still have access to US arms and equipment.

In fact, the AFP even received and continuous to receive thousands of firearms including assault and sniper rifles (Remington, LMT and Barrett), M134D gatling guns and other equipment FOR FREE from the US government every year even during the last 3 years when Pres. Duterte was already in power. The US also provided bombs and other munitions, and sold missiles, helicopters, and many other arms and equipment just in the past 3 years.

Another proof can be seen in the photos below, where new AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Noel Clement tests the newly acquired rifles of the Philippine Army bought from SIG Sauer USA, the same rifle company that was not allowed by the US to sell its rifles to the PNP that has become of Pres. Duterte's reasons in hating the US.

The Philippine Army bought 2,700 units of SIG M400 SBR 5.56x45mm rifles from SIG Sauer to arm new soldiers as the service expands its size.

CSAFP Gen. Noel Clement testing one of the new SIG Sauer SIGM400 rifles during his visit to TRADOC on 22 October 2019. Photo taken from AFP's FB page.


21 May 2020:

MaxDefense Philippines received confirmation that SIG Sauer was able to deliver all rifles as of March 2020.

With all SIG Sauer M400 SBR 5.56mm rifles and accessories already delivered to the Philippine Army, MaxDefense and Philippine Defense Resource officially consider the Assault Rifle 5.56mm M4/AR-15 Platform Acquisition Project (2018) of the Philippine Army as COMPLETED.

x x x x x x x x x x x

First edit and release: 03 November 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource.

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