Sunday, August 2, 2020

Riverine Operations Equipment Acquisition Project of the Philippine Army

The Philippine Army (PA) has started to improve and modernize its riverine capabilities, which is among their existing capabilities that are not well known to the general public.

As part of the Revised AFP Modernization Program's Horizon 2 Phase, the Philippine Army has included the acquisition of Riverine Operations Equipment in their program. This involves the acquisition of 3 types of boats that could be used for riverine operations, which the Philippine Army wishes to improve on. But this has changed in 2020 which has become a larger project than originally planned.

In this resource page, the discussion will focus on the Riverine Operations Equipment Acquisition Project, which has been integrated into a single project.

Special Forces operators with one of the first new Light Boat for the Philippine Army. Photo credited to the Philippine Army through their Facebook page.

Modernizing the Philippine Army's Riverine Forces:

As part of its effort to modernize the unit, the Philippine Army has included the Riverine Operations Equipment Acquisition Project in the Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects list that was approved in-principle by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte in June 2018.

Originally, a budget of Php3,721,968,000.00 was allocated for the project, which consists of 3 sub-projects with the following details:

Lot 1: Light Scout Boats Acquisition Project: which originally called for 56 multipurpose light boats that can be used for a variety of missions including riverine patrol, utility, troop carrying. This was later on reduced to 52 boats, then to 24 boats with a budget of Php49,168,000.00.

This appears to have been increased to Php185,000,000.00 due to changes in the Riverine Operations Equipment project.

Photo taken from and credited to the Philippine Army.

Lot 2: Assault Boats Acquisition Project:
 this lot calls for the acquisition of 18 fibreglass-hulled assault boats that are armed with at least 3 machine guns and/or auotmatic grenade launchers. Allocated budget is Php2,368,800,000.00, or an average of Php131,600,000.00 per boat.

Lot 3: Support Boats Acquisition Project: these boats will be used for utilitarian missions including troop and supply transport, command and control, and may also be used to act as a "mother ship" for smaller boats especially in larger bodies of water. 8 boats are needed with a budget of Php1,304,400,000.00, or an average of Php163,050,000.00.

It remains to be seen if the Philippine Army will continue using the motorized bancas and Condor boats, although it is expected to be relegated to secondary roles.

For both Lots 2 and 3, no funding has been provided yet, although it is possible that US military assistance and other means of funding will be used to make these projects happen.

Light Boats:

So far, it appears that the Lot 1 for Light Boats are the only once that have moved forward. Originally planned to be the Light Boats, the Philippine Army procured 8 units of 8-meter Patrol Boats but not through the AFP Modernization Program and instead through its annual GAA Capital Outlay programming for 2020.

This project can be accessed in the link below on the Philippine Army's Watercraft (Patrol Boat) Acquisition Project resource page.

But also in 2020, the US Government confirmed that a project for Riverine Operations Equipment that would be procured through US Foreign Military Sales was active and was later on approved by the Pentagon. This was confirmed by DSCA on 30 July 2020.

The Light Boat as displayed by the Philippine Army. The contract for the boats include the trailers as well.

Based on the US Government's posted information, the Light Boats are now called Scout Boats, and are around 9 meters long. No mention was made on the material of the hull if it is fibreglass or aluminium.

Project Summary:

Riverine Operations Equipment Acquisition Project 

Note: edit as of 19 August 2023

* End User: Philippine Army (Special Forces Regiment - Airborne)

Quantity: 24 units 9m Scout Boats, 24 units 10m Assault Boats, 7 units 16m Light Support Boats, 56 FLIR System (FLIR 280HD), 7 units M2A1 12.67mm HMG, 24 M134 7.62mm Gatling guns, 79 units M240B 7.62mm LMG, 208 units Night Vision Devices (AN/PVS-14 and AN/PEQ-15 IR Device), 52 units Thermal Monocular handheld, 103 units Thermal Weapon Sights (AN/PAS-13), 56 units Radio High Frequency (Harris Falcon III RF-7850M), 181 units Radios Very High Frequency (Harris Falcon III RF-7850S), spare parts and engines, safety and rescue equipment, ILS, etc.

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP

* Project ABC: Php3,721,968,000.00

Acquisition Mode: G2G with US Department of Defense (US Foreign Military Sales)

* Source of Funding:

* SARO Release:
   - SARO-BMB-D-22-0005180 dated 21 June 2022 worth Pjp56,644,855.00 - 1st Payment
   - SARO-BMB-D-23-0017933 dated 02 June 2023 worth Php576,085,675 - 2nd Payment

* Winning Proponent: US Department of Defense

Product for Delivery: TBC

* Contract Price: TBC

* First post by MaxDefense: 29 July 2020 (this post)

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag/s: #PARiverineEquipmentAcquisition 

Status: US Government has approved the US FMS on 30 July 2020. Project was reduced to meet budget. 1st SARO released on 21 June 2022, 2nd SARO by 02 June 2023. Delivery of bulk of equipment reported to DBM as scheduled by 2024, with second batch by 2025. Payment will be made until 2027.

Photo taken from and credited to the Philippine Army.

U P D A T E S:

31 July 2020:

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency on 30 July 2020 has posted the approval by the US State Department of a potential Foreign Military Sales to the Philippines of Riverine Operations Equipment consisting of the following:

one hundred fifty-six (156) M240B 7.62x51mm machine guns.  Also included are thirty-six (36) 9M Scout Boats (SB); thirty-six (36) 10M Assault Boats (AB); eighteen (18) 16M Light Support Boats (LSB); thirty-six (36) units of Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) 280HD; twenty-four (24) M2A1 .50 caliber machine guns; thirty-six (36) M134D-M, 7.62x51mm, 6-barrel rotary Gatling guns; three hundred ninety-nine (399) NFS-NVG/IR Lasers (AN/PVS-14 and AN/PEQ-15); one hundred two (102) Thermal Imager Scope (handheld); two hundred ten (210) Heavy Thermal Weapon Sights (AN/PAS-13); ninety (90) Harris Falcon III RF-7850M radios; two hundred seventy (270) Harris Falcon III RF-7850S radios; boat spare parts; spare engines and engine components; safety and rescue equipment; training; contractor engineering technical services; engineering technical assistance; transportation cost services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. 

Estimated cost is around US$126 million (Php6.25 billion). This is beyond the allocated budget for the project which is just around Php3.721 billion.

It is possible that the US may shoulder part of the project through US FMF or US Military Assistance, or the project could be cut down in terms of package inclusions or quantity involved.



First posted and released on 29 July 2019 @ MaxDefense Philippines.
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