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Light to Medium Weight Multi-Purpose Twin Engine Helicopter Acquisition Projects of the Philippine Coast Guard

 Note: The heading and the overview was written by one of our contributors, Herbie, and Philippine Defense Resource and MaxDefense Philippines thanks him for his contribution. 

The Maritime Disaster Response Helicopter Acquisition Project involves the acquisition of seven (7) multirole helicopters to strengthen and expand PCG's maritime disaster response capabilities during maritime incidents, natural disasters and calamities. It also involves the training of pilots and technical crew, procurement of mission equipment and tools and spare parts for five (5) years.
* http://www.neda.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Interim-Project-Information-Database-IPAM-as-of-May-31-2018.pdf

The helicopters will be deployed in PCG's proposed six circles of influence with a 200 nautical mile radius - Northern Luzon, NCR/ Central Luzon, Palawan, Central and Eastern Visayas, Southwest Mindanao and Southeast Mindanao. The light helicopters shall perform SAR missions an shall mainly be deployed aboard the 56-meter SAR Vessels in the present inventory of the PCG employing the mother-ship concept immensely expanding the coverage area of operations. 

The two Airbus H145 helicopters of the PCG, with tail numbers CGH-1451 and CGH-1452. Credits to original sources of photos.

Project Summary:

Light to Medium Weight Multi-Purpose Twin Engine Helicopter Acquisition Projects:

Note: Edited as of 25 October 2020.

* End User: Philippine Coast Guard (Air Unit)

* Quantity: 2 helicopters, only 1 with FLIR and weather radar

* Project ABC: 
  * With FLIR Camera and Weather Radar: Php745,620,000.00
  * Without FLIR Camera and Weather Radar: Php685,805,000.00                       

* Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

* Source of Funding: PCG General Appropriations Act FY2018

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: Airbus Helicopters Southeast Asia Pte Ltd 

* Product for Delivery: 2 Airbus Helicopters H145 

* Contract Price:
  * With FLIR Camera and Weather Radar: Php745,120,000.00
  * Without FLIR Camera and Weather Radar: TBC  

* First post by MaxDefense: 22 June 2018

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag:

* Status: NOA issued on 19 May 2018 for FLIR-less helicopter, and 18 June 2018 for FLIR-equipped helicopter to Airbus Helicopters. NTP was issued on 15 November 2018, and 19 July 2018, respectively. First helicopter without FLIR camera and weather radar commissioned on June 2020, second helicopter with FLIR camera and weather radar commissioned on October 2020. PROJECT COMPLETED.


One of the early documents to state this Maritime Disaster Response Helicopter requirement is the “RA008-02: Formulating a National Transport Plan” that dates back to March 2010. It was commissioned by the Philippines – Australia Partnership for Economic Governance Reforms (PEGR) group and was initiated by the Australian Government. It stated that the Philippine Government work for the “Development maritime disaster response capabilities.” The indicator to achieve this objective is a target of 8 “Number of multi-purpose maritime helicopters” (including 1 for training). It was estimated to cost PHP 5.836 billion during that time.

That March 2010 National Transport Plan cited the Feasibility Study on the PCG Helicopter Acquisition Project that was completed the previous year by the Transport and Traffic Planners (TTPI) Inc. This would show that the number of units was carefully studied with relevant data at that time.

* http://www.ttpiph.com/Projects_Maritime_Transport.aspx?id=150

A separate 2010 Australian program, Building the Resilience and Awareness of Metro Manila Communities to Natural Disasters and Climate Change Impacts (BRACE Program) Annex 3 stated the project to have a planned funding source from Germany-Caiyon with a PHP 5.8 billion cost. The procurement of seven Maritime Disaster Response (MDR) helicopters was detailed in this program.

As the PCG was still waiting for the NEDA approval of this project since at least September 2009, by 2011, the former DOTC was given a budget of PHP 1,545,567,000 for two helicopters as was reported in various news outlets at that time. From 2011-2013, the project had a budget courtesy of a German loan, from Credit Agricole, for a total of PHP 5,409,485,000. But for some reason, the DOTC didn’t purchase the helicopters using the German loan.

2011 - http://www.dbm.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/GAA/GAA2011/DOTC/DOTC.pdf,page5  ---- Php1,545,567,000
2012 - http://www.dbm.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/GAA/GAA2012/DOTC/DOTC.pdf page16 --- Php3,397,984,000
2013 - http://www.dbm.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/GAA/GAA2013/DOTC/DOTC.pdf page5 -----  Php465,935,000

From 2014 to 2015, there was still no movement for the approval in the NEDA-ICC level. The final approval will still be done by the NEDA Board. 

Around 2014, the PCG presented a paper in an International Conference that showed that there are two categories of helicopters the PCG was looking at: light and medium. For the light helicopters, the Bell 429, Bell 430, A109E, EC145 (H145), and MD902 were the candidates for this requirement. For the medium helicopter requirement, the S-76C++, Bell 412EP, and AS365 N3 were the potential models for this category. The presentation also showed that it must prioritize interoperability with PCG Search and Rescue vessels. 

With no NEDA ICC and no NEDA Board approval yet, the PCG was given a budget for the helicopters. Around July 2015, the PCG invited bidders for the “Procurement of Two (2) Light to Medium Weight Search and Rescue Helicopter” with a budget of PHP 777,600,000. Unfortunately, this was cancelled the next month, with a “For Review” as a comment on the bid. It is interesting to note that this bid was for two units of helicopters.

The following year, around November 2016, a new bid was out and the name was changed into “Procurement of Light to Medium Weight Search and Rescue Helicopter” for one unit of helicopter with the same budget of PHP 777,600,000.00. Unfortunately, this again was cancelled the following month. This particular bid noted that the DBM Procurement Service (DBM-PS) will continue the procurement of this bid.

October 2017, with the DBM-PS undertaking the procurement, it bidded out the item and its name was changed into  “Supply, Delivery, Testing and Commissioning of Light to Medium Weight, Multi-Purpose, Twin Engine Helicopter for the PCG” for one unit of helicopter with a budget of PHP 745,620,000. Two months later, the bidding failed due to “The bid is not responsive”.

December 2017, the NEDA-ICC-CabCom, co-chaired by the Department of Finance (DOF) and NEDA, discussed and noted the Department of Transportation/ Philippine Coast Guard’s report on the comparative analysis of lease and purchase options for the Maritime Disaster Response Helicopter Acquisition.  The PCG comparative analysis recommended a direct purchase arrangement supported by Official Development Assistance (ODA).
* http://www.neda.gov.ph/neda-icc-cabcom-approves-extension-of-loan-validity-timeline-of-two-projects/ 

With this assessment, the PCG may avail of a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) STEP loan for the H145//BK117 D-3 as it is partly Japanese technology as it is co-developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. and Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH.
* https://global.kawasaki.com/en/corp/newsroom/news/detail/?f=20190306_9636
* https://www.jica.go.jp/english/our_work/types_of_assistance/oda_loans/step/c8h0vm000053zae9-att/operational_rules.pdf

April 3, 2018, the PCG invited bidders for the “Supply, Delivery, Testing and Commissioning of Light to Medium Weight, Multi-Purpose, Twin Engine Helicopter for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)” project for one unit of helicopter with a budget of PHP 685,805,000. The Notice of Award for the SAR Helicopter was given last May 19 2018.  By November 2018, a Notice to Proceed was issued to Airbus Helicopters Southeast Asia PTE LTD for an H145 without FLIR. It is expected to be delivered not later than March 15 2020. 

April 19, 2018, the DBM-PS invited bidders for the “Supply, Delivery, Testing and Commissioning of Light to Medium Weight, Multi-Purpose, Twin Engine Helicopter for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)” project for one unit of helicopter with a budget of PHP 745,620,000. The Notice of Award (NOA) was issued last June 18 2018. The Notice to Proceed was issued July 2018 to Airbus Helicopters Southeast Asia PTE LTD for an H145 with FLIR and weather radar. The newly added PCG Air Asset is expected to be delivered not later than January 09, 2020. This is the tender that was announced by Airbus in their website.
* https://www.airbus.com/newsroom/press-releases/en/2018/09/philippine-coast-guard-becomes-philippines--first-h145-operator-.html

January 2019, in a Department of Finance report, the status of this project was “NEDA-ICC conditional approval subject to submission of risk assessment and sensitivity analysis”.
* http://sulong2018.dof.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Reco-2.pdf

July 8 2019, the project is now undergoing a NEDA-ICC Secretariat review. The NEDA received the DOTr response to the NEDA-ICC instructions last June 28, 2019. It is now listed under “Projects for Inclusion in the Agenda of the Next ICC-CC Meeting”. The funding source is now determined as “Local Financing” (compared to the ODA recommendation of the PCG shown above) and with a total project cost at PHP 5.88749 billion. We can compare this to the estimated cost listed last March 2010 at PHP 5.836 billion showing that inflation may certainly affect the inclusions in this project like mission equipment and spares.

With all these steps the project is undergoing through the NEDA project approval process, of the four (4) listed Maritime Safety and Security Projects of the PCG in the 2017-2022 Public Investment Program (PIP) published by NEDA., it is currently the only project remaining not yet approved by the NEDA Board. Project implementation will only commence once it gets the final approval from the NEDA Board.

* http://www.neda.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/chapter-18.xlsx
* http://www.neda.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/PIP-Chapter-19-as-of-10042018.pdf

U P D A T E S:

22 June 2018:

PhilGEPS posted on its website, that Airbus Helicopters was awarded the project to supply 1 multipurpose twin-engine helicopter to fulfil a requirement for a Search and Rescue Helicopter for the Philippine Coast Guard, with a budget of Php745,620,000.00.

No specific helicopter model was mention, MaxDefense believes it to be the Airbus H145. MaxDefense will try to confirm the model in the near future to close our info search for this project.

The PhilGEPS screen grab on Airbus' win for the project. This is for the unit with the EO/IR camera and weather radar. 


03 August 2018:

Take a sneak peek on the next helicopter of the Philippine Coast Guard - the Airbus Helicopters H145. At least 1 was confirmed for delivery after Airbus Helicopters won a bidding conducted by the DBM's Procurement Services under the PCG's Maritime Disaster Response Helicopter acquisition project with the assistance from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

At least 7 units are said to be required by the PCG, although more can be acquired later on. The helicopters are to operate from land and should have no problem operating from the PCG's existing and future fleet of helicopter-capable patrol vessels. The PCG currently operates an old MBB BO-105 helicopter that needs to be replaced very soon.

Photos from Airbus Helicopters.


26 September 2018:

Airbus Helicopters confirmed MaxDefense's post made last 03 August 2018, that the Philippine Coast Guard has ordered for a single H145 twin-engine 4-ton multi-purpose helicopter.

MaxDefense expects the PCG to order more H145 helicopters considering they have an existing plan to acquire at least 7 units for their near-term goal requirements.

Airbus is currently represented in the recently-opened ADAS 2018 Defense Exhibition in World Trade Center, Pasay City.

Here's the full text of their press release:

Philippines, 26 September 2018 – Philippine Coast Guard has placed an order for one H145 helicopter, making it the first H145 parapublic operator in the Philippines.

 The new 4-tonne-class twin-engine helicopter is specially equipped with high frequency radios, emergency flotation gear, fast roping, cargo sling, search light, and electro-optical systems to perform critical missions including search and rescue, medical evacuation, maritime patrol and law enforcement. The latest contract will also encompass on-site technical support and continuing airworthiness management organisation services, fully supported by Airbus’ team in the country.

“We are honoured by the Philippine Coast Guard’s decision to introduce the country’s first parapublic H145 into its fleet, as the perfect complement to the current workhorse BO105 which has served the agency well for the past 40 years. We have full confidence in the H145’s ability to support the agency’s work, coupled with our dedicated in-country customer centre which stays committed to supporting its operations in close proximity,” said Philippe Monteux, Head of Southeast Asia and Pacific of Airbus Helicopters.

The H145 is the market leader for rescue missions, with over 1,400 helicopters of the H145 family in service globally, and achieving close to five million flight hours. Due to its small footprint, agility and designed-in mission capability and flexibility, the H145 is particularly ideal for a wide range of missions. It is equipped with Airbus’ state-of-the-art Helionix avionics suite and 4-axis autopilot system, which helps to reduce pilot workload during missions. In the Philippines alone, there are currently four H145 helicopters operating in the country, mainly for business aviation purposes.


21 July 2019:

First photos from Germany of the Philippine Coast Guard's first of two new Airbus Helicopters EC145T2 (H145) light twin engine helicopter ordered in 2018 as part of the PCG's Light to Medium Multi-Purpose Twin Engine Helicopter acquisition project. 

MaxDefense was informed by PCG sources that flight personnel are already undergoing training in Germany in preparation for an early delivery within the next few months.

It would be remembered that the PCG had 2 separate procurements for 1 helicopter each: one undertaken by the PCG BAC for an EC145T2 without FLIR, and one undertaken by the DBM BAC for an EC145T2 with FLIR and all weather radar.

The unit with FLIR and all weather radar was given a Notice to Proceed (NTP) first last July 2018, and is scheduled for delivery on or before January 2020.

MaxDefense will be posting more about the PCG's Helicopter acquisitions projects soon.

Photo credits to MaxDefense community member who shared these photos to us.


29 December 2019:

The second Airbus H145 twin engine light helicopter for the Philippine Coast Guard, the one without the FLIR and weather radar, has been spotted in Germany. This was ordered without a FLIR turret included, unlike the first unit which have them as standard when delivered.

This unit is expected to be delivered to the PCG by early next year.

Photo credited to Alexander Lutz c/o Helionline.de.


22 February 2020:

PCG officers enjoying their upcoming Airbus H145 twin engine helicopter as it starts getting fitted with equipment that comes with the contract. This appears to be the first H145 helicopter, since the PCG actually is expecting 2 units. 

Thanks to one of our community member who shared the photos to our community.


26 February 2020:

The Philippine Coast Guard's new Airbus H145 twin engine multipurpose helicopter has landed on the PCG's headquarters in Manila. This example appears to be the first of two units ordered recently.

Thanks to one of our contributor for sharing this photo to us!


17 October 2020:

Our Youtube channel posted a new video on the recent commissioning of the second Airbus H145 helicopter for the Philippine Coast Guard, with tail number 1451 equipped with an EO/IR or FLIR camera and a weather radar on its nose.

This marks the completion of the project after 2 years since it was first reported that Airbus Helicopters won both projects.


With the two Airbus Helicopters H145 twin-engine helicopters already delivered and formally commissioned with the Philippine Coast Guard, MaxDefense and Philippine Defense Resource officially consider the Light to Medium Weight Multi-Purpose Twin-Engine Helicopter Acquisition Projects of the Philippine Coast Guard as COMPLETED.

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First edit and release: 25 October 2020
Copyright Philippine Defense Resource / MaxDefense Philippines

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