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Wheeled Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) Acquisition Project of the Philippine Army

 To improve the mobility of the Philippine Army's Mechanized Infatry Division, as well as introduce a new model to complement and eventually replace ageing assets, the Philippine Army submitted a request for the acquisition of a new fleet of wheeled Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) to the Department of National Defense (DND).

This request was included in the Horizon 2 phase Priority Projects of the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP) as simply the Wheeled Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) Acquisition Project of the Philippine Army.

It was originally planned to be an upgrade program for the PA's existing fleet of Cadillac Gage V-150 Commando and GKN Simba 4x4 wheeled armored vehicles. The plan was later revised to acquiring and introducing a new vehicle instead.

The Iveco VBTP-MR Guarani 6x6 armored vehicle, which is based on Iveco's SuperAV 8x8 armored vehicle. The vehicle is also among those offered to the Philippine Army. Photo taken from Dialogo Americas website.

Project Summary:

Wheeled Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) Acquisition Project:

Note: Edited as of 08 February 2021.

* End User: Philippine Army (Armor Division)

* Quantity: 28 units

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Priority Projects of RAFPMP

* Project ABC: Php2,265,200,000.00

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

* Source of Funding: General Appropriations Act (GAA) starting FY2020

* SARO Releases: 
   - 1st Tranche - SARO-BMB-D-20-0017340 worth Php339,780,000.00 (15% initial payment) dated 19 October 2020, released 21 October 2020.
   - 2nd Trenche - SARO-BMB-D-21-0001613 worth Php792,820,000.00 dated 16 April 2021, released 21 April 2021.

* Winning Proponent: Elbit Systems Land & C4I

* Product for Delivery: 

    - 28 units of IVECO Guarani wheeled 6x6 Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) 
    - Mounted with a manned turret armed with a 12.7mm heavy machine gun and 40mm automatic grenade launcher
    - Options to alternatively equip with remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS) with a 12.7mm heavy machine gun.

* Contract Price:
 approx. less than Php2,265,200,000.00

* Residual Price: Php0.00 (for final confirmation)

* First post by MaxDefense: 15 November 2015

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag:

* Status: Notice of Award (NOA) released in favor of Elbit Systems Land & C4I on 3rd quarter 2020, 1st tranche funding for downpayment released by DBM on October 2020. Contract confirmed to have been signed as of 07 February 2021, and Notice to Proceed (NTP) may follow soon. 2nd tranche of MYCA payment released on April 2021.

The Pandur II 6x6 wheeled armored vehicle, which is also among those offered to the Philippine Army. Credits to original source of the photo.


The Philippine Army has seen the need for more wheeled armored personnel carriers (APC) that would be assigned with in the mechanized component of its newly-formed 1st Brigade Combat Team. The selected model is also expected to be carried over for future follow-on orders to equip the 2nd and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams which are also being formed by the Philippine Army for external defense.

Based on DND documents on the Horizon 2 Phase proposal submitted in 2017, the Philippine Army originally requested for 114 units of new Wheeled APCs, in addition to upgrading its existing fleet of Simba and V-150 Commando 4x4 armored vehicles.

In the end, funds for only 28 units was approved by Pres. Duterte in June 2018.

The basic requirements for the Wheeled APC is for it to be a 6x6 platform. This is to compensate for the lack of sufficient space found on 4x4 platforms like the existing Cadillac Gage V-150 Commando and GKN Simba wheeled armored vehicles. A 6x6 is also not too long compared to 8x8 platforms, as the PA learned lessons from the Battle of Marawi where vehicles should be practically sized to easily move around in tight spaces like urban combat.

This concept means that the Philippine Army may reserve bigger 8x8 vehicles as heavy weapon platforms, as seen in the decision to include 8x8 tank destroyers armed with 105mm guns in their Light Tank Acquisition Project.

MaxDefense was also informed that there is no requirement for the vehicles to be amphibious-capable, although it would be an added advantage if the vehicle selected inherently has that capability.

For weapon systems, the Philippine Army is said to prefer a manned turret armed with a 12.7mm heavy machine gun and 40mm automatic grenade launcher, in addition to smoke grenade launchers. The reason is said to be budget-related, but also due to lessons again from the Battle of Marawi, as the Remote Controlled Weapon System (RCWS) has some disadvantages especially in urban fighting against enemy snipers.

But this requirement could be negotiable although an RCWS mount is expected to be more expensive due to the technology involved.

28 units to equip two Mechanized Infantry Companies are required, although this was also bound by budget as the Philippine Army originally wanted more. Originally, the Philippine Army's request for Horizon 2 was for 114 wheeled APCs, but while this was being negotiated, the Battle of Marawi started in 2017 where the Philippine Army made an emergency request for 28 wheeled APCs.

With Horizon 2 phase approved in 2018 with just just less than half the budget compared to the original request submitted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 2017, the Wheeled APC together was among those that needed to be cut, with the Philippine Army agreeing to just go with 28 units.


Among the offers that were evaluated by the Philippine Army are the following vehicles:

1. Anoa 6x6 from Indonesia's PT Pindad, Its design was based on the French VAB from the late 1970s, which explains its dated design. The advantages of the Anoa is Pindad's willingness to do technology transfer, and investing in building armored vehicles in the Philippines through the GA Defense Industrial Estate in Bataan.

2. Pandur II 6x6 from Czech Republic's Excalibur Army. The original design made by Steyr-Daimler-Puch of of Austria, the company has been absorbed by General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS). But it appears that Czechia's Excalibur Army, a part of the Czechoslovak Group, has the license to build and sell the Pandur II's 6x6 version, while GDELS continue to hold on to the 8x8 variant.

3. Arma 6x6 from Turkey's Otokar, It is an interesting design and has potential, as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates selected it despite its country of origin, Turkey, not using it.

4. Pars III 6x6 from Turkey's FNSS, is the more successful design and model from Turkey than its competitor from Otokar. Said to be one of the best designs in terms of protection compared to its other competitors, the Pars family is used by the Turkish Land Forces, the Malaysian Army, and the Royal Omani Army..

5. Guarani 6x6 from Italy's IVECO, through Israel's Elbit Systems. The design was developed jointly by IVECO and the Brazilian Army for its URUTU-III program. The design was also adapted by IVECO for its SuperAV 8x8, which eventually was selected by the US Marine Corps for its Amphibious Combat Vehicle program to complement and eventually replace the BAE AAV7A1 as the USMC's foremost amphibious assault vehicle. Elbit's major participation in the URUTU-III program may have led to it being offered to the Philippine Army.

6. Tigon 6x6 from South Korea's Hanwha Defense. The design was meant for the export market, with Malaysia being the target initial buyer. Hanwha is actively looking for an export market for the type, as the Republic of Korea Army has adapted its competitor from Samsung Techwin, the K806, as its standard wheeled 6x6 APC.

Each of the vehicles have different characteristics although they have their set of positive and negative components.

The Arma 6x6 and the Tigon 6x6 may have issues on meeting the requirements of the Revised AFP Modernization Act, as it is not yet in service with the country of origin (South Korea), nor at least 2 other foreign countries.

In the case of Arma 6x6, it is not in service with the Turkish security forces although it is in service with the Royal Bahraini Army.

It remains to be seen though if Hanwha Systems was willing to invest in local assembly or production of the Tigon, should it be selected, as like what Pindad offered if the PA selects the Anoa (and by extension, the Harimau medium tank).

Due to it being more of a Brazilian vehicle rather than Italian despite IVECO being the main designer, the Guarani will not have issues meet the same requirement as it is already in use with the Brazilian Army, the Argentine Army, and the Lebanese Army, in addition to the US Marine Corps ordering the SuperAV 8x8 as part of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle project.

Excalibur Army was said to have offered the most numerous in terms of quantity, offering more than 28 units of their Pandur II 6x6 due to the cheaper price it submitted to the DND. 

Relation to Light Tank Acquisition Project:

MaxDefense was informed by sources that the Philippine Army might intend to award the Wheeled APC project to the same winning contractor for the Light Tank project.

This gives Elbit Systems, Hanwha Defense and Otokar, and PT Pindad at an advantage over the other competitors like Excalibur Army and FNSS.

The project is expected to be awarded by 2020.

U P D A T E S:

17 December 2019:

Preparations are underway for the Armed Forces of the Philippines Founding Anniversary Celebrations as the AFP display their assets at AFP GHQ in Camp Aguinaldo.

And with all the new and old equipment the AFP is displaying, one has to look for "Mt. Apo" and "Kamagong" - which are the names painted on the Pindad-FNSS Harimau medium tank and Pindad Anoa wheeled APC, respectively.

Both vehicles arrived with Indonesian Army paint scheme. And now they are painted in the new Philippine Army green scheme which begs the question: are these vehicles donated already by PT Pindad to the Philippine Army to go around the procurement rules wherein the vehicles should be in service with the country of origin or at least two other countries?

If the Philippines accepts the vehicles and commissions them, technically Pindad only needs one more country to do the same move.  So far Bangladesh and Brunei are interested jn the Harimau too, while the Anoa is in service with the Indonesian Army so its not affected by the procurement rules.

In the end, MaxDefense got confirmation from Army sources that the vehicles were not donated to the Philippine Army, but were just painted for show. Eventually they will be returning to Indonesia.

The Pindad Harimau medium tank and Anoa wheeled APC were displayed in the AFP's anniversary display at Camp Aguinaldo. Credits to our contributors for these photos.


19 December 2019:

Here's a clearer photo of the Anoa as displayed during the AFP's founding anniversary display.

Thanks to one of our community member for sharing this to us.


03 March 2020:

MaxDefense received information that the Philippine Army has already selected the winning proponent for the Wheeled APC project, which would be acquired through G2G procurement process rather than through public bidding.

To make things simpler, the Philippine Army Technical Working Group (TWG) decided that the Wheeled APC Acquisition Project should be closely tied to the Light Tank Acquisition Project due to the offers having relations to each other, in terms on specific subsystems.

Based on the 6 offers made for the Wheeled APC project, we can compare it to the offers made for the Light Tank Acquisition Project which includes the following:

1. PT Pindad with the Harimau Medium Tank,
2 Hanwha Systems - Otokar Joint Venture with the Hanwha K21-105 light tank and Otokar Arma 105 8x8 wheeled tank,
3. Elbit Systems - GDELS venture with the GDELS ASCOD 2 MMBT and GDELS Pandur II 8x8 wheeled tank.

Since FNSS did not join the Light Tank project, it is likely that they won't be selected for the Wheeled APC project.

The possibility of Excalibur Army winning the Wheeled APC is possible due to its commonality with the Pandur II 8x8 offered by Elbit Systems on the Light Tank project. But since Elbit is offering the Guarani 6x6 for the Wheeled APC, there could conflict on the commonality that could have been solved by offering a single common wheeled platform.

With both Hanwha and Otokar in a joint venture for the Light Tank, then offering their own products for the Wheeled APC, this could be an interesting arrangement. Its possible that Hanwha could work with Otokar on subsystems commonality with the Light Tank offers, even if the Tigon loses in favor of the Arma.

Nonetheless, this arrangement has made it easier for Elbit Systems, Hanwha and Otokar, and Pindad to win the project, while making it difficult for FNSS.


14 October 2020:

Based on the DND's statements and presentation during the DND Budget Senate Hearing chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, the DND has confirmed the initial funding for the Wheeled APC project, worth Php339,780,000.00 or around 15% of the approved budget for contract (ABC).

With the DND questioned about its ability to absorb and use the budget given to them to implement the AFP Modernization Program, it is expected that they would finish the pre-procurement process for this project and award it to the winning proponent soon.

A little blurred but this came from the DND's Senate presentation. MaxDefense has the clear copy but was asked not to share it, so we can read the information written there.


17 October 2020:

We have posted a new video in our Youtube channel, as we briefly report on the impending awarding of the Wheeled APC Acquisition Project, as well as the options evaluated to meet the project's requirement.

The video discusses some of the items already posted in this resource page, and reinforces the new information from the past week that pertains to this project.

We ask our readers to please support our new Youtube channel by subscribing and sharing our videos.


21 October 2020:

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released a SARO (SARO-BMB-D-20-0017340) dated 19 October 2020, and released on 21 October 2020, worth Php339,780,000.00 for the initial payment 15% of the contract price.

This would support the release of the Contract and Notice to Proceed (NTP) to start the actual obligations of Elbit Systems Land & C4I.


23 October 2020:

Finally, MaxDefense Philippines confirmed the issuance of a Notice of Award (NOA) for the Wheeled Armored Personnel Carrier Acquisition Project in favour of Elbit Systems Land & C4I, which was said to have been awarded by the Department of National Defense several weeks ago.

With the DBM already releasing the initial funding requirements worth 15% of the project contract cost, it is only a matter of time for the DND to sign a contract with Elbit Systems Land & C4I, and provide the Notice to Proceed (NTP) to start the contract obligations.

Please see our updated Project Summary at the near top of this resource page.

MaxDefense's blog entry can be accessed on the link below:

"Philippine Army's Light Tank and Wheeled APC Projects awarded to Israel's Elbit Systems" - first posted on 23 October 2020.

Meanwhile, Philippine Defense Resource released its own Youtube video, summarizing the milestone reached for the project, which can be seen below.


08 February 2021:

Elbit Systems confirmed in a press release on 07 February 2021 that they were awarded a 3-year, US$46 million contract to supply VBTP 6x6 armored personnel carriers to an unnamed Asia-Pacific army.

Obviously this is pertaining to the Philippine Army, which selected Elbit Systems’ offer to supply the Iveco VBTP-MP Guarani 6x6 wheeled APC together with subsystems from the company.

It would be remembered that our parent page MaxDefense Philippines reported on October 2020 that the Department of National Defense (DND) has released a Notice of Award (NOA) in favour of Elbit Systems as the winning proponent for the Philippine Army’s Wheeled APC Acquisition Project.

Elbit Systems confirmed that they will include turrets, electric drive and stabilisation systems, fire control systems, TORCH-X Battlefield Management Systems (BMS), E-Lynx software defined radio (SDR) systems, gunner and commander sights and life support systems.

While it was not mentioned, the contract was actually covered by a Government-to-Government (G2G) deal between the Philippines DND and Israel’s Ministry of Defense’s International Defense Cooperation Directorate (MOD-SIBAT).

This is a major milestone for the project, which has been in discussion between both sides since 2019.

Photo credits to Elbit Systems.

Interesting note will be on the weapon system. Previously we mentioned that although Remote Controlled Weapon System (RCWS) could be possible, chances are the vehicle would only have a manned turret or a protected canopy with 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine guns.

The photo of the VBTP above, as posted by Elbit Systems, appears to show a 1-man manned turret equipped with either 2 machine guns or 1 machine gun and 1 40mm automatic grenade launcher, plus multiple smoke grenade launchers for protection.

We'll keep readers posted on further updates on this project, considering it is a 3-year contract that might see us wait for its completion by 2024. But we are expecting delivery of the 1st batch of vehicles by 2022,


03 May 2021:

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released funding under SARO-BMB-D-21-0001613 worth Php792,820,000.00 dated 16 April 2021 and released on the same day. This amount covers for the 2nd of  3 Multi Year Contract Contractual Authority (MYCA) budget allocations for the Wheeled Armored Personnel Carrier Acquisition project.

This means that the project continues to proceed as plan, after being awarded to Elbit Systems Land C4I in 2020.

It remains though if the project will proceed with the planned delivery of the initial batch by early 2022, and complete delivery by 2023 will still proceed.

First edit and release: 27 June 2019
Copyright Philippine Defense Resource / MaxDefense Philippines

1 comment:

  1. nice!. base on the pictures above they already approved the budget not only for the light tank and APC but also for heavy lift helicopter and Landing dock..


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