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Helmet Acquisition Project (Horizon 1) of the Philippine Army

To improve the protection of its combat personnel against threats in the battlefield including small arms fire and shrapnel, the Philippine Army has embarked on acquiring Force Protection Equipment (FPE). 

FPE would consist of several protective gear including ballistic helmets, body armor vests, eye protection, and others.

Several projects have been raised for the procurement of FPE, but specific projects for bulk orders were included in the 2nd List of Horizon 1 phase of the RAFPMP.

This includes the acquisition of new ballistic helmets, which is tackled in this resource page.

Philippine Army units with same spec helmets as those in this project are mostly worn by special operations units. This will change as other front line units would be having similar helmets, acquired as part of this project. Photo credits to original source.

Project Summary:

Helmet Acquisition Project (Horizon 1):

Note: Edited as of 23 June 2022.

* End User: Philippine Army (multiple units)

Quantity: 41,584 units Standard Ballistic Helmets (Full Cut Type), 6,000 units Special Operations Ballistic Helmets (High Cut Type)

* Modernization Phase:
 Horizon 1 Phase of RAFPMP

* Project ABC:

Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

* Source of Funding: General Appropriations Allocations (GAA)

* SARO Release/s: 
SARO-BMB-D-22-0005093 dated 20 June 2022 worth Php1,077,539,680.00 for whole project cost.

* Winning Proponent: MKU Limited (India)

* Product for Delivery: TBC

* Contract Price: Php1,077,539,680.00

* Residual Amount: Php112,065,320.00

* First post by MaxDefense: 09 July 2015

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PAFPEHelmetH1Acquisition 

* Status: Project was among raised under 2nd List of Horizon 1 phase after cancelling the Shore Based Missile System (SBMS) Acquisition Project by then CSAFP Gen. Iriberri. Several bidding attempts failed, and procurement was delayed apparently to make way for GA-Samyang Comptech agreement to build facility to manufacture helmets and PPE in Joint Venture with GA. New ITB released in June 2021 with reduced quantity but includes high-cut type helmets. SARO released for entire cost of project worth Php1.077 billion on 20 June 2022, NOA awarded to MKU Limited of India on 24 June 2022.


This specific Force Protection Equipment - Helmet Acquisition Project was born out of the cancelled Php6.5 billion Shore Based Missile System (SBMS) Acquisition Project from the Horizon 1 phase of the RAFPMP.

Back in 2015, the Philippine Army and Armed Forces of the Philippines decided to cancel the project despite already in advance stages, with the funds diverted to acquire several items which include Force Protection Equipment.

The helmets are part of the Philippine Army's goal to equip all its combat personnel with complete FPE including helmets and body armor vests as part of its future soldier program.

The Philippine Army plans to provide its soldiers with complete gear using the template above. While the program is already delayed (2022 is not possible), they are still pursuing this at least for units like the Brigade Combat Teams and units from AFP Special Operations Command. Photo credits to Philippine Army.

From the Php6.5 billion allocated for the SBMS, Php1.221 billion was diverted for the acquisition of 81,449 sets of ballistic protection helmets.

Changes have been made several times over the course of the period between 2015 to 2021, but only reflected the quantity and items involved in the acquisition, and retaining the budget.

The helmet quantity was changed from 81,449 units in 2015, to 79,307 units by 2017. This was again changed to just 47,584 units by 2021, although it included 6,000 units of the more expensive high-cut type helmets used normally by Special Operations units.

The reduction of the helmets was also due to the increase in prices over the last 6 years, and the inclusion of other accessories including ballistic eye protection, and rail and NVD mounting systems.

The reduction also appears to be not an issue since the Philippine Army has started buying FPE including helmets on a yearly basis using its own annual funds rather than relying on modernization program funding. This is a good practice since damaged or lost helmets can be replaced easily, and this could also cover the needed helmets for new recruits.

Helmets used by special operations units are typically with NVD mounting, and other accessories. This has even improved later on with railings, and option for using high-cut type helmets as used by most  special operation units of most modern armies.

Technical Requirements:

Based on the project's technical specifications as of 2021, there are two types of hemets to be purchased: the standard full-cut type helmets in which 41,584 units are needed, and special operations high-cut type helmets in which 6,000 units are required.

The helmets were also subdivided into sizes, with small, medium, large and extra large sizes to be made available to meet the different sizes of human heads.

Both types of helmets would be able to meet minimum level of protection provided by NIJ STD 0106.01 and AR/PD 10-02 test protocols, and resist ballistic penetration by 9mm FMJ RN 124 grain, .357 SIG FMJ FN 125 grain, and .45x23mm Ball FMJ 230 grain. 

Both types should also also meet fragment protection compliance with MIL STD 662F or STANAG 2920 (17 grain, .22cal FSP, V50-720m/s).

The helmets would also have a rail system and Night Vision Device mounting system to allow easy installation of accessories and optics, with special mention to standard Philippine Army night vision devices like the PVS-7B, PVS-14, and ASELSAN A100.

An example of high cut and full cut ballistic helmets with rails, NVD mount, retention and suspension system. Photo credits to Emerging Tactical Solutions and Galvion websites.

Also required are ballistic eyewear for eye protection, as well as helmet cover with PHILARPAT pattern. Other accessories were also listed in the technical requirements including helmet bag, etc.

The requirements is different from the usual helmet acquisition projects of the Philippine Army, which does not usually include eye protection gear, rails and NVD mounting systems. These additional accessories could increase the unit price of each helmet.

Current helmets used by standard combat units do not have rail and NVD mountings, sometimes even not having helmet covers.

What happened to GA-Samyang Comtech Joint Venture?

With the Philippine Army deciding to tender the FPE Helmet Acquisition Project, it raises a question that was believed to be the reason why this project was put on hold for 4 years: what happened to the Government Arsenal's Joint Venture with South Korean FPE manufacturer Samyang Comtech?

Back in 2018, the GA and Samyang Comtech signed an agreement to jointly manufacture FPEs, with GA providing the property and facility and Samyang Comtech bringing in their technology and equipment to enable manufacture of helmets and body armor vests and plates locally.

It was believed that the Philippine Army and DND were just waiting for the facility to be completed, and the JV to start producing FPEs so the Philippine Army can just purchase helmets and body armor directly from them.

So far, we have not receive any information if this agreement still stands, or if the production facility was even completed or production started.

But according to our parent page MaxDefense Philippines, direct procurement from GA-Samyang Comtech JV is not possible due to restrictions in the Government Procurement laws and systems, especially RA 9184 which requires public tender.

While there are factors that would allow direct negotiations, it remains to be seen why those factors were not used to allow direct negotiations with GA-Samyang Comtech JV.

U P D A T E S:

03 July 2021:

The DND has released the bid documents for the re-bidding of the FPE Helmets Acquisition Project, after a long break since the last rebidding attempt failed in 2017.

The Pre-Bid Conference is scheduled on 07 July 2021, while the Submission and Opening of Bid Envelopes (SOBE) is currently scheduled on 21 July 2021, subject to changes.

We are currently waiting for information on which companies are interested to participate, but it is expected that the same companies that usually submit bids for other Helmet Acquisition Projects would be there.

This includes MKU of India, Marom Dolphin of Israel, 3M from USA (marketed locally by Armscor Global Defense), Mars Armor from Bulgaria (marketed locally by Stone of David), among others.


02 August 2021:

The Submission and Opening of Bids was moved to 20 August 2021, following a Supplemental Bid Bulletin released on 16 July 2021.

No reason was provided but it is possible that it was based on request made by potential bidders for the project.


29 January 2022:

It appears that the bidding for the project has failed, as the DND has released a new Invitation to Bid (ITB) on 24 January 2022.

The bid documents remain the same except for the dates, with the new Submission and Opening of Bid Envelopes (SOBE) now scheduled on 18 February 2022.

We do not have details on why the bidding failed, but this is normally attributed to bidder's responsiveness on the project's tender requirements.

If the bidding process fails again, the DND can now have the option to procure via Negotiated Procurement process.


23 June 2022:

The SARO for the entire cost of the project worth Php1,077,539,680.00 was released by the Department of Budget and Management on 20 June 2022. The amount is the expected tender price submitted by the winning bidder which is still to be named and confirmed.


28 July 2022:

The project was awarded to Indian defense company MKU Limited, which has strong presence in the Philippines and its products already in use by the Philippine Army and Philippine National Police.

The contract amount is the same as the SARO amount released in June 2022 at Php1,077,539,680.00.

NOA awarded to MKU Limited, released on 24 June 2022. Photo credits to DND.

Based on the technical specifications, MaxDefense Philippines believes that MKU Ltd. would be supplying their ACH-125T Advanced Combat Helmet, which is their copy of the US Advanced Combat Helmet, equipped with a NVG mount and rail system, and includes MKU's Kavro Ballistic Eyewear.

MKU's HCH-114T high cut helmet would meet requirement for Special Operations Ballistic Helmets.

Top: The Kavro HCH-114T high cut helmet, and 
Above: The Kavro ACH-125T advanced combat helmet.
Photo credits to MKU Ltd.


First edit and release: 03 July 2021
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource

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