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Thursday, February 24, 2022

Mortar Acquisition Project Lot 3 - 120mm Mortar of the Philippine Navy (Marines)

The Department of National Defense (DND) has started the procurement process for the acquisition of Mortars for the Philippine Navy (PN), specifically for its sub-unit, the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC).

These additional new mortars will help improve the firepower and fire support capability of each of the Marine Battalion Landing Teams (MBLT), which are considered by many as under-equipped in terms of fire support assets.

The project, called the Mortar Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy, is among the Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects under the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP), as covered by Republic Act 10349.

This specific resource page covers the Mortar Acquisition Project Lot 3 - 120mm Mortars.

An M120 120mm infantry mortar as used by the US Army. Photo credits to US Department of Defense.

Project Summary:

Mortar Lot 3 - 120mm Mortar Acquisition Project

Note: edit as of 20 July 2023

* End User: Philippine Navy (Philippine Marine Corps)

Quantity: 8 units of 120mm mortars, including support systems, ILS and training

* Modernization Phase: 
Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects

* Project ABC: Php64,029,643.00

Acquisition Mode: Negotiated Procurement / Government-to-Government with Spanish Ministry of Defense

* Source of Funding: FY2021 GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund

* Tender Number: 

* SARO Release: SARO-BMB-D-22-0002353 dated 18 February 2022 worth Php63,877,910.00 covering full amount

* Winning Proponent: EXPAL Systems S.A. (Spain)

Product for Delivery: TBC

* Contract Price: Php63,877,909.44

* Residual Amount: Php151,733.36

* First post by MaxDefense: June 2019 (see MD's AFP Modernization Program List)

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag/s: #PN120mmMortarAcquisition #PMC120mmMortarAcquisition

Status: No public bidding documents or announcements from DND or PhilGEPS, expected to be through G2G or Negotiated Procurement. Originally planned to be funded by FY2018, moved to FY2019. Delayed as budget was diverted in 2020 for COVID response. Funding returned in FY2022, with SARO for full amount released on 18 February 2022. Notice of Award was given to EXPAL Systems S.A. under G2G deal on 28 February 2022. DND Procurement Monitoring Report as of 05 July 2023 reported that the Contract and Notice to Proceed were both released on 30 June 2022.


The Philippine Navy has originally planned to procure a total of 420 units of infantry mortars of different sizes for the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC), consisting of 240 units of 60mm mortars, 120 units of 81mm mortars, and 60 units of 120mm mortars, as part of the Horizons 1 to 3 program of the RAFPMP.

All 420 mortars were programmed for acquisition under the Horizon 2 Phase.

But the final version of the Horizon 2 Priority Projects list approved by Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte and released in June 2018 significantly reduced the budget to just Php694,452,000.00, which effectively reduces the quantity of the mortars that can be acquired.

This can be confirmed with the release of the DND Bids and Awards Committee Resolution No. DND/PN-MAP-81MM-L2-19-04 dated 07 November 2019 which indicated that only 240 units of 60mm mortars, 30 units of 81mm Mortars (instead of 120 units) and 8 units of 120mm mortars (instead of 60 units) would be procured.

All the lots under the Mortar Acquisition Project were suppose to be funded under the AFP Modernization Program for Fiscal Year 2018, but this was pushed back, with the Lot 3 - 120mm Mortar Acquisition funded under Fiscal Year 2019.

But with the project still in pre-procurement as of early 2020, it was decided that the project's funding would be diverted to the government's COVID-19 response, effectively placing the project on-hold. This pushed back the funding of the project to be covered under Fiscal Year 2021.

As of February 2022, no information has been released by the Department of National Defense (DND) or the Philippine Navy with regards to publicly bidding for this project, despite it being an ongoing project since 2018. 

Based on the DND's Procurement Monitoring Report as of January 2023, 

Sources have indicated that Elbit Systems Land & C4I and IMI Systems of Israel, MKEK of Turkey, Arsenal JSCo of Bulgaria, and Excalibur Army of the Czech Republic previously showed interest in supplying mortars to the PMC.

It was confirmed by April 2022 that the project's procurement process has been changed to Negotiated Procurement, with Spain's EXPAL Systems selected.

While there is no indication that France offered the MO-120-RT-61 (top) to the PMC, it is possible that Turkey's MKEK offered the Turkish copy called the HY-12 mortar (above). Photo credits to Wikipedia and Defense Talk.

U P D A T E S:

24 February 2022:

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released the SARO for the Philippine Navy's Mortars Acquisition Project Lot 2 - 120mm Mortars as of 18 February 2022, with an amount of Php63.9 million, or just a fraction of the full ABC amount of Php64.03 million.

This means that there is already a selected supplier with a determined offer amount by the time the SARO was released. 

It is most likely that the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the contract has already been approved, and that a Notice of Award (NOA) is already being prepared for release to the winning proponent anytime soon.

While MaxDefense Philippines believes that the most likely supplier would be Elbit Systems Land & C4I with their Soltam K6 120mm mortar, it remains to be seen if this is the case since there are other companies that possibly have a strong offering.

The Soltam K6 120mm mortar. Photo credits to Wikipedia.


20 April 2022:

The Department of National Defense (DND) has awarded the Mortar Lot 3 - 120mm Mortar Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy (Marines) to Spain’s EXPAL Systems S.A., with the Notice of Award (NOA) released on 28 February 2022, and the DND posting it on 13 April 2022.

The deal is worth Php63,877,909.44, which is around Php150,000 less than the project’s Approved Budget for Contract (ABC).

NOA awarded to EXPAL Systems. Photo credits to DND.

EXPAL Systems won the project through Negotiated Procurement, which was the preferred method after the DND changed the procurement mode away from public competitive bidding on November 2020.

Since EXPAL already won the Lot 2 to supply 81mm mortars, it was more practical to negotiate and award Lot 3 for 120mm mortars, and Lot 1 for 60mm mortars to EXPAL as well, through a Government-to-Government (G2G) deal with the Spanish Ministry of Defense.

Surprisingly, only 8 units will be acquired, contrary to previous plans by the Philippine Marine Corps to acquire between 12 to 15 units, or just 13% of the original Horizon 2 plan submitted in 2016 calling for the acquisition of 60 units to provide sufficient 120mm mortar capability to all Marine Battalions. 

8 units would allow for two mortar batteries only, which means only 2 Marine Battalion Landing Teams (MBLT) could only be provided with such capability at any given time. These two 120mm mortar batteries would probably be attached to certain MBLTs rather becoming permanently deployed.

With the NOA released, the DND is expected to release the Notice to Proceed (NTP) soon, since the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) already released the SARO covering the full amount of the project as early as February 2022.

20 November 2022:

MaxDefense Philippines believes that EXPAL Systems could be supplying their current 120-MX2-SM 120 mm towed mortars, which Lithuania also selected recently.

The EXPAL 120-MX2-SM 120mm towed mortar. Photo credits to Lithuanian Ministry of Defence.

Due to the size and weight of the mortar, it cannot be carried without the use of either a trailer or a wheeled base. In the case of EXPAL's 120-MX2-SM mortar, it can be carried using a small trailer which also allows carrying ammunition, as shown above.

The EXPAL 120-MX2-SM mortar trailer towed by a light military vehicle. Photo credits to EXPAL Systems.

The mortar and trailer can be towed using a light military vehicle like the Kia KM450, GAZ Sadko, or even the Beijing Jeep BJ2022 and Toyota Hi-Lux vehicles of the Philippine Army. This makes it handy, and allows the mortar crew to practically have their own vehicle assigned to them. 

So far no confirmation has been made on what EXPAL Systems has offered to the Philippine Army so this still remains to be seen.


06 March 2023:

Based on the Procurement Monitoring Report of the DND as of January 2023, the Contract for project has not been signed yet between the DND and the winning bidder, although the reasons are not yet known. The Notice to Proceed has not been released as well.


20 July 2023:

The latest Procurement Monitoring Report of the DND as of 05 July 2023 has confirmed that the project has moved forward, with the Contract signed and Notice to Proceed released as of 30 June 2022.

As the NTP has reached more than a year already as of this writing, we expect more news on this one in the next few months.


First edit and release: 25 February 2022
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource

Friday, February 18, 2022

SIG PABAC-005-21 Night Fighting System Acquisition Project of the Philippine Army

The Philippine Army has raised a requirement for new Night Fighting Systems as part of its effort to improve its overall capability, especially on combat operations at night.

The Night Fighting System Acquisition Project of the Philippine Army, this specific one made in 2021, was publicly tendered by the Philippine Army and is being procured without relying on the AFP Modernization Program.

A typical example of night vision monocular mounted on a helmet. Photo credits to MKU Ltd.

Project Summary:

Night Fighting System Acquisition Project (2021)

Note: edit as of 24 March 2023.

* Project Number: SIG PABAC-005-21

* End User:
 Philippine Army (multiple units)

Quantity: 661 nos Night Vision Monoculars, 661 nos Infrared Aiming Device, 66 nos Laser Zeroing Device

* Modernization Phase: 
N/A, Philippine Army procurement outside RAFPMP for 2021

* Project ABC: Php249,563,905.84

Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

* Source of Funding: GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund

* Tender Number: 
PABAC 005-21

* SARO Release: N/A

* Winning Proponent: MKU Limited (India)

Product for Delivery: 
   - 661 units MKU Netro NM-3000 night vision monocular with accessories, 
   - 661 units unconfirmed infrared aiming device, and 
   - 66 units laser zeroing device.

* Contract Price: 

* Residual Amount: Php67,495,935.84

* First post by MaxDefense: 19 February 2022

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag/s: #PANFS2021Acquisition

Status: SOBE held on 30 July 2021. MKU Limited of India declared Lowest Calculated and Responsive Bidder, with Notice of Award released on 08 November 2021. Contract was signed on 22 November 2021, and the Notice to Proceed was released on 24 January 2022. Contract requires delivery within 180 days from release of NTP, which is around July 2022.


As part of lessons learned from the Battle of Marawi City in 2017, and as part of the modernization plans of the Philippine Army, requirements for more Night Fighting Systems has been raised.

This will increase the number of PA combat units that will have sufficient night fighting capabilities, which in turn improves their overall combat capability.

There have been several attempts by the Philippine Army since 2018 to procure Night Fighting Systems using their own annual budget and procured through public bidding, rather than relying on the AFP Modernization Program. But majority of these attempts failed, and this specific project for 661 sets of Night Fighting Systems is believed to be the only one that succeeded.

No specifics were made on which unit will be using these NFS.

Photo credits to MKU Ltd.

3 companies were able to submit a bid for this tender: MKU Limited of India, Joint Venture of Boston Home Inc. and Philippine Chemsteel Industries Inc., and Panpisco Technologies Inc. 

MKU Ltd was declared the Lowest Calculated Bidder, and was able to pass the Post Qualification Inspections held on 05 August 2021.

MKU Ltd has 2 night vision monoculars in their product line that can be used as a helmet-mounted or weapon mounted system - the Netro NM-3000 and NM-3200. It is believed that the NM-3000, which does not have an intergrated infrared aiming device, and is a simpler and cheaper variant between the two, is the one offered by MKU to the Philippine Army. But if the Philippine Army agrees that the intergrated infrared aiming device is acceptable to replace the requirement for a separate one, then MKU may offer the more expensive NM-3200 model.

661 sets consisting of a Night Vision Monocular and Infrared Aiming Device, plus 66 units of Laser Zeroing Devices would be delivered within 180 days from release of Notice to Proceed, which is by July 2022.

U P D A T E S:

29 January 2022:

Based on PhilGEPS website, the Night Fighting Acquisition Project of the Philippine Army for 2021 was won by MKU Limited of India, which was declared the Lowest Calculated and Responsive Bidder (LCRB) after competing with Joint Venture of Boston Home Inc. and Philippine Chemsteel Industries Inc., and Panpisco Technologies Inc.

The Notice of Award was released in favor of MKU Ltd on 08 November 2021, and the Contract signed on 22 November 2021.

The Notice to Proceed was released on 24 January 2022.

Expected delivery will be by July 2022, although MKU Ltd may deliver earlier depending on their capacity.

The Netro NM-3000 from MKU Ltd. Photo credits to MKU Ltd.


First edit and release: 19 February 2022
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource