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155mm Howitzer, Self Propelled System Acquisition Project of the Philippine Army


The Philippine Army (PA) has embarked on the acquisition of additional artillery systems to improve its capabilities and increase its firepower delivery in support of ground forces.

The Philippine Army's 155mm Howitzer, Self Propelled System Acquisition Project is the latest acquisition program that focuses on "shoot and scoot" through combining mobility and firepower. This project appears to be a follow-on to the improvements provided by an earlier acquisition project involving the delivery of additional 155mm Towed Howitzers for the PA's Army Artillery Regiment (AAR).

This would be the first time that the PA would undertake the acquisition of brand new Self Propelled Howitzer systems, although this is not the first time that the Philippine Army will be operating such systems.


The Elbit Systems ATMOS 2000 155mm self propelled howitzer system, which is the selected system of the Philippine Army for its 155mm Howitzer, Self Propelled System acquisition project. Photo taken from Elbit's website.

Overview:


The Philippine Army (PA) has been pushing for the acquisition of a 155mm self propelled howitzer system for decades, although it was in 2013 that the Philippine Army has become vocal of such plans.

Israel's Elbit Systems has answered the PA's call and offered their ATMOS 2000 155mm self propelled howitzer system in 39 and 52 calibre variants. Apparently, the PA preferred to acquire the longer ranged 52 calibre variant as an improvement over its existing Soltam M-71 155mm/39 calibre towed howitzers.

It was decided later on to move the planned acquisition to the Horizon 2 phase of the RAFPMP after funding issues became apparent on the Horizon 1 phase.

Project Summary:

155mm Howitzer, Self Propelled System Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 12 April 2020.

* End User: Philippine Army (Army Artillery Regiment)

* Quantity: 2 batteries (12 mobile firing units + associated support systems)

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects of RAFPMP

* Project ABC: Php2,388,000,000.00

* Contract Price: Php2,386,082,313.81


* Difference between ABC and Contract Price: Php1,917,686.19

* Expected Delivery: 2 years from NTP release - April 2022


* Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government (G2G) Procurement between the DND and Israel Ministry of Defense-SIBAT

* Source of Funding: From other sources, to be paid via Multi-Year Obligatory Allocations (MYOA).

* SARO Release: SARO-BMB-D-19-0025732 dated 18 December 2019.

* First post by MaxDefense: 25 June 2013

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PA155mmSPHAcquisition

* Status: Post Qualification Inspection with Elbit Systems done on December 2018, re-insepction done as of November 2019. SARO for 15% initial deposit released by DBM on December 2019. NOA released December 2019. Contract signed as of late January 2020. Notice to Proceed released in early April 2020.





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U P D A T E S:
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24 June 2013:

As posted on our community social media page on Facebook:

The Philippine Army is reportedly pushing for the purchase of the Israeli ATMOS 2000 155mm self-propelled howitzer made by Soltam/Elbit Systems. Number of units requested unknown yet.

Based on the report, the PA is interested on the 39 calibre variant, and was being proposed to replace an earlier order of 12 units of 155mm towed howitzers made also with Elbit Systems Land & C4I.

The report from Manila Standard can be accessed by clicking the link HERE.


Elbit Systems' Soltam ATMOS 2000 155mm self propelled howitzer system. Photo taken from Elbit's website.

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25 June 2013:

MaxDefense released a blog entry regarding the Philippine Army's push to acquire the Elbit Systems ATMOS 2000 155mm self propelled howitzer system.

The blog entry can be accessed through the link posted below:

"Philippine Army pushing for the Purchase of Israeli ATMOS 2000 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer" - first posted on 25 June 2013


The ATMOS 2000 system, using a 6x6 platform. Credits to original source of the photo.

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18 June 2018:

Pres. Duterte recently made an in-principle approval of the Horizon 2 phase Priority Projects "shopping list" worth Php300 billion, which includes the acquisition of at least 12 units of 155mm Howitzer, Self Propelled Systems with a proposed ABC of Php2,388,000,000.00

It now remains to be seen when the DND and PA would put the project in the procurement phase, or what the mode of procurement would be.

Based on information from MaxDefense sources, it appears that Elbit Systems' Soltam ATMOS 2000 155mm SPH remains the top choice of the Philippine Army's Army Artillery Regiment., and has several PA and DND officers and officials have already been given demonstration on the system in Israel before.


An ATMOS 2000 SPH was demonstrated to the DND and PA Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee (TIAC) during the pre-delivery tests of the Soltam M-71 155mm towed howitzer conducted last mid-2017 in the Negev Desert in Israel. The SPH can be seen with the M-71mm THs during the tests.
Photo exclusively shared to MaxDefense by sources from the DND.

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30 December 2018:

MaxDefense was informed by sources from the DND that the Post Qualification Inspection (PQI) with Elbit Systems Land & C4I for the 155mm Howitzer, Self Propelled System Acquisition Project has been completed, with Elbit Systems passing the inspection.

The PQI is an important part of the procurement process as it allows the procuring body to check if the submitted documents, technical capabilities, and financial statements of the proponent are factual and viable.

It would only be a matter of time then before a Notice of Award (NOA) can be released by the DND in favor of Elbit Systems Land and C4I.

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14 June 2019:

Based on information from MaxDefense sources, the Multi-Year Obligation Authority (MYOA) for the 155mm Howitzer, Self Propelled System acquisition project remains unapproved, and the DND and the Philippine Army are awaiting for the government to make this happen.

The MYOA is needed to allow the DND to pay the project on an instalment basis of a few year based on the accomplishment milestone of the proponent. In this case, it could be somewhere between 2 to 3 years.

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14 August 2019:
The Philippine News Agency's interview with Philippine Army Chief of Plans Col. Romulo Manuel included a confirmation that the acquisition of Self-Propelled Howitzers are among those in the procurement programs of the Horizon 2 phase.

While this is not the first time it was confirmed by the military, this is the latest confirmation of such project.

The article from PNA can be accessed HERE. But it is not expected to stay for more than 1 year.




The ATMOS 155mm/39 caliber self propelled howitzer. Photo taken from Army Recognition website.
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02 October 2019:

MaxDefense received clarification from a source involved in the Philippine Army's Self Propelled Howitzer acquisition project, correcting previous information we posted on this resource page and to our previous posts.

Among the clarifications and corrections made are the following:

1. Post Qualification Inspection (PQI) for the project that was originally scheduled on December 2018 was confirmed that have not happened, after the Department of National Defense cancelled it and pushed the project to be awarded in 2020 instead of within 2019. Instead, the PQI was rescheduled and will proceed at a later date, hopefully before the end of 2019, although the exact date is still not confirmed by any party.


2. Elbit Systems actually offered the longer 52 caliber variant of the ATMOS SPH, not the shorter 39 caliber variant. This is actually a positive news as it means the Philippine Army is getting the better variant capable of engagements at a longer range.

3. With the project bumped to 2020, the platform is still not finalized but it will be a selection between German truck manufacturers Mercedes Benz or MAN, although Mercedes Benz has already confirmed its support for the Philippine Army project. Consideration will be on the availability of distributor in the Philippines which appears to be in favor of MAN. MaxDefense believes that both truck manufacturers are among the best in the world, and whatever is selected would be highly acceptable.

For comparison, Thailand is using MAN trucks although the Israelis are using Mercedes Benz for their ATMOS self-propelled howitzers.

4. Pres. Duterte has approved the implementation of a Multi-Year Contract payment process only this month, and has forwarded it to the Department of Budget and Management for implementation and appropriation. Until funds are secured, the DND has decided not to proceed with the PQI to avoid a similar issue when the DND and PAF completed PQI, contract signing and NTP release without DBM providing the funding, resulting to delays for several months in the project implementation.


These are important updates to the project, although it is disappointing that it moved back due to lack of sufficient budget from the DND and the national government, especially when the same government can actually produce instant funding for projects that are meant for political reasons.




Good news is that Elbit System's offering to the Philippine Army is actually based on the 52-caliber variant, not 39-caliber as previously reported. Photos credited to original sources.
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20 December 2019:

Finally, the money is out. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released the SARO for the 155mm Self Propelled Howitzer project to fund the 15% initial deposit for the project worth Php339,867,865.00.

This means that the deal with Israel Ministry of Defense to purchase 2 batteries is around Php2,265,785,767.00, which is less than the Approved Budget of Contract (ABC) allocated by the DND worth Php2,388,000,000.00.

With the SARO released, its only a matter of time for the Letter of Award (LOA) to be released in favor of Elbit Systems with their ATMOS 155mm/52caliber Self Propelled Howitzer System.

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09 February 2020:
MaxDefense released a new blog entry discussing the DND confirming the order for 12 Soltam ATMOS 155mm/52cal wheeled self-propelled howitzer from Elbit Systems Land & C4I.


The blog can be accessed from the link below:

"Philippine Army Finally Orders the ATMOS 155mm/52cal Self-Propelled Howitzer System from Elbit Systems" - first posted 09 February 2020.


It would be remembered that the decision of the DND during the start of the project implementation was to go for a Govenrment-to-Government (G2G) deal with the selected product's country of origin. With the PA TWG selecting the ATMOS 155mm/52cal wheeled SPH system and the Senior Defense and Military leaders approving the selection, the Department of National Defense (DND) proceeded with negotiations with the Israeli Ministry of Defense.

After passing the Post Qualification Inspection (PQI) last December 2019, and final negotiations on the deal's final contract terms and conditions and final pricing, the Department of National Defense - Bids and Awards Committee (DND-BAC) has finally released the Notice of Award (NOA) for the 155mm Howitzer, Self-Propelled System Acquisition Project of the Philippine Army to Israel's Elbit Systems Land & C4I, with a agreed contract price of around Php2.386 billion.

And aside from that, MaxDefense received confirmation from defense and military sources that the DND has also signed the contract for the project with Elbit Systems Land & C4I in late January 2020. It still remains to be confirmed if the Notice to Proceed (NTP) has been released, since this would be the basis of the proponent on the start of the countdown to the delivery deadline which is 730 days (2 years) from the release of NTP.


If NTP is released by February 2020, we could expect the completion of the project (full delivery) by February 2022, although it is expected that the deliveries will be made in tranches, allowing the Philippine Army's Army Artillery Regiment to receive the units earlier.


The ATMOS 155mm wheeled SPH for the Philippine Army is expected to use base truck platforms from Germany's MAN. Credits to original source of photo.

It was also confirmed that Elbit Systems Land & C4I may also use base truck platforms from Germany's MAN Trucks, which has a better service support network in the Philippines compared to the other platforms used by the system including those from Mercedes-Benz, Tatra of the Czech Republic, and TATA of India. In comparison, the ATMOS SPH used by the Royal Thai Army uses 8x8 trucks from Tatra.

The Philippine Army's Army Artillery Regiment has also activated two new Field Artillery Batteries, the 1st and 2nd Field Artillery (155mm, Self-Propelled) that will handle the operation and sustainment of these new equipment. Both batteries will be under the 1st 155mm Howitzer Battalion (Self-Propelled), which is expected to be activated on or before 2024.



Above is the development roadmap of the Army Artillery Regiment for their Self Propelled Howitzer capability. So far they were able to meet their milestones for 2019, and it appears that they might hit their milestone for 2024 at an earlier date. Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense by a community member.


With the ATMOS 155mm/52cal wheeled self-propelled howitzer system entering the Philippine Army inventory soon, the service joins its regional peers in having the same system available. Among those countries in the ASEAN with a similar system include Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, and Myanmar.

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12 April 2020:
MaxDefense has received confirmation from sources that the Department of National Defense (DND) has released the Notice to Proceed (NTP) recently in favor of Elbit Systems Land & C4I. No date has been mentioned to MaxDefense, but we believe it was only this early April 2020 since we have asked the same queries with defense and Army sources only last week and got a negative answer.

This means the completion of delivery of the entire contract is now on April 2022, based on a 24-month contract. This is well within the administration of Pres. Duterte, which has been trying to prioritize projects that would be delivered within his term.


So far, there are no changes on the information on the product to be delivered. But it is expected that at least 1 battery worth of the artillery systems could be delivered before December 2021, based on Elbit's delivery history records on previous projects.

Covid-19 issues could be a problem, since Israel and many countries have been hit hard by the pandemic. So there could be an additional clause that may have been requested by Elbit covering delays related to Covid-19 issues.

One of the ATMOS 2000 155mm/52cal Self Propelled Howitzer system of the Royal Thai Marine Corps. Photo taken from Defense Studies blogsite.
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First edit and release: 22 June 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource


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