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Air Surveillance Radar Phase 2 Acquisition Project (Horizon 2) of the Philippine Air Force

To further improve the country's ability to detect aircraft and aerial domain and situation awareness of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), the service has requested for the acquisition of additional air surveillance radar systems to cover more areas of the Philippines.

This allowed the PAF to start the Air Surveillance Radar (Phase 2) Acquisition Project, which is covered under the Priority Projects of the Horizon 2 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program. 


The goal is to fill in gaps in the PAF's capability to detect aerial activities in the northeastern, eastern, southeastern, central, and southern parts of the country.

Currently the PAF has 3 new air surveillance radars acquired during the Horizon 1 phase under the Air Surveillance Radar (Phase 1) acquisition project, covering mostly the western seaboard of the country facing the West Philippine Sea, and partially covering the southwestern areas near the border with Sabah. The radars, IAI Elta Systems ELM-2288ER AD-STAR Extended Range air surveillance and air defense radar systems acquired from Israel under the Horizon 1 phase, are currently installed in the following locations:

* Paredes Air Station, Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte

* Gozar Air Station, Lubang Island, Occidental Mindoro

* Mount Salakot Air Station, Palawan

In addition, if our sources are right, the PAF still uses the old Bendix AN/FPS-20 location finding radar and General Electric AN/FPS-6 long range height finding radar in Wallace Air Station in San Fernando, La Union.

These radars were designed to have partial overlapping cover of almost the entire Western Philippines including some parts of the country's EEZ in the West Philippine Sea, while also having coverage of areas near the border with Sabah.

The current Phase 2 project will cover more locations that are currently not covered by the Phase 1 or previously existing radar systems, with the following locations:

* Balabac Island, Palawan

* Sta. Ana, Cagayan

* Paranal Air Station, Panganiban, Camarines Norte

* Balut Island, Saranggani

* Hill 900B, Zamboanga

Paranal Air Station as it looks in the 1960s. Photo taken from Lt.Col. Francis Karen Neri's Facebook page.

Project Summary:

Air Surveillance Radar (Phase 2) Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 10 March 2020:

* End User: Philippine Air Force (580th Aircraft Control and Warning Wing)

   • Original: 3 Fixed Radars, 2 Mobile Radars
   • Revised: 3 Fixed Radars, 1 Mobile Radar

* Modernization Phase:
 Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP

* Project ABC:
 Php 5,500,000,000.00

Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government with still unknown country

* Funding Source: BCDA Income Remittances

* SARO Release:
 SARO-BMB-D-20-0000722 dated 12 February 2020, worth Php525,821,400.00 representing 10% of Contract Price

* Winning Proponent: Mitsubishi Electric Company (Japan)

Product for Delivery: 

   - 4 units J/FPS-3ME fixed long range air defense radars
   - 1 unit J/TPS-P14ME mobile long range air defense radar
   - Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) package

* Contract Price:

* First post by MaxDefense: 01 October 2018

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PAFASRPhase2Acquisition and/or #PAFASRAcquisition

* Project Status: Selection completed, awaiting award of project to Mitsubishi Electric under a G2G deal with the Japanese Ministry of Defense. SARO worth 10% of contract price was released on 18 February 2020. NOA released on 03 March 2020.

U P D A T E S:

14 June 2019:

MaxDefense received confirmation from a source that the Philippine Air Force and the Department of National Defense has took notice of our previous blog entry on the issues surrounding the Air Surveillance Radar Phase 2 Acquisition Project.

Apparently the documents submitted bythe proponents were re-reviewed again to see if they misinterpreted the submission made by IAI Elta of Israel.


26 July 2019:

MaxDefense received confirmation from the a Cabinet member of the Duterte administration that Malacanang already released a memorandum approving the amendments made by the DND on the quantity of radars to be acquired under the Air Surveillance Radar (Phase 2) Acquisition Project.

The amendment changed the requirements from 5 radar units to just 4 units. 

So far only 1 company offered 4 radar units for the Php5.5 billion project - Japan's Mitsubishi Electric. This means that the possibility of Mitsubishi bagging the project with their J/FPS-3 radar is highly probable.

Now the question is, since the PAF originally asked for 5 radars but will only be getting 4, it means that there would be a need for the PAF to revise its radar location plan, or it will have a gap in the radar coverage.

It also remains to be seen if the PAF will pursue the acquisition of 1 or more radars to fill in the gap as part of the 2nd List of Horizon 2, or under the Horizon 3 phase.

Looks like its the J/FPS-3 afterall, and only 4 radars will be delivered instead of 5. 

21 October 2019:

The Philippine Air Force's Air Surveillance Radar System Acquisition Project, which is another Horizon 2 phase Priority Project that was said to have been allocated to be awarded to Japan's Mitsubishi Electric, was said to have been reviewed again.

MaxDefense received information that the DND will be, or might have already talked again to the other proponents including Elta Systems and Lockheed Martin, who were the closest competitors of Mitsubishi Electric for the project.

It would be remembered that MaxDefense previously posted a report that Mitsubishi will only be supplying 4 radars (3 fixed, 1 mobile) instead of 5 (3 fixed, 2 mobile) as required by the PAF due to cost issues, and has not met the requirement of the maximum equipment and detection range requirements, and other issues.

MaxDefense is not totally against the Japanese offer since it actually included other commitments made by the Japanese government to improve the Philippines' air defense capabilities with the help of the Japan Air Self Defense Force, but it would be best to review the project again just to make sure the PAF gets the best that it can get from the offers.

Lockheed Martin's TPS-77 radar is among those offered to the PAF and is competing with Mitsubishi and IAI-Elta. Credits to original source of photo.

12 January 2020:

It appears that the DND has proceeded with negotiations with Japan's Ministry of Defense and with Mitsubishi Electric with regards to the project, despite reviewing the offers last October 2019.

The DND is still hoping that the Japanese offer can be increased to 3 fixed and 2 mobile radars, instead of just 3 fixed and a single mobile radar. It would be remembered that Israel's IAI-Elta Systems actually offered 3 fixed and 2 mobile radars for the same budget the Philippine Air Force has set.

Commanding General PAF, Lt. Gen. Rozzano Bridguez, also mentioned in his speech during the anniversary of the 580th Aircraft Control & Warning Wing last December 2019, that they were hoping for 5 radars to be acquired.

A Japanese radar dome housing a Mitsubishi Electric J/FPS-3 radar. Photo taken from Asia Nikkei Review.

MaxDefense is also hoping for the Japanese side to agree with delivering 5 radars to the PAF, although the chances could be slim due to cost issues.

What MaxDefense is more concerned is if these radars can easily be integrated to allow combined operations with the PAF's existing ELM-2288 AD-STAR ER radars from Israel


17 January 2020:

In the Change of Command & Retirement speech of former Commanding General, Philippine Air Force Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez (ret), he confirmed that the PAF is now awaiting for the DND to release the Notice of Award (NOA) for four (4) new Air Surveillance Radar systems.

It would be remembered that only Mitsubishi Electric's offer through the Japanese Ministry of Defense offered 4 radar systems (3 fixed, 1 mobile), while all other competing orders from Israel's IAI-Elta and America's Lockheed Martin offered 5 radars (3 fixed, 2 mobile systems).

Since it appears that the NOA is coming soon, it remains to be seen which of the 5 sites originally being prepared to be equipped with the new radars will not be getting any radar under this procurement program.


20 February 2020:

The Department of Budget Management (DBM) has released the SARO for the project worth Php525,821,400.00 or 10% of the project's contract price. This means that the Notice of Award (NOA) would be coming out very soon.

MaxDefense sources confirmed that the offer from Mitsubishi Electric using the J/FPS-3 radar was selected by the Philippine Air Force and approved by the DND senior leadership. This means a Government-to-Government (G2G) deal with the Japanese Ministry of Defense is expected to happen.

MaxDefense is still determining how many radars were involved, but based on the project's contract price, it appears that only 4 radar sets were included in the deal: 3 fixed radar sites with the J/FPS-3ME air defense radar, and a mobile radar system using the J/TPS-P14ME mobile radar system. 

In return, Japan has offered to assist the Philippine Air Force in building up its communications and electronic countermeasures systems, as well as assisting in improving the PAF's operational procedures and doctrines.


10 March 2020:

The Notice of Award (NOA) was reported to have been released in favor of Japan's Mitsubishi Electric Company (MELCO) last 03 March 2020, as reported by Inquirer.net 

This confirms our earlier updates on the project wherein we confirmed that MELCO was already expecting the NOA to be released in their favor after passing the Post Qualification Inspection a few months ago.

MaxDefense received confirmation that the J/FPS-3Me fixed long range air defense radar and the J/TPS-P14ME mobile long range air defense radar were selected, with MELCO delivering four and one unit, respectively.

First edit and release: 14 June 2019.
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource.

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