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Assault Rifle 5.56mm M4/AR-15 Platform Acquisition Project (2019) of the Philippine Army


The Philippine Army (PA) continues its acquisition of more 5.56x45mm assault rifles based on the M4 / AR-15 platform as part of its 2019 budget.

Due to its similarity to an earlier project, MaxDefense Philippines and Philippine Defense Review decided to name this project as the Assault Rifle 5.56mm M4/AR-15 Platform Acquisition Project (2019) of the Philippine Army, with emphasis on adding "2019" to differentiate from the one started in 2018, and to anticipate future purchases by the Philippine Army.


Philippine Army troops using M4/AR-15 platform. Credits to original source of photo.

Overview:

As the Philippine Army continues to expand in size and improve its standard infantry weapon systems by moving away from old M16A1 rifles, it has embarked on the acquisition of more 5.56x45mm assault rifles to cover these requirements. 

After the massive acquisition of rifles in the last few years which resulted to the delivery of the Remington R4A3 5.56x45mm rifle, the Philippine Army has now started on yearly acquisitions just to cover for any gaps in the firearms requirements within the organization.

For 2019, with the plan to expand the manpower of the Philippine Army beyond its usual size, it found itself in need of additional 5.56mm rifles. And like what they did in 2018, they decided to go for an acquisition using its own budget for the year instead of going through the AFP Modernization Program that has already been approved in 2018. 


Project Summary:

Assault Rifle 5.56mm M4/AR-15 Platform Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 08 August 2020.

* End User: Philippine Army (unspecified units)

* Quantity: 11,551 units

* Modernization Phase: N/A, Philippine Army procurement outside RAFPMP for 2019

* Project ABC: Php540,779,107.70

* Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

* Source of Funding: Philippine Army GAA 2019

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: TBA

* Product for Delivery: TBA

* Contract Price: TBA

* First post by MaxDefense: 15 February 2020 (this post)

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PAAssaultRifle556Acquisition

* Status: Lowest bidder said to be Taurus Forsa through its local representative. Taurus Forsa was said to have failed Post Qualification Inspection and was post-disqualified. Second lowest bidder is Armscor Global Defense - Emtan JV, with PQI scheduled on 04 March 2020. Project declared CANCELLED as of 03 August 2020.

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U P D A T E S:
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15 February 2020:

MaxDefense received confirmation that the Submission and Opening of Bid Envelopes (SOBE) for this project pushed through last 03 February 2020, with Brazil's Taurus Armas said to have submitted the lowest bid with the Taurus T4 5.56x45mm rifle.

Post Qualification Inspection (PQI) appears to have not taken place yet, although it is possible that this would happen soon. Until a Notice of Award is released in favor of Taurus, it is still highly possible that other bidders may have a chance at the project.


The Taurus T4 is the Brazilian arms manufacturer's first foray into the AR-15 platform. It is currently in use by Brazilian law enforcement and military units, while a semi-automatic version called the T4SA was just introduced recently to the American civilian arms market.

Due to being a new product, not much has been said about the Taurus T4.


The Taurus T4 5.56x45mm rifle, which is based on the AR-15 design. Photo taken from Pinterest.

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04 March 2020:

MaxDefense received confirmation that Taurus Armas failed to pass the Post Qualification Inspection (PQI) conducted by the PITC's Bids and Awards Committee and Philippine Army officials. No mention was made on the reason of failure. This means that Taurus Armas is considered post-disqualified from the tender.

The second lowest bidder will have the chance then to undertake PQI. MaxDefense learned though sources that the second lowest bidder was Armscor Global Defense, which is partnered with Israel's Emtan Carmiel Ltd. and has offered their MZ-4 5.56mm AR-type assault rifle. Readers should be familiar of this family of rifle, as the piston version MZ-4P were sold by the thousands to the Philippine National Police (PNP) by Armscor Global Defense is the past 3 years and reported by MaxDefense in its updates on PNP modernization and procurements.

PQI is said to have started today 04 March 2020, and will take several days. MaxDefense will monitor developments if Armscor-Emtan can pass the PQI and bag the project.


The Emtan MZ-4 5.56x45mm assault rifle, which is their version of the AR-15. The Philippine Army is interested in the 14.5" barrel option. Photo taken from Emtan Karmiel's website.
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02 August 2020:

MaxDefense received information from sources that the project has not moved forward since early this year, and while we have not receive any confirmation or proof to show, sources mentioned that the project might have failed, and it remains to be seen if a rebidding would be implemented.

It also appears to be true since MaxDefense has been receiving enquiries about the project from several people who appear to be related to the bidders of the project, to determine if their info matches that of ours.

Based on our experience in dealing with such groups or people, it only means that something went wrong with the last company that was in undergoing evaluation process, which is Armscor Global Defense, which was offering the Emtan Karmiel MZ-4 rifles from Israel.
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08 August 2020:
The Philippine government's procurement services website PhilGEPS updated the project's status on 03 August 2020 to CANCELLED, which means that our earlier updates on the lack of movement on the project was indeed correct.

We have not receive an update if the last company that underwent Post Qualification Inspections, Armscor Global Defense which offered the Israeli-made Emtan Karmiel MZ-4 5.56x45mm assault rifle, passed or failed the inspections.

Since the project was cancelled rather than failed, there could be other reasons on the project did not push through. One possibility could be the lack of funding from the Philippine Army's side, as the entire AFP has returned some of its annual funding to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to assist in COVID-19 response expenditures.

This project, being not part of the AFP Modernization Program, is not covered by Horizon 2 phase funding, and instead is covered by the Philippine Army's 2019 annual funding.



Screenshot from PhilGEPS showing the project's status as cancelled.

With the project declared a failure, it remains to be seen if the project would be re-implemented in another date, considering the poor economic turnout of the Philippines for the first half of 2020, and the poor outlook for the entire 2020 and even 2021.

Nonetheless, the need for more rifles is needed due to the increasing size of the Philippine Army.  


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09 August 2020:
Additional information were provided on the project coming from an industry source.

Apparently, Taurus got disqualified because its Single Largest Contract which is a requirement during Post Qualification Inspections, was deemed ineligible based on the DND-BAC's assessment.

Meanwhile, Armscor Global Defense was also disqualified from the project because its Israel partner Emtan's Net Financing Contracting Capacity (NFCC) was said to be non-compliant to the project's requirements.

While it is the reason for the project to be declared a failure, the decision by the Philippine Army to cancel the project was due to realignment of funds, which means a re-bidding is not being pursued at the moment.

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First edit and release: 15 February 2020

Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource.



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