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Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) Acquisition Project of the Philippine Army


In line with the Philippine Army's modernization program, it has raised the requirement to equip its forces with air defense systems to protect its units from aerial threats, while also forming the base for an expanded air defense capability in the future.

To meet the requirement, the Philippine Army has included the Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) Acquisition Project under its Horizon 2 phase Priority Projects.

An example of a SHORAD system being looked at by the Philippine Army for their initial air defense artillery units. Photo from MBDA website.

Overview:

The Philippine Army has raised the requirement to have at least 2 air defense batteries to become the initial component of a modern unit tasked to defend Philippine Army units from aerial threats.

In this regard, the Philippine Army also raised two new Air Defense Artillery Batteries that will become the core units of a future Air Defense Artillery Battalion under the Army Artillery Regiment. 


According to the Philippine Army:

“(An) Air Defense Battery is designed to provide air defense for Army units, areas, and installations against unmanned aerial vehicles or remotely-piloted vehicles as well as fixed and rotary aircraft…”

Another one infotarp displayed by the Philippine Army during the event. The system on the photo is the MBDA Mistral using the ATLAS mounting. Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense by a community member.

It would be remembered that as early as 2016, MaxDefense has posted reports on the Philippine Army training on Air Defense Artillery with the US Army in Fort Sill in Oklahoma, in preparation for these new capabilities.

The Philippine Army used to have air defense units using anti-aircraft guns received from the US government after World War II, including M45 Quadmounts using 12.7mm machine guns. 

Previously the PA had air defense assets like the M45 Quadmount as seen here used in the Korean War by PEFTOK contingent.

This time, the Philippine Army will be initially using missile systems starting with Short-Range Air Defense (SHORAD) missile systems  before progressing to longer-ranged air defense systems.

Unknown to many, while the Philippine Army unofficially do not have air defense units or assets prior to the 1st and 2nd Air Defense Artillery Batteries, the Philippine Army is safekeeping the air defense assets of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) which has MANPADS in its inventory including the MBDA Mistral and FIM-92 Stinger in limited numbers.

Project Summary:

Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 16 February 2020.

* End User: Philippine Army (Army Artillery Regiment)

* Quantity: 2 batteries

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects of RAFPMP

Project ABC: Php2,275,200,000.00

* Acquisition Mode: TBA

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

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: TBA

* Product for Delivery:
    - 2 batteries worth of MANPADS system

* Contract Price: TBA

* First post by MaxDefense: 14 October 2018

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PAMANPADSAcquisition

* Status: Procurement phase ongoing. Shortlisted products were the MBDA Mistral and LIG Nex1 Chiron. Decision is expected to be made before mid-2020, and an award made by 3rd quarter 2020 or earlier.

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U P D A T E S:
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14 October 2018:
MaxDefense first mentioned about the project of the Philippine Army to acquire Man Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) as one of its priority projects.

This would be separate from air defense systems being acquired by other AFP service branches, like the Philippine Air Force's Ground-Based Air Defense System (GBADS) and the Philippine Navy's Shore-Based Air Defense Missile System (SBADMS).


The Philippine Army requirement would allow them to defend ground formations / field units and bases against low-flying aircraft and helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, and other low-flying aerial threats.

MANPADS could also be used to defend from aerial threats during huge events like world leader gatherings, sports olympics, concerts, political rallies, and others. Photo for reference only.
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01 November 2019:
MaxDefense received several queries regarding a post made by an FB-based South Korean defense page on the review of export approval by South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration for TPS-880K local air defense radar and Chiron KP-SAM air defense system to the Philippines.

Since the source of the news is from South Korea, obviously it tackles on the South Korean side of things. So MaxDefense will discuss the Philippine side on the issue, us being more knowledgeable on what's happening in the AFP Modernization as well as on what's happening behind the Philippine defense and military bureaucracy.

Currently, there are three air defense projects in the Horizon 2 phase of the RAFPMP, but only the Philippine Army is requiring a low level air defense system under its Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) Acquisition Project. This project has requirement that fits the capabilities of the LIGNex1 Chiron VSHORAD system.

Since the information from the South Korean side was said to be sourced from DAPA, most likely it is true that the South Korea is already looking at approving any export license to the Philippines. This could only happen if the Philippine side, most likely the Department of National Defense (DND) already sent a Letter of Request (LOR) to its South Korean counterpart to start looking at the possibility of exporting it to the Philippines.

Sending in an LOR means that a selection shortlist was already made by the Philippine Army's Technical Working Group (TWG) and Defense Acquisition System Assessment Team (DASAT) for this project. Thus its possible that LIGNex1's Chiron KM-SAM short range air defense system and the TPS-880K local air defense radar are already among the those in the top selection / shortlist.


Upon checking with sources, MaxDefense was told that the the project has not been finalized yet, and the Chiron-TPS-880K combo is competing with other products mostly from Europe. Also apparently the project has not received an approval from the GHQ AFP yet, which is part of the approvals ladder, although it will soon. While LIGNex1's offer has a high chance of getting the final selection, chances of other proponents bagging it instead of LIGNex1 still remain high.


The TPS-88K radar (top) and the Chiron SHORAD system (above) appears to have been offered as a package by the South Korean government to meet the requirements of the Philippine Army's MANPADS Acquisition Project. Credits to original sources of the photos.
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15 November 2019:

MaxDefense confirmed in its social media post that Russia's 9K333 Verba short range air defense system was among those included in the Philippine Army's evaluation for MANPADS, but it did not reach shortlisting. 


Instead, only MBDA's Mistral and LIG Nex1's Chiron were shortlisted by the Philippine Army's Technical Working Group (TWG) for the project, for still unknown reasons.

The Russian 9K333 Verba, which is an improved version of the earlier Igla system. Credits to original source of photo.

MaxDefense received word from sources that the Verba actually has superior performance even compared to the Mistral and Chiron, but other reasons were said to have been raised in removing it from the final selection. MaxDefene believes that CAATSA could be a major issue, as the same has been happening to several projects where Russian products were considered.

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17 January 2020:
As posted on MaxDefense's blog entry regarding the topic, which can be accessed through the link below:

"PH Army to Acquire ATMOS SPH, Eyes MBDA Mistral & LIGNex1 Chiron SHORAD as it Activates 2 New Units" - first posted on 17 January 2020.


The activation of the 2nd Air Defense Artillery Battery is in line with the Philippine Army's plan to build-up cadres and operational units to operate incoming air defense assets.

The Philippine Army has an ongoing project to acquire such systems under the Philippine Army Man Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) Acquisition Project, which is part of the Horizon 2 phase of the RAFPMP. The project involves the acquisition of 2 batteries worth of MANPADS with a budget of around Php2,275,200,000.00 (around US$44.6 million).

MaxDefense sources confirmed that the Philippine Army is looking at two models, the French MBDA Mistral,  and South Korean LIGNex1 Chiron short range air defense missile systems. Both missile systems are similar in capabilities as the Chiron was said to have been developed from the Mistral but using South Korean technology and content, and both having an effective range of around 6 to 7 kilometers. MaxDefense will discuss about both systems in a future blog or resource page entry.


The MBDA Mistral in ATLAS mounting (top) and LIGNex1 Chiron (above). Photo taken from MBDA website for Mistral, and Indian Defence Review for Chiron.

It still remains to be seen which one will be selected as the Philippine Army’s Technical Working Group (TWG) for the project is still conducting their evaluation as of this writing, although MaxDefense was told that competition is tight between MBDA and LIGNex1.

Standing-up both batteries for the Air Defense Artillery is already an indication that the project is coming up soon, with MaxDefense expecting a decision and contract signed by 2020. 

Based on the Philippine Army's programming, they expect the delivery of the weapon systems by 2024, while also activating the 1st Army Air Defense Artillery Battalion also by 2024.

It still remains to be seen if longer ranged air defense systems will be acquired as part of the Horizon 3 phase of the RAFPMP, which also means activating additional air defense units.

Activation of the 2nd Air Defense Artillery Battery during ceremonies last 15 January 2020. Photo ftom Philippine Army.

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First edit and release: 16 February 2020

Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource.






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