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Night Fighting System Acquisition Project (Horizon 1) of the Philippine Army

To improve its ability to fight at night and take advantage of technology to gain the upper hand against local and foreign enemies of the state, the Philippine Army embarked on the bulk acquisition of Night Vision systems including monocular goggles, weapon sights and infrared aiming devices.

This was made under the Night Fighting System Acquisition Project of the Philippine Army, which is the first acquisition of such systems in large numbers. This project is part of the Horizon 1 phase priority projects under the Revised AFP Modernization Program.

Prior to this, the Philippine Army acquires night fighting systems in piecemeal, with its largest contracts for 2,351 units of AN/PVS-14 monoculars acquired from Nightline Inc., or rely on the goodwill of the US government. And these are only given to select units even within special operations units of the Philippine Army.

An example of a Night Fighting System with helmet-mounted binoculars, a weapon mounted monocular and infrared aiming device. Photo credits to Pitchengine.com.

Overview:

The Need for Night Fighting Systems:

The Philippine Army was in need for more night fighting systems, as its current inventory is too few, and many are already outdated systems that were acquired several years ago, or were donated by the US government.

Among those in use are the AN/PVS-7 which can only be used as a goggle-type system, while weapon sights are different model and are large and heavy, which makes it cumbersome when moving at night especially for smaller-stocked Filipino soldiers. Newer AN/PVS-14 were introduced only a few years ago, which gave the Philippine Army an insight to newer systems, and a reason to acquire more.


A Philippine Army operator with the AN/PVS-7 night vision system, which is the standard NVS used by the Philippine Army before the introduction of the newer AN/PVS-14 in 2010. Photo credits to Shephard Media.

Night fighting systems gives infantry units the capability to fight at night or in low light environment, which gives superior advantage against enemy forces especially for those without similar systems. 

To address this, the Philippine Army proposed the prioritization within the Horizon 1 priority projects of the Night Fighting System Acquisition Project, which calls for the acquisition of 4,464 sets of monocular night vision sights that can be mounted on helmets or rifles, infrared aiming devices, and laser zeroing devices.

An approved budget of Php1,116,000,000.00 was set for the project.

The Invitation to Bid (ITB) for the Night Fighting System Acquisition Project. Photo taken from DND documents.


The Potential Offers:

A Pre-Bid Conference was scheduled on 31 March 2015, with the Bid Submission scheduled on 14 April 2015. Among those companies that attended the Pre-Bid conference are US-based Nightline Inc., local company United Defense Manufacturing Corp. (UDMC) and its US-based partner Nivisys LLC, Greek company Theon Sensors S.A. with its local partner Intrade Asia Pacific Corp., US-based Armasight Enterprises, US company Exelis Inc., Turkey's Aselsan with its local partner System Nomics Philippines Inc., local company Spartan 3 Trading Corp., and Israel's Elbit Systems.

Majority of US offerings, like those from Nightline, UDMC-Nivisys, Armasight and Exelis were all offering variants of the AN/PVS-14 monocular sights and AN/PEQ-15A infrared aiming devices. Meanwhile, Sensors, Aselsan, and Elbit Systems offered monoculars of their own development and design.

An example of an AN/PVS-14 night vision monocular with a weapon mount attached. Photo credits to Turbosquid.

An ATPIAL infrared aiming device, which is the latest variant with reduced size and weight compared to older models like the AN/PEQ-5. Photo credits to L3Harris.


MaxDefense Philippines has a blog entry on the potential offerings which can be accessed on the link below:

"Philippine Army to Acquire Night Fighting Systems to Improve its Night Fighting Capabilities" - first posted on 13 May 2015

Supplementary Bid Bulletin was released after the Pre-Bid Conference, which indicated a move on the submission date from 14 April to 05 May 2015, which appears to have been agreed upon during the conference. But this was pushed back further after the tender was suspended on 04 May 2015 until further notice. The project was resumed later on, with the submission date moved to 31 October 2015. 

The first bidding attempt failed for unknown reasons, although the DND was quick to issue a re-tender with another Pre-Bid Conference scheduled on 10 December 2015, and the submission moved to 22 December 2015.

Turkey's ASELSAN Elektronik Sanayi Ve Ticaret A.S (ASELSAN) was declared the lowest bidder, which competed against Theon Sensors S.A. of Greece, Nightline from US, Newcon, and ATN.

ASELSAN confirmed that they are to deliver the A100 Night Vision Monocular, during ADAS 2016 held on September 2016. Their bid amount was Php712,069,099.69, or almost 30% lower than the project budget.

The contract was approved and the Notice to Proceed was released on 25 July 2016.






ASELSAN's A100 monocular night vision sights, as shown without mount (top) and mounted on a helmet (above). ASELSAN supplied the mounting clips and head mount as part of the product. Photos credited to original sources.

Specification Problems Raised:

During the Bid evaluations, several companies were disqualified due to their inability to meet the project's technical requirements, and ASELSAN is only one of those that got through.

According to the technical requirements of the project, the Philippine Army wanted the image intensifier tube (IIT), a major component of the night vision monocular that is the basis for its level of performance, to have a minimum halo diameter of 0.85 millimeter.

This effectively excludes companies that uses American-made IITs since they US Trade Laws only allows the export of IITs with the minimum halo diameter of 0.85 millimeter. But it is impossible to have IITs with exactly 0.85 millimeter due to margin tolerances which is normally within 5 microns, which make American-made IIT's actual diameter to be a little less than 0.85 millimeter.

ASELSAN claimed that its IIT meet the 0.85 millimeter requirement, which was questioned by other tenderers considering the IIT used by ASELSAN were made by Harris Corporation, an American company, which is covered by the US trade laws that made it impossible for an exactly 0.85 millimeter diameter to be available for export to the Philippines.

This issue was raised by the disqualified and losing bidders, since they could have been qualified too if only they did not 100% follow the technical specifications like what ASELSAN did.

This actually delayed the project's implementation by a few months, and the issue came back again in 2017 when the Commission on Audit (COA) actually temporarily suspended the contract between the DND and ASELSAN to clear the issue.

In the end, the contract implementation continued, considering ASELSAN already delivered at least 3,000 units of the A100 night vision monoculars and accessories as of May 2020.

Follow-On Orders:

Since ASELSAN's contract price for the original quantity of 4,464 units is far cheaper than the budget, a residual amount of Php403,930,900.31 remains that will be returned to the government treasury if unused. 

Since the Philippine Army is still in need of more Night Fighting Systems on top of the 4,464 units they requested, it was decided to use the residual amount to order more A100 Night Fighting Systems from ASELSAN.

Based on information we received from MaxDefense Philippines, the residual amount was sufficient to pay for 2,808 sets of Night Fighting System, similar in composition to the sets delivered in the original contract.

The proposal to do a follow-on order was approved in 2016, with deliveries to be made by 2017-2018. 
This option was confirmed, with the agreement signed in late 2017.

Deliveries:

Based on the tender documents, the 1st batch of 2,232 units will be delivered within 210 calendar days from opening of Letter of Credit, and the 2nd batch of 2,232 units will be delivered within 420 calendar days from opening of Letter of Credit. 

It is assumed that the Letter of Credit was provided on the same day as the Notice to Proceed. Based on these requirements, the delivery of the original contracted items must all be completed by 20 September 2017.

Based on DND documents, the delivery was indeed completed by 20 September 2017, although the follow-on order for 2,808 units were scheduled for delivery by 2018.
 

One of the field unit commanders of the Philippine Army sent this to us, showing his issued ASELSAN A100 night vision monocular. This set was issued to him and members of his unit on May 2017. Photos exclusively shared to MaxDefense Philippines.


More Units Under 2nd List of Horizon 1?

As part of the original 2nd List of Horizon 1 phase projects submitted to the DND,  a requirement for 11,000 additional Night Fighting Systems were included for approval. 

But after review, it was found that the budget for this proposal was more suitable for use to acquire additional trucks including troop carriers, wreckers, water and fuel trucks for mobility, pistols for soldier's self defense, long range sniper rifles for long range engagements, and upgrades for the M113 armored personnel carrier.

Thus, the proposal to acquire 11,000 additional Night Fighting System was rejected, and instead it would be reconsidered for acquisition under the 2nd Stage of Horizon 2, or the Horizon 3 phases of the RAFPMP.

The Night Fighting System will become an integral part of the Philippine Army's Future Soldier program. Photo credits to the Philippine Army.


Project Summary:

Night Fighting System Acquisition Project (Horizon 1)

Note: edit as of 05 January 2021


* End User: Philippine Army (multiple units)

Quantity: 4,464 units + 2,808 units (follow-on)


* Modernization Phase: Horizon 1 Phase of RAFPMP


* Project ABC: Php712,069,099.69 (original) + Php403,930,900.31 (follow-on)


Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding (original), Negotiated Procurement (follow-on)


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


* SARO Release: TBA


* Winning Proponent: ASELSAN Elektronik Sanayi Ve Ticaret A.S (Turkey)

Product for Delivery: 
  Original Contract:
   - 4,464 units ASELSAN A100 night vision monocular with accessories, 
   - 4,464 units ASELSAN infrared aiming device, and 
   - 500 units laser zeroing device.

   Follow-on Order:
   - 2,808 units ASELSAN A100 night vision monocular with accessories,
   - 2,808 units ASELSAN infrared aiming device
   - undisclosed number of laser zeroing device.

* Contract Price: Php712,069,099.69 (original) + Php403,930,900.31 (follow-on)

* First post by MaxDefense: 19 March 2015

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag/s: #PANFSAcquisition


Status: Awarded to ASELSAN in early 2016, although contract and NTP was only released on July 2016. Delivery for original contract completed by 20 September 2017, with follow-on order finalized by late 2016 and delivered by 2018. PROJECT COMPLETED.

Philippine Army troops with ASELSAN A100 night vision monoculars and infrared aiming devices as part of their standard equipment. Photo credits to the Philippine Army.

===============

With all ASELSAN A100 night vision monoculars and accessories, infrared aiming device and laser zeroing device already delivered to the Philippine Army, MaxDefense and Philippine Defense Resource officially consider the Night Fighting System and Night Fighting System (follow-on) Acquisition Projects of the Philippine Army as COMPLETED.

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First edit and release: 05 January 2021
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource

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