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The Thing About Second-Hand Weaponry

A nation's armed forces have the desire to further enhance its capabilities to do its mandate which is to protect the country, its sovereignty, and its citizens. More unto that, it requires buying military equipment of sorts which includes second-hand ones.

The OV-10 Broncos are procured from former U.S. Military Stocks.
Courtesy of old timawa.net forum thru MaxDefense.
In discussing military or defense-related topics, there are instances that the words "second-hand weaponry" or "second-hand military hardware" comes in the picture. It goes with no surprise considering that the Philippines in its armed forces contains a handful of such types of weapons in its arsenal. 

It ranges from Helicopters to ships dating back to the Second World War as well as Frigates coming from the U.S. Coast Guard like the Del-Pilar class frigates and planes like OV-10 Broncos (as seen on the photo) or the C-130 planes wherein even the recent ones came from the U.S. Military Stocks.

Before the recent policies have been made with regards to the procurement of second-hand weaponry, the Revised AFP Modernization Program introduces several various improvements in which it comes with hopes that the military will enhance up to its required minimum credible deterrence needed to defend the nation. 

And in these kinds of improvements, it includes several military hardware that is procured as "brand new" or was built in a shipyard or an assembly line of a military factory which helps the armed forces improve its capabilities in complement the existing ones in inventory. Notable examples for newly-built military platforms include Philippine Navy MPACs and Tarlac-class LPDs as well as the FA-50PH of the Philippine Air Force. 

With these things, it is expected that there are more newly-built military builds to come especially that the second Horizon is fast approaching as it will be started by next year as well as the policy of the present administration that there will be no more second-hand hardware to procure, affecting various deals that are still working in-process that definitely involves second-hand ones like for example, the ROKS Chungju which is a Pohang-class corvette that was about to turn over to the Philippine Navy with its status is uncertain, with its fate being in the hands of the Philippine Government given the new policy which it defines its stance in terms of procuring military hardware.

With the Modernization process being on the pro as well as buying military hardware being a priority within the government, it is worthy to understand as to the points regarding the purchase of second-hand military equipment, its advantages and disadvantages, its benefits and curses, as well as other matters relating to the subject matter considering that this really means a lot in terms of purchasing weapon platforms for the military to flex its muscles in defending the whole nation and its citizens.

BRP Gregorio del Pilar is a former Coast Guard Cutter procured
under the former administration. Source
In this report obtained by GMA News dated June 3, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte said in a speech that his administration would no longer accept any second-hand military hardware, including the ones coming from the Philippines' closest ally the United States of America.

In that stance by the present administration, it is ascertained that they are more opted to purchase brand new which will enhance or improve the overall capability of the armed forces. Thus, by that sense, buying new hardware is a thing that there will be fewer worries with regards to a certain hardware's useful life since it was produced from the production line and delivers straight to the end-user, unlike second-hand ones. 

Just so we know, buying second hand is something being purchased that other armed forces or nation already utilized military hardware in service in which it consumes its useful life that really depreciates its value alongside being more prone to problems which typically involve wear and tear of the components in a piece of equipment.

Also given in the specified news report, the push to buy brand new is also given regardless of the greater cost that the government will shoulder should they will opt for it. The assessment that will be given here is that the administration seems to be willing to do it regardless of the cost that it will bring. 

Insofar as its application is concerned, there are little reports aside from existing deals like the Super Tucano deal that apparently, being finalized as well as new ammunitions like AGM-65 Mavericks coming from the U.S. It may definitely ascertain that all of those things will be witnessed upon as the Second Horizon will be starting next year where a bulk of Modernization Projects are allocated in this given step covering 2018-2022.

This stance of the government definitely affects the pending procurement projects that are involving Second-hand hardware like the ROKN Chungju, which is a Pohang-class Corvette that is given as an example in the introductory part of this article. Add to these, the chances of procuring assets from the United States will be lessened unlike before where the Philippines managed to procure three Coast Guard Cutters, several Armored Personnel Carriers, two newer C-130s, and several others.

And so in line to this topic, several points about purchasing second-hand hardware to be given considering that despite that its portion of life is used up, it is still useful in the sense that somehow it provides the military a platform to enhance its armed forces where such assets can still partake their respective duty as long as it is being maintained properly.

Several of these M-113s are sold through U.S. Foreign Military
Credits to the owner of the photo.
Given the present stance of the administration, there is definitely nothing wrong with the proposal to buy more brand new assets considering that with it comes the good intentions of further enhancing the Philippine Armed Forces with the fullest essence of the Revised AFP Modernization Program being in place. However, it is worthy to take note that opting for second-hand ones are also as good as well.

Several things are advantageous when it comes to procuring second hand which it is deemed helpful for certain armed forces to enhance its capabilities in a sense that its process will be done in the shortest of time where it will be used for gaining experience as well as for something that the armed forces to use while materialization is being done for newer hardware to procure where these equipment(s) are essential at present. 

To be specific on the ideas given in this paragraph, let us point out and to be specific as to the benefit of having second-hand weaponry.

1.  Second-hand equipment is a stop-gap platform.

Second-hand equipment is at times being used as a stop-gap platform where it will be used in service and conduct its mandate at a certain period. One will ask: What is the word "stop-gap"?

According to Merriam Webster, the word definitely means "something that serves as a temporary expedient". Simply speaking, that is to have a temporary solution to the problem until something more sophisticated comes along the way. The Del Pilar-class frigates are the primary example here where at present, the ships are doing its mandate to conduct sovereign patrols in the Philippines while more sophisticated vessels like the New Frigates from South Korea and countless others in the Sail Plan 2028 procurement projects are still in the planning or in the process. 

By that sense, it is still ideal for these ex-Hamilton cutters to be in the Philippine Service where these ships further enhance Naval patrols across national waters in the sense that its stay at sea is definitely longer in duration than vessels of the Navy especially the ones derived from the Second World War.

Add to that, having these former coast guard cutters in the service significantly improves the capability of the fleet where aside from its endurance, these platforms are a good staging point for the Navy before the procurement of more sophisticated platforms like the South Korean-made frigates.

2. Buying Second hand shortens transfer time.

Since the asset is already in service on other armed forces or simply being in stocks, transferring it after decommission and/or doing documentation will be done plus refurbishment, stripping, training, and other matters that vary on the terms of agreements of the deal.

What differs between this and procuring brand new assets is that the latter requires time to build in which its duration may vary on the number of units, financing, and also the terms, conditions, and other things that cover in the deal. 

Add to that the bidding process in which if based on the Philippine context, do take some time where each participating bidder needs to comply with the specifications of the ship in the lowest offer whenever possible. 

Meanwhile, the former, the procurement of second-hand assets only takes ample time which involves the transfer of ownership as well as repairs, training, and other matters that come from it. 

Taking the example is the Philippine Air Force's purchase of C-130Ts from the United States of America. These cargo aircraft were once part of the refueling/tanker operations of the United States Marine Reserve where it was decommissioned from duty and eventually reconfigured into transport aircraft which is what it is intended within its present service within the Philippine Air Force.

In the shorter transfer time, the armed forces enhanced its capabilities especially when areas of improvement are necessarily needed to cover up upon. Hence, it is as helpful that having second-hand assets needed to do their mandate for the meantime where, in line in the first point, will be an interim platform as better ones are being processed.

3. Second-hand weapons serve as a force multiplier

Also known as force multiplication, second-hand hardware plays the role as well as newly-made ones especially if the necessity is there for the armed forces to conduct its mandate which is to defend the nation.

In line with the first and second points in this article, this "force multiplier" idea is something that according to Changing Minds Website as something that further enhances the military's overall capabilities. 

Many things will multiply an armed forces' capability ranging from manpower to technology that determines the effectiveness of its fighting power varying to the way being used. 

Several examples include M-113s of the Philippine Army in which 28 of these are refurbished and configured into fire support vehicles as it was equipped with Remote-Controlled Weapons System produced by Elbit Systems Ltd of Israel. 

Another is the Del Pilar-class Frigates which improves the capabilities of the Philippine Navy aside from the first point stated here which is serving as a stop-gap as well as being a transitions platform in preparation for the crew to operate better, sophisticated ships. 

In fact, the ships will soon have its sensors upgraded in the form of SAAB Sea Giraffe radar which improves the ship's detection range which will be the most sophisticated in the fleet as of the present date.

Hence, despite the age, second-hands are still the force to be reckoned with wherein it can still pack a punch and carry out its function within the armed forces. Like the Indonesian F-16s with several being former U.S. Air Force stocks, capabilities are being enhanced as multiplication where, in line with the first and second points, these used units can complement newer assets which that hardware takes time to build whilst these only require shorter transfer periods.

Philippine Air Force will soon have A-29 Super Tucano that
will complement and soon, replace OV-10 planes. The latter
replaced AT-6 Texans which are also called "Tora-Toras".
Courtesy to its intended photo owner.
Taking note of the present policy of this administration once again, they are adamant to purchase more brand-new assets which definitely helps the armed forces at a long term of time wherein its usage will be utilized first-hand by the military, unlike second-hand weapons where other armed forces already utilized it for a certain duration in time which it also means wear and tear to the essential parts of the given equipment.

With regards to the maintenance, certain military equipment usually gets preventive maintenance checks and services which includes purchasing of spare parts to keep such kind of hardware operational and available should an operation with the highest necessity commenced. 

Both brand new and second-hand hardware share a bit with regards to maintaining them up considering that both are utilized where respective spare parts wore out as the time passes by where the viability of these weapons' life span varies on the availability of spares as well as commonalities shared between units wherein, several units are decommissioned and cannibalized to keep others working. 

Add to that the capabilities that both newly-built and second-hand possess varying to their respective purpose and design. These are the things that both platforms have found in common as well as the differences that were explicated on the given three points.

From the viewpoint of these things, all of the military assets the armed forces obtained regardless of age are useful as long as it serves its purpose wellMoreover, there are also considerations when it comes to procuring both old and new assets where it all depends on the standards and doctrines an organization like AFP upholds. 

Let us take note that, both brand new and second hand are being assessed by the end-user where the Defense Department, as well as the different branches of the AFP, have laid plans where both old and new assets are to be procured as part of the Revised AFP Modernization Program.


The Government's plan to procure more brand new assets and not accepting second-hand ones are in itself a sense of motivation for the eventual modernization of the Armed Forces even if it takes additional funding.

But to take note again, there is something about second-hand assets that are just as helpful as the newly-procured ones where both are giving its worth in the sense that with proper maintenance process, it will function as intended as well as to get used on the missions where these assets are giving its essential so as it determines the outcome of the battle together with the strategies employed by the planners of the ground as well as the troops that are executing battle tactics therein. 

With the points taken, older assets can be procured at the shortest time, being a stop-gap platform and a force multiplier where newer ones may soon complement and eventually, takes its place.

All is coming with aspiration as well as an inspiration that the Philippine Armed Forces will eventually modernize its capabilities and equipment where they can cope up with the need to defend the country from various threats like terrorism, local communist insurgency, and foreign threats that may happen like in the disputed waters of the West Philippine Sea. With this comes the success of the Filipino people as a nation that will definitely fight for its sovereignty, all for freedom.

Knowing the Hanwha Naval Shield Integrated Combat Management System

Military warships are armed with various weapons suit designed to destroy any threats from the sea and air as well as underwater. But all of these weapons will not function in unison without a Combat Management System which comes with many variations, a thing that defines a warship's sensory and firepower capabilities wherein it dictates an outcome over a sea battle. Such is a description of what modern warfare is at present - a system-oriented one.

The sample structure of Naval Shield in a Korean FF-X Frigate.
From Hanwha Website.
The Philippine Navy will soon have its new frigates to be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) where it will be the first ships in the fleet to carry sophisticated weapons which it is a far improvement from the old hulls in inventory that are derived from the Second World War. These ships are part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program initiated for Horizon one which it opts for two units of such ships with four more follow-up orders in the succeeding horizons with the follow-up proceedings being at the discretion of the Armed Forces (AFP).

Partial reports from various defense outlets including this one indicated that the Combat Management System to be used will be the Thales TACTICOS CMS which was prominently used by numerous ships within various navies across the world. It was not until the news coming from a certain page about the change which shows up partially as a show of disappointment within the ranks that the said Combat Management System, apparently speaking, is different from the expected platform as well as allegedly not being up to the specifications given for such system. Honestly speaking, this article isn't meant to add fuel to the fire or to create division across varying opinions over the systems or the Frigate Acquisition Project itself considering that by nature, the Bids and Awards Committee and the Technical Working Group are to do their jobs thoroughly although the possibility that the root of those disappointing things may take place. 

Instead, the main focus for this entry lies to the Combat Management System both the Defense Department and Hyundai Heavy Industries through Hanwha have agreed upon where it is used within the Republic of Korean Navy and several nations like Malaysia. The said system is called "Naval Shield ICMS".

Hanwha Systems (website)
The screen of a Naval Shield CMS (Baseline 2) Module.
Screengrab from Naval Recognition YT channel
The company, Hanwha Systems is a South Korean company specialized in making defense technology which is meant to defend the home nation as well as to be part of the global defense community doing its business to its notable clients in the industry which definitely includes the Philippines.

If we are to check the history of the company, Hanwha System is part of the larger company which is Hanwha Techwin or what was once known as Samsung Techwin where Samsung sold this security division to the Hanwha group in 2014. So as to the development of the Naval Shield itself, it is worthy to take note that the company at the time of the bidding is known as "Samsung Thales" which is a partnership between Samsung Techwin and Thales Group

The changes of company structure throughout the bid from Samsung Thales to Hanwha Thales and eventually to simply Hanwha Systems is something that makes things partly-bit problematic especially that the frigate bid takes place as these changes took place. Hence, the in-depth details about the Samsung/Hanwha-Thales relationship are provided as follows from information gathered through in-depth research:

The year 2001. 
- The Defense business of Samsung Electronics transformed into Samsung Thales as the result of Thales Group's Investment to the said business division which makes it a joint venture in terms of specialized defense technology and the developments that took place on its timeline. This is the structure of the defense business division until 2014. Source

Let us take note that the first stage of the bidding process for the frigates started in the year 2013 which the first bidding specifications are released at that time. Hence, it can be said at that time that it was Samsung Thales will be the one to provide the Combat Management Systems should a Korean frigate won at that time where it actually took place three years later which on an assessment before reports have broken out, were to compete with Thales TACTICOS system. Add to these, the Naval Shield is one of the products made in this joint venture which in itself is derived from an earlier version of Thales TACTICOS as the details about the said CMS to be discussed throughout this article. Let us continue about the timeline:

The year 2014-2015.
- Samsung Group sells its chemical and defense firms which include Samsung Techwin and Samsung Thales to Hanwha. There are reports about it which it eventually took place in June 2015.  These actions were made in part of the large restructuring of Samsung's business structure as its chairman went hospitalized. Source

At that time, the partnership of Samsung and Thales are gone together in the sale of the divisions and eventually, Hanwha became Thales' new partner with regards to the defense-related development in which it may include the ones that have done in the old partnership. From here, what was once Samsung Thales became Hanwha Thales which, it takes a couple more time before Thales decided to sell all of its shares of the partnership to Hanwha.

The year 2016.
Hanwha is to buy Thales' stake on the Joint Venture worth $257 million. This is after the Thales exercising their "put option" with regards to their investments in the said venture. From this point, until October of the said year, Hanwha and Thales end their partnership eventually. Obtained from outlets Reuters and Korea Herald. Links are posted for both pages, respectively. [link] [link]

So as to take note about the date, October 2016 is also the date where Hyundai Heavy Industries signed the contract for the Frigate Acquisition Project which the shipbuilder passed after their post-qualification assessments. With regards to the reports of that time, the Combat Management System that was offered is the Thales TACTICOS with Hanwha Naval Shield being a second possibility at that time until it was revealed at the present day this article is published that the latter will be used for the said project.

The timeline alone especially on the span the frigate acquisition project is at a bidding (2013-2016), the partnership structure at those times are so drastic when it comes to the changes made wherein it significantly affects projects like this especially on the points of the technicality of the joint venture itself (the name of the partnership may be considered as a factor) in which it is one of the reasons on the varying opinions across the defense community aside from the Combat Management System which we cannot tackle if further from here.

Hence, since that Hanwha System's chance to supply their Naval Shield ICMS to the Philippine Frigate gets increasing as the time passes by, it is worthy to discuss the system itself "the way information is presented by reputable sources across the web."

Note: Since the nature of the discussion is extremely technical by nature, taking it detail-to-detail especially on its versatility will not be thoroughly discussed considering that such information is only for authorized people to have. Hence, it will be worthy instead to tackle more on its fundamentals as well as the information that is provided publicly.

This is the Korean Navy Incheon-class frigate. Most of the ships
in their navy are operated with Naval Shield ICMS from then
Samsung Thales and eventually, from Hanwha.
The joint venture between the Samsung Electronics and Thales and eventually to Hanwha before it ended has enhanced its research and development with regards to defense-related technology which help the South Korean Armed Forces to improve its capabilities into its present strength. Among the projects that come out from the said joint venture is the Naval Shield ICMS in which it derives from Thales TACTICOS.

The said Integrated Combat Management System made by Hanwha traces back to the earlier version of Thales TACTICOS wherein it was then known as the "Baseline Zero" in which it serves as the basis for the system to get improved and enhanced in which different versions derived from the "Baseline Zero" CMS developed by the joint venture are introduced in the Korean Navy. To provide a clear version about this, a diagram was provided for by the Journal of Society of Korean Industrial and Systems Engineering where they wrote a thesis which it is in connection to Naval Combat Systems or CMS that is developed for the Korean Navy. 

Given the details of the diagram, it shows that the Baseline Zero, being the foundation of the Korean indigenous CMS are being improved on its span of time dated back 2000s which in it developed into various versions that eventually become the Naval Shield ICMS. From Baseline Zero, there are three levels that are developed with Baseline Two being the most widely-used version among these systems which reports suggest that it will be the ones to install in the Philippine Navy ships, increasing the number of operators to three alongside the South Korean Navy and the Royal Malaysian Navy through their training ship KD Gagah Samudera. Naval Shield was introduced by Samsung Thales in 2009.

Now one may ask: "What weapons can be attached for a certain Combat Management System like Naval Shield?" By nature, CMS is flexible, varying upon the ship's design as well as the weapons fit which it can be compatible depending on its complexities. Add to that some realistic points that the Philippine Navy is a new entrant to this field of technological sophistication were having it in a ship are enough for a gain to the capabilities of the fleet (Check our article about Combat Management Systems here). However, with its complexities always comes some doubts especially on the question of "compatibility" considering that the Naval Shield ICMS is presently fitted on Korean ships with various weapons platform being integrated to it in which it serves the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) where weapons platform other than the ones within the Korean fleet are doubtful if they are to be fitted properly. Having doubts does not mean downplaying the potential of the system developed by Hanwha where like Thales TACTICOS, these systems aren't tested in an actual conflict where areas of improvement may get presented upon later on. Speaking of the systems' versatility, one cannot determine about it unless someone works for Hanwha or Thales are brave enough for it to be disclosed.

The mere fact that the Naval Shield ICMS serving most of the active, combat ships in the Korean Navy, it is considered "eligible" within the scope of the R.A. 10349 of the Revised AFP Modernization Program where it was and still used by its country of origin which is the Republic of Korea or by two nations if the Royal Malaysian Navy is included in the equation. Add to that is a nice logical assessment that since active Korean ships in service are operating with Naval Shield ICMS, it means that it has reliability considering that such system is in use where their higher ranks have trusted the system so as to the premise that such Naval Combat Systems are installed in the first place.

Meanwhile, Hanwha Systems is set to develop its Combat Management System product into something more sophisticated in which this system is indirectly called the "Baseline Three". Just to take note, Hanwha Systems recently showcased its technology especially the Naval Shield ICMS Baseline 2 which is to be used as well as the Baseline 3 that is under development in South Korea's MADEX 2017 or Maritime Defense Industry Exhibition which took place in the city of Busan. 
Hanwha showcases both of its Combat Management Systems, the
NS ICMS Baseline 2 (left) and Baseline 3 (right). Photo Source
Having such system will definitely gain in the part of the Philippine Navy considering that this is a sophisticated technology that is far advanced than the remaining World War 2 vessels the fleet presently obtains. Despite the potential that this product made by Hanwha produced as well as its fine reputation in South Korean Navy service, it is worth to wait, see as well as to be vigilant and to consider all scenarios that will make and break the frigate project. So far, it is a bit rocky yet still moving.


As being said here earlier, a combat management system are considered flexible in nature which it may vary in setup and weapon platforms choice in which it depends on the ship structure and other add-ins as per project planners like the Bids and Awards Committee and the Technical Working Group who spend time researching and brainstorming about the outcome of a project like the still-materializing Frigate Acquisition Project.

In connection to the Naval Shield Integrated Combat Management Systems, it is worthy to consider about the weapons platforms that are fitted on the South Korean Navy ships so as to have a glimpse as well as a collective idea with regards to which weapons systems in service the Naval Shield ICMS is presently fitted for. At this detail, the manufacturer may be opted to get the system compatible with various platforms in the market. Hence, things may get different as time progresses on.

Take into the context the FFX-1 Incheon-class Frigates in service. The said class of ships are equipped with SSM-700K Haesung (Sea Star) missiles, 127mm/L62 Mk 45 Mod. 4 naval guns, Phalanx 20mm Close-in weapons system or CIWS, and RIM-116B Rolling Airframe Missiles. Add to that the K-745 Blue Shark torpedoes armed in its torpedo tubes, Thales Smart-S Mk2 medium-to-long range surveillance radar, sonar (unknown), identification: friend or foe or "IFF" system and long-range electro-optical targeting system. These are simply pertaining to weapons platform that is attached to each of Incheon-class frigates serving the Korean Navy and these weapons platforms is ranging from interesting to unsurprising. Interesting in the sense that a certain Thales surveillance radar can be fitted in the Naval Shield ICMS with normal results, and unsurprising that several weapons platform aforementioned may found itself on both P-159 or P-160, which pertains to Hyundai Heavy Industries' hull designation on the Philippine Navy Frigates.

So as to have it a bit further, take in the context the FFX-II Daegu-class Frigates where, like the Incheon-class, are also equipped with Naval Shield ICMS and aside from that, it is also equipped with various weapons platform that is also available in the FFX-1 like the 127mm Mk 45 Mod. 4 Naval Gun, Phalanx 20mm CIWS, as well as the one that are found in this ship like the Indigenous-made vertical missile launcher that are capable to launch Cheolmae-2 medium surface-to-air missiles. In such a manner of observation for the ships' weapons composition format, the Koreans aside having an indigenous Naval Combat System like the Naval Shield ICMS are also armed with Korean-made weapons aforementioned like the SSK-700K and the K-745 Blue Shark torpedoes. Thus, it makes the ships within ROKN to have a western-local mix of technology in which the Naval Shield will definitely cope up so as having it being in the service.
Specs of the Frigates as collated in a list from a
PDFF Forum Member alpha_delta.
So as to the composition of the weapons for the Philippine Navy based on series of reports coming out separately, it goes to show that the image for a Philippine Guided Missile-firing frigate is slowly taking its shape where sooner or later, the first cutting of steel for its hull may take place should the design phase will be completed. There is more time to take with regards to gather updates about the project especially, in particular, the roles and capabilities of a combat system like the Naval Shield Combat Management System once it will get commissioned along with the ships it is attached in.

Hence, while the project still keeps rolling on itself at play, being vigilant as well as being patient are very important things to consider, as well as to understand about the composition of a fully-armed warship especially the system that runs it. In that case for the Philippine frigate, it will be the Hanwha System's Naval Shield Integrated Combat Management System.


It was more than a year since the contract signing of Department of National Defense and Hyundai Heavy Industries which it pertains to the procurement of the new Philippine Frigates so as it will be delivered by the year 2020.

At first, partial reports suggest that the Combat Management System that will be running the ships' weapons platforms will be the Thales TACTICOS. However, this was revealed later on that it will be Hanwha's Naval Shield Integrated Combat Management System (Baseline 2) which it will install on the Philippine Navy future frigates which have Hyundai Heavy Industries' project designation numbers P-159 and P-160. The Korean-made CMS already marks its fine reputation within the ROKN in particular to its Incheon and Daegu-class Frigates with project designations FFX-1 and FFX-2, respectively. It was developed jointly by a joint venture of Samsung and Thales prior to the 2015 sale of Samsung's defense division to Hanwha and the 2016 "put option" made by Thales which in turn sell its investments to Hanwha. Despite having "less" users than the Thales TACTICOS, Hanwha Systems is gaining a bit where aside from the Royal Malaysian Navy, their Naval Shield ICMS may find its way to the Philippine Navy frigates, which will gain the capabilities of the fleet where it will be the first for the Navy to incorporate combat management systems on their ships.

Hence, it is a good thing to have that South Koreans have produced their own Combat Management System which it really helps their navy ships to function with all of the weapons attached to a system they considered "their own". Add to that, the South Korean defense industries are in the attempts to gain ground on the international stage where in the case of the Philippines, Korean-made ships are on its way aside from the number of Korean-made assets that are already with the Armed Forces such as the KAI FA-50 Fighting Eagles. With these, we can only hope that Hanwha Systems and their Naval Shield ICMS will further prove its worth aside from the ones incorporated in the Korean Navy where expectations and standards can be met or to be exceeded upon.

Knowing the Role of Philippine International Trade Corp on Defense Procurement Deals

The Philippine Procurement on military equipment is usually done by the Department of National Defense itself wherein from bidding to government-to-government deals, they are the ones who directly get involved in it. It will get change as it will involve a mediator when it comes to negotiations which definitely includes the procurement of projects in the scope of the Modernization Program.

PITC or the Philippine International Trading Corporation
will be at the forefront of defense deals soon.
Photos from different owners.
The Department of National Defense or DND, at the first years of the revised AFP Modernization Program implementation, is the one who negotiates for military equipment that is slated as per the plans of each and every branch of the Armed Forces like the Navy, the Air Force and the Army which are based on their perceived needs.

With the Horizon 2 coming in months ahead, here comes the news reported by both the People's Television and IHS Janes about the signing of Memorandum of Understanding or MOU between the Department of National Defense and Department of Trade and Industry's sub-agency the Philippine International Trading Corporation in which it will aim the facilitation of procurement as well as trade services, government-to-government deals, and other matters which it may mean better negotiations with the supplier or provider to the government which it aligns to the agreements and specifications the Defense Department sets.

The said undertaking gives a piece of good news where military procurement deals will be helped upon in the sense that all considerations are in place as well as both the supplier and the Defense Department will have their terms complied with regards to the specifications, terms of payment, and other agreement that is attached to the deal.


Philippine International Trade Corp (website: http://www.pitc.gov.ph/) is a government-owned and controlled corporation which in itself is attached under the Department of Trade and Industry which, as a state trading company has a role of partnering local entrepreneurs and industries to promote globally which it may involve promoting their goods and services as well as serving as a guide for foreign businesses to invest in the country.

To summarize their aim which as specified in the "About Us" section of their webpage, their primary goal is to contribute their 40-year expertise in terms of trade negotiations with professionalism and integrity being their main pillars for them to do their mandate. 

This is definitely good since their role focuses more on binding trade agreements and strengthening business relations to various clients which in it brings benefit to the businesses as well as to the stakeholders and the country itself. 

The creation of the Philippine International Trade Corporation traces back to the Marcos administration where Presidential Decree no. 1071 was approved back then which created this company. Being expanded as a prime mover in the expansion of the Philippine trade, their services and expertise may now be used to improve the capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines through the said memorandum of agreement that was signed upon.

To understand further and deeper about the point of the deal between the Defense Department and PITC is about, it is worthy to gather knowledge and understand about the way military equipment is procured where, just like in any government-related transactions, involves a step-to-step process that is in adherence to procurement laws.

Electronic Procurement Systems like PhilGEPS aids for transparent
as well as an effective communications channel for the bidders to
know and participate.
For more in-depth reading, click this detail on the Government Procurement Reform Act or R.A. 9814. Presented below will be a summarized version intended for defense-related purposes.

Procurement or purchase of equipment for the government where it includes military platforms are governed by laws that are intended to supplement as well as to regulate the process to have the best equipment (whenever possible) suited for the job where it is to be done or materialized within the stipulated timeline as well as to get within the specifications and the budget provided. These things do come with integrity, transparency, and accountability in mind where taxpayer's contributions are felt being used on worthy projects such as the ones slated in the Revised AFP Modernization Program.

One way to purchase equipment for the government especially for the Philippine military is through competitive bidding wherein its definition, the supplier, manufacturer or contractor will come up an offer which is to compete with other bidders where measurements include determining the Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC), specifications or goods in legal terms, a timeline of delivery and other step-by-step processes which by nature upon the stipulation of the law shall be determined by a certain agency's Bids and Awards Committee or BAC

The Bids and Awards Committee plays a huge role in having a successful bid and eventually having fully-effective equipment units for various government agencies to use to conduct to the things they are mandated. It is their duty to conduct bidding and its processes like pre-procurement and pre-bid conferences, evaluating the bid details, undertaking post-qualification proceedings, and finally, awarding the contract to the winning bidder. Add to these things which are done step-by-step which the process is stringent to determine the bidder which will bag the project, let us consider that the BAC can create a Technical Working Group or TWG which consists usually of experts from financial, legal, and defense equipment or systems in the case of the military where they are exchanging ideas, gathering research papers and comes up in an idea which subsystems that can be fitted a single platform like a warship or determining the ideal platform for a certain military branch to have with considerations for logistics, spare parts, and the budget for fuel consumption and maintenance.

Hence, these things need to be in place considering that it is the bounding laws implied by the government to purchase its needed equipment or various weapons platforms in the case of the military. Add to that, the projects under the revised AFP Modernization Program are slated upon by planners in the ranks, and the ones involved in it wherein it can get change by the time goes on. 

The military planners, particularly the BAC and the TWG which provides assistance are the ones who make military procurement things a reality where they provide indirect support for the personnel in the front lines in a way that they provided the platforms needed for them to do their mandate. Having these groups doing their jobs thoroughly, and there will be nothing to worry about with regards to weapons purchases.


A certain bids and awards committee in a Government Agency like the Department of National Defense and PITC are related in terms of dealing with third parties like weapons manufacturers, suppliers, and contractors which both are opting for negotiations where the former and the latter have different purposes and approach.

To further connect the dots, only the Philippine International Trade Corporation can implement the Counter-trade Policy on behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry [link]. This arrangement is existing upon the creation of it through Executive Order No. 120 of 1993 under the Presidency of Former Pres. Fidel Ramos. And speaking of the said executive order for Counter-trade Policy, it definitely emphasizes providing tech transfer and industrial growth in strategic industries which includes defense matters aside from improving economic development which is the main purpose of the said executive order. Being a partner of the Defense Department in the counter-trade program, it goes with hope that a recently-signed memorandum of understanding that further bind the Department of National Defense and PITC will open greater opportunities for both sides to help or assist with one another to further achieve the goals of Modernizing the Armed Forces which is definitely planning on purchasing military equipment from numerous foreign defense companies across the globe. 

In this sense, the PITC may play a key role as a mediator or rather, the bridge between the Defense Department and various weapons suppliers that in there goes with the hopes and opportunities that negotiations will get on smoothly which it is helpful in terms of settling things that may have agreed upon considering if there is a deal that may take place in the future. 


Such undertaking like signing a Memorandum of Agreement between PITC and DND alongside the Department of Trade and Industry is a welcoming action which in it may derive endless possibilities and potential that it may bring for the better economic development of the country as well as for its national security.

Furthermore, it also goes in line with the Revised AFP Modernization Program where military equipment required to attain minimum deterrence is being planned and slated for materialization wherein it goes with the hopes that the armed forces will further enhance its capabilities to conduct its mandate. 

Also, it is worth the understanding about the role of PITC as well as the inner workings of the Philippine Procurement law which provide the Bids and Awards Committee the mandate together with the assistance from its Technical Working Group are doing their part and making their best out for the fruition of the project that may eventually be turning it into reality should a purchase went well where it went smoothly through the procurement process.

Hence, this undertaking between a government department and a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) specialized in promoting trade is something that we will be watching about where the agreement may see its application sometime in the future. 

And as far as the period of time this article is written is concerned, it is now less than two months until Second Horizon will start the next year 2018. Time will tell about this agreement being applied in defense deals, but with the AFP Modernization Program keeps on rolling, the hopes and dreams of attaining the minimum credible defense will remain there as always alongside economic growth, life alleviation from poverty, motivation, and inspiration for a better status within the family, the community, the city, and the nation. Inspire More!

The AIM-9L Sidewinder Purchase and Its Responsible Use

The Philippine Air Force is soon to have missiles where once again, they can shoot planes out of the sky. It may be the significant step there is since the re-introduction of the fighter jets, but there are more things to work out for credible airspace.

The FA-50PH isn't toothless anymore. Photo from Efrain Morota.
Since when the last F-5A/Bs were retired more than a decade ago, there go the capabilities of the Philippine Air Force to enforce airspace patrols which is a necessity to keep the skies safe from intruders. This was then resurrected from the dead when the FA-50PH Lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) jets from South Korea are delivered to the Philippine Air Force with the last batch of the said arrived months earlier.

Aside from the reports of these jets used into action ranging from Butig, Lanao del Sur to Marawi City as well as the reports of air to ground missiles like AGM-65s being delivered from the United States (see sample model at the photo above), here goes the report that many have been waiting for: The procurement of AIM-9L missile from Raytheon's extension company in Germany in the form of Diehl Defense.

This was reported by the government itself through its state media outlet Philippine News Agency dated September 6. There are no specific numbers as to how many rounds are procured which also brought due to security reasons, but this goes with the assurance that the Philippine Air Force will once again capable to defend the skies where it can shoot any intruders illegally entering the airspace. 

This is seen as a significant step for the efforts of modernizing the organization from an internal-based one to a territorial-based air force specialized in defending the skies with numerous defense systems and equipment that will get materialized as the years goes by as per Flight Plan program. Just so for us to know, there are many things to get materialized to start with.

AIM-9L I-1. From Wikimedia Commons
Developed in the 1950s, Raytheon together with U.S. Military through the U.S. Navy helped together to see the birth of the Sidewinder series at what is today Naval Weapons Center, China Lake California. 

The AIM-9L is younger than the 1960s-era AIM-9Bs that the old Philippine Air Force F-5A/Bs have used and seen in the first photo here from Efrain Noel Morota. This version of the sidewinder was developed in 1977 where it is designed to attack at all angles including head-on. At present, this is manufactured by Raytheon through its partner in Germany which is the Diehl Defense. Being a bit sophisticated from its earlier brother which is the B version, this is something that will greatly enhance the capabilities of the Air Force especially the FA-50PH in which, once fitted by these missiles, will be armed to the teeth. These missiles are infrared-based where it gets through its target with the help of its infrared signature especially from the engines of an aircraft.

This missile is simply the beginning of what is to come as the Philippine Air Force, just like the rest of the armed forces is getting enhanced as the result of the AFP Modernization Program. And with this, there is a long, long way to go for the armed forces to achieve their minimum credible defense posture.

See Flight Plan Details here.
This is the process or rules of engagement with regards to implementing PADIZ or Philippine
Air Defense Identification Zone. (See details above this photo
for more info)
As being said here, there are more things to be done where the procurement of systems ranging from radars and sensors to Multi-role fighters are getting materialized to enhance the capability of the Air Force to enhance PADIZ or the Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone which will cover the whole nation in a status called Area Readiness 1 by the year 2028.

Just to take note, the emphasis isn't always about the military equipment alone nor to its capabilities it may bring that assures that the airspace is not breached and are safe. To explain the graph above, there are specific steps which are called the Rules of Engagement or ROE which may serve as a guide as to the assessment of the nature of the threat as well as the approach about the nature of how to handle the threat properly.

For starters or those who have little idea about ROE, it all starts when an intruding aircraft entering the identification zone is detected by a defense radar or sensors which it may exhibit any suspicious attributes which can be ranged from its signature, its communications, or its flight path like entering a restricted portion of the airspace. If the said aircraft wasn't that responsive as what the radar controllers have expected, it is the turn of patrol crafts and AWACS or airborne early warning and control systems to identify the aircraft whether it may be fix-wing or rotary, civilian or military, the origin of the nation, IFF or Identification: Friend or Foe and other information needed by the military for its reports. The identification by AWACS or patrol aircraft at several circumstances can be done by radar controllers from the ground which makes this step optional.

After this, it is now the turn of jet interceptors to scramble jets and intercept the aircraft in question. The timetable given to the pilots to intercept is at the shortest time possible where the fighter jets, whether it may be lead-in fighter trainers of multi-role fighters shall reach the target aircraft to check the aircraft at a closer view. At that point, if the aircraft is still not responded and continues to act suspiciously, then the last step of this process will be neutralizing the target. This can be done by either ground-based missile batteries or by intercepting fighter jets as a given command from ground control.

These are the step-by-step procedures that a pilot shall make when engaging with a potential adversary in flight so that there will be no miscalculations possible will take place. Moreover, this is to emphasize coordinated, restrained, and highly-disciplined use of force for the pilots to follow to advert any shoot-out from the sky which eventually becomes the fire-starter for a larger, unanticipated conflict that destroys lives.

See more: U.S. Military Operations: Law, Policy and Practice by Geoffrey S. Com,  Rachel VanLandingham, and Shane Reeves.

Rules of Engagement in action: Take note of the Royal Air Force jet
escorting the Russian Tu-95 "Bear" plane. Source from British MOD.
One notable and the most common example is the intercept made by notable air forces like in the photo shown wherein a British Royal Air Force intercepted and escorted the Russian Air Force (Военно-воздушные cилы России) and its Tupolev Tu-95 "Bear" Strategic Bomber.

To understand further the fundamentals of how Rules of Engagement Works even in the most critical situations, let us quote the commentary made in Defense-RP by one of its members:

Here's a quick and dirty guide to the other sets.

In peacetime, if you happen to be flying with a live weapon (rare for most air forces), the ROE is Weapons Tight.

Weapons Hold is usually the ROE when entering a potentially hostile zone, but a formal declaration of war does not exist. 

The dilemma with Weapons Hold is you cannot let The Other Guy get a solution or firing position on you. That includes entering a certain(sic) weapons range while he has an advantageous or aggressive position. That requires a VERY COOL HEAD and years of experience in interpreting another aircraft's movements and translating that into intentions. The PAF today in terms of pilot knowledge has plenty of cool but has to start learning ACM again to get the latter.

That's why when most Air Forces meet each other in open skies, the tendency is NOT to point weapons or noses at each other.

The PAF has shown professionalism over time, the Sidewinders will give them comfort that they can defend themselves and if necessary, undertake lawful orders to shoot down threats as needed. Beyond that, more training, more training, and more training. 

In our understanding about this matter, the main point of establishing Rules of Engagement for an aircraft is a necessity in order not to worsen national relations as well as not to provoke an overall conflict which by nature is unfavorable devastation on all sides where properties and lives are destroyed by simply making a mistake or creating a huge misunderstanding upon the actions made by pilots in a pursuit. In this, parameters like the rules of engagement on all fronts - land, sea, and air are being made to lessen disastrous results. Read this to see what we really mean.

Simply speaking, a certain pilot flying an aircraft fully armed with guns and missiles such as the Sidewinder shalt observe weapons hold so as not to provoke the intercepted aircraft while not letting himself get caught within the firing position of the other aircraft. In other words, the pilot at best shall defend himself and the plane he flies while doing his mandate of protecting the skies by applying his skills responsibly against other aircraft in the best nonprovocative manner possible. It is at best to determine the intentions of the intercepted aircraft wherein it exhibits professionalism and skills required which are incurred through the years of training.

Connecting the dots, it may get the justification as to why the government is opted for Lead-in fighter trainers first rather than going direct to procure multi-role fighters as well as gathering experience that it corresponds to which it was not put in practice throughout the years since the retirement of F-5s. Add to that the Philippine Air Force's plan to join numerous international air training exercises like Pitch Black, Cobra Gold, and Red Flag in 2020, 2018, and 2022 respectively where, air forces participated and meet each other in the sky which, aside from inter-operability benefits, it is also helpful for the pilots who participated to train with foreign counterparts which may include several intercept matters that for sure, rules of engagement are being exhibited therein that enhances the professionalism, the skills, and the procedures are taken in experience which is needed by the pilot that can be gone handy later on.


The development of the capabilities of the Philippine Air Force as part of the AFP Modernization program still resumes with new military equipment now getting into the inventory that enhances the mandate to secure the nation like the AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles that are soon to get fitted in the FA-50PH jets, getting it armed to the teeth.

But to take it to note, military equipment procurement also comes with training and familiarization of the platforms given. In the case of the Philippine Air Force now with the FA-50s can attack against any intruders, it is worthy to take note and understand the importance of ROEs or "Rules of Engagement" each personnel observes from the pilots to the radar controllers wherein these set of procedures decreases the risk of starting a war as well as to control provocations where the approaches are within the rules and are under control.

To summarize it up, it is worthy to enhance both the equipment and the skills so as these things are helpful as the whole organization is taking its route for a better, world-class, minimum credible armed forces with professionalism in approach as well as in skills. Simply speaking, it all goes with this simple quote: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.




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