• Knowing the Philippine Army's BO-105 Helicopters

    These donated helicopters operated by the Philippine Army's Aviation Regiment provides much needed field support, especially on medevac-related evacuation and other logistical concerns.

  • Updates on the PAF's C-130J-30 Super Hercules Aircraft

    The Philippine Air Force, for the first time, sets to have at least three (3) brand new cargo aircraft from Lockheed Martin, which is done through a commercial deal between the two entities.

  • Phil. Army's Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge Project

    This AVLB with a Merkava IV chassis serves as the first platform of such type for the Philippine Army to use, and may set as a reference for the service branch’s future armored vehicle plans and programs later on.

  • Navantia's Submarine Offer to the Philippine Navy

    The Spanish shipbuilder has offered its submarine offer for the Philippine Navy's submarine project. How will it fare compare to its competitors like France's Naval Group and South Korea's Hanwha Ocean?

  • Knowing the AW-109 Helicopter of both PAF and PN

    Both the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy possess this type of helicopter that basically define as a first step towards a more capable Armed Forces, implemented during the First Horizon of the AFP Modernization Program.

  • The Phil. Army's Interest on the FGM-148 Javelin ATGM

    The Philippine Army is improving its firepower capabilities, and it witnessed the performance brought by this anti-tank missile during the Balikatan 2023 Exercises. Now they are considering it for their systems.

  • Know More About Us

    Just kindly click this link to understand more about our resolve of providing knowledge and perspective in relation to the Philippine defense and other related topics or discussions.

BRP Tarlac Post-Collision

The BRP Tarlac is one of the largest ships in the Philippine Navy where it can carry up to 500 troops and conduct amphibious operations. However, a situation caused it to somewhat dented a bit to the very hull that rethinks the way of defending them. Just wondering that it comes with a question: "What is it today? Is it that totally fixed?" Albeit the fewer reports, but this topic will simply make an assurance where things are deemed alright.

Russian navy personnel aboard RFS Varyag while BRP Tarlac is in
the background. From Arjhay Tabios, DefensePH FB Group Page.
The BRP Tarlac is one of the largest ships the Philippine Navy has at present where its sister-ship BRP Davao del Sur is on its way from PT PAL Indonesia where these ships were made. They are categorized as Landing Platform Docks designed for deploying and conducting amphibious operations as well as command and control platform during the war and being a floating hospital as well as a support logistics platform in times of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) situations. These features in which may find helpful not only for the navy but as well for the government where it will serve the country in various features aforementioned.

However, months after being commissioned in service, the BRP Tarlac collides with a Tanker named Tosca off the coast of Zamboanga City's Western Mindanao Command where the ship's hull takes minor yet significant damage in which good enough, it only hit the front part of the ship as well as on its sides that dents of the collision are clearly seen after it took place where it is not as worse in the sense that one may worry if the ship was disabled or not.
The dent after the collision. From Philippine Navy via Sunstar Website.
Even after the incident, the Philippine Navy said that the BRP Tarlac despite all of the damages given is still operational at that time wherein its role can still be given out at that period given. Apparently, no one was hurt on that incident. This is a glad thing to see that the ship is still afloat and functioning well in the sense that it is just still months old from being commissioned as one of the largest ships in the fleet that enhances the Philippine Navy's mandate not only to defend waters at battle but as well to further improve its logistics chain which also consists of ships like BRP Tagbanua, the Balikpapan-class LCUs from Australia, among others.

No more dents! From Brylle Osete.
Last year, Indonesian shipbuilder and BRP Tarlac-class maker PT PAL Persero confirms to IHS Janes in ADAS 2016 that rectification works for the said ship will be initiated with the worst-case scenario of major repairs being considered where it will be sent back to Indonesia for it to undertake. So far, as other defense outlets' reports are concerned, it was done in the country with the help of PT PAL technicians where the ship's dents are fixed where the said photos especially the ones during the RFNS Varyag's visit confirms it where various photographers like Arjhay and Brylle capture it to end questions once and for all.
The hull was now fixed. From Brylle Osete.
More unto this, before the ship is seen docked aside with the visiting Russian cruiser, it was seen in Zamboanga in action weeks before wherein this newly-repaired ship was deemed active in its mandate where it was deployed on areas it needs the most. More unto this, several photos about the ship before its docking are out where various individuals managed to take photos where at that time, the said ship was seen clearly off the coast of the city. Also to take note that the collision also took place in the said city that causes minor damage where the point of this topic is taken. This in which, gives a glimpse of where the said ship is active in its duties.

More unto this, it was even shared by one of our contributors in PDA like Je R Ome where the said ship was spotted just off Manila South Harbor Anchorage where it also shows its shape where the dent on the other side was deemed fixed as the way it is before the Russian cruiser visit which has provided harder evidence. These said photos were sent last April 13, 2017. Check them out right here.

In such an incident like a collision that happens to this ship last year, it raises doubts on the overall security of the ship where at present, it was equipped with light weapons like this .50cal machine gun mount where defense-wise, it simply cannot suffice the needs. The deeper meaning lying here is that hard-kill defensive weapons like a dedicated close-in weapons system (CIWS), as well as other weapons suite like a main 76mm cannon, series of decoys, and other defense amenities, are more of a necessity considering that such ship being deployed in the Sulu Sea just like last year needs to defend itself from potential threats where the incident gives a hard lesson to obtain knowledge about such a matter. 

Apparently, arming it with various weapons is planned as a separate purchase or in that case, as a Fitted For, But Not With (FFBNW) provision. And in this, no details are given about it yet aside from the planning as per discussion across defense forums. Hence, the materialization of it remains to be seen wherein it comes with hopes that these ships, being huge military assets of the Philippine Navy, shall be capable of defending themselves where these Landing Platform Docks are too essential to obtain.


The BRP Tarlac, as seen in photos, is already fixed where it was done locally with the help of P.T. PAL Persero. In that, it is already commendable where the hull's integrity was inspected, ensured and the dents repaired where in that is a good thing to see where the Landing Platform Dock is in good condition once again. Moreover, in that coincides one concern, that is the necessity of arming the ship to defend itself as well as the procedures it coincides so that such incident will never happen again. 

That being told, the lessons that are gathered in such a mishap are somewhat a necessary step for the Navy to learn more about the necessary alternative courses of action that will see fit on this matter that in this comes the growth in all degrees from military assets to the personnel skills and better standard operating procedures it coincides or supplements. 

That being said, this is detrimental to the goals wherein lessons are to be gathered, assessed, and integrated. And it is applied not only to the Navy's Sail Plan but also to the AFP Modernization Program in general wherein it lies the hopes and dreams of having an effective deterrence by the year 2028 and beyond.

See also: Philippine Navy's First Landing Platform Dock - The Pitzviews

The Philippine Army Modernization and Transformation Roadmap 2028

Among the military branches that have the greatest effect with regards to their contributions to the Revised AFP Modernization Program, the personnel forming the Philippine Army may be considered the least known that its different strategic, organizational, and procurement programs are being reported bit-by-bit rather than being part of the organization as one. In this matter, this topic deserves its own discussion.

Based on the PDF file about ATR2028
Philippine Army Soldiers in their new uniform. Source

Through the years, the Philippine Army is improving its capability, wherein its soldiers have effectively deployed in the field, enhancing their skills further in combat against insurgent groups like the Communist Sympathizers and the Islamic ones far south, these troops also receive various upgrades wherein due time, enhancing both skills and asset of a specific combatant within the Army in line to its aim to have World-Class armed forces in 2028.

But it was so different in the years before these changes, wherein the organization undertook good governance transformation and improving its organizational structure, a far cry from the past that has plagued with various challenges and controversies, ranging from incompetence to graft, in which if left unsolved, will affect the organization as a whole negatively that it even affects the nation's way of defending itself, not to mention various issues that are disadvantageous to the Army like military adventurism and the revolving door policy which makes a present term for a chief of staff (which is from the Army) short where it affects the leadership in which it also affects the direction of the organization in general. 

These sets of problems have provided a sufficient reason for the Army to revamp the institutional norms and policies, leading to this very roadmap that aims to obtain and uphold a credible, dynamic, responsive, capable, and professional Army, wherein it can be seen as an organization that is committed to deliver and perform its mandate of serving and securing the country and its citizens as what the constitution prescribes it. See more: Article XVI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

The Philippine Army, through this transformation roadmap initiative, has seen various progress varying from its performance to its military procurements which is deemed a big difference from what it was administrations before. Speaking of which, this transformation is still in the process where areas from performance, military assets, and organization will be deeply discussed in this article.

A Soldier in Bohol. Via Inquirer.net

Like the rest of the organization within the scope of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the performance among military personnel improves as new assets arrive wherein strategically speaking, it provides a significant improvement as to how they respond wherein various skirmishes and various achievements that we will about to provide may give an insight as for the strategical actions the Army do have at present.

One example is the very recent news about the Abu Sayyaf group who set foot on Bohol as a staging point for kidnapping people, in which it was failed due to the quicker response of the whole Armed Forces of the Philippines against these insurgents with the Philippine Army playing a significant role in the operations, wherein within days, the coordination of all military branches, along with the police and together with the help of the locals, made it difficult for the insurgents to push deeper especially with the death of the one who initiated the attack

Another example showing the Army's significant role is with the attacks that took place in Butig, Lanao del Sur, wherein the offensives made it successful to reclaim the town once again from the ISIS sympathizers known as the Maute group as both the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Army jointly initiated the offensive where the ISIS plans of establishing in the Philippines got foiled where that in which, the threat remains to be in existence until at present that the people need to be aware so to speak wherein that sense, Maritime Domain Awareness in territorial waters needs to be enhanced following the events about the situations happened in Bohol. 

Performance-wise, the Philippine Army in these recent military operations exhibits exemplary actions where it was immediately carried out and primary objectives have been achieved. Speaking of which, there is more to be done wherein the Transformation Roadmap still has a lot of strategic, organizational, and procurement plans in which it aims to achieve its goals all the way to 2028.

M-113 vehicles the Army's mechanized division obtains.
From PDA archives

The Philippine Army just like the Air Force and the Navy also have military procurement plans in which it calls to procure different military assets in which it may be seen as essential to the mandate of the Army, as well as to further enhance its strategic capabilities as an organization wherein soldiers in the field may or will have better weapons in which it may give a better edge against the enemy. 

Apparently, the weapons procurement plans in the Army may change from time to time or with little more occurrence than its counterparts within the armed forces in which it may be found difficult for us to disclose all of the weapons as per planning. Here are just some of the projects where it was publicized by the Army and discussed across defense fields.

M-4 rifles
The M-4 rifles were bought by the Philippines. There are around 56,843 units
procured. From Manila Bulletin
This procurement calls to replace older M-16s that the Army obtains with the hopes of modernizing the soldier's primary equipment to enhance its overall performance on the battlefield. 

Apparently, the similarities between these two at around 80% wherein interoperability is deemed possible that spare parts can be interchangeable where logistically speaking, it is deemed efficient. 

The only thing here is that M-4 rifles are produced by Colt wherein the barrel was shortened down to the purpose of having an improved weapons performance in close-quarter combat in which albeit there are shorter-barreled M-16s, they are said to be noisy, as well as being inaccurate where it gives the necessity to develop a new weapon like the M-4. 

In this manner, the said weapons at the first batch back then were inaccurate due to ineffective rear sights where it was then fixed by Remington in the sense that the whole program resumed without a hitch. Hence, the M-4 deliveries back then are completed.

The said weapon upgrades are considered as part of the Philippine Army objective called capability upgrade program or CUP in which it may be said part of the greater transformation roadmap where weapons procurements as well military capabilities upgrades do aim to have a soldier better-equipped in the field than ever before.

Camouflage Pattern for Battle Dress Uniform
Gen. Ricardo Visaya and his new Battle Dress Uniform made by
Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp.

As the Philippine Army materializes the procurement of military equipment for the troops, it is also a good thing if a new battle dress uniform (BDU) will be introduced. And with that, the Army procures these new sets of new BDUs from the Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp wherein it blends more to the Philippine Environment than the older, dark camouflage pattern.

The Company, Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp is renowned in the field of camouflage technology wherein its expertise was recognized by the United States government. Produced new designs monthly, this company is considered one of the best camouflage experts there is in existence, in which they produce camouflage designs for various countries like Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, and even the Philippines through the Philippine Army. 

Such improvements do change the image of the Philippine Army and its troops as what the Army Transformation Roadmap aims to have to the organization in which this said camouflage design made by a reputable camouflage expert there is may help the troops blend with the Philippine environment which makes it difficult from the adversaries to detect in which a soldier of the Republic may still have a better chance to live another day together with newer military equipment like the M-4 rifle.

Having the new camouflage, the Philippine Army is suited up where aside from battle dress uniforms, the armored personnel carriers like the M-113 are also being incorporated with such a design in a sense that it becomes the thing for the Philippine Army for these vehicles from the mechanized division to be blended to the environment as well as to be in uniform to the way the soldiers have used in which it will be a better thing to get advantage where it makes things much difficult to see if possible therein.

Pitz Defense Analysis Note (05-2019): This camouflage deal with Hyperstealth was replaced with the locally-developed PHILARPAT or the Philippine Army Pattern that can be seen similar to the ones developed by the company. Such a move disappoints Hyperstealth a lot which they post this article about the patents that may be violated from this process. Nevertheless, despite the company's concerns, the PHILARPAT became what is to be the standard uniform for the Army to use, which is an improvement from the previous uniforms they obtain.

Modified M-113s by Elbit
Modified by Elbit, these M-113 Infantry Fighting Vehicles are a plus
against insurgents that using a console, these soldiers can fire
directly at a target safely.
From John Chua

Gunners will no longer have a doubt of being shot by an enemy gun while firing with the introduction of a product made by Israeli company Elbit to have the said firepower without any worries of being killed upon in which these weapons are named UT-25 and the Overhead Remote-Controlled Weapons Station or ORCWS.

Signed on June 22, 2014, this modified M-113s at a contract cost of PHP 882 million calls for six UT-25 gunned M-113s and four 25mm ORCWS wherein it really gives the Philippine Army under its Mechanized Division its armor capability that can be used in companion with the soldiers in the field. Apparently, the performance of these armored personnel carriers or infantry fighting vehicles for that matter can be shown in this video posted by VJ Norz on YouTube:

These modified M-113s which are equipped with remote-controlled guns makes it safer for a gunner to fire upon a target and hence, eliminating it wherein foot soldiers as complemented with military equipment like this will do their job as effectively and as safely as it is where casualties among the troops will be minimized as well as mounting casualties among others like the insurgents. With this, it is hopeful that in line with the Transformation Roadmap, more of these may be materialized upon the queue of the decision-makers within the ranks.

Land-based Missile System

This project was based on the original Shore-based missile system whereupon taking note as per the fate of this said project, it was back then realigned to Second Horizon in favor of helmets and vests.

The good thing is that, albeit the shelving is still within the priorities of the Army were in that manner, the said project and separated and become two, different projects. That is the renamed land-based missile system which is still a Philippine Army project under the roadmap, and the separate-Philippine Navy version of the Shore-based missile system where the setup is similar to the ones the Philippine Army have. 

All of these are slated by the next horizon which is implemented by next year. Apparently speaking, the possible contender in a project like this is the Israeli Military Industries or IMI and its LYNX MLRS or Multiple Launch Rocket System. Given the interest made in this program, albeit the circumstances that go against the situation like the so-called realignment, the hope is still deemed high that this program will be materialized in the sense that if once available, the Philippine Army will have a boost for its capabilities especially for guided/unguided artilleries like this.
This comparison made by IMI, albeit the bias, seems that
it can prove that the Lynx is a better product to the Phil. Army.
This project as summarised can be seen as one of the big-ticket projects the Philippine Army has where it may be the pinnacle of the Army's capability upgrade program as per the Transformation Roadmap. These in which may still be determined by the certainties and conditions that may be gone favorable as per the way the project materialized upon.

M-71 155mm Towed Howitzers from Israel
Howitzers from Israel are procured by the Philippine Army to improve
field firepower.
These Soltam M-71 Towed Howitzers are offered to the Philippine Army by Elbit which also supplies modified M-113s where it calls for an overall six to twelve units of Soltams in which three of these units will arrive in the following months with the first batch arriving before this month ends.

Apparently, the said procurement program undertakes three bidding procedures, wherein it started in the year 2013 wherein such circumstances upon the first two bid process got failed due to the so-called insufficient bidding documents which do not meet up to the bidding specifications and standards that it is looking. Considering that matter, the delivery of the systems is reported as early as last year as per another defense outlet gives a report about it. 

Even though there are no exact details as per the date when the contract was signed, we may be so glad as well that these artillery pieces will arrive in due time that in the months following by, they will be used not only by the Philippine Army but also by their counterparts in the Philippine Marine Corps where just like any artillery and the role of Philippine Air Force gunships, can be used as support mechanisms where area suppression is deemed needed before the ground troops to proceed and clearing up all the remnants of a certain adversary.

Speaking of which, these said howitzers from Israel may give a boost for the Army and the firepower it needs wherein pulverizing an area filled with insurgents or some adversary for that matter is a necessity to complement with other artillery pieces like the M-114 cannons the Philippine Army have where artillery barrages suppress up the enemy and its defenses.

Pitz Defense Analysis Note: This list as being stated here before is just highlighted to the long list of procurement programs the Philippine Army has where several of those are not disclosed to the public. Moreover, these said programs just like any other thing may be changing without any notice under the discretion of those within the ranks. Also, an update will be made from time to time if any new discussion about this topic arises shortly either in this very article or on our Facebook page.

The Performance Governance System or PGS will be based on
scorecards that assess the areas where the Army sees its
strengths and weaknesses.
From ATR2028 WordPress.

This is the main feature where the Army Transformation Roadmap, wherein the organizational format as shown emphasizes the details, in which two things always popped up to this matter that will improve the organization which is in terms of performance excellence and good governance.

In the given timeline of improving the AFP from the Modernization Program to the AFP Capability Upgrade Program (in which all of the weapons procurements mentioned fall under either this category), the Philippine Army through its Transformation Roadmap have its own very program which may help the Army fixed its organizational structure. That is, the Performance Governance System or PGS wherein it is an initiative upon the adaptation of Harvard's Balanced Scorecard Framework which will assess the organization from accounting to military capability through the use of its assets like the ones aforementioned in this article. In the scorecard given, the modernization of the Army where it coincides with its military capabilities is emphasized in Strategic Objective 9 or SO9 of its Performance Measures and Targets. The quotation is given as follows:
For SO9 – “Build and modernize mission-essential capabilities”, the measure is the “percentage of battalions which completed the Battalions of Excellence (BOE) Program.” The BOE Program seeks to build-up and modernization of mission-essential capabilities of Army battalions. Thus, chosen indicator will measure will enable the PA to assess the success of its modernization program. The PA aims to have 100% of its battalions to undergo the BOE Program.
Moreover, it doesn't alone cover the enhancement of capabilities. In such a manner, doctrines about it may also be as important as well given that in it, will do serve as a guide for each and every military personnel as well as decision-makers upon ranks to follow. And with this, the quotation for the doctrine is given as follows:
For SO8 – “Adopt and institutionalize best practices in management, operations, and support system”, the performance indicator is the “Doctrine Development throughput time” or the total amount of time spent in developing a doctrine (from conceptualization to promulgation of manuals). The efficiency in doctrine development will facilitate the adoption and institutionalization of best practices in management, operations, and support system. By 2028, the PA seeks to reduce the doctrine development throughput time to 365 days from 3,248 days in 2010.
In this short and long-term strategies given, it can be said that the Army is deemed promising on the needs given wherein being a major organization within the Armed Forces of the Philippines, an overhaul is deemed needed wherein being as part of an overall modernization it coincides, such institution will further develop as it aims to be.

The Philippine Army infantry squad as emphasized in its 120th
From www.army.mil.ph
In an aim of having a world-class Army, The Philippine Army is together with the Department of National Defense where revamping the very system itself is a necessity where the structure, the capabilities, performanceand governance are meant to get improved in the sense that this major branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines will definitely do its mandate to defend the nation from both internal and external threats.
Even though being an archipelago which may be seen as a priority for both Navy and Air Force to be enhanced for territorial defense, it does not stop the Army to also improve itself where aside from battling insurgents around, it may also have a role as well in territorial defense in a way that it helps out doing such a mandate in its way which involves up-arming ground troops, artillery and mechanized divisions in a sense that fighting on the country's soil seen as the last line of defense. 

Speaking of which, Modernizing and buying weapons does not stop on one or two branches alone. Instead, as what the Government Budgeting Process sees best, each service branch of the armed forces has the privilege just like any other government agency to propose based on the needs where it's all up on the political will as to whether it may be funded or not

Overall, the Philippine Army is deemed optimistic in the sense that in performance and good governance as what the Transformation Roadmap emphasizes, it will be good not only for the organization but also for the country in general in which improved capabilities and proper management are a necessity for a successful defense of the sovereign Philippine Republic.

(c) 2017 PDA, revised 2021 edition. 

Horizon 2 and the Budget Obstacle

As the horizon one nears its end, another phase of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Modernization Program opens where along with it comes wonderful opportunities wherein more sophisticated weaponry and the strategies, as well as the skills it coincides, are on its way. It goes with promising procurement policies and lineups as well as obstacles like political will and budget. All of this will be discussed in this article.

This Horizon includes MRFs like the SAAB Gripen. Photo and aircraft
for reference use only.
At the time of this article was published, we are now slowly approaching the end of the first stage or as what it was called the Horizon 1 of the revised AFP Modernization Program which spans from 2013 to 2017. Apparently, the Armed Forces of the Philippines pursues to have a world-class military with minimum credible defense capabilities from domestic defense to territorial ones. Speaking of which, it will improve their mandate to defend the sovereign nation against various threats from localized insurgents to foreign adversaries. 

Horizon 2 plans obtain the most essential weapons procurement that will give a huge boost to the Philippine Armed Force's military capabilities and mandate than what the Horizon 1 can supplement. In such a manner, the primary contents of the projects within this horizon range from additional two frigates to multi-role fighter jets as well as from Shore-based weapons systems to attack helicopters and fast crafts with the lists go on and on across the branches in the military where such kind of military assets surely provide a great boost for the military's firepower than it may have for decades.

In any plan, there will always be obstacles. And with regards to obstacles, it may be ranging from budgeting to political will. Upon the latest reports given, the budget allocated to this horizon amounted to around 100 billion Pesos or 1.9 billion US Dollars. In such a case, basing on the number of military equipment as well as the price of each big-ticket projects, it seems to be like such amount of money is insufficient or not deemed enough to satisfy the needs. Hence, the point of this discussion will be focused on this kind of matter. 

This is a modified M-113 APC/IFV upgraded by Elbit. Courtesy of
The horizon one spans from 2013-2017. And as far as this is concerned, we are almost approaching the end of what is so-called the first step in modernizing the whole Armed Forces of the Philippines. Speaking of which, there are projects within this horizon that are already materialized and there are some that are still materializing or in process for that matter.

As for the Philippine Army, there are still at around four projects that are still not yet completed and still on the process of procuring them or rather, being rehashed into the second horizon like the Shore-based missile system which is now called as Land-based missile system considering that the former becoming a separate project for the Navy. 

At this step of the modernization program, there really is a great emphasis on the big-ticket projects that each of the military branches do have like the Navy's Tarlac-class Landing Platform Docks, Del Pilar-class Patrol Frigates and the soon-to-have missile-armed frigates from South Korea, Air Force's FA-50PH, Medium-lift aircraft, Leonardo AW-109 Power gunships, Bell 412 Combat Utility Helicopters, two more C-130Ts and the incoming AW-159 antisubmarine helicopters in which its arrival will be next year. 

For the Army in this horizon, they have additional M-113s  from the United States via Excess Defense Article (EDA) plus several modified M-113s which was upgraded into fully-armed Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) by Israel's Elbit Systems as well as CAMOPAT or the new, well-blended camouflage pattern for the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) from Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corporation from Canada and M-4 rifles for the soldiers to use. 

Assets such as FA-50s and Tarlac-class Landing Platform Docks are now subjecting to complete its respective deliveries not later than May this year. Moreover, upon these things being materialized, it is deemed good that the AFP is somehow gathering its forces as to what it is being planned at. 

However, the assets laid out for Horizon 1 alone cannot suffice the needs. And with this, the other two horizons or phases of the whole modernization program have its own share of military procurement that will help achieve the goal of a minimum credible defense posture.

Revised AFP Modernization Program Phases.
In procuring military assets just like each and every acquisition requires funding whereas per the standards of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), it was undertaken through several processes prescribed where it will be undertaken procedures such as the multiyear program as what this law about the AFP Modernization Program prescribes for (See Section 5 of the said law)

Giving more emphasis, the phases have its own share of the overall budget wherein it was specifically allocated to the various projects as per respective plans among the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy. 

That is alongside the annual appropriations of the budget of the Armed Forces within the allocated share of the Defense Department which it comes to the increase of funding considering the increasing number of materiel and personnel which is deemed precedential as the whole armed forces take it to a whole level. 

Before digging deeper, let there be a discussion first as to what projects which in particular ones that are essential the AFP laid for the Second Horizon so as for the sake of better vantage point as proportionate to the budget, in particular, the significant ones where it gives a great impact to the overall capabilities of the armed forces.

Air Force - The Flight Plan, Second Horizon.
The timeline of the Flight Plan implementation where segments
such as doctrine, funding and exercises emphasized.
The Philippine Air Force has its particular procurement plan which is part of the whole Modernization Program wherein its name is the Flight Plan 2028. We will not discuss it deeper since various outlets are already discussed. But for this discussion, it is worthy to have the second horizon part of this plan of the air force wherein several parts of an ideal air defense system may be procured upon.

As for their case, the second horizon calls for the procurement of two to three squadrons of multirole fighters, radar for early detection, patrol aircraft, additional helicopters, among others. 

Given the timeline, the second horizon is deemed a moment of truth for the air force where through the years of only having light fighters like the F-5 and today's FA-50PH which are presently classified as Lead-in Fighter Trainer or LIFT, it may be the first to have a fully-functioned multirole fighter where it may have an effective hi-low mix of fighter jets in the inventory or somewhat to augment the FA-50 light fighter trainers in which such jets saw combat recently on bombing insurgents up

Moreover, these said fighter jets are seen as essential in developing an effective air defense system wherein in accordance to the flight plan, weapons procurement will help enhance the so-called Philippine Air Defense Identification Zones where in due time it will achieve up to area readiness one from the present area readiness four.

Aside from multirole fighters or MRFs, the said horizon also calls for procuring air defense system mechanisms ranging from AWACS to land-based radar as well as other necessary weapons that will help protect the skies from intruders in the air in which it includes additional LIFT aircraft like the FA-50 where it calls to have six to 12 more units (see graph below.) 

These in which as what it intends at will secure the airspace as well as having a vantage point where ruling the skies are a necessity to win a conflict. Other from the jets, night capable attack helicopters are also considered where apparently at present, PAF's AW-109 gunships are equipped with FLIR thermal imaging/night vision sensors that aids pilots with regards to conducting nighttime operations as well as aiming at targets in the dark.
A table that gives an idea as to what kind of equipment
and the quantity that the PAF is looking for. From Flight Plan 2028 report.
Training of the personnel, as well as the ground crew, are also part of this program. Apparently, the use of FA-50PH really do serve as a transition platform for the pilots to enhance as more of such combat aircraft may be introduced on wherein for at least a decade the Philippine Air Force doesn't have any fighter jets after the retirement of the last of F-5A/Bs in 2005 which takes the toll with regards to the effectiveness of defending the airspace. These in which are slowly being suggested and putting back in place once again.

Navy -  The Desired Force Mix/Sail Plan
Hyundai Heavy Industries' partial design of the Navy's new missile-firing
frigate. Final design to be out later this year.
Like the air force, the navy also has a lineup of weapons to be procured in which it ranges from fast attack crafts to corvettes as well as having frigates and command/control structures such as the Tarlac-class Landing Platform Dock.

In the second horizon, assets like two additional missile-guided frigates, six new corvettes, and even three submarines for that manner are seen wherein these said naval assets improves the capabilities of the navy to protect and defend out the seas considering that the Philippines in itself geographically speaking is an archipelago wherein a decent navy with a credible defense output can suffice the needs of protecting Philippine waters especially now with numerous reports of continuous intrusions with the latest being on Benham Rise

Also unto this matter, the said horizon it is expected for the navy to retire the remaining World War 2 era ships by 2020 where the projects slated at this phase may be seen as a probable replacement for the older hulls which at present is still functioning and operating in the seas which from the recent years shows the problems plaguing the navy in which one may hope that it will be improved as newer hulls are coming in and several more are expected to come if it goes according to plan as the time goes by. 

These in which remains to be seen where the lineup in the phase may change upon the discretion within the armed forces. As for the fast attack crafts, partial reports suggest that Israeli Super Dvora and Shaldags are offered to the Philippine Navy in which the results about it remain to be seen and to be released in due time.
The lineup of assets is shown in this graph from the Navy years ago.
In the graph shown above, the Second Horizon aside from those aforementioned also calls for additional medium-lift helicopters wherein it will be designated or embark on the Landing Platform Docks like the Tarlac-class as it is intended for supplemental support assets that will help transport necessary provisions whenever and wherever it needs. 

Also, alongside the asset comes the necessary training and infrastructure training where assessment in every matter of consideration from personnel to facilities where it will retain the functionality of the hulls for the due time in which enhancing the skills and experience hones further for the effectiveness of using these assets in combat.

Army - The Transformation Roadmap 2028.
The Army's new camouflage pattern from Hyperstealth Canada.
Courtesy to the photo owner.

Unlike the Air Force and the Navy, the Philippine Army doesn't really show in particular about its weapons lineup despite that various reports of modernization of its assets and doctrine as well as facilities, reorganization and personnel are being made piece by piece.

In the Philippine Army's recent planning, it is noticeable about the improvements made in the horizon one which in particular it deals with RCWS-armed M-113s and New camouflage patterns for battle dress uniforms for better blending to the environment. 

Aside from that, the Army is also opting for a Land-Based Missile System wherein it is originally called the Shore-Based Missile System until just recently the Navy has a separate program of the same name. 

Also, the army is opting for night vision goggles wherein it will improve nighttime capabilities for the troops on the ground as well as the plans for additional IFVs and even tanks wherein such things about it remains to be seen considering that issues on infrastructures, logistics, operations, and maintenance are deemed to be considered and further details about it may release at its necessary due time.

Albeit to the lack of details at present about the Army's procurement program in Horizon 2 (an article for this topic will be up soon), it is still deemed promising where for the AFP in general aside from the Navy and the Air Force, modernizing the whole military infrastructure of the Philippines is deemed an imperative for a nation where defense becomes a necessity as various threats do intensifies from time to time.

The Budget Issue
2017 Annual Budget. Several Big Ticket Projects undertake
Multi-year funding. Via PhilStar.
In every procurement, there are always obstacles that need to overcome to make military asset acquisitions a reality to further enforce capabilities. And with this, the main obstacle for this horizon is indeed more on budget allocation.

Even as early as the year 2015, it was already stated that the horizon 2 budget sets to allocate at around 100billion pesos or in that year's exchange rates, US$2.1 billion. Two years later at present, such funding remains at 100billion pesos or a deferred exchange rate of US$1.9 billion. 

Speaking of which, given the budget allocation concerning the number of military assets procured, it seems that the said allocation is insufficient to suffice what the military presents with regards to acquisition projects where it may hamper modernization efforts in a sense that the Armed Forces will be not that "fully modernized" or capable for that matter where the aim of having a Minimum Credible Defense Posture may not be achievable in due time. 

Somehow, the said budget may also change considering that the SecDef also plea for an increase equated to around 2 to 2.5% of the Philippine Gross Domestic Product or GDP. Apparently, for the budget concerning the military proposals, it can or may only be said in due time if the Philippine Government may agree on the procurement proposal the AFP pleas that are beyond the given 100 billion peso budget or to somehow being stick to it while risking having projects with Fitted For But Not With (FFBNW) provisions or watered-down assets

Given the circumstances, it can be said that the budget in itself may be subject to change depending on the conditions or rather at the discretion among the parties concerned. Speaking of which, it is deemed worthy to have a close watch as well as having an update about the said matters about horizon 2 and its budget.


Horizon 2 is somewhat another phase of the AFP Modernization Program where a series of military acquisition project lineups are in place. And for that manner, these phases as further signs of progress will further enhance the overall capabilities of the Armed Forces as it really aims for a highly competitive military which makes a guaranteed deterrence against all threats the Philippines as a nation may face. 

Moreover, the said procurements having series of obstacles like the lack of budget allocation is a normal thing that may be solved through political will and effective budget management. These in which guarantee that taxpayer money does worth it. 

Take note, the Second Horizon budget may change or not but one thing remains, which is that the AFP Modernization Program is still ongoing albeit the phase and the problems it coincides that somehow, progress is being made. Somewhat a capable-based military is preferable over a budget-based one.



In connection to this article, ADAS or Asian Defense, Security, and Crisis Management Exhibition and Conference released their primer which pertains to the Horizon two procurements wherein the initial costs of the projects accumulated in this Horizon reaches at around Php 300 Billion or more for it to get implemented. So to speak, it is beyond the Php 100 Billion budget proposal for this horizon as per the discussion is given. For more information, check their website at www.adas.ph.
To see the details clearly, just check the photo.
As being discussed here, the lists are deemed the usual sight as per the planning set by the AFP Modernization Program which each branch with their "plans" or "roadmap" which makes it has a minimum credible defense by the year 2028. 

So to speak, the chances for the plan or its setup may change as the time goes by considering the factors that may affect it especially the budget which at present may be increased due to the confidence ADAS posted in their infographic. In this sense, it is better to see whether it will happen or not. But with this always comes the hope that the AFP will fully enhance its capabilities that it is looking for years from now.




Total Pageviews To-Date

Webpage Visitors

Free counters!