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In Depth Views: The Desire of a German Shipbuilding Company's Participation in the AFP Modernization

It is the desire of a foreign company to seek opportunities on a nation with a growing economy and invest in something that guarantees profit as time goes by. And this is something that German-based shipbuilding and industrial company are looking on the Growing Philippine Economy, with supplanting quality-based military equipment as needed on the AFP Modernization Program in mind aside from other areas that are provided in their respective business portfolio. This decision definitely comes with hopes and aspirations which all sides benefit...from labor to supplementing the necessary tools for enhancing military capabilities.

A ThyssenKrupp Marine System HDW-214 submarine for the Greek Navy.
Photo obtained from Wikimedia Commons.
At present, the Armed Forces of the Philippines are still keen to modernize its capabilities through the procurement of defense materiel needed to perform military and defense-related activities as mandated by law.

These plans of purchasing necessary military tools provide the opportunity for defense companies to supplant the needs by participating in deals, undertake transactions and negotiations, and eventually, if all goes well, bagging the contract. This is what the German Shipbuilding Company ThyssenKrupp is aiming in the Philippine market. As reported in this article from The Manila Bulletin, they expressed a strong interest in participating in the AFP Modernization Program especially on the projects that line up to this company's specialty which is to built combat ships for the Philippine Navy. Add to this as specified in the same news article the optimism this company has on the country where a regional hub was opened in Bonifacio Global City in the same way SAAB opened its office in the country years ago. This definitely ranges from frigates to submarines in which it may help the country in a way to protect and defend the huge coastline and the national territory which is archipelagic in a geographical setting.

With this promising gesture coming from the company, it is worth determining its products that it presently markets as well as the plans of the Armed Forces especially in its Navy fleet covering the Second Horizon. This covers the picture about the things that might come in the future should any negotiations or transactions between ThyssenKrupp and the Government may take place therein.

The ThyssenKrupp company, a German-based
Shipbuilding Company specialized in building
frigates and submarines. From MaxDefense
The website for shipbuilding: https://www.thyssenkrupp.com/en/products/shipbuilding/

ThyssenKrupp is a German multinational conglomerate with its business lines primarily about steel production and industrial engineering. For the latter, it covers Automotive component technology, elevator technology, aerospace solutions, and of course shipbuilding.

The shipbuilding part was done through its subsidiary group named ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems or TKMS. They are the ones who built frigates, corvettes, and submarines intended for the end customer to obtain in the protection of their respective own waters especially in a geographical setup which covers a lot of territorial waters like the Philippines.

ThyssenKrupp's presence in the Philippines is something new where aside from naval shipbuilding, they are also desiring to re-invigorate local industry, in particular, the manufacturing sector in which in turn provides jobs to the citizenry. 

According to this article by The Standard, aside from their desire to provide the Armed Forces of the Philippines with Naval Combatants such as submarines and Frigates, this company also supplies Engine turbines, machinery, steel, and tinplates for commercial use like Tin Cans for food storage, and building production facilities as well for these types of machinery and engines to manufacture. 

Through the years, ThyssenKrupp's contribution to the country was defined in that article with numerous undertakings already made. It is beneficial not only to the private and government stakeholders involved but also to the citizenry that these concerned groups served. 

Those acts that were given is somewhat commendable for this company was providing the necessities in an industry is really their thing. And with that, their desire to enhance the growth of the Philippine economy and reaping the benefits of it intensifies a bit where supplying military assets in a form of naval vessels is something they are willing to offer to the AFP as it pushes further unto its Modernization Program, now at Horizon 2.

Hence, this may provide at least an idea with regards to the naval products they produce in line to the needs of the Armed Forces especially the Philippine Navy, should the decision-makers in the government welcomes the idea of purchasing such product from them.

One of TKMS' products, the Meko A-200 Frigate intended to Algeria.
Credits to its respective owner.
The products produced by TKMS in terms of naval shipbuilding usually covers the submarine, frigate, and corvette category in which these products are sold to several nations across the world, active in service and in use amongst the countries' respective navies that obtains such vessels coming from the said shipbuilding company. 


On the website given by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems [link here], the company already has its experience and history in building corvettes which cater to the needs of various navies it serves. Their performance for the span of 40 years and still continuing at present produces several vessels which include Portugal's Joao Countinho-class corvettes which are the baseline of the Baptista de Andrade-class corvettes where both classes of ships were supposedly obtained by the Philippine Navy upon the offer given by the Portuguese Government last year, but the Administration's stance on "buying brand new assets" keeps it from happening.

Nevertheless, the present product composition of TKMS on the Corvette category may be helpful to the Philippine Navy's Corvette Acquisition Project slated on Horizon 2 (2018-2022) that calls for at least two units with one being funded under the 2018 budget at the cost of Php 14 Billion Pesos, higher than the ones presently intended for a single unit of new frigates to be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries costing at approximately Php 9 billion pesos per ship.

On the proposals given by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, it was disclosed that such an offer will be based from the MEKO A-100 corvette where the cost of manufacturing it may cut down should this ship be chosen in which TKMS wanted to built in the country where it may become affordable on a given budget plus better leverage where being a Filipino-made ship is a plus for the local industry.
MEKO A-100 Corvette design. From RP Defense
There are various corvette classes across numerous navies in which its design was based on the MEKO A-100 Corvette in which it was developed by Blohm+Voss shipbuilding company which is still a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. The ships that are based on the A-100 Frigate include Royal Malaysian Navy's Kedah-class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) and the Polish Navy's ORP Ślązak Offshore Patrol Vessel.

The specs of an A-100 ship is given as follows:
Aside from the MEKO A-100 Corvette, TKMS also produces the Class 130 corvette which is presently in service with the German Navy. The name of its class in service is called the K130 Braunschweig Class Corvette which is still a MEKO-A based design. The ship of its class at present is only with the Navy of the country where ThyssenKrupp is situated. So, it shall be a good premise as to why the MEKO A-100 Corvette is offered considering that it is in service with two nations aforementioned.

Hence, it might as well be a good idea if the Philippine Government through the Department of National Defense opted for a ship like MEKO A-100 Corvette as a mainframe ship in the category. Nevertheless, it is on their best judgment with regards to what is best for them depending on threat assessment and primary needs on maritime security.


Alongside with the corvettes, TKMS also produces many frigates in which a number of those vessels are in service with the navies across the world, serving and defending respective home nations together with their national interest with it. And in this part can be seen that the company has a wider range of weapons market in which they cater to the needs that satisfy the end-user.

These are the ones who build the MEKO 200 Frigates which are in use presently by notable countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Portugal, and Turkey together with several others. The ships are known in their respective navies on the nations aforementioned as the Anzac-class Frigates, Hydra-class Frigates, Vasco da Gama-class frigates, and the Barbaros-class frigates, respectively.

On the original plans of the Philippine Navy Sail Plan 2028, there will be at least two frigates slated for the Second Horizon where it may be a nice idea at first, but with the frigate issue especially on its subsystems gone public where the first steel cutting of the ships involved to be done by Hyundai Heavy Industries and the Defense Department on the Horizon one frigates to commence on April 30 despite the given irregularities as reported makes it more of an uncertainty. Nevertheless, such companies like TKMS may give at least a chance for the government with regards to the Second Horizon frigates if the interest given about it by the planners is once again in place.

Aside from the MEKO 200, there is also the newer MEKO A-200 which is operated by countries like Algeria and South Africa as well as the Class 124 and Class 125 frigates that are intended for German Navy Service. Among the three presently produced by TKMS, it was the A-200 version which is in operation under the navies outside Germany. 

These products are what comprise the present line-up of corvettes and frigates that are currently offered by the company in its father nation like Germany as well as on several nations that seeks interest to have a deal with TKMS. And the deals do not stop on surface vessels alone where this company also produces submarines for domestic and export use.


Alongside surface vessels, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems also produces submarines in which it is also known for considering that Germany produces such even when they are still under Nazi rule in the Second World War in the form of U-boats. Nevertheless, the submarines that the company is producing is utilized for domestic and export consumption, in service with several navies providing asymmetrical capabilities in combat.

This company is keen to market its submarine products to respective navies that provide the essentials in terms of the protection of territorial waters from intrusion. As in the case of the Philippines, TKMS eyes the Navy market of the country where they participated on ADAS 2016 in Manila where their participation means they are keen to obtain the deal, competing against other suppliers who are also willing to supply submarines such as Sweden's SAAB A-26, South Korean companies' Chang Bogo and perhaps the Russian Rosoboronexport's Kilo 636 or Amur 1650 Submarine. For more details with regards to the Philippine Submarine Program, please refer to our article here with the link provided

On the submarine article we posted above as highlighted, it is known that one of their products presented is the HDW class 209/1400mod submarine where its specifications given as well as the crew needed to operate the vessel may suffice the needs given the territorial, defense-nature of it which is getting in the line of having ideas of effectively protecting the nation against many threats including the ones underwater, especially if some other nation seeks a conflict in which it is impossible at present. 

Some interesting facts folks. Just to take some notes, it was known that South Korea also offers submarines such as the Chang Bogo-class to countries like Indonesia. Such submarines are initially developed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) of Germany, still owned by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. Its design is based on HDW class 209/1200 class submarines where the first units were built in Germany and the later produced units being manufacture in South Korea through Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering.

Hence, this goes to show that developments such as this with the help of TKMS make South Korea capable to built such vessels by that sense where the latter produces its own where it is helpful to protect itself from a harmful adversary which is its Neighbor North Korea. With contributions made, it may help the country enhance its own submarine produce where nations like Indonesia are about to have such Korean-made subs on its own inventory.

Photo source.
Producing vessels locally like what South Koreans did is something that any other nation aspires to do in a sense that self-sufficiency and providing jobs to the people while getting the ships constructed is a win-win situation to one and all, benefiting the Government, the people, the economy and the participating shipbuilding company.

At present, such endeavor especially in building larger naval vessels is simply not practical given that the Philippines, being the fourth largest shipbuilding nation in the world, is measured in terms of the backlog of orders from different customers

Add to that, most of the current major shipbuilding companies in the country are owned by various foreign companies specialized in building civilian-specked vessels which are different in specifications and configuration as compared to naval, combat vessels. 

While the former focuses on the economic vitality of the vessel for a private company's lessening of shipping-related expenses, the latter focuses on the agile, endurance, and performance that a combat ship will do for the navy to pursue its intended mandate. Filipino shipbuilding companies like Josefa Slipways meanwhile, are still keen on small vessels like the ones they built for BFAR.

Going back to the Manila Bulletin Article, the ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems aside from offering its naval products to customers like the Armed Forces of the Philippines, also offer that if given the chance to supply such vessels on a deal or on a contract, the building of the vessels will be done locally with jobs being provided to the citizens of the country since the payment involve comes from tax money collected from the people. 

From that perspective alone, this means that such undertaking if will take place provides the opportunity to create careers on taking the number of jobs in the given project as well as more will be benefited where prospective workers will provide sufficient resources to feed their families. 

Add to that is the fact that they are building a ship that will be used by the government which in turn, guarantees the safety of the country and its citizens against the threats coming from the sea.

Given these important inputs, a nice idea to consider over this proposal in case things turn favorable for TKMS is to have a partnership with a local company with preferable shipbuilding in orientation so that aside from joint ventures where such undertaking makes it viable for a foreign company to have a local representative, it will also provide the legalities especially in participating on project undertakings which are either through bidding or a direct deal. Aside from that, this is another way of enhancing SRDP or Self Reliant Defense Posture where having a local defense industry for military shipbuilding is helpful to the security and the economy of the country.

Hence, the given intentions from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems is something that the Government may consider later on where the slated terms are practically sound in terms of local production and labor force wherein partnering with a local company like Josefa slipways may pave the way to a locally-produced, foreign-designed vessel for a naval fleet to have. The BFAR vessels were produced in such a manner, being a locally-produced vessel done by Josefa while designed by US-based Incat Crowther. Nonetheless, the decision is still up to the decision-makers within the ranks to make.


With this development coming in the place where a certain foreign shipbuilding company is willing to supply its products for modernization, it provides the aspirations somewhat by the sense that this is something that may feed not only the armed forces with the assets it needs but also the local economy and labor force where providing basic necessities for their families are somewhat being addressed.

Things will remain to be seen with regards to the decision making on the side of the government when it sees fit to have this proposal materialized or not. Somehow, the ideas provided here sheds a promising stance that may revolutionize the local shipbuilding industry a bit in place of locally-produced vessels or ships in which it was proven with the Multi-mission offshore vessels being done by a locally-based shipbuilder. That potential may enhance further with partnerships taking place in a sense that designs, technology, and manpower are getting altogether, providing capabilities that a local fleet may need.

Hence, the said proposal as hope may be taken into consideration where benefits will be emphasized where parties involved may gain in the process. Nevertheless, it is nice to assess these things up before making a decision. All of these things, therefore, are in line with the dreams, aspirations, and inspirations of what it means to have a capable nation where in this scenario, there will be gains both in economic and security/defense terms.


Advisory: Reasons behind Inactive PDA Facebook Page

The Pitz Defense Analysis Facebook Page from its inception is providing updates, posts, viewpoints and articles pertaining to military and defense issues.....until just recently where the page simply went inactive. One may ask: What happened? This post will provide an explanation and reasons with regards to the issue where, it will clear out the things behind the reason which, by nature, is something that we didn't want to happen in the first place.

Newer, fresh content will be provided on the presently inactive
Facebook Page once access regains.
On the Morning of March 26, 2018, having the latest update posted on the Facebook page, our devices unceremoniously malfunctioned, resulting in the deprivation of the access on the account associated to the page. This technical problem deprives us on providing updates considering that the damaged device is the only one that provides the internet connectivity between this administrator to that FB Page, leaving us with the only access to this website.

Despite all that, we still manage to access the site for several shorts period of time where updates are all provided. However, such resources available isn't sustainable enough to provide the day-to-day basis of providing information needed with regards to defense issues.

In the light of these mishaps, we are sorry for the inconveniences made from thereon considering that nature is more of an unintended scenario or we shall say " a fortuitous event". Rest assured, alternative courses of actions will be provided in order to regain control of that said page, bearing at around 11,000 likes.

For the meantime, updates regarding various defense issues will be provided through this website where more write-ups will be expected given that various relevant data resources, backed with related knowledge and the desire of educating the people are available for the purpose of giving the idea about the importance of understanding things that cover military, defense and related issues that covers about the nation's security, primarily from man-made threats and eventually from natural threats in which it will be provided sooner or later by this website.

Once access is regained, newer and more fresh content will be provided with inputs coming from other perspectives in connection to the defense issues getting a discussion. From civilian context to corporate contributions, things have gone one way over the other in terms of defending the country in the sense that it only does not cover soldiers and military armament but also the ones that contribute to the eventual success of the country.

So, for now, it might be as good to provide an interim where, as the military planners, are being considered where stepping stones are needed where getting updates still taking place, regardless to the lack on access or not. Just to take note folks, the ultimate aim to regain control on the Social Media page depends on the availability of the resources with online access, with timelines as the project will be on or before May 12, 2018.

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The Importance of Military Interim Assets on Defense Planning

Military defense planning is something that projects short-term and long-term goals based on the present threat assessment, doctrine, and available resources. At times, military needs require stepping platforms needed in order for the transition from a small, capable force into a more capable and modernized armed force. Ideas coming from the plans laid usually comes out, and definitely dictates the way how the project materializes as the timeline rolls by or projected. And with such ideas shared among the planners, there is no surprise if stepping-stone process is needed to get things done. 

FA-50 jets serve as an interim combat fighter jet until the
Multirole Fighter jets take off the skies.
An armed force is capable of highly-skilled, fully-disciplined and strongly-dedicated personnel in service, sacrificing their lives for the country. And this capability is definitely enhanced further with the tools provided to do their mandate.

And with regards to the tools that are needed in order to effectively defending the nation against its internal and external enemies, the process which is undertaken for it to be materialized depends on what the higher ranks decide wherein the dimension of the threats, the geographical location, and nature as well as financial resources and diplomacy. These things are being determined with a stronger military force in mind that is sufficient enough for a minimum credible defense posture.

Such factors that influences the status of an armed forces prompts the decision makers to provide the short term and long term solutions where, in Managerial standpoint, is based on their respective SWOT Analysis which measures the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats that an organization like the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard or any other organizations have, both Government and Private institutions. Such solutions are usually cited in their Alternative Course of Actions wherein defense context, usually tackles facility, logistics and spares, training, and funding in order to increase the intended capabilities gradually on a certain, planned period of time. And throughout the timelines given, it may be of no surprise if the idea of purchasing interim assets will be raised as well as given the consideration where it may provide the things needed for their plans to put into fruition.

From there comes these questions: What is an interim? In what way does it apply to defense issues like in terms of purchasing defense materiel? Why is this idea is important to consider where the ultimate goal shall be pursued right away? From there it gives us an idea that purchasing pieces of equipment needed through military planning, just like any corporate planning, is not as easy as buying a component from a merchandising store. And factors from all degrees shall be considered before making a final decision.

The following answers will give us an idea about the importance of military interim assets (as well as civilian-oriented ones) in a sense that the very reason behind such an idea gives the sense where it provides the benefits on the overall planning that a typical citizen can only grasp the surface.

The BRP Gregorio del Pilar is ideally served as an interim vessel was
as planned, provides a platform for navy sailors to train prior to the
purchase of the newer assets. Photo Source
So, here is the idea about the procurement and use of interim assets intended as part of the plan for the eventual modernization of the armed forces. As defined by Dictionary.com, it refers to a "temporary" or an interval asset with the desired purpose to provide the immediate necessities of a person or an organization where in this case, such necessity covers the protection of the national territory.

An individual, civilian-based example is this: A man sleeps on a previous evening with his smartphone still functioning. On the next day, it is still functioning and can still browse the internet and social media accounts. Suddenly, the phone went malfunctioned and eventually cannot perform its intended design. So the end user now shall have an action which is to buy a newer one in replacement to that damaged phone. However, here's the catch: the price of a new smartphone is expensive to purchase at that present date where it requires at least two or three payrolls (as for the case of an office employee) in order to have it, depending on the salary rates that an individual obtains from work. From there, not having a communications kit such as a mobile phone definitely means sacrificing a period of time without such a tool to stay updated or to communicate on important matters. From there, the end user thinks of an interim --either a used phone of a close relative or perhaps buying an interim phone at a cheaper price while saving money for the desired target of having a newer, better-sophisticated phone.

And the same thing applies to purchase military tools for capability enhancement. If the ultimate goal is to purchase at least such number of units of sophisticated weaponry such as a squadron of multi-role fighters or a flotilla of missile-firing frigates, of course, that may require interim assets with reasons that are usually beyond what financial resources provide. Of course, the lack of appropriated funds may attribute for an interim solution, but there are other factors to consider. Those are: time period as required depending on the needs such as training personnel or deterring a threat, or bureaucratic measures needed to buy a new asset which requires time, or simply political will with assurances that the tools are immediately provided with guarantees regardless if the next administration may continue to pursue in acquiring newer asset that these interim ones intend to get replace, complement or not with the options for upgrading its capabilities.

Usually, the equipment that serves as an interim asset for capability enhancement is done by basic platforms which usually provides the basic operations needed for the user like a certain fighter trainer jet or an offshore patrol vessel which can be fitted with sophisticated weapons at a later date which makes it more of a naval combatant. In the case of the Philippine Armed Forces, aircraft such as the FA-50PH or ships such as the Del Pilar-class frigates can be considered as an interim platform if plans are given to build the ships such as the newer frigates in South Korea or the Multirole Fighter jet project where there are no updates about it aside from the plans that it will be provided in the Second Horizon.

The said assets at present are an improvement on the capabilities of the Armed Forces as a whole where it can be enhanced further to the desired capabilities with upgrades provided or newer, higher-end ones will be purchased varying on the allocated funding and execution of plans. Add to that the reaping benefits at present where sailors on board or the pilots in the air obtain the experience and skills needed prior in operating the real deal. The knowledge incurred in operating an asset is also a necessity which interim assets cater aside from present-day security.


Like an individual desiring on things like mobile phones given on the example, planners including those in the military also considers the idea of interim assets where it provides the immediate present-day solution for the troops to obtain the troops needed to train, enhance and improve the skills as well as capabilities to patrol the territory.

With the provided platforms, it will make the experienced personnel readier when more capable tools come at hand where it will not be that difficult to understand about the inner workings of the assets from operations to maintenance. In this idea of interim assets, it simply gives the potential for the troops as well as for the Armed Forces that achieving goals definitely requires effort, determination, and planning in the same way as military personnel desiring for a promotion or a commendation after the sacrifices made.

Military Hardware Sales vs. Imposed and Planned Arms Restrictions

In times of political correctness and the necessity of gathering more tools for enhancing national security aims, things really went nasty in terms of military-related transactions especially on the plans of purchasing equipment due to premises that ought to restrict weapons trade. This is something beyond the corporate dilemma that questions credibility between a seller and a buyer.

Pitz Defense Analysis Note: This article isn't aiming to side anyone or anybody on the position. It only provides about the eventualities between the seller and buyer should things went favorable or unfavorable. This comes from a perspective where things in the corporate world provide and operate. Enjoy reading!

A Canadian Bell 412 Combat Utility Helicopter. The Philippine
Air Force has a number of those, with supposedly additional units
being canceled under the grounds of so-called human rights violations
even though this is intended for disaster response and counterterrorism operations.
Image obtained from Philippine Air Space Blogspot
Different Armed Forces across the world have different forms of threat where various tools suited for such threats are needed to deter or eliminate it as the end user wishes it to do so. And the number of security-related needs is where the military-industrial complexes or "defense industries" rely upon for sales pitch and revenue which is usual in a business-oriented organization.

Putting it on the corporate terms, the deals and projects taking place by the number of nations across the world especially the ones that focus on strengthening its forces against a formidable threat like a foreign incursion or terrorism is definitely the bread and butter for these companies to take wherein bagging it may mean additional credibility which in turn equates to more sales pitches in the future. Imagine a company like the Korean Aerospace Industries that produced a squadron of FA-50PH for the Philippine Air Force. 

By the fact that such combat aircraft were used to flush out terrorists last year in Marawi City is something that makes them proud where their product was used where it satisfies its customer. Alongside the price and quality that FA-50s (or any of KAI's T-50 variants) will offer, such achievements may convince other nations to purchase such products where it was tried and tested.

Bagging several military projects across the world is something that a defense company aspires to where the more project opportunities ended up on their favor, the better it is for the business and its operations. However, this is not always the case. 

Governments of countries that is home of several defense industries with products subject for foreign use at times come up with series of rules or laws which will restrict the transactions involving military equipment in which it goes with the assurance that these assets may not fall into the hands either to the enemy posing as a threat against the country that homes several defense companies or to an unstable government operated by a tyrant that inflicts bloodshed on its citizens especially the ones that go against it (or we can say this as a human rights kind of thing). One notable example is in the case of Iran where the United Nations impose such restrictions on this country.

In the case of the Philippines, the recent instances of spewing rhetoric in terms of alleged human rights allegations and other concerning things within the present administration put several future transactions for military equipment into risk such as the Bell 412 deal between the Philippines and Canada where the latter's key government officials like the International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne together with Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland opts to review the said deal and blocked it if given grounds are suitable enough to implement it. Add to this is the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned that they are looking into the way Canadian-made equipment is being used by its end users.

This kind of scenario, especially the arms restrictions part, is something that is considered a balancing act between nationalistic/moralistic principles against economic benefits, profitability, and sales where defense companies somewhat stand in between these extremes. It is somewhat upholding their home nation's prevailing laws against their very business perspectives in which the lives of the industry's employees lie at stake. 

From a corporate standpoint, this definitely hurts the main stakeholders where all of those opportunities especially selling weapons on nations that are interested including those who have a problematic form of government will be gone, dwindling sales in the process. Moreover, the end-user may also get affected by these matters with reasons given as this article goes on.

The Royal Saudi Navy Al Riyadh-class Frigate. From Pakistani Defence Forum
The notable example with regards to the balancing act between the sales of sophisticated military equipment and national armed restrictions definitely aims in this region which lies the vast resources of oil that drives the portion of the world's economy --The Middle Eastern Region.

Oil-rich nations such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and several others are purchasing arms for its respective armed forces. A number of these oil-exporting countries are also considered as Human Rights violators where several weapons exporters like the United States are restricting the transactions or otherwise have such obstacles loosen up. In the details, the recent conflict in Yemen where both the United States and the United Kingdom still provide weapons to Saudi Arabia where it impacts the lives of civilians in the battle zone, mounting casualties among them

Despite these "violable activities", the oil-rich nations still obtain some sophisticated weaponry ranging from tanks to fighter jets considering that selling weapons on these countries with resources like oil as a form of a business is something that will boost up sales in the defense industry, bagging financial gains from several contracts which provides profit for the defense industry. 

That is definitely a thing that keeps businesses up and running folks regardless of which industry one is under, gaining a profit is something that worths the corporate operations especially the hardships of the employees working for it. To understand the nature of arms sales in the region, please provide the time allocated in reading this document provided by the Federation of American Scientists or FAS (The file format is in PDF form).

With the Middle Eastern example come at play, the fight between arms restrictions and arms sales is obvious enough to consider in a sense that in an observation, foreign policy at times come at play with military sales of weaponry. This provides the knowledge that may come helpful when it comes to the Philippine Context.

The Swedish Government is keen for arms restrictions in which
it may affect deals such as the Multirole fighter project for the
Philippine Air Force.
Throughout the years since the Revised AFP Modernization program started off, the Philippine Armed Forces is on the process purchasing military equipment, recruiting much aspiring military personnel, and improving its organizational composition which goes in line to its primary goal in 2028 as an enhanced Armed Forces with improvement in its capabilities sufficient enough for minimum credible deterrence.

Since the Duterte Administration started last 2016, several weapons-exporting nations are either expressing concerns on the so-called "human rights violations" deserving for an arms restriction. This comes in line that conditions are applied with regards to weapons purchase which depends on the variations of laws such a nation processes. 

One country on the process for such a condition is Sweden where its military arms exports increased by two percent as of last year's stats. Just to take note of the details of the article, the Philippines is considered as its latest export client where it may pertain to the SAAB Sea Giraffe sensors intended to the Philippine Navy's Del Pilar-class Frigates. 

However, the Swedish government may opt for Arms Restrictions in which it may affect sales such as for the SAAB's JAS-39 Gripen multirole fighter jet (MRF) which they market across the nations that have MRF programs, including the Philippines.

The case of Sweden is still minimal and may still get change considering that the law on arms restrictions or rules per se against non-democratic and human rights violators are still on the process of approval. 

These things aren't gone far worse than what these two nations did especially in terms of the stiffness of arms restrictions against the Philippine Republic. These said two nations' actions and policies against arms sales are affecting the progress of the projects as well as losing the opportunity of the arms industries to bag the project and provide the tools for the armed forces to need. 

The said two nations as described here refers to the countries Belgium and Canada.


Belgium is a country in Europe where the capital city is situated in Brussels. This city is also where the main headquarters of the European Union (EU) is situated. Even though the present administration and the EU are not in good terms one after the other, the percussions aren't keen too much between Brussels and Manila in EU terms even in the Belgian National Level. 

As a matter of fact, the main obstacle to the whole arms restrictions debacle lies in the hands-on the French-speaking Walloon Regional Government. To provide some idea folks, Belgium has three regions composing its National Territory. To the north, there is the Dutch-speaking Flemish Region, on the center, there is the Brussels-Capital Region and to the South, there is the French-speaking Walloon National Government which as presumed several military and defense industrial complexes are situated including the company named CMI Defense which is the provider of gun turrets intended for light or medium tanks such as Turkey's Otokar Tulpar and Indonesia's Kaplan tank

These things provide the obstacles especially in Horizon 2 that the Philippine Army opts for light tanks intended to enhance its firepower capabilities. From the corporate perspective, this restriction keeps Walloon-based defense industries to have more opportunities like the ones for the Armed Forces where it means more market to obtain and grow. Nevertheless, the existing markets that these industries, as well as the opportunities that it obtains, will render the opportunity with the Philippines at a minimal loss. 

It might as well be good with regards to this issue if terms and conditions are to be discussed by both sides so as it will provide the win-win solution where parties involved will benefit.


Lying in the northern borders of the United States, this is a country which is considered as the second-largest nation in terms of territorial size on the whole world, after the Russian Federation. It is also home to a proportionate number of Filipino-born citizens who decided to either work in this country with several others eventually settle down. 

Aside from these aforementioned facts that describe Canada, this country went abuzz across Philippine Defense Platforms as well as in both mainstream and social media outlets when its government in Ottawa decided to "review" the transactions involving Bell 412 Combat Utility Helicopters intended for the Philippine Air Force under the grounds of so-called "human rights atrocities". 

As clarified, the Armed Forces of the Philippines explicates that these helicopters aren't simply suited for attack operations where it is intended more for troop support against insurgency elements in terms of immediate deployment and pulling out wounded personnel in the field as well as Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response (HADR) operations where relief goods are delivered on inaccessible areas as well as transport trapped or wounded civilians out from danger. 

In fact, the Philippines already have a deal before with the same company about the same aircraft. This prior deal dates back to years 2014-2015 where the Philippine Air Force receives eight Bell 412 helicopters as agreed on the contract signed therein. Given these things, it hampers logistical components of the air force as well as the potentials that it entails. 

In the case of corporate culture, this comes with questionable reliability of the supplier in terms of having a deal where both sides are on the losing end with the so-called "upholding principles" of arms regulations with political and human rights as a measurement for eligible transaction-doing. This is an opportunity for sales pitch lost in the process as the Philippine Government canceled the deal and it prompts the Canadian Government in Ottawa to have its defense-oriented company Crown Corporation to be less reliant on arms sales.

Potential Others

Aside from Belgium (thru Wallonia Regional Government) and Canada, nations such as Sweden as well as France are on the pressure in their respective governments to set up guidelines with regards to arms sales wherein it is detrimental for arms restrictions.

This comes as key coalition groups and some key people in their respective governments are worried that it may be used on violence in the same way as Canada and Belgium did on the Philippines on the premise of so-called "human rights violations". 

In the case of France, the pressure of arms sales comes more from the conflict on a Middle Eastern country of Yemen in which nations such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates receives arms imports from the United States and several European nations that produce weaponry. 

So far as these things are concerned, the arms restrictions aren't inflicting that much damage on both sides that much yet where negotiations may still take place for the better considering that the Armed Forces and its personnel have its hands off the issue and will uphold human rights as intended. 

It might as well be better to restart transactions without any political fanfare where such assets as used shall get intended to flushing insurgent threats inside the country as well as the outside ones and the suppliers gaining sales in the process. This will be a win-win for defense industries and countries with a desire of protecting their own citizens against a threatening enemy.

The production line for F-16 Fighter jets. Courtesy of the Drive.
In terms of any business, the primary concept of operations or management especially in the manufacturing industry is that sales are needed to be pitched in terms of selling quality-based products in quantities needed depending on various projects in the sense that it really matters especially on the continuity of the production line like the ones given in the photo above about fighter jets like the F-16.

As long as deals are still rolling such as this one between Bahrain and Lockheed Martin, jobs are still provided to the people especially the ones that cater military assets to the ones that need it in exchange for cash stipulated in the contract. In case we wonder, the United States dropped the conditions needed for arms sales about this Middle Eastern Nation in which allows the transactions that keep the F-16 line open. 

By that sense, these situations given provide the picture about the essence of arms sales in which a defense-industrial complex still keeps the production line open. Add to that, the additional transactions taking place means additional opportunity for these industries to enhance more sales which generate income in the process where it covers the cost of making the aircraft, the components it obtains, fixed and variable overheads, operating expense, and of course, profit for the company's growth. 

Arms restrictions, in this case, hamper the opportunity these companies may have in terms of arms sales. However, given the laws a nation has for arms sales and the conditions needed to meet up, there is something that defense companies shall comply as a safeguard that weapons shall not fall into the wrong hands. 

It is ideal from a moral standpoint but considers as a dilemma in line with business ethics with regards to the military and defense-related context.


The two extremes - the sale of military equipment that rockets sales and the income along with it versus arms restrictions where conditions shall be met for a legitimate transaction are the forces, opposite on each other where it pulls the decision-makers and stakeholders of a defense industry to make a decision as well as providing ideas where a resolution of both sides needs to be met to the profitability of a company as well as compliance with the laws enacted in a country in the same way as any businesses will do.

As for the supplier (the defense industry), the scenario will be this - either pursuing the government to resume transactions through lobbying or looking for alternatives such as other markets that may need such equipment with the eligibility to make out a deal. 

In the case of the buyer like the Philippines given the Canadian and Belgian restriction issues, it might as well be essential if negotiations may initiate where terms and conditions will be ironed out where a transaction may still proceed or rather, just like the supplier, will be looking for the alternative military industry which is more than willing to provide the material needed to enhance the capabilities intended to defend the nation against existing threats varying from terrorism to foreign incursion. 

However, looking for alternatives may hamper logistical issues for the end-user to have, incurring the cost for spare parts as well as the operations of assets that are not in line with the doctrines of the end-user. Those things definitely hamper the capabilities of an armed force where decision-makers badly needed to consider.

Hence, with these circumstances playing on weapons sales and the risk of not falling into the wrong hands, the clash of arguments between the pragmatic essence of obtaining opportunities against the principles of several supplier nations applied on their respective laws with conditions that are needed to have a legitimate deal will continue through a time where both points are needed to consider in terms to have a nice reputation especially on defense companies that aspires in the same way as any business organization will do. 

There will be times that the former will prevail over the latter and vice versa. To sum it up, these things are set up of what is to be the reality on weapons deal where safeguards are needed to protect the innocent from harmful abuse of these tools. 

And to consider the lifeline of the defense industries relying on weapons sales, it might as well be good to have the best deal on a good condition where terms are agreed, the materiel supplanted for enhancing capabilities on dealing threats and sales pitching which is in the good benefit of all parties involved.




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