• 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.

Military Budgeting and Procurement - Frequently Asked Questions

With regards to military defense and similarly-related issues, the first thing that a reader may entice to read on is regarding the Modernization updates that talks about the procurement of military equipment in which on its own worth may find useful for the end user, on the condition that the supplier met the standards that the end user seeks for the end product. 

This article will talk about military budgeting in a way that questions will be answered in connection on the main theme which will be revolving to military budgeting as well as Procurement Process stipulated in the Republic Act 9184 or more known as the Procurement Law and its 2016 Implemented Rules and Regulations or IRR. Not to mention that the terms of the deal and variables will be discussed also in a way that this centers on the projects and undertaking that the Armed Forces of the Philippines or any of its branches obtains in purchasing military hardware.

Pitz Defense Analysis Note: This will be written by your very own whose background is with the government and his line of specialties deals with budgeting as transactions are being done in a way that obligating transactions shall be within the bounds of the annual procurement plan listing with disbursements also getting in line with such obligations. In this way, checks and balances are in place to ensure total accountability in various transaction processes. In this matter though, several of the details provided in this discussion will be based on experience, although supplemental data will be provided for cross-referencing.

Providing funding on projects mean a lot to all organizations, both
private and public.
Before proceeding, let us provide you the links needed that also in correlation with military budgeting.

Budgeting the Armed Forces and their Needs - dated January 14, 2018
Horizon 2 and the Budget Obstacle - dated April 09, 2017


So, here are some of the own-formulated questions with regards to budgeting and procurement processes. Some of which may provide knowledge or ideas on questions that you readers have wondered. If any of you have some more ideas to add, just kindly comment below for us to answer your questions. Provided that it is still within the bounds of this topic discussion.

Question #1
 - How the bids and awards committee of each service branch determines the budget for the Modernization Program, in particular, the military procurement projects?

Answer: It is something to do with budget calls wherein being the part of the budgeting process (somewhere in the first step of the process), the ranking officials are meeting together in order to make a proposal of what direction an agency or a military service will take for the next year or more. From there, they will provide the inputs needed in order to prioritize the necessity of a service branch in order to guarantee its mandate will remain efficient and effective for many years to come. The outputs will be compiled together in a PPMP or the Project Procurement Management Plan which will embody the contents of the Annual Procurement Plan or APP and eventually the duly-signed General Appropriations Act or GAA later on. While in the discussion, the pricing of various products will also be determined through the following question...

Question #2
 - How are each projects being priced for the ABC or Allocated Budget for the Contract?

Answer: The bids and awards committee, together with the technical working group will invite prospective bidders in a way that the request for quotation or RFQ will be provided to any interesting suppliers that obtain specialties in building such a military tech. Such information and documents that pertain to RFQ can be retrieved in a website of a government entity or service branch and on PhilGeps website which is responsible for the posting of Government-related procurement matters. One example is the DND Bids and Awards Committee section of their website which the request for quotations, invitation to bid and other details are provided.

Question #3
 - What embodies the Armed Forces of the Philippines' annual budget?

Answer: One may wonder why the budget of the AFP annually - especially for its service branch is high enough to support modernization processes yet it only allocates a small portion to fund its modernization efforts. The answer definitely lies on one, very simple fact - The Armed Forces of the Philippines or its branches which is the Philippine Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as other uniform services like the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police like any other government agencies, have to fund other operational matters that are considered vital to their mandate as an organization. In other words, the budget of an organization is piece-mealed to various budgeting components, primarily Personnel Services or PS, Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses or MOOE and Capital Outlay or CO. Those terminologies are your government equivalents of salaries and benefits, cost of services rendered or goods manufactured and capital expenditures that a private enterprise categorize in order to manage their cash outflow. This means that troops need the salary and benefits they deserve in rendering the service for the country, maintenance for military equipment and facilities, operations that involve fuel, communications, and electric consumption as well as repair of facilities which is essential in sheltering troops and equipment. That leaves capital outlay where the Modernization procurement process falls on as these projects usually involve the purchase of new equipment for the military to use.

Question #4
 - Can we determine what units the AFP will buy on a specified budget?

Answer: It depends. Primarily, information based on previous transactions that the Armed Forces undertake may define the basis on the number of units that can be bought on a certain budget. However, such a measurement may go inaccurate if several of the factors will be ignored. There are many considerations to be taken if it is to measure the correlation of the budget to the product that a bidder presented as a package. It is not simply be limited to unit price and the face value of military purchases so as it may also vary from the package that a supplier is willing to provide.

Question #5
- Following the previous question, what are the factors that need to be considered in correlating the budget and the product offered by the bidder?

Answer: Aside from the number of units which is usually looked upon by an enthusiast in the surface, let us not ignore the freebies that a package the supplier may provide to sweeten the deal as well as the specs of the product which define the capabilities will it have to be useful for the end user to utilize in its operations and the after-support privileges that there is the guarantee that the winning bidder will provide the spare parts and services the end user needs throughout the life span of a certain military equipment whether will it be a frigate, a multirole fighter jet or a long firearm being issued to the personnel. So, this renders inaccuracies in determining the number of units wherein lacking the said factors may not render the whole picture of the capabilities that the Armed Forces of the Philippines may bring in its inventory. Take note, it may be 10 units of poorly-armed attack helicopters or 5 units of such attack helicopters, complete with armaments and after-support.

Question #6
- Can the military simply purchase the most capable weapon available in a market?

Answer: If the question means stealth fighters and naval destroyers, the answer will be a no. While the Armed Forces are pursuing its path to modernization, of course, they will consider the feasibility of certain military equipment to ensure that it will operate in an efficient way without carrying the burden on the end user's end on carrying out expensive maintenance and operations year after year. One may definitely say that a capable fighter jet ever purchased may end up as a hangar queen where there is a waste of funds in the process while getting another fighter jet with just a sufficient capability but with efficient cost per flight hour (CPFH) in terms in maintenance and operations. Such efficiency is what SAAB markets the JAS-39 Gripen for where they are also a participant for the Multirole Fighter Jet Program of the Philippine Air Force versus Lockheed Martin's more-known F-16 Fighter Jet.

See related:
The F-16 Fighter Jet and the US Offer for PAF Flight Plan Modernization - dated September 11, 2018
The SAAB Gripen and the Marketing Over Philippine MRF Program - dated February 10, 2018
The Philippine Multirole Fighter Jet Procurement Program - dated June 24, 2018.

Question #7
- Why does the supplier or bidder usually provides freebies in their respective packages?

Answer: This is usually done where it provides an effective bargain for the end user to consider in a way that it will benefit both sides for years to come. This is where the end user may satisfy an additional unit from the original agreement or a different component that improves the effectiveness of the package offered through the product line. 

Question #8
- How the bidding process is being done?

Answer: It is being done through the rules provided under R.A. 9184 or the Procurement Law where it starts from inviting prospective bidders in a project and ends to the delivery of a product that will be produced by the lowest and most responsive bidder. The lowest and most responsive bidder is being determined to the lowest offer that a participating supplier may provide while having its product specs within the standards that the end user seeks in the product which makes them the responsive one. 

Here is the step-by-step process provided by the Bureau of Local Government Finance regarding the procurement of goods in the government where the sales of Bidding Documents are being sent to the Treasury through a trust fund and technicalities are provided. 

Read also: Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations, RA9184 2016.

Question #9
- In what budgeting method does the Modernization Projects under?

Answer: They fall under Multi-year Contracting Authority (MYCA) or what was once called the Multi-Year Obligations Authority (MYOA) given the attributes of Cash-based budgeting that is in implementation today. This setup of funds is different from the usual budgeting where contents are being provided within the GAA or General Appropriations Act where the disbursement of funding comes beyond the annual setup with payments provided upon the agreed milestones set in an agreement. 

To know more about Cash-based budgeting, kindly check this link here containing the presentation from Department of Budget and Management in a PAGBA Seminar.

Question #10
- How the budget influence the outcome of a military procurement project?

Answer: The budgetary influence on a project definitely means a lot in terms of what the capabilities that a piece of equipment may come, or how many units will be coming that will satisfy the end user's need of conducting their mandate efficiently. For instance, a lack of funding on the project may affect the specifications of the end product in a way that Fitted For But Not With or FFNBW attributes will be part of the equation. Let us take note that FFBNW is a way of saying that a feature or component in a military asset will not be included on the main package of the procurement project and instead will come separately later on, in another project and funding required for it to be possible. One example is the Jose Rizal-class Frigate where some of the subcomponents like the Vertical Launching System or VLS as well as the Towed Array Sonar are both classified as FFBNW which means that it will not be included on its current production and instead will be later provided upon the prerogative of the end user's ranking officials.

The questions may get added later on as interesting topics may get covered under way in relevance to this topic.

Here are some of the questions with regards to military budgeting and procurement that aims to provide the knowledge and process behind determining the asset that the end user in each service branch to be used. Take note that this article may get updates later on as new questions arise with ideas shared together and more knowledge absorbed in knowing this important fundamental idea in the Modernization efforts undertaken by the country's Armed Forces.


Questions that are connected to the topic are welcome where some of these things may get added on the list later on. If there is something to cover or quench the enthusiastic curiosity regarding this topic, just kindly comment to this article or on our Facebook Page once this article gets posted.

The Thing About Downgrading Del Pilar Vessel's Fleet Classification

The Philippine Navy made a decision that influences the setup of ships that it obtains currently on its fleet where they recategorize these vessels because they are somewhat justifiable on its current state and capabilities. This by any matter influences the way things may go soon in terms of fleet categorization.

BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16) sails in the foreground together with
USS Wasp (LHD-1) as part of the annual Balikatan Exercise Operations.
Image courtesy of DVIDSHUB.

Reports come along across defense-related and other media platforms as the Philippine Navy comes at a decision to downgrade the classification of the Del Pilar-class vessels, once part of the U.S. Coast Guard as the Hamilton-class high-endurance Cutters.

From its once classification of Frigates, the 115-meter vessels are now considered as Offshore Patrol Vessels or OPVs. The decision was made from the basis of the ship's current capabilities as it lacks the necessary tools to become a frigate such as anti-surface, anti-air and anti-submarine components that are available on the ones still being built in South Korea for the fleet. 

This currently reduces the number of frigates serving in the fleet from three to zero and will remain that way unless the new Jose Rizal-class will be delivered from its South Korean shipyard or the upgrades that the ships will obtain may comply to the basic necessities of having such capabilities required to reinstate its frigate status. 

While it is a good thing for the ranking officials to recategorize their fleet composition to reflect the current capabilities that the organization obtains at the present date, this also reflects the fleet's lack of capability seen on a modern navy where these are being mitigated and considered under the AFP Modernization Program where plans such as buying submarines, corvettes and frigates come at play with the third one getting realized somewhere by the year 2020 and 2021.

While it may seem devastating or disappointing with regards to this decision made by the Philippine Navy, let us take note that they did it based on reflecting its current capabilities which at some way may help them provide or address the needs that the fleet sees in acquiring the tools which help carry out its mandate. From here, let us provide the points about the good and the bad side that this decision will have on the fleet's capability in carrying its mandate.


Here are some of the idealistic points and ideas that have arisen from the decisions made by the Philippine Navy to the overall role of the Del Pilar vessels that it currently obtains wherein it provides the insight with regards to its capability and also its potentials of having the improvements, perhaps in the near future.

The Upgrades

One of the discussions that have tackled with regards to these ships is the plans to upgrade its capability in terms of its sensors and perhaps to be supplanted with necessary tools that may help itself reinstate its Frigate status once again.

Before proceeding, let us provide this article written on this website that deals with the Idealistic Up-Arming of the Del Pilar class which was considered back then as a Frigate. Click this highlighted link leading to the article.

Take note that just recently, it was reported by another defense outlet that Hanwha bagged the award for the upgrade for the sensors and Combat Management System for the ships which were recently categorized from FF down to PS class of vessels. 

Take note that this involves a discussion we provided last time about the similar upgrade program which tackles primarily on the components on the ships which includes these essential ones: Combat Management System, Hull Mounted Sonar and Radar Electronic Support Measures or RESM

Given the South Korean company's "win" in bagging the contract, chances are they will provide the same Combat Management System which is the Hanwha Systems Naval Shield ICMS that the Jose Rizal-class Frigates may also come up with. 

Take note that this simplifies the logistics chain between the ships but it comes with uncertainty with regards to its capability as the Naval Shield may obtain the issues with regards to its compatibility with other naval components available in the market. 

The inclusion of the said upgrades may perhaps help revert its status once again to a Frigate especially with the ships obtaining the features which are primarily capabilities such on antisubmarine detection with the Hull Mounted Sonar or anti-air detection such as the US-pipelined SAAB Sea Giraffes that two out of three Del Pilar ships will be fitted later on. 

These things are if the sensors suffice the Navy's requirement to be a Frigate which may go problematic given that the current upgrade process doesn't come with weapons systems like anti-air weapon platforms such as a Close-in Weapons System or CIWS, anti-ship missile platforms that the Jose Rizal-class will soon have which will be fitted the form of C-Star or "Haesong" AShM, and Torpedo Launchers such as the one from SEA J+S that also the Jose Rizal-class may come with.

From here comes the overall uncertainty to what extent these vessels may come upgraded with given that it obtains the potential to be a Frigate - at least a light one just as Colombia's Almirante Padilla-class Light Frigate with all of the weapon components it obtains that fits its description.

That uncertainty is with regards to the heightened probability on Fitted For, But Not With (FFBNW) components perhaps if we are to look long term to the ship's capability development and its role within the fleet given its size and space that may accommodate the upgrades. 

Hence, it might only be certain with time to the path the Del Pilar vessels may partake, weapons upgrade-wise.

On Naval Statuses

This decision to downgrade the ships of the class provides a very important fact to the fleet setup which is the necessity to address its shortcomings especially on the composition of the fleet as well as the capability it needs to provide at least the minimum capable deterrence it desires under their Sail Plan 2028 initiative.

The said initiative actually calls for combatant units to be purchased and eventually to put them into service so as it aims to have a formidable force present on the high seas that represent the country's resolve to defend itself before any threats, especially with the Coast Guard vessels being the first in line given their civilian character that minimizes the likelihood of getting provocations along the process.

On the bright side, reducing the current number of frigates to zero arises the necessity to have one aside from the currently work-in-process units that are being built in South Korea. 

From this point of view, it might be the chance for the ranking echelon to convince the necessity to purchase at least a more decent frigate that the organization deserves, complete with its array of weaponry without the worry of having it classified as a separate add-on component more commonly known as a "Fitted For, But Not With" rule. 

It comes with in-depth planning with lessons gathered from the first Frigate Acquisition Project that produces the Jose Rizal-class variants from South Korea. 

Such a procurement planning with a carefully-drafted specification, the Navy may come in a way to have a new class or line of ships that is suited to the mission that determines its role, in a way that the first builds provide the baseline for the succeeding units in production. 

This setup will be a thing if the government is more than willing to provide the necessary budget to carry out this highly-promising project for the organization for itself to push through, where there is the willingness to provide the tools needed to carry out and improve or provide what it means to protect the country's maritime domains.

That being said, it may be a promising thing for such a nice proposal or plan to take place where if the plans for more assets are to consider, given that full support for the original plan before the budgetary cuts or a bit more to that gives the Navy the capability for minimum deterrence. 

Take note that they set aside the Second Horizon Frigate Acquisition Project for the Corvette equivalent due to the Budget slash that the whole Armed Forces experienced that renders the sets of priorities needed for them to have the necessary tools that are in demand at a shorter time.

At present, the Philippine Navy fleet currently composes of patrol boats and vessels with several of these units traced themselves back to the second world war. Take note that some of these old ships were decommissioned without any replacement. 

Hence, the decision in itself gets supplementary to the needs of the navy in having an offshore patrol vessel in a way that it covers the role of several of the decommissioned ships in traversing and traveling the waters. 

To know more about Philippine Navy fleet composition and the ideas for its desired growth, please kindly read our article on this page entitled "The Perspective on the Status of the Philippine Fleet".

On Its Role

It is worth taking note that the Philippine Navy decided to downgrade the Del Pilar-class vessels is due to its lack of capabilities that a Frigate needs to have in terms of getting a fight against air, surface and submarine threats.

Having such capabilities makes these vessels more of a valuable target for the enemy to fire upon, where its loss definitely means a lot for the fleet especially on having such valuable classification which defines its capability in dealing with threats in a situation.

Hence, it is just as worthy to reclassify it from its original Frigate status wherein it primarily comes as an interim platform for the incoming Frigates from South Korea where sailors may have time gathering the skills needed to operate a larger combat ship, a thing that is lacked on World War 2 vessels that the Navy still obtains at present. 

So while being a large offshore combat vessel which goes parallel from its original role when these vessels were with the United States Coast Guard, its service partly serves as a training platform for the personnel to familiarize the work environment especially living at sea for days where its range and endurance are an advantage that a portion of the country's coastline is also being patrolled in the process.

Given the inputs, such a decision may give sense especially on putting it to its current classification wherein it may serve more on patrols in the meantime while things remain to be seen to any plans for it to have a significant upgrade that may help regain its former classification.

Despite these things, there are still hopes and dreams for the fleet to have as it still pursues its Modernization goals in a way that the reclassified ships in their own design still obtains the space for development where on the prerogative of the chain may provide the tools it needs to be a more capable combat vessel which may reinstate its frigate status later on.

BRP Andres Bonifacio off the coast of Palawan. PDA Stock Image Photo.

There are still good things and realizations about the decision made by the Philippine Navy in a way that will help the organization improve its fleet setup, paving the way for more capable vessels in the years to come.

In this way, it may mean a lot for the fleet to improve its composition of ships in a way that they deserve better platforms to attain the desired Sail Plan as part of the country's overall approach for minimum credible defense posture against various threats that have posed danger on the country's sovereignty and integrity. 

So, what remains now is on doubling the efforts of Modernization in a way that more tools and upgrades may get provided along the way that will satisfy the resolve of having a formidable fleet that protects the country's geographical setup that relies more on the protection of the nation's territorial and EEZ waters in accordance to national and international laws.

Hence, it is an interesting thing to see on the future plans that the Navy sets for its fleet composition where like the rest of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is something that may provide the necessary tools they deserve to continuously carry out their duties and responsibilities. 

Hopes, dreams, and aspirations remain in a way that all of the efforts on the undertaking is for the betterment of the country's safeguard of its national security that guarantees peace, safety, and territorial integrity.

The Philippine Marine Corps's Re-Enhanced Amphibious Assault Capability

Amphibious capability is something that a Naval Force through the Marine Corps expertly obtains where it is their specialty in a sense that infiltration or insertion into the hostile territory through the beachhead is the role of these said forces that in its essence an important feature in the Armed Forces of a country which is composed of islands surrounded by a body of water. 

This capability, like the other ones like airdropping troops and supplies or close air support operations, can be improved further in terms of skills, technical knowledge, and of course, Amphibious assets in the inventory that actively serves its intended purpose.

This is a South Korean Amphibious Assault Vehicle or known in its
abbreviation "KAAV". The Philippines ordered such units from
the supplier Hanwha Systems.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program is presently taking effect on the capabilities of each of its branches which is the Philippine Army, Air Force, and the Navy together with its Marine sub-unit. 

Army personnel getting the upgrades in a form of more-sophisticated infantry fighting vehicles and artillery with enhanced firepower, fighter trainer jets flying the skies, honing the pilots' skills in preparation of a more-sophisticated warbird, and navy sailors spending out at sea patrolling with ships that have longer endurance than the old hulls where portions of it still compose the fleet even at the present day.

Aside from the things aforementioned above, talking about the three main branches, the Navy sub-branch, the Marines, is also going with the flow where it also has its own share of military materiel as well as the technical knowledge of operating and maintaining it. 

One component that provides the boost for these men is the M-134D Mini Gun in which the United States through JUSMAG or Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group, provided alongside M-4 carbines, Glock-21 Pistols, and M-203 Grenade Launchers. 

These tools make these brave men more capable to wreak havoc against any threat that poses a nation in case they are needed to flush down a deadly enemy alongside the primary components of the Armed Forces, for safety and peace.

Well, things simply don't stop in firearms in which a Marine loves to have considering that it is a tool both to eliminate the target and keeping themselves from being killed. 

Defense material, supply chain, logistics, and other essential features ranging from tactics to morale are also considered. And with a country like the Philippines having geography of archipelagic setup which composes of multiple islands, the sea in which it surrounds is worth harnessing where aside from economic terms like gathering marine resources for the nation's supply chain of providing the market the commodity it needs, the military by nature is obtaining its essential feature of transporting material, munitions and troops across the islands in a form of naval transport vessels. 

Just to crack things up folks, a naval fleet isn't only composed of naval combatants like frigates, corvettes, and patrol vessels, but also essential support vessels which provide the very most important fundamental of what it means to have a capable armed force - that is, logistics.

Talking about logistics, this is a component that is essential to its worth which, alongside the industrial, population, and economic leverages that a nation has, are some of the features that are vital to the military operations that define victory and defeat of an armed force that is also a highlight to the utmost importance of national security of a country in a sense that sovereignty and freedom of self-rule lie at stake. 

This is the role of transport vessels, ranging from military vehicles like trucks and armored personnel carriers to Landing Platform Docks and aircraft such as C-295 medium-lift aircraft and C-130 main lift aircraft. In this case, though, amphibious capabilities are a way to secure a coastline from enemy forces and eventually, making the location as a makeshift access point for logistic vessels to drop the supplies needed to continue the war effort.

These things are simply giving an idea with regards to conducting amphibious capabilities where it was done at the past with the momentum losing a bit until it becomes revitalized once again that newer approach on this existing capability is introduced to the Armed Forces especially to the Navy where the newest of tools make deployments a more effective thing.


When we talk about Hanwha, we usually talk about a defense company in South Korea that specializes in improving or enhancing military and defense systems such as the Naval Shield Combat Management System which the Philippine Navy chooses for the Frigates, naming the BRP Antonio Luna and BRP Jose Rizal where these frigates may soon serve the fleet once these ships will be delivered by the shipbuilder the Hyundai Heavy Industries.

To summarize the development and process Hanwha undertakes on the Naval Shield Article, it is worthy to presume that at some point in time, the then Samsung Techwin company and BAE systems developed a Korean variant of the AAV-7 Amphibious Assault Vehicle, which it is designed to build and serve the Korean Marine Force using the skills, know-how, and resources to develop and produce one which may mean a lot for the Korean defense indigenous industries as well as the capabilities of the Korean Armed Forces in terms of conducting amphibious operations. 

Likewise, the expertise obtained by the Koreans may be given to the Filipinos through the production of these platforms that the government paid to improve the country's own amphibious capabilities, given that the Philippine Navy in the first place obtains two Landing Platform Docks from Indonesia's PT PAL shipbuilding company which plays a part in having such capability in a form of BRP Tarlac and BRP Davao del Sur. 

It was discussed back then on the other defense page that the delivery of the first batch of these Amphibious Assault Vehicles would take place in April 2018 last year. However, as of this posting, the latest details only provides the information that the delivery may take place within this year, preferably in the first or second quarter period. Hence, the company incurred months of delays for them to deliver their product for Philippine Marine use. 

Nevertheless, such development for this year's delivery provides that assurance that their obligations will fulfill, just only that its arrival will be late than what previous information back then provided.

This is a factory-based KAAV-7 of Hanwha where it is intended to
its customer in Southeast Asia - The Philippine Marine Corps.
Courtesy to 김대영의 M-Inside Facebook page.
The Korean defense company Hanwha produces Amphibious platforms such as the KAAV-7 or specifically the Korean Amphibious Assault Vehicle - 7 wherein they originally provide it to the Korean Military specifically its Marine Corps as part of their own indigenous program that aims to supplant their Armed Forces with military assets which are produced in Korea either a developed platform or a licensed one such as this amphibious vehicle.

The KAAV-7 derives itself from the original Amphibious Assault Vehicle program in the United States which is intended to its own Marine Corps. Such an amphibious platform is still in the service of the U.S.M.C. as the backbone of its amphibious operations.

This military piece of equipment was developed in 1972 by the U.S. Armed Forces which is manufactured by United Defense LP and FMC Corporation in the United States. Another name for the AAV-7 is the LVTP-7 where it is the successor of the LVTP-5 that the Philippine Marine Corps still presently obtains in its inventory. 

This military platform already participated in some conflicts across the globe where the United States and other nations that obtain these platforms utilized its potential on their use. 

The current AAV-7 Amphibious Vehicle that the United States Marine Corps employed can be seen in action especially in the country when both nations are conducting annual bilateral exercises such as the Balikatan Exercises where their peers from the Philippine Marine Corps may have the opportunity to experience what is to be within the amphibious vehicle as well as determining how the way it operates from the ship to the shore and vice versa. 

From there, the utilization of these assets by the United States Marine Corps shows its capability and reliance that a South Korean company produces it primarily to the consumption of its own country and eventually to the Philippines in a deal made with Hanwha. 

Coupling it up with its deployment in an annual bilateral exercise simply helps provide the idea to what this means for the Philippine Marine Corps' improvement of its amphibious landing capabilities.


The Philippine Marine Corps is seeking to have at least eight (8) units of amphibious assault vehicle which can be assigned primarily on the capital Navy ships such as the Tarlac-class Landing Platform Docks, intended for its re-enhanced amphibious landing operations.

Once available, the Philippine Marine Corps will once again have an amphibious component where, aside from the landing of troops from a landing craft, these assault vehicles may provide the necessary protection needed for the troops on board in a way that guarantees the survivability as well as the support for the main beach party to penetrate and remove any beach defense and obstacles that the opposition forces have put against the forward deployment team.

As of the current date, the units are still on its manufacturer and its pending delay. To take note, it was discussed in the previous years with regards to its intended date of delivery with the latest information coming from the January article of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) which says that it was intended to arrive at the country by March of this year, at least for the first batch of deliveries that come with four units of KAAV-7s

Well, the said date has lapsed and there are little or no reports regarding the delivery, where this is something that needs to be updated once information is available. Despite these shortcomings, the assurance is there that the Philippine Marine Corps sooner or later will obtain these Korean-made amphibious assault vehicles where they may help interoperate with their U.S. peers in an event of a bilateral exercise like the ones in Balikatan. 

Moreover, this development may a good thing in a way that given the archipelagic setup of the country geographically-wise, these vehicles may help a lot especially in times of disaster which have rendered primary seaports unusable where their role in humanitarian assistance/disaster response or HADR through the delivery of relief goods is helpful in terms of helping the ones that need basic necessities at those critical times. 

So, with the uncertain delivery times but with certain assurances that these will end up in the weapons inventory of the Philippine Marine Corps, perhaps only at a certain time that an update will be provided about these assets wherein there comes with the hopes that it may finally be delivered to the end-user, followed by conducting a proper turn-over and eventually witnessing its actual use within the organization.


The specifications of an AAV-7 across all variants including the KAAV-7 from South Korea are as follows, in comparison with the LVTP-5 that the Philippine Marine Corps obtains:
Kindly click the image to enlarge.
The following source for the table above are as follows:
AAV-7s: https://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=43
LVTP-5s: https://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=327

Take note that each of the links above also provides insight with regards to each assets' development history and their roles during their period. 

As seen here, it is worth taking note that the LVTP-5 produced in the first parts of the Cold War while the AAV-7 coming after with improvements introduced which, as seen in the table above, are significant to the performance needed for an amphibious assault vehicle where the later version is lighter, fuel-efficient, and more capable than its predecessor. 

Also take note that the AAV-7 at present obtains 11 current users where the logistics chain may not be that much of a problem especially in outsourcing the spare parts needed for the assets to continuously function as compared to the LVTP-5 where several countries may already have it decommissioned, with the resources for spare parts running thin through time.

From here, let us provide the fact that the Philippine Marine Corps still obtains LVTP-5s in their inventory in which given its age is now being mitigated by the incoming KAAV-5s coming from South Korea. 

From there, once the newer Amphibious Assault Vehicles gets commissioned and enters the scene may mean much for the existing capabilities that the Marines obtain with the existing ones they have in operation. 

Hence, with the Tarlac-class Landing Platform Docks also in service with the Philippine Navy, the Marines can harness the capability for the better now with the proper tools in place which by satisfaction may convince them to provide more for the troops to efficiently get the job done within their desired requirement.


The purchase of KAAV-7s as part of the Modernization process is significant in a way that the Philippine Marine Corps will have a better platform for its troops and supplies to be deployed along a secured shoreline through the use of amphibious assault vehicles which guarantees their protection as well as the provided capacity in case of humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

Moreover, having these platforms help the organization effectively and efficiently cross-training with other nations especially with the United States where their Marine Corps also utilized a variant of it where they have their wares deployed in a bilateral exercise such as Balikatan. At present, the experience of the Philippine Marine and Navy personnel with their U.S. Counterparts in the operations of their AAV-7s is helpful in a way that this may help them provide the idea on the way it operates which may not give them a problem with experience once the assets are delivered. Also to take note that with the number of users that such type of amphibious vehicle has like South Korea and the United States, the problems of logistics may lessen a bit in a way that its maintenance in terms of spare parts may be outsourced from any of these countries where there lies the assurance that these assets may continue to serve the organization for a long period of time.

So, it will be an interesting thing to see the amphibious assault vehicles the Philippine Marine Corps purchased from South Korea once it finds its way to a certain unit, commissioned and in active service. From here, this sub-unit of the Philippine Navy enhances its amphibious capability that may find useful in the deployment of troops in supplies in any kind of situation, effectively doing their duties and responsibilities along with other units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in terms of protecting the country, its sovereignty and its citizenry.


The Korean Defense Blog outlet Bemil Chosun (link here) released the images that show the final form of the KAAV-7s intended to the Philippine Marine Corps which the details are provided before its shipping bound for the Philippines. It exhibits an olive green design which is shown in these images below:

While it is good to see its delivery form in that color, it remains to be seen whether the Philippine Marine Corps will change its color to their standard camouflage that can be seen in the Armored Personnel Carriers that the sub-branch of the Philippine Navy employes in their service. Take note of the camouflage that this Cadillac Gage LAV-300 Fire Support Vehicle that the Marines obtain currently in service.

PMC LAV-300. Obtained from Defense of the Republic
of the Philippines Forum site
Take note that the images obtained do pertain to the first batch of units that the supplier, Hanwha Systems will deliver to the country after a series of delays that hamper the project. 

This will finally set sight to the project that is aspiring to the organization in a way that they may now have an effective amphibious platform that can deploy from a Landing Platform Dock ship such as the Tarlac-class LPDs from Indonesia and can deploy eventually to the coastline as they usually do in the annual Balikatan exercises together with their counterparts which are the United States Marine Corps.

Another report about this article is the Philippine Marine Corps' activation of the Amphibious Assault Vehicle Company which is under Assault Armor Battalion. This is in preparation of the incoming units where the images are provided wherein we can see DOTMLPF mechanisms in action wherein the doctrine is set which led to organizing a company such as the one reported which will undertake training once the military equipment is available while taking care of logistics, the pool of personnel that will be assigned to this new company and the facilities that the new units will be maintained and sheltered when not in use.

This is expected to be in the upcoming Philippine Navy anniversary on May 27th this year which will be showcased in the event along with the AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopters that came from the United Kingdom. 

Apparently, it seems to be that the first batch left last month from South Korea and at this time around may already be in the country where there may be finalizations for this batch before the upcoming anniversary which may coincide to its official entry into active service.

With these things taking place, it shows a bright potential for the organization to improve its duties and responsibilities more, in a way that they can exhibit more capabilities that is essential for the country's sovereignty, national security, and welfare. 

This perhaps goes with hopes and dreams that with proper support, the Marines may get more of these units in a way that their amphibious capability will be enhanced greatly. Nevertheless, the first batch of these vehicles which come at four units will be a promising start for a better future of this organization.

UPDATES as of September 22, 2019
The KAAV-7 Sporting a new camouflage. Obtained via
Philippine Armed Forces Unofficial II
Updates include: Change of article title, grammar rephrasing, and additional information

Since the delivery of the KAAV-7s, many developments have taken place involving these platforms which significantly improves the overall capabilities that the Philippine Marine Corps have in terms of conducting Amphibious Operations.

In this article provided by Rappler, the Philippine Marine Corps for the first time conducted an amphibious exercise which is considered part of the inter-military branch DAGIT-PA joint drills wherein it shows significance as this is the first for the sub-branch under the Philippine Navy to conduct such operations without assistance from the closest ally which is the United States.

It is worth taking note that the Philippine Marine Corps and its counterparts from the United States conducted a Subject Matter Expert Exchange wherein the latter sharing their knowledge to the former with regards to the skills on conducting such operations that provide the precedent to the recent amphibious activity during the DAGIT-PA joint exercises.

All of the eight units ordered from South Korea are now in the country with the second batch of four units awaiting formal entry into the fleet service. Nevertheless, it serves as a welcoming development to the Marine Corps as it improves further their capabilities which may be provided by more later on shall such plans may arise somewhere later on along the way.

Upgraded FA-50PH Jets for the Philippine Air Force?

The discussions pertaining to this Korean-made asset have already made rounds within this outlet where its capabilities and roles really mean a lot in terms of providing the current air interdiction abilities that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) obtains. In this matter though, it is to see worth again to add more information in this topic along with other articles already posted here, given that the line of jet fighters from South Korea is set to have a leap on its aircraft in production.

This Lead-In Fighter Jet may get the upgrades it needs to be a
complementary combat fighter.
Obtained from Lima Mike Romeo, DRP.
Before proceeding, kindly read these two articles which pertain to the discussion on FA-50PH. 

The Role of FA-50PH as Both Trainer and Light Fighter - PDA (dated Dec. 01, 2016); and
- The Idea of Having BVR features in an FA-50 Lead-In Fighter Trainer Jet - PDA (dated January 31, 2019).

These two article discussions provide insights that primarily set to the capabilities and potentials that the FA-50PH like the ones in the Philippine Air Force may obtain at least in the near future.

The reports on the upgrades that the Korean Aerospace Industries or KAI have for the FA-50 line of jets that it produces were first obtained by our source which was later disclosed by a Polandball-inspired page which obtains the credibility as it has the information with regards to the planned upgrade.
The report that the page cited came from a notable South Korean Defense Page Bemil-Chosun that discusses defense-related updates and issues about the Korean Armed Forces and its Defense Industry. The translation from the page are as follows:

The Philippines, Indonesia, and other countries are requesting BVR capability for the FA-50 Fighting Eagle.

FA-50, equipped with EL/M-2032 radar, MIDS/LVT-6, and digital RWR, is the Philippines' only fighter aircraft. As for Indonesia, it sorely lacks fighters despite its vast airspace, which is why its Air Force is upgrading the T-50i to FA-50 standard to double as light combat aircraft. (They cannot import Israeli EL/M-2032, so they're procuring Korean license-manufactured KM-2032)

In order to meet customer demands and to secure future customers, KAI decided to upgrade the FA-50 with BVR capability.

Unlike FA-50 in ROKAF service, which is used primarily for close air support and forward air control, a future export version of the FA-50 will exclusively be integrated with BVR missiles and Combined Interrogator/Transponder with IFF capability.

In addition, targeting pod will be integrated into both ROKAF and export FA-50 for improved ground attack capability. FA-50 already has precise ground attack capability thanks to its sophisticated GPS/INS system (Honeywell H764 EGI) integrated into its mission computer and its Link-16 tactical data link capability. Its EL/M-2032 radar also has ground attack mode that boosts FA-50's attack capability.

The integration of the targeting pod allows the FA-50 to utilize its ground attack capability at full potential. It increases the overall accuracy of airstrikes and reduces the number of ammunition required to successfully destroy a target.

Currently, ROKAF utilizes 500lb GUB-38 JDAM as FA-50's primary precision-guided munition. While JDAMs are capable of fire & forget, they are not as accurate as laser-guided bombs. GBU-12, ROKAF's most numerous LGB, is planned to be equipped on FA-50 once targeting pods are integrated. 

The content once again points back to the January 31 article where the idea of providing the jets with Beyond Visual Range Radar was raised in the process that it will raise the bar of the FA-50's capability as a light combat aircraft. Take note also that the reports pertaining at the time of the article's posting focusing on targeting pods that in any way helps improve the jet's ability in conducting accurate strafing or bombing of ground targets, making it more effective than the PAF's surgical bombing operations in Marawi City two years ago. 

At the moment, several units of FA-50PH that the Philippine Air Force currently obtains are equipped with EL/M 2032 Fire Control Radar originated from Israel. The discussions pertaining to it were traced back in 2016 where Shephard Media reported it as part of the Asian Defense and Security exhibition or ADAS 2016.
Image Source. Click the image to read clearer.
So, these developments that take place for the improvement of FA-50 capabilities are getting mainstream for the ones that obtain it such as the Republic of Korea Air Force, Indonesia, Iraq, Thailand, and the Philippines wherein this may help dictate so as the path that the T/TA/FA-50 production program may bring as well as the direction that the manufacturer such as the Korean Aerospace Industries or KAI will take. 

Here are the sample transponder of various types
that a fighter aircraft obtains.
Image Courtesy of 신선규.
Now, we are to provide the details regarding this development that was discussed on this page several articles ago. The first point that we will be pointing out is the correlation of the Beyond Visual Range (BVR) radar to a Transponder component that handles IFF or "Identification: Friend or Foe" capability. Let us quote the portion of the translated Bemil-Chosun once again specifically to this area of the topic:

"Unlike FA-50 in ROKAF service, which is used primarily for close air support and forward air control, a future export version of the FA-50 will exclusively be integrated with BVR missiles and Combined Interrogator/Transponder with IFF capability."

This was discussed in the first article on this page that deals on the role of the FA-50s within the Philippine Air Force, quoted directly from a post contributor of a defense-oriented group where it first highlights the contrast of the role of such jets have within the Korean Armed Forces with respect to its export variant that can be seen as an immediate alternative to the Multirole Fighter Jets - which is one of the projects the Philippine Air Force obtains under the Second Horizon. 

The BVR missiles like the Derby missiles produced from Israel and Combined Interrogator/Transponder with IFF capability are the components which will help upgrade the FA-50s once the South Korean manufacturer decides who will supply such capabilities to their combat jet product, with the combined interrogator/transponder being the main factor for the enhancement of having an ability to obtain the Beyond Visual Range detection of other aircraft, especially with the IFF capability that distinguishes friendly aircraft from the ones operated by the opposing forces. 

Ideally, every aircraft of various types obtains a transponder as a requirement for flying on airspace that requires it in the same way as ADS-B are slowly rolling in for air traffic purposes. The only thing regarding this upgrade is that a Combined Interrogator/Transponder, a military-spec component and the one that the FA-50 series doesn't obtain as the Koreans intend to use it for Close Air Support and Forward Air Control, will be provided where it may go and obtain the capacity for air detection that a Multirole Fighter Jet obtains, given that this was designed for air-to-air combat. An example will be the AN/APX lineup of products that are in production with BAE systems for F-16 fighter jets which a document PDF file can be accessed here (click this link is if in case the first one doesn't work).

The addition of such capability as said were being discussed in two aforementioned articles we share here wherein this additional advancement for the FA-50's combat ability may influence the flight setup of roles given that the Philippine Air Force's desire to undertake the Multirole Fighter Jet Program (MRF) that also obtains such capability especially in terms of implementing air defense mechanisms in designated airspace. With the MRFs being in the pipeline, the plans for the FA-50 upgrade may complement the planned purchase of the dedicated air assets that in the process may help enhance air interdiction capabilities of this branch of the military specialized in aerospace defense.

Then there is another quote that provides an idea regarding the interest of upgrading the combat fighter jets, especially in end-user countries including the Philippines.

"The Philippines, Indonesia, and other countries are requesting BVR capability for FA-50 Fighting Eagle."

The statement coming from the Korean defense outlet Bemil may provide the insight so as what pushes Korean Aerospace Industries to pursue its development for the T/TA/FA-50 family, especially in terms of gearing up its capability that may mean much for the countries that currently obtain them such as the Philippines where at present operates 12 units which locally converts to one squadron. 

This kind of interest may help improve the jets wherein being the most capable fighter jet (even it is categorized as Lead-in Fighter Trainer) in the Philippine Air Force as of the moment, the enhancements may provide these units the necessary ability that may help the country implement its Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone or PADIZ which is part of their Modernization efforts taking all the way to 2028.


The Korean Aerospace Industries will introduce the enhancements that countries like Indonesia and the Philippines need in order to make their respective T/TA/FA-50 jets more effective in terms of its performance that may go at par or complement multirole fighter jets.

With the Philippine Air Force also having a slated project for Multirole Fighter jets which also calls for 12 units that equates to one squadron, the current inventory of FA-50s which is the mainstay of the organization's 5th Fighter Wing may get its upgrades that along with the planned MRFs go hand in hand in implementing the PADIZ in a way that patrolling the skies may go enforceable especially once the components are in place such as the EL/M 2288 AD-STAR that the 580th ACWW or the Aircraft Control and Warning Wing operates or the proposed RAFAEL Spyder GBADS that in itself an essential component for the PADIZ implementation mechanism. To add some notes, there are even plans or considerations that additional squadrons of FA-50s were provided on the table in which the current developments that KAI undertakes may pave way for the possible realization of this prospect given the streamlined logistics chain this will bring.

So, this development is worthy to be checked upon from time to time where updates may be provided along the way as the process will be rolling. Once the development completes and the upgrade became available for respective users to obtain, this will be an interesting development not only for the increased capabilities for each air force's T/TA/FA-50 family but also a potential assurance for KAI to provide services which in turn may help boost sales of additional jets in production basing from its satisfaction on their desires to purchase more, ensuring the best for respective country's national security and interest.




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