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Discussing the Philippine Air Force's C-295 Medium Lift Aircraft Fleet

The Philippine Air Force obtains an array of logistics aircraft or "airlifters" as it is known that helps the Armed Forces of the Philippines mobilize quicker as traveling by air usually takes a smaller amount of time as opposed to the sea in which the Philippine Navy employs its own sealift vessels that can also take up a job for the military logistics chain.

One such aircraft that the Air Force obtain is a known addition to its inventory since the start of the Revised AFP Modernization Program or the Republic Act 10349 in 2012 in which it is known for playing a role in both military and civilian operations in which the former focuses on the deployment of troops and equipment whilst the later came in immediate response to natural disasters as part of its humanitarian assistance and disaster response or HADR operations.

DISCUSSION OVERVIEW
One of the C-295 Medium Lift Aircraft that the
Philippine Air Force obtain.
Copyright provided on the image.
When speaking about the Philippine Air Force and its airlifting capabilities, the first thing that came to mind is about the large, capable C-130s of different variants that this service branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines already obtain, with the plans land to procure more assets of such type along the way.

The addition of those assets, as discussed in the previous article entry as we recall it, provides the needed boost in its capacity of accommodating more troops and military equipment on-board, as well as supplies that are needed in combat such as ammunition and food for the troops to eat and also relief goods in times of need like during natural calamities that Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response operations are needed.

While the larger C-130 Hercules is considered the primary mainstay cargo aircraft of the Philippine Air Force in terms of space and greater capacity of carrying goods, troops, and equipment, there are also other varieties of aircraft which are also crucial in the sense that it has a different set of capabilities that are fit to the requirements needed by the service branch for its own use.

And that is having a medium-lift aircraft that is meant to augment the mainstay C-130 Hercules and also relieving these platforms on the intensive airlifting activities as its purpose goes with its limited cargo capacity and sufficient within its limited range that renders larger aircraft to be designated in more essential, added capacity airlift that it is designed for distributing assets, military equipment, supplies, and other roles that maximize its utility.

For this discussion, we will be covering the capable Medium Lift Aircraft that the Philippine Air Force procured from the start of the Revised AFP Modernization Program in 2012 wherein it became one of the primary sets of aircraft that serves the Philippine Air Force's 220th Airlift Wing, and eventually the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing with such type of aircraft serving as a Command and Control (C2) aircraft.

THE HISTORY - THE MEDIUM LIFT AIRCRAFT BEFORE THE C-295
These F-27 Fokker Friendship cargo aircraft forms the Medium
Lift Aircraft, in which it was augmented by the newer C-295 aircraft.
Copyright provided on the image.
Before the C-295 Medium Lift Cargo Aircraft was considered by the Philippine Air Force and eventually obtaining these assets for logistics and airlifting use, the service branch already obtains a handful of these Medium Lift Cargo Aircraft on its inventory, especially coming in the form of these older F-27 Fokker Friendship just like the one seen on the image up above.

The first aircraft of such type that was introduced in the Philippine Air Force traced all way back to September 13, 1959, wherein it was considered part of presidential transport missions which is now currently the job for the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing to take (and also the rationale in having a single C-295 aircraft as a Command and Control platform under this unit).

From 1959, obtaining 51 years of age, it means that such a platform is considered one of the oldest ones that the Philippine Air Force obtains in its inventory as it is still in active service, performing its intended duties as a medium-lift cargo aircraft that may get augmented by the C-295 aircraft and eventually replacing it out as time passes by given by the Fokker F-27 Friendship's age.

While there is a presidential-unit F-27 Fokker Friendship that the Philippine Air Force obtained, most of its serviceable aircraft may come in the form of the procurements made in the mid-1970s up to the early 1980s as the five-year AFP Modernization Program of that time went on considering the procurement of such platform as one of the largest acquisitions made at that time.

This aircraft was considered the mainstay platform for airlines of that era, obtaining it in flying passengers to multiple destinations in which the Philippine Airlines also operated these F-27 Fokker Friendship aircraft before their transfer to the Philippine Air Force in the mid-1970s to combat counterinsurgency operations that took place during that time.

Being an airliner of that time, it does not have the features that a C-130 Hercules of the more-modern C-295 Medium Lift Cargo Aircraft have which is having a ramp at the aircraft's backside which is currently a must-need capability for a cargo aircraft to have as larger parcels of goods that are either intended for both combat or in humanitarian assistance and disaster response can be embarked and disembarked much easily.

Despite having a bit obsolete feature for a cargo aircraft and also with its age that it may get replaced by the newer C-295s, it is still a known fact that the F-27 Fokker Friendship contributed a lot throughout its service in the Philippine Air Force in terms of supporting the troops fighting in counterinsurgency operations as well as giving aid in disaster-stricken areas throughout its operations within this military organization.

THE DEVELOPMENT HISTORY OF C-295
The Colombian Air Force CN-235-300 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA).
Image Source.
The story of the inception of any aircraft that has found service in various militaries across the world starts at the planning and development level, in which aircraft manufacturers are pouring resources and time into research and development to visualize a platform that may fit the requirements of end-users, finding its way into service of several armed forces after multiple test trials and intensive marketing which enforces the manufacturer's reputation in providing such product in other nations that have the potential market for such platform, both civilian and military.

In the case of C-295 medium-lift aircraft that the Philippine Air Force obtain in its inventory of serviceable airlifters, the story of its development traces back to its shorter cousin which is the CN-235 which still serves multiple armed forces across the globe and is still being manufactured by companies such as Indonesia's PT Dirgantara (the one that provided the NC-212s to the Philippine Air Force) or its originator, the Construcciones Aeron√°uticas SA which is currently succeeded by Airbus Military.

The makings of the C-295 traces back to the time that its CN-235 cousin was developed in the early 1980s wherein the two aforementioned companies - the Spanish and the Indonesian one initiated the design work at that time, with the first maiden flight took place in 1983 with the introduction of the first production aircraft took place three years later in 1986 and eventually entered service within the Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire) two years later in 1988.

Just a decade later, the development for the C-295 Medium Lift Aircraft took place in November 1996 wherein it took one year for EADS-CASA (which was then integrated into the Airbus Military during that time) to produce a prototype which was test flown in November of 1997 and eventually, like the CN-235 cargo aircraft before it 13 years prior, was first delivered to its first customer which is the Spanish Air Force in 2001 and the product attracted multiple customers across the globe since then, including the Philippine  Air Force.

To supplement the historical information collated within this sub-topic, let us quote the details of the C-295's design as provided by the Air Recognition website: "The C295 design is based on a robust and reliable structure, able to withstand the rigors of military tactical usage. The landing gear is also designed to be used on unprepared and short airfields, being able to handle high sink rates typical of tactical missions. Compared to other tactical transport, the C295 has a simpler system architecture, with fewer components, less weight, and better reliability resulting in lower operating costs."

So basically, the C-295 Medium Lift Aircraft is designed on smaller runways that the country currently obtains such as the ones in the West Philippine Sea's Pag-Asa island which is under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Kalayaan wherein it can provide supplies to this key outpost of the country amidst the contestations that took place within the area wherein it has been claimed by multiple nations just like the other features situated in the Kalayaan Island Group, with China being the greatest threat as of this article's publishing.

Also mentioned in the quoted information is the aircraft's simpler system architecture in which it connotes lower operating costs that a service branch like the Philippine Air Force considers as its utility came with the consideration of the organization's budgeting in mind as its funding, like in the case of other government agencies, came with limitations especially with recent realignments that are needed in more prioritized matters such as the current efforts in curbing the effects of the global pandemic, not to mention that it minimizes the burden of the service branch in terms to its upkeep.

SPECIFICATIONS
Basic specifications of the aircraft. Screengrab Source.

Additional information on the aircraft's specifications can be seen on this link here.

Given the information above, the C-295 Medium Lift Aircraft can also be equipped with different armaments that are usually found on a varied C-295 of a different designation and purpose aside from its usual cargo roles wherein its details will be discussed thoroughly at the next sub-topic of this article covering different variants of the aircraft which play a different role depending to a country's military requirements.

The aircraft is powered by two Pratt &Whitney Canada PW127G turboprop engines which has a maximum continuous rating of 3058 ESHP or Equivalent Shaft Horsepower (2281 kW), far better than its predecessors such as the PW127A with just having a maximum continuous rating of 2620 ESHP or Equivalent Shaft Horsepower (1954 kW) which is certified in 1997, five years after the first PW127 series engine was certified in 1992.

Concerning its fuselage,  it has a length of 24.45 meters which is a bit stretched longer than its CN-235 counterpart which bears at around 21.35 meters, bearing a significant difference of around 3.1 meters whilst its other dimensions include a wingspan of 25.81 meters which is also similar to the CN-235 as well as having a minimal difference to each aircraft's height wherein the C-295 came with 8.66 meters as opposed to the 8.18 meters of the CN-235.

With its stretched fuselage, it is not surprising that the C-295 Medium Lift Aircraft can have the capacity to carry more personnel than its CN-235 counterpart as the former is capable of carrying 71 personnel or passengers onboard as opposed to the latter's 44 personnel or passenger capacity, although the C-130 is more capable in terms to its cargo loadout than these two platforms mentioned as it is justified as this platform is larger than the likes of the C-295 which is why it categorizes as a Medium Lift platform.

Both the C-295 Medium Lift Aircraft and its CN-235 counterpart are capable of flying at the cruising altitude of 30,000 feet, a bit higher than what both the C-130H and C-130J-30 can manage with 28,000 feet and 18,000 feet, respectively whilst the range of these cargo aircraft vary to its loading capacity with the C-130H having 2,049nm at a full load and a 4,522nm without cargo and the C-130J-30 having a 2,450nm at 40,000lb payload as opposed to the C-295 and CN-235, bearing 2,430nm (or 2,000nm with 6 tons of payload) and 1,550nm respectively.

Given the specification that the C-295 tactical transport aircraft obtains, it suffices the need to its requirement as a Medium Lift Platform as it is capable enough to carry an adequate amount of personnel and supplies on areas that only require such resources to allocate, in which other airlifting platforms as the C-130H and the soon-to-have C-130J-30 can be deployed on areas of concerned that needs expanded resources, augmenting one after the other in terms of the Armed Forces' logistics chain.

While the primary requirement of the C-295 is more on the cargo airlifting side of its capabilities especially with the case of the Philippine Air Force through its 220th Airlift Wing, it is also being considered on another role within this service branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines wherein it is seen as one of the candidates in an acquisition project that relates to maritime patrol.

VARIANTS
A Chilean Navy C-295 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA). The Philippines is looking forward to obtaining a similar platform, among other competing platforms, for its own maritime patrol procurement.
  
Image Source.

Currently, the Armed Forces of the Philippines obtain C-295s of transport variant (C-295M) which composes its Medium Lift Aircraft Fleet, being essential in carrying the needed troops and military materiel at times of combat in areas concerned across the country especially with regards to Counter-Insurgency or COIN operations and on carrying relief goods and essential supplies at times that the country has struck by a natural calamity like an Earthquake or a Typhoon.

There are other variants aside from C-295 transporters that the Airbus Military/CASA provides for its prospective customers to consider and take based on the requirements that the end-user (such as a country's armed forces) to take which helps them advance their own duties and responsibilities that their respective nation and their laws instill unto them.

One of the variants included in this family of aircraft is the C-295 AEW&C or Airborne Early Warning and Control Platform wherein Israel's very own IAI/Elta Systems participated in creating this platform by configuring and equipping these original transport airlifters with rotodome, fitted with 4th Generation Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) as well as other sophisticated equipment such as the maritime search radar, IFF (Identity - Friend or Foe), and ESM or Electronic Support Measures.

Another variant of the C-295 is the Maritime Patrol Aircraft variant (as seen in the image above) in which such platform is helpful for maritime nations like the Philippines to have as it aims to secure the country's waters and augmenting the country's naval fleet as it is usually capable of anti-submarine warfare or ASW, anti-ship warfare or AShW, and Search and Rescue operations in case a maritime disaster happened at sea within national jurisdiction.

With these variants, a C-295 platform can be configured to any of the platforms aforementioned here and a manufacturer like Airbus Military/EADS-CASA provided it as an option for any potential military customers to consider, which adds further to the already-affirmed credibility of the product in catering its capabilities worth utilizing to its end-user.

TO SUMMARIZE IT UP

The Philippine Air Force's decision of having Medium-Lift Transporter Aircraft like the C-295 goes per the Flight Plan initiative under the R.A. 10349 or the Revised AFP Modernization Program wherein it will augment the larger, more capable C-130s that the service branch obtains as well as the F-27 Fokker Friendship aircraft which is the platform it intends to replace in the long run.

Its transport capabilities help the Air Force allocate its resources accordingly, wherein these Medium-Lift platforms are operating as intended within the service branch's requirements while the Heavy-Lift ones are being assigned into roles that its capability is needed which enhance the logistical roles of the service branch in the times of need.

While it primarily aims to transport military troops and equipment as well as supplies that are needed in combat for the constant supplement of resources that helps determine the tide of war, these airlifters are also essential in providing aid and relief goods to areas affected by natural calamities as part of the Armed Forces' Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response operations, justifying the need of additional unit of such aircraft for this role.

Serving several Armed Forces in multiple countries across the world, it shows that a platform like the C-295 Medium Lift Cargo Aircraft is reputable enough wherein Airbus Military through its EADS/CASA subsidiary showcase more variants of the aircraft especially the C-295 Maritime Patrol Aircraft that may stand a chance with regards to the Philippine Air Force Long Range Patrol Aircraft Acquisition Project given the logistics it has in having a common platform within its inventory.

Adding more assets of this type, as well as with other units and military assets of various roles and capabilities ranging from logistical chains to combat weaponry prowess may help the Armed Forces of the Philippines improve its duties and responsibilities instilled in it which is to defend the country and its citizenry as well as helping the affected in times of need, bringing the catalyst of assured security and progress that the whole country needs to develop further to its betterment as a nation.




(c) 2020 PDA.
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The Iveco VBTP-MR Gurani 6x6 Armored Vehicle and the Elbit Offer to the Philippine Army

Made by partnerships, this platform really much helped Brazil improve its armored vehicle capabilities in the sense that it may find its way to the inventory of the Armed Forces of the Philippines through a marketing pitch made by an Israeli company that contributed to the enhancements made on this armored vehicle.

This product goes along with the awarding of another project in the Philippine Army which also involves sophisticated armored vehicles.

OVERVIEW
A set of  VBTP-MR Guarani Armored Personnel Carriers
in a Brazilian Army Parade. Obtained from Wikimedia Commons.
Armored Vehicles are essential for an Armed Forces to have especially on the mobilization of troops and firepower across the land to the areas of concern especially with the safeguards that the troops needed for deployment are safe from ambushes, especially from small-arms fire.

Current armored platforms in service range from troop-carrying armored personnel carriers to APC, to an armed one such as an infantry fighting vehicle or IFV which is usually an APC with a gun turret fitted above designed for support against enemy infantry and armor depending on its configuration, and eventually a dedicated light or medium tanks which carries more firepower than a typical infantry fighting vehicle that can eliminate enemy infantry and armor at an increased lethality.

The Philippine Army currently obtains a significant number of armored personnel carriers such as the M-113 APCs and wheeled ones like the GKN Simbas made by GKN Systems (now part of BAE Land Systems) and V-150 Cadillac Gage Commandos that are still in service within the service branch's Armor "Pambato" Division which is soon to have newer assets within its inventory such as the one which will be discussed throughout the length of this article.

These newer assets aim to have the number of units within the armored division increase as it may augment the older, existing platforms in active service as more troops needed protection and support on their deployment and effectively improve the counter-insurgency drive of the Armed Forces against the enemy elements that endanger the peace and security of the country such as the Moro radicals in the south of the country or the Communist Reds scattered all across the nation's remote areas.

In this discussion, we will cover more in detail about the vehicle that the Israeli Defense Company Elbit Land Systems and C4I promoted to the Philippine Army through the Department of National Defense especially with the partnerships forged, the role that its main manufacturer Iveco played in the development, the company's profile and information existed from other defense pages which will be added for the context of this discussion matter.

THE BACKGROUND A CONTEXT ABOUT THE PROCUREMENT RESULTS
The Philippine Army Guarani offer from Elbit also came with the option of
carrying a Remote-Controlled Weapons System.

Image Source.
The Elbit's offer of the Iveco Guarani Armored Personnel Carrier is just one of the candidates for the Philippine Army's Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) Acquisition Project wherein it faced competition against the offers made by other manufacturers such as PT Pindad's Panser Anoa 6x6 APC, Otokar's Arma APC, Excalibur Army's Pandur II, as well as others not mentioned here.

These reports came out from a page extension made by a fellow defense outlet MaxDefense Philippines wherein they also provided details about the acquisition which came with 28 units, at the Allocated Budget for the Contract (ABC) price of Php 2,265,200,000.00 (or basically Php 80,900,000.00 per APC unit) of which it will have a weapons mount which can be seen on a link highlighted in red above.

The said deal is said to be done through a government-to-government deal in which the Israeli government played a role in making this procurement possible in the same manner that was done for the Light Tank Acquisition Project which was also won by Elbit with its Sabrah Light Tank offer (which is basically a modified ASCOD and Pandur platforms fitted with the Sabrah turret) wherein it may get discussed on a separate entry.

It is said in those reports that these Armored Personnel Carriers may have an option to be fitted with Remote-Controlled Weapons System that may come in place to the original manned turret offer (which are either a 12.7mm machine gun or a 40mm grenade launcher), weaponry that has already been proven onboard M-113s which was also supplied by the same Israeli weapons provider to the Philippine Army.

While the discussions of the procurement have already been covered by our fellow defense outlet and its extension page, we will not dwell much on its detail and instead, we will cover more about the platform itself and the manufacturer set up to have a greater picture of the details covering the future Armored Personnel Carrier that the Philippine Army is set to have.

DEVELOPMENT RESULTED FROM FORGING PARTNERSHIPS 
The production line that manufactures the VBTP-MR Guarani
APCs in IVECO's Brazilian Plant.
File Image.
The development of the Guarani Armored Personnel Carriers started between the collaboration of IVECO Defense Vehicles and the Brazilian Military's Army Technology Center wherein both parties aimed to produce these 6x6 armored vehicles to replace the EE-11 Urutu and the EE-9 Cascavel Armored Personnel Carriers that the Brazilian Army attained through the years which were both produced by the former Brazilian defense company Engesa which went bankrupt in the late 1990s.

It is detailed that the VBTP-MR Guarani 6x6 Armored Vehicle, on the collaboration made, will be produced in Brazil which continues and carries on the legacy that the former Brazilian defense company made in producing the EE-11 Urutu and the EE-9 Cascavel during its time, wherein there is still the essence that these platforms, although it is marketed under IVECO Defense Vehicle's portfolio, is considered an armored vehicle proudly made in Brazil.

A partial number of 86 units for this type of armored vehicle were purchased by the Brazilian Army in 2012 at the contract cost of $246 Million which can be equated to the contract unit cost of $2.86 Million, or if converted to the Philippine Peso is at around Php 143 Million which is higher than the offer made by Elbit to the Philippine Army at the difference of Php 63 Million as the cost of production minimized a bit which may influence the pricing, along with the difference in the terms of the deal between the ones that Brazil took as opposed to the one took by the Philippine Army about packages (spare parts, training, ammunition, support, etc).

Take note that the first deal took place in 2012 between IVECO Defense Vehicles and the Brazilian Military wherein many developments took place between that date and the current date this article has published, wherein they have a primary objective to have at least 2,044 vehicles produced at the rate of 100 units manufactured at the given timeline of 20 years which is up until 2030 in a sense that the duration of production for these units of Guarani Armored Personnel Carriers may benefit the Philippine Army in the long run at the logistical point of view.

Elbit came into the picture wherein it provided armaments for these platforms to have the needed firepower necessary to provide support for the Brazilian armed forces, in a manner that during its first production phase in 2012, the Brazilian Army ordered unmanned turrets through the Elbit Subsidiary AEL Sistemas in which they provided the UT-30BR (30mm caliber) turrets for these armored personnel carriers and to take note, such family of weapons systems was also provided by the said Israeli company to the Philippine Army's M-113 APCs in the form of UT-25 (25mm caliber) ORCWS turrets.

It is with Elbit's contribution of armaments on this primarily Brazilian Army-IVECO armored personnel carrier project that it has the leverage of marketing this platform to the Philippine Army, in a way that it came with a different configuration per the specifications set by the service branch for its own use.

From the deals set, IVECO Defense Vehicles and the Brazilian plant that the VBTP-MR Guarani 6x6 Armored Personnel Carrier produces may indirectly benefit from this project aside from the direct deals that both the Philippine Army and the Elbit Systems Land and C4I on the procurement of these vehicles as it ramps up the production line even further and benefits the defense business model which provides labor to the local Brazilians working on the manufacturing of these platforms aside from the orders made by the Brazilian Army.

PLATFORM SPECIFICATIONS
The vehicle's specifications.
Image Source.
Additional details: 12.7mm manual machine gun mount or a 40mm grenade launcher, with an option to add RCWS based on UT-25 (25mm) that the Philippine Army primarily uses. Take note that such weapons loadout is also available in other units of the Armored Division such as the V-150 Commando, GKN Simba (excluding the UT-25 RCWS), and M-113 Armored Personnel Carriers.

Comparing this to the specifications provided for a GKN Simba which is currently in service in the Philippine Army, it obtained a similar crew count and a similar number of passengers that can be fitted onboard the platform, essentially idealistic on augmentations as it keeps familiarity on the usage of both platforms with regards to its operations.

Moreover, the VBTP-MR Guarani 6x6 Armored Vehicle is heavier than the GKN Simba by an extra 5 tons while as well as being larger than the latter,  giving an idea about its inner compartments being a bit spacious for extra amenities or armaments to fit on or it goes with regards to its engine horsepower which will be detailed in the next paragraph.

The engine is powered by IVECO's Cursor 9 Diesel Engine which is also used on its other product line of vehicles that can be found on its civilian lineup wherein it came up with a more powerful engine output of 383hp as opposed to the GKN Simba's 210hp Perkins 210 TI Diesel Engine wherein it goes along with its justification in parallel to the weight and size of both platforms.

Comparing it to the other candidate of the Armored Personnel Carrier acquisition project of the Philippine Army such as the APS-3 Panser Anoa 6x6 Armored Personnel Carrier that PT Pindad offered alongside the Harimau Hitam Tank, it also came with almost the same number of personnel to be fitted on-board, only that it came with an extra crew as compared to this platform offered by Elbit.

Just like the GKN Simba, the Panser Anoa is also seen as a smaller platform with a lesser weight tonnage of 14 tons although its height is higher at 2.5 meters as opposed to the Guarani at 2.43 meters. The Panser Anoa's dimension also influences its engine layout being a lesser-powerful one than the Guarani at 320 horsepower (hp) while having a similar range and a bit-slower on its speed.

The similarities in specifications may render the line of necessities within the Philippine Army especially that it obtains existing platforms that have such configuration, wherein the attainment of such new platforms like the IVECO Guarani 6x6 Armored Vehicle may currently augment the number of wheeled Armored Personnel Carriers in service until such time that the older ones may go phased out.

KNOWING IVECO DEFENSE VEHICLES
IVECO Defense Vehicles sells an array of armored and utility vehicle platforms especially the ones like the VBTP-MR Guarani. Take note that it is Elbit who offered such platforms to the Philippine Army. 
Screengrab obtained from this link here.
The company that sells multiple armored and utility vehicle platforms like the VBTP-MR Guarani, IVECO Defense Vehicles, is a defense-oriented subsidiary of the CNH Industrial Company that also owns other IVECO brands that produce multiple variants of trucks, buses, and tractors that are intended for civilian use, catering various industries such as logistics, tours, mining, and heavy construction.

The formation of this company resulted in the merging of five (5) key European companies of its time in 1975: Fiat (Turin, Italy) OM (Brescia, Italy), Lancia Special Vehicles (Italy) Unic (France), and Magirus Deutz (Germany) with the name IVECO abbreviated from Industrial Vehicle Corporation which has a huge company network spanning across the globe at the present date.

Focusing in detail on the IVECO Defense Vehicles which included the VBTP-MR Guarani on its portfolio, let it be noted that it offers an array of military vehicles specifically on the image seen above wherein it caters to the different specifications that various military users seek for their own use, as well as to the different purpose of its usage within the armed forces that procure its platforms.

One of the products that IVECO Defense Vehicles markets on are the SuperAV 8x8 Amphibious Armored Vehicle that was introduced in 2009 (by the time the VBTP-MR Guarani was also unveiled for the Brazilian Army use), wherein it was chosen later on by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) for its Amphibious Combat Vehicle Acquisition, wherein it was pitched on by the joined IVECO-BAE Systems partnership wherein the SuperAV 8x8 Amphibious Armored Vehicle and the VBTP-MR Guarani 6x6 Armored Personnel Carrier shared the same design attributes.

Another set of products that the IVECO Defense Vehicles have on its own portfolio is the Centauro Family of armored vehicles wherein it was made possible with the joint collaboration between IVECO and OTO Melara with one of the vehicles produced herein is the Centauro II Wheeled Tank Destroyer that was produced for its use within the Italian Army.

Other products that the IVECO Defense Vehicles market on their portfolio includes the Light Multirole Vehicle (which was procured by the Norwegian Armed Forces in 2013), Medium Protected Vehicle wherein it is currently in service within the German, British and Swiss Armies, and other utility, tactical, and logistical vehicles which can be seen here on their website's products section.

The array of military vehicles that IVECO Defense Vehicles offer shows the experience that the company has in providing military assets for other armed forces even before the Israeli defense company in the form of Elbit Systems Land and C4I offer the VBTP-MR Guarani 6x6 Armored Personnel Carrier to the Philippine Army, in which the country is added on the list of users that obtain such armored vehicle on its inventory.

OTHER USERS OF VBTP-MR GUARANI 6X6 ARMORED VEHICLE
Lebanon possesses several units of VBTP-MR Guarani on its
array of weaponry. The Philippines is set to be the 4th country
to obtain the platform, after Brazil, Argentina, and this country.
Having other users of the VBTP-MR Guarani Armored Personnel Carrier in multiple militaries across the world came with two benefits, of which the first one is the additional sources of spare parts for the Philippine Army to seek especially for spare parts outsource to keep its own platform operational, and second the compliance in prerequisites with regards to its procurement.

Let it be known that for the Philippines to procure it, the platform is needed to be either in service in the country of origin that it was produced or in two countries other than the origin that utilizes the platform. The IVECO VBTP-MR Guarani satisfies all of these needed requirements, and it will not be problematic since aside from Brazil, the armored vehicle is also in service with both the Argentinian and Lebanese Armed Forces.

The first customer outside Brazil who procured the VBTP-MR Guarani Armored Personnel Carriers is the fellow South American nation of Argentina, wherein they procure at least 14 units of such platform from the Brazilian plant which is a half less than the number of units that the Philippine Army is set to receive from IVECO through the dealings made with Elbit.

The second customer who received and obtained the platform in its military is the Middle Eastern nation of Lebanon which was said to have procured 10 units from IVECO which is far less than what Argentina and the Philippines receive, wherein it renders the latter being the largest customer for the VBTP-MR Guarani 6x6 Armored Vehicles outside Brazil since its production which surpassed the two other customers.

It may be interesting along the way as the Philippine Army is planning to procure additional armored vehicles of multiple types in the future, ranging from light tanks to armored personnel carriers wherein the VBTP-MR Guarani may stand a chance of being offered by Elbit once again shall the prospects for additional orders may take place along the way in time.

WHAT REMAINS TO BE SEEN
The platform that the Philippine Army will soon have.
Image Source.
The original number of wheeled Armored Personnel Carriers that the Philippine Army aspires to have throughout the implementation of the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAPMP) or the Republic Act 10349 is at 114 units, wherein 28 units or 24.56% of all units already in the process of production and eventually on its way to delivery once the orders have completed and fulfilled.

So from the numbers provided, there is definitely a long way to go for the Philippine Army to fulfill its objectives with regards to the procurement of wheeled Armored Personnel Carriers, wherein it will not be surprising if the VBTP-MR Guarani 6x6 Armored Vehicle will be considered once again in the future at a follow-up procurement batch that will augment the first ones that are currently in production.

Currently, the wheeled Armored Personnel Carriers that the Philippine Army obtains came in the form of V-150 Cadillac Gage Commandos and GKN Simbas in which, like any other units in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, are aging up as it keeps on operating and the cost of maintenance along with repairs are getting more expensive which make this procurement plan a feasible one that benefits the Army in its budgeting for repairs and maintenance in the long run.

With that, the VBTP-MR Guarani 6x6 Armored Personnel Carrier provided by Elbit (which will be produced by IVECO's Brazilian plant) may serve as a new phase of the Philippine Army's Armor (Pambato) division which, along with the Light Tanks that the service branch also purchased (in the form of Elbit Sabrah Tanks), form the armored support capabilities that may go useful for any future conflicts that the country may face especially on counterinsurgency operations.

From here, the future of the Philippine Army's Armor Division is bright as more assets alongside this procurement project involving wheeled Armored Personnel Carriers and Light Tanks may come along with other projects of the Armored Forces of the Philippines have in the Horizon 3 which spans from the year 2022 to 2028 wherein it forms a more capable Armed Forces of the Philippines that aspires to obtain minimum credible defense posture.




(c) 2020 PDA.
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