Saturday, November 5, 2016

Alternatives for Rifle Procurement

The United States Government over the year supplies its weapons, firearms in particular, to its allies which includes the Philippines. And recent reports suggest that a US Senator attempts to cut sales deals of M4 rifles to the Philippine National Police (PNP) where in fact it was not materialized and the deal is still on-going. But these comes with a question: "In the event of such cutoffs taking place, what are the alternatives for the Philippine Government for it to sustain its weapons for the police, as well as for the armed forces?


OVERVIEW
M-4 rifle.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) is procuring around 27,000 units of M-4 rifles from a certain weapons company in the US. However, recent reports suggests that a certain US Senator wanted to block the sales of such rifles to the PNP due to the so-called human rights records with the connection to the recent clout in the Philippine-US relations as based on the Extra-judicial killings wherein it can be blamed to the President as part of its "War on Drugs".

Accordingly, these are the mere points given out from defense-related outlets where such weapons coming from the US are attached with strings wherein the terms of usage can be limited on where it will actually be used as per the recommendations of the US government. Moreover, the proposed stopping of rifles procurement, being said can be more on restraints wherein international sales on weapons can be cited as well through the Blue Lantern End User Programme which is implemented by the US Government since last year which it determines the evaluation of the user's records on weapons and armament usage where it can determine procurements, much like those people applying for credit cards. In the light of the events, several Philippine Senators like Sen. Panfilo Lacson slam the US government for its bully attitude as what this article citing that the actions made by the US is deemed unfair and not acceptable where the proposed cancellation of sales as the highlight in this issue.

The good thing is, the deal is still on the go as far as the two sides are concerned considering that the SIG Sauer, the supplier, sent a letter to its local supplier Intertrade Asia Pacific with regards to the rifles, as it is written here:

Consequently, Pitz Defense Analysis believes that such decision may be overturn at quite some time considering the recent situations in the Philippines, but it is also ascertain that it might be continue as well. Thus, only time will tell with regards in the situation.

These being said, the discussions of looking for alternative sources are still alive and needs to be analysed in the sense that such alternatives can give ite advantages and disadvantages in the sense that these things, being weighed out, will determine the best alternative for the forces to consider.

ALTERNATIVES

There will be three alternatives given in this situation. That excludes the re-negotiation and improving the human rights situation in the Philippines as well as improving the ties between US and the Philippines. Although these things are welcoming reports that by nature benefiting both countries, it is at best focus on these alternatives as we explain to you the standards that these alternatives do bear.

The alternatives are determined through its advantages and disadvantages as seen through the context of the Philippine Government and the organizations do involve as well as the technicalities, specifications and other measurements with regards to the weapons themselves. Moreover, the alternatives stick on the only theoretical situation where in the event that the United States decided to cancel the sales of weapons to the Philippine National Police wherein it may reflect procurements of more, sophisticated weapons to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

With these prerequisites, these are the alternatives that the Pitz Defense Analysis that may go possible in these kind of situations may sprout out.

Alternative #1: Local Suppliers
Government Arsenal Booth.
Several senators agree on it, and the people wanted the government to go for it. Locally-produced weapons would mean more jobs for the people as well as growing domestically-produced weapons industry which will mean the portion of the nation's growth. Speaking of local manufacturing, there are several companies that are for production of ammunition, rifles, pistols and light arms that is for the needs of the military. Those known companies are:

- United Defense Manufacturing Corporation (UDMC)
- Arms Corporation of the Philippines (Armscor)
- Government Arsenal, Department of National Defense (GA, DND or simply GA)

These weapons companies are known to supply both the police and the military all over the years which it determines the idealism on the words "self reliance" that the government is after, where it goes on to the specifics: Self-Reliance Defense Posture or SRDP.

Now, to the specifics: the weapons these companies produced are based on the primary design of the US-made AR-15 where M-16 and later, M-4 was based on. These kind of weapons are well-integrated to the use in the Armed Forces as well as to the Police and other organizations concerned such as those in BJMP and BuCor. Logistics-wise, it is ideal to have them since other countries as well as local ones can simply repair or produce them further like the Government Arsenal repairing some old M-16 rifles for government re-use.

Bureaucracy-wise, there are problems where several companies encounter various things that are not favorable on them. Privately-owned companies like UDMC are no longer allowed to sell their weapons to the AFP and PNP when the Government improved the mandate of its arms manufacturing arm Government Arsenal where it will be the prime and only supplier of equipment starting from ammunition, refurbished rifles and production of improved weapons for the government to use. But as of this moment, the Arsenal can't still produce more of them as what this article suggests, but it is as hopeful that they can have such capability again as per given time period.

It was cited from R.A. 9184 or the AFP Procurements Law where the provisions stated about the guidelines as for the government to follow where it hampers the ability of small local players like UDMC in joining government bidding projects due to the required experience in getting a previous contract worth 50% of projects being tendered. These in which may revise where the local companies can compete as well as getting involve in such a matter where these companies will cooperate one after the other as part of the SRDP model.

The improvement and further institutionalization of the Arsenal is deemed the part of Old AFP Modernization Program or R.A. 7898 which also coincides with the SRDP model which talks about the government leaning to producing its own and will not relying on procuring from others. Speaking of which, UDMC and others may opted instead to the civilian market where numerous retired military and policemen as well as others who wanted guns as part of their right to protect so that their business will be still on the go.

The only concern in this alternative is on the production itself, especially on producing those rifles in huge amount like the PNP ordered from SIG Sauer which they procured 27,000 units. Such number of units are too big for the local companies to cope up with, not to mention that the pricing involving in the project may be so huge that when it comes to bid requirements, it may subject to failure considering the facilities, investment and the quantity to quality ratio which means sticking with the timeline of the procurement itself as what the contract, presumably goes to be.

In summary, here are the highlighted pros and cons for the first alternative.
Pros:
- Improving the Local Industry may lead to
 >More jobs for the people
 >Attribute for a better economy
 >Self-reliance where the country made its own
 >Increasing patriotism through cooperation.

Cons:
- Such action are disadvantageous due to
 >Procurement Policy
 >Lack of facilities for mass production
 >Limitations on support, especially private industries
 >Other bureaucratic and sensitive issues which it will never get discussed here.

Alternative #2: Procure from Eastern Block
Avtomat Kalashnikov 47 (AK-47), a masterpiece
by Mikhail Kalashnikov
In the light of improving relations between the Philippines and the Eastern Bloc countries like China and Russia, it is deemed possible to have an arms deal which it involve rifles where it was produced in these aforementioned countries.

Speaking of these, we may see having these several Russian made and its Chinese copy rifles in the arsenal in the inventory. Good as it can be where an AK-47 rifle alone saw combat in several hot spots across the world where such weapon are so light and good to use that even the baddest of groups obtain them to reap terror on the people.

There are also good assault rifles aside from the AK-47. The others are its sister AK-74, SVG guns, and several others including the Chinese ripoffs. These in which are the ones that the government may eyeing right now considering the value that the relations may bring one over the other as well as having another source of equipment giving a big plus to the military.

But with such alternative comes with a problem. First, with regards to operability. Both the PNP and AFP adhere to western-based weaponry which as discussed before in this page that the personnel are more used to the weapons such as M-16 and R-4 Remington rifles. These in which requires light sets of training where although it seems that OK, applying it to all of the personnel requires time where specializations are to be taken place in such a matter. On the bright side though, such operability may overcome later on with the sense of improving the skills of the personnel when it comes to handle different weapons.

Second is logistics. Just like any other sophisticated weapons, logistics is one, major obstacle when it comes to procure weapons especially from Russia and/or China. These in which that the spares of these weapons can be seen cannibalized for the others to function or procuring another set of weapons from the outside to replenish the overused ones. Seeing into this, it may cost some cash where it comes to procuring it once again not to mention that there are no local industries are making such a weapon. The good thing here is that it may overcome by having more orders by bulk where the cost will be lower in the sense that replenishment may seen as a good thing there. Bulk orders of spares may also do where it is a big plus for such light arms. These in which will give advantage to have these weapons alongside western-made ones.

And lastly, security nightmares. As of this moment, the vivendi with China by the Philippines through the so-called "Charm Offensive" is so far working. But all of that does not dismiss the fact that the Chinese are still in the disputed West Philippine Sea/South China Sea area, having their artificial islands much better in function later, still doing patrols in the area, and having their fishermen do their thing despite that the local fishermen are allowed in the disputed zones such as the Scarborough Shoal. Speaking of these, in the event of the whole conflict, it may be possible that the Chinese will convince the Russians to cut off the trade or smuggling counterfeit copies where it will blend with genuine ones where it can render useless in the time of battle. Hence, it is vital that such things might never happen or the rifle's performance may be sabotage.

And here are the pros and cons for the second alternative:
Pros:
- More sources of weaponry
- Easier use and is lighter than the western ones
- More production in sheer numbers where it is variably cheap to acquire.

Cons:
- Operability issues
- Logistics
- Security concerns

Alternative #3: European Sources

The German HK SL8-5 semiautomatic rifle.
If procurement is impossible in the United States, it may be as ideal to have a NATO-standard equipment from the European Community. Speaking of these things, there are many options to choose with as for what source will the firearms will be getting, either from the French, or from the Austrians, or the Germans, or the Italians and so on and so forth.

The PNP, considerably ordered Glock 30 pistols from Austria as part of their improvements in their organization as they are up-arming them with such weapons that are light, easy to use, and adhere to the NATO standards. One example is they award a rifle to a wounded soldier.

The benefits that the European Sources given is that they offer weapons that are compatible to the standards both the AFP and PNP adheres as well as having more sources of equipment wherein the reliability on the United States will be decreased a little bit more but not totally eliminate it considering that there are several parts in these weapons are made in the US.

And with this comes as a problem: SIG Sauer is a German arms company, which means it falls in this alternative. And this specific company is the one who supplies the 27,000 units of rifles to the PNP which was proposed by a US senator to cancel the deal. The main reason for this is that Sauer have their facilities in the United States that built these weapons which are intended for the Police. Hence, such firearms deal are within the jurisdiction of the US Government not to mention the design and the standards that have used in these weapons are derived from the US firearm makers.

With connections in the United States weapons industry, it is not dismissable for a fact that a possible cancellation of sales included European-made ones. Albeit the higher chance for those ones that are made within CONUS, it is still possible for those units being produced in Europe as well considering that the technology and other things integrated are still originated in the US. Moreover, it can still fixed where such weapons are still being insisted by host countries in Europe for the sake of business wherein the provisions are given that there will be no strings attached.

And here are the advantages and disadvantages in having them.

Pros:
- NATO Standard of use
- Easy Integration of firearms
- Better reliability and usage

Cons:
- Possible cancellation due to pressure
- Comes with restrictive uses.

CONCLUSION

These alternatives are given. And the question now is: "Among these alternatives, which we will choose?" The answer is in fact, none as for now considering that the deal is still on -going and the relations are not that low as comparable to the US-Russian ties which are on the low than those during the Cold War. 

However, it is at best that these alternatives are to be given attention wherein the decision-making body have the call as to what alternative will sound best. And in that it is at best to say that all alternatives shall be considered wherein the advantages will weigh more than the disadvantages.

Overall, these analyses shed light to the idea that there are still alternatives to the problem where more cards is still at hand for the nation to consider. With this, it is ideal that the armed forces, as well as the police force will be armed in the sense that the mandates given will be fulfilled by each personnel with responsibilities handling these reliable firearms that will determine life or death, victory or defeat, and glory or humiliation.

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