Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Philippine Army Modernization and Transformation Roadmap 2028

Among the branches with regards to the AFP Modernization Program, those of Philippine Army may be considered the least known where different strategic, organizational and procurement programs are being reported by bits rather than being part of the organization as one. In this matter, this discussion is worthy to be written up.

Based from the PDF file pertaining to ATR2028
Philippine Army Soldiers in their new uniform. Source
Through the years, the Philippine Army is improving where soldiers in the field while further enhancing their skills in combat against insurgent groups like the Communist Sympathizers and the Islamic ones far south, these troops also receive various upgrades where in due time, enhancing both skills and asset of a specific combatant within the Army in line to its aim to have a World-Class armed forces in 2028.

But it was so different on the years prior these changes where it primarily deals to good governance enhancement and improving its organization structure where it was back then plagued with various challenges and controversies which may be ranging from incompetence to graft which is if not gone unsolved, will affect the organization as a whole negatively that it even affects the nation's way of defending itself not to mention various issues that is disadvantageous to the Army like human rights abuse, military adventurism and the revolving door policy which makes a present term for a chief of staff (which is from the Army) short where it affects the leadership in which it also affects the direction of the organization in general. These in which gives a sufficient reason for the Army to revamp the institutional norms and policies which have lead to this very roadmap which aims to have a credible, dynamic, responsive, capable and professional Army wherein it can be seen as the very one committed to do its mandate of serving and securing the country and its citizens as what the constitution prescribes it. See more: Article XVI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

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

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

One example is the very recent news about the Abu Sayyaf group who set foot on Bohol as a staging point for kidnapping people which in turn it failed due to the AFP as a whole have a quick response against these insurgents which it includes the Philippine Army wherein within days, the whole armed forces together with the police as well as with the help of the locals make it difficult to the insurgents especially with the death of the one who initiated the attack. Another example is the attacks in Butig, Lanao del Sur where the offensives make it successful to reclaim the town once again from the ISIS sympathizers which is the Maute group where together with the Air Force, the Philippine Army initiated the offensive where the ISIS plans of establishing in the Philippines got foiled where that in which, the threat remains to be in existence until at present that the people needs to be aware so to speak where in that sense, Maritime Domain Awareness in territorial waters needs to be enhanced following the events pertaining to the situations happened in Bohol. That in which, we will discuss in the near future only here on this website.

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

M-113 vehicles the Army's mechanized division obtains.
From PDA archives.
The Philippine Army just like the Air Force and the Navy also have military procurement plans in which it calls to procure different military assets in which it may be seen as essential to the mandate of the Army as well as to further enhance its strategic capabilities as an organization wherein soldiers in the field may or will have better weapons in which it may give a better edge against the enemy. Apparently, the weapons procurement plans in the Army may change time to time or with little more occurrence than its counterparts within the armed forces in which it may be found difficult for us to disclose all of the weapons as per planning. Here are just some of the projects where it was publicised by the Army and discussed across defense fields.

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

Apparently, the similarities between these two at around 80% wherein interoperability is deemed possible that spare parts can be interchangeable where logistically speaking, it is deemed efficient. The only thing here is that M-4 rifles are produced by Colt wherein the barrel was shorten down to the purpose of having an improved weapons performance in a close-quarter combat in which albeit there are shorter-barreled M-16s, they are said to be noisy, as well as being inaccurate where it gives the necessity to develop a new weapon like the M-4. In this manner, the said weapons at the first batch back then was inaccurate due to ineffective rear sights where it was then fixed by Remington in a sense that the whole program resumed without a hitch. Hence, the M-4 deliveries back then are completed.

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

Camouflage Pattern for Battle Dress Uniform
Gen. Ricardo Visaya and his new Battle Dress Uniform made by
Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp. (Source)
As the Philippine Army procures military equipment for the troops, it is also a good thing if a new battle dress uniform (BDU) will be introduced. And with that, the Army procures these new set of new BDUs from the Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp wherein it blends more to the Philippine Environment than the older, dark camouflage pattern.

The Company, Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp is renowned in the field of camouflage technology wherein their expertise was recognized by the United States government. Produced new designs monthly, this company is considered one of the best camouflage experts there is where they produce camouflage designs for various countries like Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, and even the Philippines through the Philippine Army. Such improvements do change the image of the Philippine Army and its troops as what the Army Transformation Roadmap aims to have to the organization in which this said camouflage design made by a reputable camouflage expert there is may help the troops blend with the Philippine environment which make it difficult from the adversaries to detect in which a soldier of the republic may still have a better chance to live another day together with newer military equipment like the M-4 rifle.

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

Modified M-113s by Elbit
Modified by Elbit, these M-113 Infantry Fighting Vehicles is a plus
against insurgents that using a console, these soldiers can fire
directly at a target safely. From John Chua
Gunners will no longer have a doubt of being shot by an enemy gun while firing with the introduction a product made by Israeli company Elbit for the purpose of having the said firepower without any worries of being killed upon in which these weapons are named UT-25 and the Overhead Remote-Controlled Weapons Station or ORCWS.

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

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

Land-based Missile System

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

The good thing is that, albeit the shelving is still within the priorities of the Army where in that manner, the said project and separated and become two, different projects. That is, the renamed land-based missile system which is still a Philippine Army project under the roadmap, and the separate-Philippine Navy version of Shore-based missile system where the setup is similar from the ones the Philippine Army have. All of these though, are slated by the next horizon which is implemented by next year. Apparently speaking, the possible contender in the project like this is the Israeli Military Industries or IMI and its LYNX MLRS or Multiple Launch Rocket System. Given the interest made on this program, albeit the circumstances that goes unfavor to the situation like the so-called realignment, the hope is still deemed high that this program will be materialized in the sense that if once available, the Philippine Army will have a boost for its capabilities especially for guided/unguided artilleries like this.
This comparison made by IMI, albeit the bias, seems that
it can prove that the Lynx is a better product to the Phil. Army.
This project as summarised, can be seen as one of the big ticket projects the Philippine Army have where it may be the pinnacle of the Army's capability upgrade program as per Transformation Roadmap. These in which may still be determine by the certainties and condition that may be gone favorable as per the way the project materialized upon.

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

Apparently, the said procurement program undertakes three bidding procedures, in which it started on the year 2013 wherein such circumstances upon the the first two bid process got failed due to the so-called insufficient bidding documents which does not met up to what the bidding specifications and standards that it is looking. Considering that matter, the delivery of the systems are reported as early as last year as per another defense outlet gives report about it. Despite the fact that there are no exact details as per the date when the contract was signed, we may be so glad as well that these artillery pieces will arrive in due time that on the months following by, it will be used not only by the Philippine Army but also by their counterparts in the Philippine Marine Corps where just like any artillery and the role of Philippine Air Force gunships, can be used as support mechanisms where area suppression is deemed needed before the ground troops to proceed and clearing up all the remnants of a certain adversary.

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

Pitz Defense Analysis Note: This list as being stated herein before are just highlight to the long list of procurement programs the Philippine Army have where several of those are not disclosed to the public. Moreover, these said programs just like any other things may be changing without any notice under the discretion of those within the ranks. Also, an update will be made by time to time if any new discussion pertaining to this topic arises in the near future either in this very article or in our Facebook page.

The Performance Governance System or PGS will based on
scorecards that assess the areas where the Army sees its
strengths and weaknesses. From ATR2028 Wordpress.
This is the main feature where the Army Transformation Roadmap wherein the organizational format in itself is deemed emphasized wheein two things always popped up to this matter that will improve the organization which is in terms of performance excellence and good governance.

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

The Philippine Army infantry squad as emphasized in its 120th year
anniversary. From
In an aim of having a world-class Army, The Philippine Army is together with the Department of National Defense where revamping the very system itself is a necessity where the structure, the capabilities, performance and governance are meant to get improved in the sense that this major branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines will definitely do its mandate to defend the nation from both internal and external threats. Despite the fact that being an archipelago which may be seen as a priority for both Navy and Air Force to be enhanced for territorial defense, it does not stop the Army to also improve itself where aside from battling insurgents around, it may also have a role as well in territorial defense in a way that it helps out doing such a mandate in its way which involves up-arming ground troops, artillery and mechanized divisions in a sense that fighting on the country's soil seen as the last line of defense. Speaking of which, Modernizing and buying weapons does not stop on one or two branches alone. Instead, as what the Government Budgeting Process sees best, each branches of the armed forces have the privilege just like any other government agencies to propose based on the needs where, it's all up on the political will as to whether it may be funded or not. Overall, The Philippine Army is deemed optimistic in the sense that in performance and good governance as what the Transformation Roadmap emphasizes, it will be good not only for the organization but also for the country in general in which improved capabilities and proper management are a necessity for a successful defense of the sovereign Philippine Republic.


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