Philippine Navy capability upgrades – 2014 review

Year twenty-fourteen has been good to Philippine Navy and to the entire Armed Forces of the Philippines in terms of capability upgrades.

In November, 5000 out of more than 27 thousand units of 5.56mm M-4 assault rifles were distributed to Marines. “The M-4s augmented with 5,000 units of close combat optics, a battery red-dot type aiming device that enhance the target acquisition speed of ground troops,” Rear Admiral Caesar Taccad said, the state-run news agency reports.

Two Hundred Twenty units of 7.62mm general purpose machine guns were also delivered for the Philippine Marine Corps. “This weapon primarily provides multi-role automatic fire support weapon to Marine infantry squads and fire-teams, especially the Force Recon teams and Special Operations platoons,” Taccad explained.

Also this year, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) helmets, visors, suits and other EOD accessories were delivered.

Moreover, three AW-109 helicopters were commissioned with two units deployed to two Del Pilar-class frigates for enhanced maritime air patrol and surveillance capabilities. While additional two AW-109, armed version, are expected to arrive early of 2015.

“All of these efforts at enhancing capacity and building capability serve to bring the institution closer to realizing the vision of a strong and credible Navy that the Philippines, as a maritime nation, can be proud of,” Taccad noted.

Indonesia’s PT PAL bagged the contract, also this year, to supply two Makassar-class LPDs to act as the navy’s strategic sealift vessels. Delivery of the first unit is expected on the second quarter of 2016, while second delivery is set on 2017.

Some projects which are underway are the acquisition of two long-range patrol aircraft, two anti-submarine helis, six 155mm gun tubes with ammunition, eight amphibious assault vehicles and two state-of-the-art frigates.