The Philippine Army (PA) has started the distribution of 24,300 brand-new 5.56mm R4A3 rifles to ground units based in the Visayas and Cotabato, PA Logistic head Col. Pio Diñoso said on Monday. “Priorities for distribution are the troops assigned in Mindanao. However, due to our logistics distribution schedule, especially the availability of our C-130s, the troops in the Visayas and Cotabato received their rifles in advance last week,” he added.
The initial distribution of the newly procured 5.56 R4A3 carbine rifles, also known as M-4 rifles, is part of the 44,186 total rifles that are now on-hand in the Army arsenal with 19,866 rifles still undergoing ballistic tests by the Philippine National Police.
The new M-4 rifles are part of the Army’s modernization program.
For this year, the PA expects the delivery of more armored personnel carriers, protective gears for individual soldiers, and radio communication equipment. “By 2016, the PA envisions to be a well-equipped and respected Army in Southeast Asia, and a potent force that is ready and capable to address external threats,” PA commander Lt. Gen. Eduardo M. Año said.
There was a delay in the distribution of the new M-4s after the Army asked the contractor to improve its sight mechanism. As reported, all sight mechanisms of the Army’s M4 were already replaced by the manufacturer.
It can be recalled that the PA has procured a total of 56,843 carbine rifles as part of its capability upgrade program. It is still awaiting the delivery of another 12,657 rifles.
The procurement of new firearms is part of the three horizons revised Armed Forces of the Philippine Modernization Act under Republic Act No. 10349 signed in December 2012 that aims to develop a credible strategic Armed Force and the professionalization of the AFP.