Category Archives: Philippine Army

Why 5.56mm sniping rifles for the AFP?

On August 21, 2006 the Timawa forum saw a discussion between a Philippine Marine Colonel (MBLT6) and a Singaporean Army Major (Shingen) about sniper rifles an engagement distances in the the Philippine setting. The end result was a glowing response from Shingen as follows:

This is one of the best post, or not the best post i have seen so far in this forum. Thank you so much for clarifiying things, all your examples are very clear and informative, especially no. 3. Would add this to my scrapbook and use it as material if required back camp.

This accolade elevated this discussion to a “reference thread” which moderators took special care in keeping troll free.

10872891_714195705362405_2481804744076689959_o-1 barret
Marine Scout Sniper Rifle (5.56mm) Barret (12.7mm / .50 cal)

In an effort to preserve this discussion from database crashes and similar incidents, this section the following thread has been replicated here:

First, lets define terms. The term primary sniper rifle refers to primary range. Our (Marine Corps) doctrine requires three types of sniper rifles ie., primary range (max 600m for company level) , intermediate range ( 800m max and a Bn organic) and long range (1000m and a Brigade organic). We practice combined arms concepts which means higher units may attach thier organic units to subordinates in order to tailor fit their capabilities to the environment they are operating in and the threats they are facing. secondly, the term sniper rifle does not dictate on the caliber. Its defined as a rifle with a scope accurized with high quality parts (match grade) and uses match grade ammunition. The 5.56mm round in the MSSR qualifies per our doctrines and international definition.

Why have 3 types of sniper rifles? Based on our experience in battling communist, muslim seperatist and military adventurism for 30+ years in different terrains in the Philippines. We had learned that under different sniping conditions the characteristics of a type of sniper rifle has its pros and cons.

Example 1. a sniper stalks his prey that requires moving at the least observation by the enemy the reason he has to be a master of camoflauge to avoid detection. It will be diffucult to crawl with a cal 50 barret. The MSSR will be a favorite in this conditions.

Example 2: The MSSR or primary range rifle is the king of 600m engagements simply due to lesser recoil. It accounted most of the kills in our year 2000 campaign in central mindanao. Why? against multiple targets and follow through shot in case of a miss nothing beats the 5.56mm round. the lesser recoil ensures target acquisition after recoil. We tested this with the equally accurisided M-21 7.62mm. each equally skilled sniper were required to shoot 6 poppers each and armed with the M21 and MSSR at 400m. The MSSR finished his 6th popper while the other was just starting to aim for his 3rd – FOV issues due to recoil i’m sure you know. Example 3: the cal 50 barret has the needed characteristics for longer range simply because of of its heavier 750 grain bullet which is less prone to that devil wind that all snipers fear. The MSSR cannot compete with this at longer range. But at shorter ranges below 600m the barret has distinct disadvantages. It has a louder sound report, flash and concussion (leaves/bushes moves) allowing easier detection and wow expect counter fire from the enemy. A sniper always ensures he is not detected please don’t do this in engaging the enemy with highly trained countersnipers. The barret is best in engagements at 1000m+ in a jungle environment if you can find one. the rule is more max at 400m. The MSSR has a an almost negligble flash an sound report. The 24 inch barrel has its advantages it ensures the total burning of the propellant before the bullet exits the muzzle hence lesser flash as well as higher velocity means lesser leads in moving targets – the 5.56mm round does have at least 250+ fps higher speed the the 7.62mm and cla 50 round – right?. longer barrels adds more velocity and having more range and lethality. and of course lesser concussion and sound report compared to the 7.62 and cal.50 round. the MSSR was adopted by us in 1996 and copied by the IDF and US in 2000 you are more than welcome to learn from our experiences.

I really had the same perceptions in my youth when I was a Lt 24 yrs ago. The macho 7.62mm or even the cal 30 (7.62mm x 54) M-1 garand round were superior in all aspects. But my experience change that with advancements in weapons technology as well as my combat and competition experience. I was amazed with the results of our 2000 year campaign as well as the success of the M-16 in the Service Rifle Competitions in Camp Perry,Ohio which since 1996 it had dominated the championships beating the favorites as the M-1A1 and military versions M-14 rifles. We in the Marine Corps have the only existing sniper school in the Philippines since 1967. We load our own match ammo for 5.56mm and 7.62mm in 69 grain Sierra BTHP match, 75 grain Hornady and 168 grain Sierra in 7.62mm BTHP match as well as subsonic rounds for both calibers for use in our Night Fighting Weapon System. Don’t know if there are existing sniper schools in other in southeast asian countries. And please no more lethality issues – shot placement at 600m is not an issue for the MSSR our snipers are trained to hit head shots at 600m and even a cal .22LR at shorter distances can ensure that kill. I’ve seen that – we operate in the most volatile region in Southeast Asia.

 

 

“Sea denial” vs “Sea Control”

Thanks to a position paper published by Congressman Roilo Golez, the term “area denial” has entered mainstream Philippine social media discussions about tensions with China and territorial threats in the West Philippine Sea. But what exactly is “Sea Denial”? To fully appreciate that mission, one must also understand the super-set mission: “Sea Control”.

The following quotations were initially collected for the following discussion on the Timawa.net forum: Sea Control vs Sea Denial: Why small boats aren’t enough and provide an easy-to-follow layman’s guide to understanding these two concepts.

From an online excerpt of the book The Influence of Sea Power on History: 1600-1783, Boston: Little, Brown and Co, 1896 by Mahan, A. T. comes the following concise distinction between control and denial

Sea denial. Sea denial, or commerce-destroying, provides a means for harrying and tiring an enemy. It may be a means to avoid losing a war. It may cause “great individual injury and discontent”. But by itself, a sea denial strategy is not a war-winning one. Nor is it a particularly deterring strategy.

Sea Control. Sea control means, fundamentally, the ability to carry your, and your allies’, commerce across the seas and to provide the means to project force upon a hostile, distant shore. A sea controller must limit the sea denial capabilities of the enemy. To quote the Prophet again, “… when a question arises of control over distant regions, … it must ultimately be decided by naval power, …, which represents the communications that form so prominent a feature in all strategy.”

Between the two strategies, sea denial remains the lowest hanging fruit. Expensive capital ships are principal means of exercising Sea Control and is therefore often beyond the resources of most maritime nations. Even China initially started with this strategy as related by Hugh White, a professor of strategic studies at ANU. The paper not only points out China’s approach, but affirms the limitations of this strategy as explained above by Mahan

The Chinese have long understood that America’s sea control in the western Pacific has been the military foundation of its strategic primacy in Asia, and that the US Navy’s carriers are the key. They have therefore focused the formidable expansion of their naval and air forces over the past 20 years on trying to deprive the US of sea control by developing their capacity to sink American carriers. In this they appear to have been strikingly successful, to the point that US military leaders now acknowledge that their sea control in the western Pacific is slipping away.

But for China, depriving America of sea control is not the same as acquiring it themselves. Its naval strategy has focused on the much more limited aim that strategists call ”sea denial”: the ability to attack an adversary’s ships without being able to stop them attacking yours. These days, sea denial can be achieved without putting ships to sea, because land-based aircraft, long-range missiles and submarines can sink ships much more cost-effectively than other ships can. This is what China has done.

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The central fact of modern naval warfare – which the Chinese grasp as well as anyone – is that sea denial is relatively easy to achieve, but control is extremely hard. We seem to be entering an era in which many countries can achieve sea denial where it matters to them most, but none can achieve sea control against any serious adversary.

The key take away from White’s thesis is the multi-dimensional nature of the strategy. To enable its own sea denial capability, the AFP needs to make investments in the airborne, maritime, and land-based systems listed above. The Philippine Navy currently has an ongoing acquisition project for brand new Frigates with explicit, albeit limited, Anti-Air, Anti-Surface, and Anti-Submarine Warfare capability. The Philippine Army is moving ahead with studies to acquire land-based Anti-Ship Missile systems. The Philippine Air Force is pursuing a variety of patrol and surface attack aircraft projects. All these efforts, as of writing, remain works-in-progress and their successful and timely completion is hardly assured.

While it is very unlikely that the Philippines will ever be able to make significant headway into sea control on its own, a sea-denial build-up will still put it in a better position to keep cadence with its allies. A coalition of countries with individual sea denial capabilities can approach sea control capability more effectively together than they could alone. A concerted effort to deploy sea-control-compatible assets, would also demonstrate the Philippines’ willingness to participate in an allied effort at sea control and establish its status as a reliable partner in such an allied effort, even if such assets can only maintain a tenuous presence in our EEZ when viewed in isolation.

Kia KM-451 trucks enter AFP service

The Armed Forces of the Philippines revealed the entry of sixty (60) South Korean-made Kia KM-451 trucks into AFP service during its 77th founding anniversary celebration. The KM-451 is the ambulance version of the now ubiquitous KM-450 1/4 ton truck that entered service in 2007. The following images were taken from the PTV 4 coverage of the event.

km451 km451a km451b
Screen captures above from the video below Screen capture above from the video below

As a member of the KM-45x family of vehicles, the KM-451 builds upon the maintenance experience and spare-parts base of the KM-450 fleet. The first 100 KM-450s entered AFP service in December 12, 2007, and various batches have been delivered since as part of a project to acquire 651 1 1/4 ton trucks. A Timawa.net forum discussion about these ambulances is available here.

Other ambulances in AFP service include 23 units of the ambulance variant of the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) or “Humvee” which were delivered in November 2011, ambulance variants of the V-150 and Simba APCs, and various civilian ambulances. These vehicles are part of efforts to improve the AFP Forward Medical Support System.

The following screen capture of the Kia Motors Website for the KM-45x family of vehicles provides additional information about the KM-451 and other members of its vehicle family.

km451c

 

 

Update: CUP Phase 2 projects

The Philippine Star published the following figures and delivery dates for the indicated CUP Phase 2 projects. An older PIA article, however, stated that the total number of rocket launchers was “335”

Project Quantity Value Expected delivery date
Multi-purpose rocket launcher 335 P37,440,000.00 October 2012
81mm mortar with ammunition 100 units w/ 2,000 rounds P190,320,000.00 August 2012
Multi-Purpose Assault Craft (MPAC) Lot 2 3 P268,990,000.00 November 2012

PITC helps Army acquire sights for 81mm mortar

 

The Philippine International Trading Corporation, a government-owned international trading corporation, issued a bid invitation for M53 / M53A1 mortar sights on behalf of the Philippine Army. The project, Bid Ref# 2011-040, sought to acquire 468 pieces of sights with an Authorized Budget for Contract (ABC) of P26,999,996.40.

The pre-bid conference was set on November 10, 2011, and the schedule for bid opening was 12-days later.

For discussions, and additional details, about this acquisition project, see the following Timawa.net discussion: http://www.timawa.net/forum/index.php?topic=29685.0

AFP receives Humvee ambulances

The AFP officially received 23 new High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV), commonly called “Humvees” in Ambulance configuration. 19 of these vehicles were given to the Philippine Army, while 4 were assigned to the Philippine Marines. The vehicles were acquired through a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) transaction and is the culmination of an effort the originated in 2007.

For additional details and photographs, see the following Timawa.net discussion.

Photographs below careof Jepot@Timawa

155mm howitzer acquisition projects

Timawa.net/forum discussionhttp://www.timawa.net/forum/index.php?topic=25969.0

The first whiff of an effort to acquire a new batch of 155mm howitzers came out in Timawa discussions in October of 2008. Reportedly the project at that time was incorporated into acquisition plans at the expense of a number of other projects to include armored vehicles. Official acknowledgement of the project in Philippine media did not occur till January of 2011, when Defense Assistant Secretary Ernesto Boac revealed the existence of an effort to acquire six 155mm howitzers at a cost of P186M for the Philippine Army, and a P230M effort to acquire two units for the Philippine Marines.

Little is known about the Philippine Marine howitzers, and why they are more expensive than the Army howitzers. However Army sources revealed the following details about the Army howitzers:

  • The acquisition is for the towed-howitzers only.
  • Ammunition and the corresponding prime movers (5-ton trucks) will be acquired separately

The original project (presumably the effort reported in 2008) involved the tubes, ammunition, and the 5-ton trucks into a single acquisition project. However concerns that delays with one aspect of the project could result in delays for the rest of the project forced the Project Management Team (PMT) assigned to separate the acquisitions.

Whether or not the Marine effort followed the original Army mold of buying all components (tube, ammunition, trucks) in a single effort is unclear.

These will not be the first 155mm howitzers in Philippine service. According to SIPRI.org arms transfer database, eight (8) M114A1 155mm howitzers were acquired from the United States in 1972, and seven (7) M-68 Soltam howitzers were acquired from Israel in 1983. If this acquisition comes to fruition, it will be the first new 155mm tubes in over 28 years.

Joining the RPG bandwagon

Timawa.net\forum discussion: http://www.timawa.net/forum/index.php?topic=26818.0

Admittedly, this is the acquisition that got this blog rolling. A conscientious, but still-unidentified, poster updated the Philippine Army Wikipedia entry to include mention of this acquisition, but was then dismissed as having posted unreliable information because the data came from an online forum. This post is meant to set the record straight.

The first hint that the Philippine Army was seriously looking into acquiring RPGs was reported in the 2008 AFP Modernization report, by way of the following table in the document.

Copies of the September 2010 edition of the Capability Upgrade Program (CUP) status report that circulated in the latter half of this year made mention of the acquisition and described it as being in an advanced stage of the process. During the 114th Anniversary of the Philippine Army, LGEN Arturo Ortiz revealed that an acquisition of 335 units of rocket launchers were indeed being acquired. Subsequent inquiries with Timawans in the service then confirmed that this announcement did in fact refer to the RPGs revealed in the 2008 report.

The Philippine Marine Corps reportedly has its own equivalent acquisition. But the status of this project is currently unclear.