Military Equipment Acquisitions under the Duterte Administration

(Revised June 6, 2017. See bottom of the page for the complete revision history)

The Philippine Navy's new Frigate. Photo courtesy of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).
The Philippine Navy’s new Frigate. Photo courtesy of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).

It is now time to start a new running blog of the acquisition of weapons and equipment for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) after the new administration of President Rodrigo Duterte started signing contracts for them. This will be a continuation of my other blog about similar acquisitions by President Benigno Aquino Jr. or PNoy.1

’Blog Rules’
I will be following the same “House Rules” or “Blog Rules” from my previous blog about PNoy’s acquisitions, which is first is that I want the news to be confirmed by a MAJOR news organization or a reputable website before I consider it. “Major” meaning a registered news organization like “GMA7”, for example, or “ABS-CBN”, etc. Or websites like the “Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines”, etc.

Second, I am looking for as much DETAILS as possible for the purchases, like how many were bought, for how much, from what company, estimated delivery dates, etc. More often than not there has been a couple of Press Releases about supposed acquisitions with very little details afterwards whether they did push thru or not. So if I see only one news item with little visibility about what happened afterwards, then I am not going to consider it.

This means I am going to CONSERVATIVE about what to list here, I want to note down only those that has actually been delivered, or at least have good visibility about their delivery dates, or that I find the details to be more or less complete. Hence there will be a number of stated acquisitions that will not be noted down here. Alternatively, if an acquisition that has been listed below but did not push thru, it will be removed.

As stated above, this will be a “running” blog which will be regularly updated as better information becomes available.


  • Two New Frigates
    Brand new Frigates from the South Korean company, “Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI)” for the price of USD 163 million each. This acquisition is bound to be controversial because much of the work, around 80-90%, was done under the previous PNoy administration. But in the end it was Duterte’s Administration who signed the contract and pushed into the “Point of No Return”, so to speak, so I feel he should get the credit for it.
    Hyundai Heavy Industries Wins Order to Build 2 Frigates for Filipino Navy

  • Five TC-90 Aircraft
    Secondhand TC-90s to be used as Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) from Japan. This is another project started under the PNoy Administration, but signed under Duterte. These will be leased from them because their current Constitution does not allow the donation of military equipment to another country. Price will be USD 7k each for four of the aircraft, and USD 200 for a fifth aircraft. No time limit has been set for the expiration of the lease.
    PH, Japan to sign lease agreement for 5 trainer aircraft


A TC-90 aircraft of the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF). Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
A TC-90 aircraft of the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF). Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Revision History:
(0) October 30, 2016: Originally posted.
(1) June 6, 2017: Added donation by the US government to the Philippine Marines.



28 thoughts on “Military Equipment Acquisitions under the Duterte Administration”

    1. Thanks, will try to add that in on my next revision, which may take awhile, though. But of course it would be great if the “buys” start coming in sooner.

  1. Sir ano na po ngyari sa Pohang Class?? Sayang din un pwede ng pagTrainingan ng Navy naten if Korean class ship dn ung Bago nateng Bibilhin. NakapagBayad na po ba sa mga Pohang Class??

    1. Ala pang opisyal na balita, pero mukhang tuloy na iyon kasi si Admiral Taccad na ang nagsabi sa media na tuloy daw. Antayin na lang ang mga opisyal na pahayag.

    1. Duterte did promise to give all the AFP personnel a Glock 30 by September 2016, but that hasn’t materialized yet. Nevertheless, I expect his own procurement to start coming by next year.

    1. The contract has already been signed. Any move by either party to stop it will leave that party vulnerable to a lawsuit. If the US wanted to block it, they would have done so BEFORE the contract was signed.

      1. The US can still block the sale of the Frigate. The Incheon class frigate has US made parts and US made weapons systems. The US can veto or block the sale of US made gear on the frigate. Forcing the Philippines to look elsewhere.

      2. The Incheon class frigate has US made gear such as the General Electric LM2500, Phalanx CIWS, 5″/54 caliber Mark 45 gun and RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile. So the US can block the sale of the Incheon that involves any US made gear.

      3. We are not getting the Incheon class Frigate, Nicky, only a VARIANT of it. And no, it won’t have the LM2500 Turbines since our ship will be CODAD. All the other equipment you mentioned will not be used on the ship since we will be using different, non-US made weapons.

      1. Sure, that will only give Duterte more reason to start introducing the AK platform in our country. The AK is available in 5.56 mm caliber, but who knows, they might go for an even drastic change in moving to the 7.62 x 39 mm caliber as well.

  2. i just read the news about the stoppage of rifle sale to PHL by US senator… we can expect more if the weapons and military hardware that we’re planning to buy needs the nod of US.
    rhk, before i asked your opinion about russian weapons and you said you’re not comfortable getting arms form russia because of their association with china – our perceived enemy then, but now we’re “friends” with them… are you OK now to get weapons from them?

    1. I am generally okay with getting Russian weapons, but we need to understand also their strengths and weaknesses.

      In terms of strengths, the Russians make some of the best missiles in the world. Their S-300/400 have no western equivalent in terms of range as far as land-based Surface to Air Missiles (SAMs) are concerned; They have supersonic Anti-Ship Missiles (AShMs) in service while the west has none.

      Their main weakness are their Turbine engines, they are not as durable as western counterparts. The AL-31 engines of the SU-30, for example, only has a Time Between Overhaul (TBO) of only 1,500 hours while the F414 engine of the Super Hornet has a TBO of 6,000 hours, or four times more than the AL-31.

      Russian aircraft are much cheaper, though. Imagine getting an SU-30 whose performance is about the same as an F-15 for only USD 25 million each like Venezuela did. But the trade off is the more frequent and costly maintenance.

      Western and Russian Datalink are also not compatible, so if we choose to operate both, then we will be giving up some of our Datalink capability, some equipment won’t be able to “talk” to each other.

    2. i think US concern about only on ANTI drag CAMPAIGN of Pres. DUterte, thats why they stop the selling of their rifles. FRIGATES and other whatsoever Military hardware may not affected because their role is not for ANTI Drags.

  3. For sure, a lot of us here underestimating the commitment of the administration to modernize the AFP (me included) because of the president’s unpredictability, left-leaning and anti US stance.

    But I believe he’ll prove us wrong. He has been very vocal on adding more modern helicopters and fast attack crafts. And I expect just that.

    I also believe that shore-based missile defence system will be a reality in this administration.

    RHK, 2 large high-endurance coast guard vessels are to be acquired from Japan. Will it or any other PCG major asset acquisition ever count here?

    1. No, Coast Guard is civilian, so I won’t be including them in this list.

      As for the AFP Modernization, Duterte did allocate P25 Billion in the 2017 National Budget, so the AFP will start buying things next year. But I think the priority will be for ISO first.

      Actually, if Duterte will allocate P25 Billion for the modernization of the next six years, we will be in pretty good shape. But there is no assurance of that, it’s a year to year thing. 2017 is okay, so let’s wait for the coming years.

      1. Sorry for interrupting, but from the looks of it Horizon 2 is pretty much loaded for all branches of AFP. If we stick for 25B php/year would that be enough?

        Also our buying power is decreasing for some reason. It is worth considering if Digong “finished” his fight on Philippines internal problems in a year or two what is his next plan for the people.

      2. Not sure of the cost estimate for all AFP equipment scheduled for H2, but my guess is that it won’t. But it will buy most of the items on H2 since P150 Billion (6 x P25 Billion) is still a lot of money.

        In contrast, PNoy spent “only” P58 Billion for the AFP Modernization in his six years in office, and P150 Billion is more than twice of that already.

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