Category Archives: Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS)

The K136A1 Kooryong MLRS for the Philippines

A K136A1 Kooryong Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) firing one of its rockets. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In August 2019, the Philippine Army (PA) revealed that they and the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) are acquiring the K136A1 Kooryong Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) from South Korea. Three batteries will go to the PA while one battery will go to the PMC.1

Each battery consists of six units, so for four batteries that is a total of 24 units for both the PA and the PMC. Two months later, the PA activated its 2nd MLRS Battery and provided more details of the acquisition saying that SK donated two batteries back in October 2018.2
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HIMARS for the Philippine Army?

A High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
A High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

One big surprise during the recent Balikatan 2016 Military Exercise was how the United States (US) Army decided to bring and highlight their High Mobility Artillery Rocket System or HIMARS. This is the first time they have brought over the system to the annual, joint US-Philippine exercises, and it literally made quite a splash as it was all over the local news. One wonders if this has something to do with the revelation made last year by Israel Military Industries (IMI) that the Philippines was set to buy a similar system, the Lynx armed with EXTRA Missiles.[1]

That deal did not push thru as the then incoming Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Hernando Irriberi decided to cancel it in favor of buying more Force Protection Equipment (FPE) for the Philippine Army. It ended up being a “Lose-Lose” situation as not only did we not end up with the Lynx, but we also did not end up with any of the FPEs he wanted bought instead. Irriberi had the opportunity to be remembered as the AFP Chief of Staff to usher in the “Missile Age” for the Army, but instead he will be remembered as the one who had DELAYED it.
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EXTRA Missiles for the Philippine Army?

An EXTRA Ballistic Missile. Photo taken from Israel Military Industries' (IMI) brochure.
An EXTRA Ballistic Missile. Photo taken from Israel Military Industries’ (IMI) brochure.

The website “Israel Defense” (at http://www.israeldefense.co.il/en) recently made an interview with retired Brigadier General Eli Reiter who is currently the Head of the Advanced Artillery and Rockets Administration of the Israeli company IMI. What’s curious about this interview with regards to us is how he stated that they had already supplied a missile system to the Philippines.[1] Take note that he didn’t use a Present or Future tense like “…is supplying…”, or “…will supply…”, but used a Past tense as in “…have already supplied…”.

Now this could be related to the Philippine Army’s (PhA) Shore Based Missile System (SBMS) program which had been mired in controversy after the new Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Gen. Hernando Irriberi tried to cancel it and re-align its budget to buy other stuff.[2] The last news we have about this as reported last September 2015 was that President Benigno Aquino had put the re-alignment on hold for further consideration.[3] However with this latest news, it is possible that there had been some developments about the acquisition.
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Philippine Army Shore-Based Missile System Re-Alignment

A camouflaged LAROM Rocket launcher, a Romanian made version of the LAR-160. The LAR-160 in turn is a version of the Lynx Missile System. Photo courtesy of DoloresRKT thru Wikimedia Commons.
A camouflaged LAROM Rocket launcher, a Romanian made version of the LAR-160. The LAR-160 in turn is a version of the Lynx Missile System. Photo courtesy of DoloresRKT thru Wikimedia Commons.

After a long, long period of silence, news about the Philippine Army’s (PhA) Shore-based Anti-Ship Missile (AShM) program finally broke out in a big, big way recently thru an article of the Manila Standard.[1] A couple of days later, other news organizations added more details, but it was Interaksyon that released the most accurate and detailed report.[2] To summarize what was written in the articles: The budget for the missile system (now known officially as the “Shore-Based Missile System” or “SBMS”) was already approved and the supplier and the system to be bought were already chosen thru a Government to Government (G2G) negotiation with the Israeli government.

However, the Commanding General of the PhA then, Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri wrote a letter to the then Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Catapang requesting for a RE-ALIGNMENT of the project to buy Individual Equipment for the soldiers instead. Iriberri cited “issues” on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and other internal security issues as the reasons for the request. The re-alignment was subsequently approved by Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and President Aquino himself.
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Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missiles for the Philippine Army

A Naval Strike Missile (NSM) in action. Photo courtesy of the Kongsberg Website
A Naval Strike Missile (NSM) in action. Photo courtesy of the Kongsberg Website

Attorney Patrick Velez, the Vice Chairman of the Bids and Awards Committee of the Department of National Defense (DND) revealed to the Press recently more details about one of the missile systems that the country plans to acquire.1 According to Mr. Velez, the system will be:
– Shore and missile based
– Worth P6.5 Billion (or USD 144 million at USD 1 – P 45 exchange rate) for a dozen launchers, or around USD 12 million each
– Used to hit ground and naval targets
– Will be placed under the control and supervision of the Philippine Army (PA)
– Will be sourced thru Limited Source Bidding where only certain companies are selected and invited to bid on the project

Even if Atty. Velez specified that the missile will be used for “ground and naval targets”, I feel NAVAL targets will get precedence here because they are high value targets, and China will have to go via sea using ships since these are the ones that has the logistical capacity requirement to successfully mount any type of invasion of our shores.
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