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Defense weighs options on P3-b radar

The Department of National Defense is looking at two options in its plan to purchase three units of Long-Range Surveillance Radar which the Philippine Air Force needs.

The radar units will be fitted into  the lead-in training fighter jets  the DND  will buy from South Korea.

A  source said the radar units will cost P3 billion or a little more and it’s all up to the Defense officials to decide whether US or Israeli firms will firm up the contract.

The planned acquisition came after   President Benigno Aquino III earmarked a P75-billion budget to make Defense and military equipment meet  the “minimum credible defense”.

Documents obtained by Manila Standard Today showed that the Joint United States Military Assistance Group-Philippines will be submitting this month its final report on a US-funded Foreign Military Sale survey and study as requested by the DND and PAF for its planned acquisition of 3 units of air defense radar.

According to a document, the US is offering its TPS-77 model which is very similar to the FPS-117 the American are using.

But the DND and PAF are also considering the Israel-made Elta ELM 2288 Radar system.

A Filipino representative of Elta who is a former military chief said the defense department was “keen” to buy their product.

Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo for  finance and munitions declined to confirm or deny the supposed interest in the Elta as alleged by the former military chief.

Such a plan so jolted the US that the chief of the Joint Security Cooperation of JUSMAG-Philippines, retired US Army Lt. Col. Frederick A. Riker, wrote the DND to enlighten the agency about the difference between the TPS-77 and Elta ELM 2288 before “finalizing any decisions.”

The 2-page letter dated February 21, 2014 was addressed to Manalo.

Riker said the US Air Force “has conducted radar site and surveys” and also “assisted” PAF’s Long Range Air Surveillance Radar Technical Working Group develops the Systems Requirements Documents (SRD).

The survey and study was in response to the September 18, 2013 Letter of Request for Price for Availability of at least three long range radar and associated support and equipment via the US FMS program the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) submitted to the US.

Riker also said in his letter that the SRD will be submitted to the DND-PAF in March 2014 and that USAF representatives will be briefing the said agencies.

“The US, employs and FPS-117 which is very similar to the TPS-77 radar the DND/PAF are considering. Using a common family of radar will certainly enhance the usefulness of  future radar SMEEs and the US will be in a better position to assist in the development of an AFP air defense capability,” Riker stated in his letter.

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