MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) and an Israeli firm are close to forging a deal for the supply of three air surveillance radars worth P2.68 billion to boost the Philippines’ territorial defense capabilities.
The Philippine government and Israeli company Elta System Ltd. could sign a contract for the radars anytime, DND Undersecretary Fernando Manalo told The STAR over the weekend.
Manalo said a notice of award was issued to Elta early this month. The issuance of the notice of award is an important step in the procurement process as it leads to the actual implementation of the project.
“The signing will be done anytime,” Manalo said when asked for the status of the air surveillance radars project.
“The radars will enhance the capabilities of the Air Force in terms of maritime domain awareness,” he added.
Manalo said the radars may be delivered next year.
Last year, The STAR reported that the Philippines would buy three air search radars from Israel to enhance its monitoring in the South China Sea, where more than $5 trillion worth of trade passes through every year.
The Philippines, one of the weakest in the region in terms of military might, is under pressure to strengthen its external defense capabilities amid China’s muscle flexing and aggressive expansion in the region. Officials have repeatedly claimed that the modernization program is not directed against any country.
Defense officials signed an implementation arrangement that would pave way to the purchase of the radars in February 2014.
The procurement, however, was stalled for some time as President Aquino only approved the revised military modernization program last July, six days before his final State of the Nation Address.
Under the revised military modernization law enacted in 2012, the President, upon the recommendation of the defense and budget secretaries, shall forward the list of items to be purchased to Congress within 60 days since the law took effect.