J C Menon
The Philippines will soon buy Scout, Assault, and Light Support Boats with armaments and related equipment for an estimated cost of US$126m from the United States after the State Department made a determination approving the possible Foreign Military Sale which requested 156 M240B 7.62x51mm machine guns, 36 9M Scout Boats, 36 10M Assault Boats, 18 16M Light Support Boats and 36 units of Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) 280HD.
The Philippines will also buy 24 M2A1 .50 caliber machine guns, 6-barrel rotary Gatling guns, 399 NFS-NVG/IR Lasers (AN/PVS-14 and AN/PEQ-15), 102 Thermal Imager Scope (handheld) and 210 Heavy Thermal Weapon Sights (AN/PAS-13)among other items. The proposed sale will improve the Philippines’ capability to meet current and future threats by force multiplying the Army’s present ability to operate and control both inland and coastal waterways of southern Philippines.
While the principal contractor for the Scout and Assault Boats will be Willard Marine Inc., Anaheim, California, the `principal contractor for the Light Support Boat will be determined through an open competition contract. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale though if any are required, these will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor.