The Mk. 38 Mod. 3 MGS with a 30mm ATK cannon. The Philippine Navy opted to use the 25mm M242 Bushmaster cannon instead, based on the DoD's information. (photo : DefenseMediaNetwork)
Based on information made public by the US Department of Defense through its website as of September 29, 2016, the US Navy's Naval Surface Warfare Center awarded a US$25.4 million contract to BAE Systems Land & Armaments LP for the production of Mk. 38 Mod. 3 Machine Gun System (MGS), which will be installed on US Navy ships as well as Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to friendly countries.
Among those scheduled to receive from FMS is the Philippine Navy, whose share on the contract is around 8%, or roughly US$2.03 million.
This is in addition to an earlier contract, which the US Navy's Naval Surface Warfare Center also awarded to BAE Systems Land & Armaments LP in October 2015 for US$30.556 million, wherein the Philippine Navy shares around 6.24% of the contract amount.
Based on previous information gathered by MaxDefense Philippines using publicly available sources and confirmation from our sources, a Mk. 38 Mod. 3 system costs a little less than US$1 million as of mid 2016.
Thus it would be safe to assume that in each of the two contracts, the Philippine Navy stands to get two (2) brand new Mk. 38 Mod. 3 MGS, for a total of four (4) systems.
MaxDefense sources previously confirmed that the machine gun systems covered by the 2015 contract was meant to be installed on the Del Pilar-class frigate (DPCF) BRP Gregorio del Pilar (FF-15), so it is highly possible that the MGS covered by the 2016 contract was meant for the only other DPCF left without an allocation, the BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF-17).
But MaxDefense would still put some caution on this information.
Currently, aside from the DPCFs, the Tarlac-class Landing Platform Docks are also in need for self-defense weapon systems to defend itself from fast moving surface threats and slow moving aircraft. Also, based on the acquisition plans of the Philippine Navy for the LPD's weapon systems, they are also recommending the acquisition of MGS systems like the Mk. 38 Mod. 3 for the class, at least two (2) units for each ship.
It now boils down to the latest threat assessments made by the Philippine Navy. Which ships are in need of these Mk. 38s first? While MaxDefense has no information yet on that, the possibility of the Philippine Navy making changes on the installation plans is present. So while we can assume that the four upcoming Mk. 38 Mod. 3 MGS are for the the FF-15 and FF-17, this is not yet 100% final.
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