With the procurement tender well underway, the Philippine Navy (PN) is in the process of procuring new 5.56mm Squad Automatic Weapons (SAW) for its Philippine Marine Corps (PMC).
The procurement will be done through public bidding, with a budget of P100 million and a deadline of August 24, 2021. The project’s Notice to Proceed (NTP) is planned to be completed within 300 calendar days of its release.
As per the Philippine Defense Resource, a Philippine-based defense website, the requirement for 160 new 5.56mm light machine guns with reflex optic sights, as well as several 200-round box magazines and 30-round STANAG M16 magazines and other accessories.
The SAWs should also include a rail interface per MIL STD 1913 or Picatinny Rail, as well as a gas-operated, rotating bolt operating system, striker-fired firing pin firing mechanism, and an air-cooled design, according to the project specifications.
The new SAW’s weight is expected to be between 6.0 and 8.16 kilograms, with an overall length of 800 to 1,041.40 millimetres, according to the specifications.
The quantity, according to the report, was just enough to re-arm the Philippine Marine Corps’ Marine Special Operations Group (MARSOG) or a standard Marine Battalion.
The PMC currently has 1 Assault Armor Battalion and 12 Marine Rifle Battalions, all of which are equipped with the M60E3/E4 7.62mm light machine gun, which is heavier and longer than the new 5.56mm SAW.
Aside from the M60E3/E4, the Philippine Marine Corps also operate the newer M60E6, as well as the FN Herstal Minimi 5.56mm SAW, both of which are operated by the MARSOG.
MaxDefense Philippines, another Philippine defense website, says that Israel’s IWI Negev NG5 meets all of the technical requirements for the 5.56mm SAW procurement project.