Army chief unveils more gear for troops


Posted at Mar 22 2011 05:33 PM | Updated as of Mar 23 2011 03:21 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Army chief Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz on Tuesday announced the purchase of new equipment for soldiers to improve their capabilities.

Speaking during the Army's 114th foundation anniversary, Ortiz also said more equipment are due for delivery for front line units under the Armed Forces modernization program.

"We vigorously pursued the acquisition of new equipment and weapons under the [Army] Capability Upgrade Program, thereby enhancing our move, shoot, and communicate capabilities," Ortiz said.

Early this year, frontline Army troops were given 137 brand-new KM 250 trucks from South Korea in addition to 590 units earlier issued.

"We also expect 90 units of M35 units of M35 6x6 trucks for delivery from the US this coming June," Ortiz said.

He added that earlier this month, the Army delivered to soldiers around 740 40mm grenade launchers. "We expect an additional 2,200 pieces for delivery by the first quarter next year."

He said the Army is also set to receive 470 night fighting system units, 6 units of 155 howitzers with ammunition, 100 units of 81mm mortar with ammunition, and 335 units of rocket launchers with ammunition. 

"Further, we have re-barreled 2,548 M16 rifles and additional 550 are programmed for re-barreling third quarter this year. We also expect next month the delivery of 30,000 pieces of M16 aluminum magazines assembly and another 30,000 additional pieces this year," Ortiz saud.

Around 1,300 sets of Harris man-pack, handheld, and base radios are also due for delivery.

"This will add to the current inventory of 9,147 Harris radios earlier issued to our operating units. Also programmed for acquisition are 1,476 sets (of) handheld and base radios and 210 sets armor vehicle radios," said Ortiz.

He also revealed that 9,786 Kevlar helmets are due to be distributed to the troops in addition to the previous 25,000 pieces earlier issued. He said 2,015 units of body armor were recently delivered to troops.

The Army also plans to upgrade the five-storey Fort Bonifacio General Hospital [FBGH] inside the Army headquarters. "Modesty aside, the FBGH is nearly comparable to the reputable private hospitals in Metro Manila," said Ortiz.

Ortiz, AFP chief Lt. Gen. Eduardo Oban, and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin attended the Army event.