‘Controller Operated Battle Ready Armament’ towards a self-reliant PH defense
To improve the firepower capability of armored vehicles of the Philippine Army, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) signed on 23 November 2022 a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Army (PH Army) and the Mechatronics and Robotics Society of the Philippines (MRSP) in a ceremony held at the World Trade Center, Pasay City.
Leading the MOA signing for Project COBRA are (L-R) DOST-MIRDC Executive Director Engr. Robert O. Dizon, PH Army Vice Commander Maj. Gen. Adonis R. Bajao, and Engr. Maricel M. Teogangco of MRSP. Also present are DOST Officials Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr. (Standing, 2nd from left) and Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Leah J. Buendia (Standing, 2nd from right).
This is for the Project COBRA, which stands for Controller Operated Battle Ready Armament, that aims to design and integrate a caliber 0.50 remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS) to help address the pressing problems of the Philippine Army such as high dependency on acquisition of imported military equipment and armaments, slow and delayed delivery of technology and support, gun operator of armored personnel carriers or APCs being at the direct line of fire, and long overdue modernization of military assets to adapt to changes to national security and sovereignty needs.
Compared to Project BUHAWI or Building a Universal Mount for Heavy Barrel Automated Weapon Integration which is also developed by the scientists and researchers from the DOST-Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) for the use of the Philippine Navy, the two projects are almost the same in terms of weaponry, on-mount EO System, and on-mount ammunition but differs in motion with the COBRA having a 360-degree turn as compared to BUHAWI which only has 270-degree turn. The COBRA has also more features such as interchangeable gun mount, compact design, it is lightweight and has integrated power supply.
The DOST will fund it for two years, from 2023-2024, for a total of Php24,286,705.60 while PH Army will share Php5,000,000 in year 2024, for a grand total of Php29,286,705.60.
Among the expected advantages of the DOST-developed defense technologies projects BUHAWI and COBRA are creation of local defense industry, job generation, locally-sourced parts, availability of local experts, cost effective, foreign exchange savings, and potential export product.
In his speech, DOST-MIRDC Executive Director Robert O. Dizon said that as the signing coincides with the opening of the 2022 National Science and Technology Week, they are optimistic that the partnership will be instrumental in making Filipinos know the value and significance of science, technology, and innovation in addressing concerns in the economy, in society, and the overall improvement of lives, including the area of human defense.
“We are looking forward to the success of this project as it will be another contribution of the DOST and the DOST-MIRDC in achieving the DND’s goal of a self-reliant defense posture, and in DOST’s mission to provide innovative solutions to the needs of its partners,” said Dizon, adding that they are thankful for the partnership with PH Army and MRSP.
Representing the Commanding General of PH Army LTGEN. Romeo S. Brawner, Jr., Vice Commander Maj. Gen. Adonis R. Bajao said that with the new design and integration of Project COBRA, the PH Army will acquire added strength in its firepower capability, particularly in its armored assets. The partnership, he said, also supports the local defense industry through the Self-Reliant Defense Posture Program (SRDP).
“Your invaluable support enables the Philippine Army to deliver our main thrust of capacitating our forces, intensifying stakeholder engagement, and in promoting capacity and capability building,” he said adding the cooperation will benefit the protection of the Filipino people and the security of the land.
For his part, DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum, Jr. extended his appreciation for the partnership of mentioned offices, as it underscored the importance of collaboration among various agencies of government.
“Thank you for this collaboration and we will make sure to actually continue what we have started – first with the PH Navy, then to the PH Army, and hopefully with the PH Air Force,” he said. (By Rosemarie C. Señora, DOST-STII)