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DND wants US testing for soldiers’ protection kits

AN official of the Department of National Defense (DND) said the required testing of protection gear for Filipino soldiers will be done in the United States.

That’s non-negotiable, Defense Assistant Secretary Efren Q. Fernandez said citing that the testing will be done in accredited laboratories of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Office of Science and Technology of the US.

“There are five NIJ-accredited laboratories to conduct the testing [and] all [are] located in the US.”

The laboratories will test for NIJ 0101.06, which “establishes minimum performance requirements and test methods for the ballistic resistance of personal body armor designed to protect the torso against gunfire.”

Fernandez, chairman of the DND Bids and Acquisition Committee (BAC), made this statement during the pre-bid conference last week for the Force Protection Equipment (FPE), for which the government alloted some P1.76 billion.

The government is ordering 44,080 FPE sets, composed of basic vest, plate inserts and soft-ballistic panel.

Each FPE weighs from 5.8 kilograms to 6.8 kg. Fernandez rejected the request by a bidder to add two to 3.7 kg. to the weight of the overall system.

“This [increase in weight] would not be allowed because weight and size is defined based on the actual body measurement of the Filipino soldier.”

The ballistic test will be done in laboratories that are in the states of Maryland (two), New York, Oregon and Kansas during the post qualifications and pre-delivery inspections phase.

The BAC expects the winning bidder to deliver 15,000 sets within 120 days of the opening of Letter of Credit. The remaining 29,080 sets will be delivered later.

However, the BAC said it will amend this two-tranche delivery into multipletranche delivery system “as long as [deliveries] comply with the schedule.”

The DND expects all FPE delivered before the end of the first half of 2014.

D. Estopace and C. M. A. Laberinto

 

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