Project COBRA: Improving PH’s self-reliance in the field of defense tech

Published December 5, 2022, 7:00 PM

by Dhel Nazario

Seeking to address the Philippine Army’s (PA) dependence on imported military equipment and armaments, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) signed an agreement together with the agency for Project COBRA which stands for Controller Operated Battle Ready Armament.

(Photo courtesy of DOST-STII)

The agreement would lead to the improvement of the firepower capability of armored vehicles of PA. The agreement was also signed with the Mechatronics and Robotics Society of the Philippines (MRSP).

Project COBRA aims to design and integrate a caliber 0.50 remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS) to help address the pressing problems of PA such as 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.

According to DOST, compared to Project BUHAWI or Building a Universal Mount for Heavy Barrel Automated Weapon Integration which is also developed by 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.

Yet the two differ in motion with the COBRA having a 360-degree turn as compared to BUHAWI which only has a 270-degree turn. The COBRA has also more features such as an interchangeable gun mount, and a compact design, it is lightweight and has an integrated power supply.

The DOST will fund it for two years, from 2023 to 2024, for a total of P24,286,705.60 while PA will share P5,000,000 in the year 2024, for a total of P29,286,705.60.

Among the expected advantages of the DOST-developed defense technologies projects, BUHAWI and COBRA are the creation of a 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 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.

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.

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.