The Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte announced on 11 October that Russia would donate a substantial amount of defence hardware in support of the Philippine military’s fight against pro-Islamic State militants that have occupied city of Marawi since May. While exactly what equipment will be donated has not yet been confirmed the donation is said to include 5,000 AK-pattern rifles, 1 million rounds of ammunition and 20 military trucks, which would be a substantial boost to the Philippine military’s inventory.
The news of the donations comes almost a year on from Kalashnikov Concern’s briefing of Ambassador Carlos D. Sorreta at the Philippine Embassy in Moscow on the company’s various products. Following that meeting Ambassador Sorreta said: “while there are no definite plans yet to purchase Russian small arms, I believe this briefing can be very useful in any comprehensive assessment of how to address our country’s defense needs.” Kalashnikov Concern’s current catalogue offers a number of suitable rifles including the AK74M (5.45х39), the AK101 (5.56×45) and the AK103 (7.62х39)
Depending on which of these new rifles are to be donated and how they are to be deployed may impact on the Philippines ammunition logistical structure with most of the military and police being equipped with NATO calibre rifles. To this end it seems like the rifles are likely to be AK101s chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO.
Russia’s donation will be a first as the US has predominantly been the Philippines’ primary ally and source for defence technology. The news follows China’s recent donation of over 6,000 rifles to the Philippines, including sniper rifles and 5.56×45 Norinco CQ-A5b, M4 clones. The Philippine government is expected to sign the transfer agreement with Russia sometime this month with SputnikNews suggesting the rifles might reach the Philippines as early as 22 October.