Preserving the country’s patrimony is very important to ensuring the security of the Philippines and its people, as well as to preserve the nation’s resources that will fuel economic development and inclusive growth.

To address this aspiration, Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr. shared that the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is fully committed to producing more relevant research and development (R&D) based outputs that would allow the country to have an enhanced and self-reliant defense posture program in the coming years.

In his message during the stakeholders’ dialogue on Project BUHAWI on October 04, 2022, at the Acacia Hotel in Muntinlupa City, Sec. Solidum emphasized that DOST harnesses its R&D capabilities and resources to make a significant impact and contributions to various sectors and institutions including the defense department.

"The Department of National Defense (DND) is responsible for addressing the national security threats while DOST is mandated to offer timely and appropriate solutions to the challenges of various sectors through S&T research and development efforts, " said Sec. Solidum.

In 2019, the DOST through its Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) started the development of project BUHAWI or Building a Universal Mount for Heavy-Barrel Automated Weapon Integration. It is an automated gun mount for heavy barrel Browning 0.50 caliber machine guns that would strengthen the firepower capabilities of our navy’s small patrol craft in defending the country’s littoral water territories.

It was turned over on May 20, 2022 by the DOST-MIRDC to the Philippine Navy, an attached agency of the DND.

“As a product of science, technology, and innovation, project BUHAWI will satisfy the country’s desire for self-reliance in defense, a goal that we share and a goal that we will make to generate a much better life for Filipinos once achieved,” said Sec. Solidum.

He assured that DOST is determined to keep engaging in R&D to create and improve the features of project BUHAWI so that it becomes a homegrown technology that the Philippine Navy will find useful.

“The DOST precisely has this outcome in mind with the project BUHAWI. It is worth noting that this project is vital in strengthening the country’s naval force as the Philippines is a marine and archipelagic nation,” said Sec. Solidum.

Sec. Solidum said that the Philippine Navy and the industries concerned with our seas will find project BUHAWI playing an important role in developing the country’s naval defense system. He added that project BUHAWI aims to build capabilities for manufacturing to realize the self-reliant defense posture that we must produce and use.

Meanwhile, DND Officer-in-Charge and Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. said that project BUHAWI would not only improve the firepower capability of various floating assets of the Philippine Navy but will also save the government substantial financial resources in acquiring remote weapon systems for each of the floating assets from external sources. He said that the development cost of project BUHAWI is only 14 million pesos which can be reduced further to 12 million pesos if mass produced compared to imported technologies amounting to around 24 million pesos.

Usec. Faustino said that as the monitoring nears its completion, they look forward to the full implementation of project BUHAWI into all compatible naval assets.

“But make no mistake. This alone is not our end goal together with DOST. We called the domestic industry players to join us in this endeavor by producing more units of BUHAWI. Join us in reviving the SRDP by infusing capital and bringing more investment to spur the development of the domestic defense industry,” said Usec. Faustino.

Also presented at the said event was another project of DOST-MIRDC, this time with the Philippine Army, called Controller Operated Battle-Ready Armament or COBRA.

Engr. Rodnel O. Tamayo, chief of the Prototyping Division of the DOST-MIRDC and project leader of COBRA, explained that this technology would enhance the firepower capability of armored vehicles of the Philippine Army through the design and integration of a Cal. 50 remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS).

Project COBRA has a gun mount with built-in control system and shielded housing as well as a weapon console and power system.

The stakeholders’ dialogue on Project BUHAWI was held to determine the way forward in the technology transfer process, in consultation with and participation of top decision-makers in the DOST, DND, and industry players who can manufacture BUHAWI units. (By Allan Mauro V. Marfal, DOST-STII)