MANILA — In acquiring modern equipment like submarines, the Department of National Defense (DND) will only procure platforms that will be most advantageous to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the DND spokesperson said Friday.
“While our acquisition of submarines for the Philippine Navy is still under study and nothing is final at this point, we emphasize that the defense department will procure equipment that is most advantageous for the Armed Forces of the Philippines through our AFP Modernization Program,” Arsenio Andolong said.
He also clarified that the country can acquire equipment from any nation as long as the procurement follows the proper process as provided for under Philippine laws and the platform meets the requirements of its end-users.
“In the case of the planned submarine purchase, we will consider any and all offers,” Andolong said, adding that DND will honor all its alliances and international partnerships through the conduct of international defense and security engagements.
Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Russia is willing to provide advanced versions of its Kilo-class submarines to the Philippines through “soft loans” but clarified that the country is still looking for other sources.
Kilo-class submarines have a surface displacement of 2,350 tons, a length of 73.8 meters, capable of speeds up 17 to 20 knots and can be armed with a variety of torpedoes, missiles and naval mines.
It has a cruising range of around 6,000 to 7,500 nautical miles. In the ASEAN region, Vietnam is known to operate six improved Kilo-class submarines in its fleet.
The DND plans to procure the country’s first submarines under the Horizon Two of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (RAFPMP).
Procurement of the naval craft was earlier scheduled under Horizon Three which is expected to run from 2023 to 2028 while Horizon Two is scheduled from 2018 to 2022. Budget for the program is roughly placed at PHP300 billion.
Horizon One lasted from 2013 to 2017 and resulted in the acquisition of the three Del Pilar-class frigates, 12 FA-50PH light-lift interim fighters, two strategic sealift vessels, to name a few. (PNA)