MANILAAs long as it is advantageous to the country, all offers for the Philippine Navy's (PN) submarine project will be considered.
This was stressed by Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Arsenio Andolong over the weekend.
"In the case of the planned submarine purchase, we will consider any and all offers," Andolong said.
The DND spokesperson also clarified that the PN submarine acquisition project is still under study as of this time.
"While our acquisition of submarines for the PN 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," he noted.
Andolong also said the country will acquire equipment from any country as long as the procurement follows the proper process as provided for under Philippine laws, and the equipment meets the requirements of its end-users.
Earlier, DND 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 and 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.
Lorenzana earlier said having a fleet of submarines is essential for the defense of an archipelago like the Philippines.
"For a nation with maritime territory specially island nation, its national defense is incomplete without (a) submarine," he added.
Also, Lorenzana said an effective active submarine force is a great deterrent for would be aggressors due to its capability to travel underwater unseen, giving it the element of surface.
Aside from this, a submarine force is a great morale booster to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the DND chief added.
In support of this initiative, Andolong said the acquisition of the country's first submarines will be brought forward to Horizon Two of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (RAFPMP).
The procurement of the above-mentioned naval craft was earlier scheduled for Horizon Three which is expected to run from 2023 to 2028 while Horizon Two is scheduled from 2018 to 2022. The 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.
The DND spokesperson said submarines are a great equalizer in the country's naval arsenal once acquired. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency