MANILA The Philippines must produce its own combat management system and other related defense equipment in order to protect its military capabilities.
"The only way we can do that is to make our own. We produce our own CMS, everything, so nobody will know about it," Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said during Monday's Senate hearing about the Frigate Acquisition Project (FAP).
He also admitted that as long as the Philippines sub-contracts ships and other military equipment from other nations, there is nothing the country can do to prevent others from knowing about its capabilities.
The FAP has a contract of PHP18 billion including the weapon systems and munitions.
Earlier, the DND chief said that using the Thales Tacticos CMS would shoot the price of the frigates by USD7 million per ship or USD14 million for the two vessels.
In Monday's hearing, Lorenzana defended the decision of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) to pick Hanwha as the supplier of the CMS for its two frigates over Thales Tacticos, the manufacturer preferred by former PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado.
While acknowledging that Thales Tacticos is a good CMS brand, the DND chief said the Hanwha CMS being selected to fit the Navy's first two missile-firing capable frigates are equally capable.
"We are not buying a lesser product. we are buying an equally capable product to be put into our ship(s)," he added.
Also, Lorenzana emphasized that Mercado's relief last December was brought about by the latter's refusal to comply with two of his memorandum on the CMS and pronouncements that he will have the project cancelled if Thales Tacticos was not selected to supply the above-mentioned equipment.
"(The reason for his relief as FOIC was) dahil dalawang beses na memo ko hindi n'ya sinusunod tapos, sa mga conference niya (sinasabi) na pag hindi (na)tuloy ang (Thales) Tacticos, ika-cancel niya ang FAP (The reason for his relief as FOIC was he disobeyed my memos twice and he says in his conferences that he will have the FAP cancelled if Thales Tacticos will not be selected)," the DND chief pointed out.
Also, Lorenzana said that it was Mercado who had the specification "Tactical Data Link 16" or the ability to transmit and receive data from various platforms in a bid to justify the preference for the Thales Tacticos CMS.
Source: Philippine News Agency