MANILAExercises like the recently-concluded "Rim of the Pacific" (RIMPAC) exercises, where the Philippine Navy (PN) deployed ships and personnel for the very first time, will greatly help boost the naval service's capability in conducting prolonged operations in high seas.
"(RIMPAC) is also a good chance for our personnel to experience planning and execution of combined naval operations as well as establish the Navy's capacity for prolonged operations over sea," Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Monday.
The PN deployed the strategic sealift vessel BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) and frigate BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF-17), an AgustaWestland naval helicopter and around 700 sailors and marines for the exercises, which started June 27 and ended on August 2.
These ships, assets and personnel all arrived at Pier 13, Manila South Harbor Monday.
In line with this, he said the DND will work harder to ensure that more assets will be acquired for the PN to make it more stronger and more credible, something that the Philippines, as maritime nation, can be proud of.
Also, as the DND and PN dreams of having its first diesel-electric submarines, massive efforts must be done to ensure that the country has well-trained personnel and facilities to maintain and operate these assets.
"The Navy must be ready to integrate the new ships into its operations once they are acquired, subsurface operations for example is something we need to prepare for in terms of transfer of technology, personnel training, and improvement of facilities," Lorenzana stressed.
Earlier, the DND chief 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 that for an island nation like the Philippines, its defense can be considered incomplete without a fleet of submarines.
"For a nation with maritime territory specially island nation, its national defense is incomplete without (a) submarine," he added.
Lorenzana also said that an effective submarine force is a great deterrent for would be aggressors due to its capability to travel underwater unseen, giving it the element of surprise.
Also, a submarine force is a great morale booster to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the DND chief added. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency