MANILA — Having a small squadron of diesel-electric submarines will give the Philippines force projection capabilities.
This was emphasized by Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong in an interview Wednesday.
“(Once the Philippines acquires its first diesel-electric submarines), we will be joining the exclusive club (of) countries (operating these vessels). Pag sa Navy kasi, dalawa ang symbol ng (In the Navy, there are two symbols of) force projection, symbol of power, the aircraft carrier (which can sink all kinds of ships through its air power) and the submarine, kasi ang (because the) submarine mahirap ma-detect (is hard to detect), kayang magpalubog ng aircraft carrier kung makakalapit siya (once it is able to approach, it can make an aircraft carrier sink), so at least, (it is) cost effective in terms of defense,” he added.
Earlier, Andolong said acquisition of the country’s first diesel-electric submarines will be brought forward to Horizon Two of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (RAFPMP).
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.
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.
“Hindi na (This is not included in Horizon Three anymore), pinush na dito sa (It was pushed to be included in Horizon Two), ngayon (now), how will this come to be, yan ang kailangan pag-aralan (that is what must be studied),” Andolong said.
He declined to give the exact number of diesel-electric submarines to be acquired but said it will be more than one. (PNA)