MANILA — Aside from Russia, three other countries have expressed interest to supply the Philippine Navy with diesel-electric submarines.
“We are now studying the offers of (South) Korea, France and if I’m not mistaken, Indonesia as well,” Department of National Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in an interview with reporters Wednesday, noting that all three have shipyards and facilities capable of constructing diesel-electric submarines.
No other details are available, Andolong said.
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 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 about 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, defense could be considered incomplete without a fleet of submarines.
“For a nation with maritime territory, especially (an) island nation, its national defense is incomplete without (a) submarine,” he added.
The defense chief also said that 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 surprise.
A submarine force is a great morale booster to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, he added. (PNA)
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