The Philippine Navy will be getting a major upgrade on its capability with the planned procurement of two Russian subs and more missile systems for the upcoming naval assets, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Thursday.
According to Lorenzana, the Department of National Defense (DND) was likely to procure its first-ever submarines from Russia, which expressed willingness to provide the Philippines “soft loan.”
Soft loans involve financial transactions with no interest or below market rate of interest.
The defense department, Lorenzana said, was also eyeing other countries like France, Germany and South Korea for the acquisition of underwater crafts for the navy but it is more likely to go with Russia since President Rodrigo Duterte wants it.
“That is what the President wants, so more likely, we will buy from Russia,” the defense chief added.
Lorenzana noted that Russia was willing to sell the Philippines its Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines which has a surface displacement of 2,350 tons, a length of 73.8 meters and capable of speeds up to 17 to 20 knots.
This class of submarines can also be armed with a variety of torpedoes, missiles and naval mines.
Lorenzana said the agreement for the submarines between Manila and Moscow would likely be finalized within the next 12 months.
Vietnam is the only country in Southeast Asia operating six improved Kilo-class submarines in its fleet, which were bought from Russia.
Apart from submarines the DND is also set to purchase another batch of missile systems for its upcoming patrol-vessels that will be build by the Australian-based company Austal.
The planned acquisition came after the successful test firing of the newly bought missiles from Israel, off Lamao Point in Limay, Bataan Thursday.
Lorenzana, in the same media briefing, said the additional missile system would be installed on the six off-shore patrol vessels from Austal.
The new vessels, Lorenzana said, would be made in the Philippines because of the Australian company’s subsidiary in Balamban, Cebu.
The Navy tested the Spike-Extended Range surface-to-surface missiles from Rafael Advanced Defense Ltd. in Bataan.
Navy visit to Russia
Meanwhile, the Navy is set to hold its first official port visit in Russia, as a return gesture to the two Russian Navy visit in Manila earlier.
The visit, however, has no exact date yet but a military source disclosed that Lorenzana would be off to Russia next week to discuss the possible agreements with the Philippines and the expected visit.
The Navy ship will dock in Vladivostok, Russia, which is located near the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
Lorenzana said the Philippine Navy’s port visit was a return gesture to the Russian Navy’s two visits to Manila.
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