By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine Navy (PN) bared on Wednesday that it prefers to acquire its first ever pair of submarines from France as they best fit the requirements they have set.
Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad, Navy flag officer in command, said though that they are still awaiting proposals to be submitted by other countries like Russia, Korea, and Germany to determine which will best fit their requirements.
As of now, Empedrad said the proposal submitted by France “is the most fit” for them.
“Their proposal best fits the requirements set by the Philippine Navy but we continue to request for proposals from other companies,” Empedrad said.
The Philippine Navy has yet to acquire its first submarine but Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said that he was anticipating Russia would offer to the Philippine government its military equipment, including submarines and helicopters.
Lorenzana is accompanying President Duterte on his official trip to Russia from October 1 to 5.
Empedrad, however, said that Russia’s kilo-class submarine is “very huge and expensive” compared to what he thinks is ideal for the Navy.
“France’s submarine fits our requirements in terms of its weapons system, sonar capability and stealth design. It’s a very quiet submarine unlike the kilo-class of Russia which is very huge and expensive. It depends on the budget that will be approved too,” he said.
The Navy Chief said he expects that the Philippines’ first pair of submarines will be delivered by 2027.
“Initially, it would be just two submarines but the ideal is six just like Vietnam. I think they have eight that’s why they have a strong defense posture,” he said.
With one of the most under-equipped armed forces in Asia, the Philippines continues to strengthen and improve its military by acquiring equipment and assets as part of its modernization program.