Philippines’ New $5.6Bn Defense Plan Funds Four Frigates, Submarines

Phase 2 of AFP Modernization Program Gets PRRD Nod

(Source: Philippines News Agency; posted June 20, 2018)

By Priam Nepomuceno

MANILA --- Horizon Two of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (RAFPMP) has already been approved by President Rodrigo Duterte, Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Arsenio Andolong confirmed Wednesday.

Horizon Two is expected to run from 2018 to 2022. Funding for this program is roughly PHP300 billion ($5.6 billion--Ed.)

"The Department of National Defense and the Department of Budget Management will talk on how to fund (these projects)," Andolong said in Filipino. Earlier reports claimed that Horizon Two was approved by the Commander-in-Chief last May.

Equipment slated for acquisition during this period are towed and self-propelled howitzers, multiple launch rocket systems, armored recovery vehicles, five support vehicles, tactical radios, ground mobility equipment (light, medium, heavy), individual weapons, crew-served weapons, and night-fighting equipment for the Army; multi-role fighters, radar systems, light and medium lift aircraft, heavy lift helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters (attack and combat utility), special mission and long-range patrol aircraft for the Air Force; frigates, corvettes, submarines, amphibious assault vehicles, anti-submarine helicopters, attack crafts, medium lift helicopters and multi-role vessels for the Navy.

Also being eyed are combat engineer, force protection, explosive ordnance disposal, chemical biological radiological nuclear, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and medical equipment.

The RAFPMP is divided into three horizons, with the first lasting from 2013 to 2017, the second from 2018 to 2022 and third 2023 to 2028.

Acquired during the First Horizon were the three Gregorio Del Pilar cutters, three combat utility helicopters for the Navy, two naval attack helicopters, six multi-purpose assault crafts, eight combat utility helicopters for the Air Force and refurbishment of two Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" cargo planes, two strategic sealift vessels, 12 FA-50 fighter jets among others. (PNA)

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Philippines Navy to Get Additional Missile-Armed Frigates

(Source: Philippines News Agency; posted June 21, 2018)

By Priam Nepomuceno

MANILA -- Aside from the two missile-armed frigates now undergoing construction at Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea, the Philippine Navy (PN) will be getting additional ships of the same class, Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said Wednesday.

Acquisition for these additional frigates will start during Horizon Two of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (RAFPMP), which is scheduled for 2018 to 2022 and has a budget of roughly PHP300 billion. ($5.6 billion—Ed.)

"In the PN, you will find this interesting. Aside from the two frigates that are currently being constructed, [there will be] additional frigates," Andolong said. He, however, acknowledged that he has no idea how much money would be provided for the acquisition of these additional frigates.

“That is what I do not know yet. It's because there will be a budget allocation. The PHP300 billion will be apportioned," he stressed.

The two frigates being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries has a contract of PHP18 billion, including their weapon systems and munitions.

They are designed to be capable of engaging air, surface and sub-surface threats. Deliveries are expected to start by 2020 and end on 2021. (PNA)

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AFP to Acquire Diesel-Electric Subs In Phase 2 of Modernization

(Source: Philippines News Agency; posted June 20, 2018)

By Priam Nepomuceno

MANILA --- The 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), Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Arsenio Andololong said Wednesday.

The procurement of the 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. The budget for the program is roughly placed at PHP300 billion ($5.6 billion—Ed.)

Horizon One lasted from 2013 to 2017 and resulted in the acquisition of the three Del Pilar-class frigates, 12 FA-50PH lightweight interim fighters, and two strategic sealift vessels, to name a few.

“This is no longer included in Horizon Three. It was pushed to be included in Horizon Two, and now [we will study] how this will come to be,” Andolong said.

He declined to give the exact number of diesel-electric submarines to be acquired but said it will be more than one. “Yes, it won't just be one because having only one would be useless," the DND spokesperson said.

Andolong said the diesel-electric submarines would be a great equalizer in the country's naval arsenal once acquired. He added that incumbent Navy flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad can be credited for pushing the inclusion of diesel-electric submarines in Horizon Two.

Earlier, the PN chief said he fully supports all proposals that would allow the country to acquire its first diesel-electric submarines at the soonest possible time.

This, he said, is because undersea or submarine warfare is the trend in naval warfare as it is very difficult to fight an opponent that cannot be seen or detected due to its ability to go underwater.

In line with this program, Empedrad said the PN has already created a Submarine Group that is now sending Navy personnel for training on submarine operations in preparation for the country's eventual acquisition of the naval craft.

He added that this is necessary as submarine acquisition, including building the vessel, training, and support facilities, often takes seven to 10 years.

Empedrad added that the decision to acquire submarines for the Philippine military is bolstered by a recent conference he attended in London, where more modern navies are shown building up their submarine fleet and anti-submarine capabilities. (PNA)

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