Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said the country is now looking for possible suppliers of diesel-electric submarines to beef up the Philippine Navy’s capabilities.
“Tumitingin tayo sa [South] Korea at Russia and other countries,” he added.
According to Lorenzana, while the diesel-electric submarines are part of the Third Horizon of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (RAFPMP), which is slated for 2023 to 2028, there is a need to look into possible suppliers as building these undersea vessels takes a long time.
“Kasi yung paggawa ng submarine takes five to eight years eh, sometimes it takes 10 years,” he added.
The DND chief also said that the Philippines needs to acquire diesel-submarines as its Southeast Asian neighbors like Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam now possessed squadrons of these vastly capable underwater craft.
“Kailangan din naman natin ‘yan (diesel-electric submarines) para meron naman tayong [deterrent and] security, kasi yung mga kapitbahay natin may mga submarines na eh, Malaysia, Indonesia, pati Singapore na napakaliit na bansa, at saka Vietnam, tayo na lang wala dito,” he added.
The RAFPMP is divided into three horizons, the first of which was slated 2013 to 2017, the second from 2018 to 2022 and third, 2023 to 2028.
The Second Horizon calls for the acquisition of equipment more attuned to external defense missions, including jet fighters and other air assets and missile systems.
Among the acquired assets during the First Horizon were the three Gregorio Del Pilar cutters, three combat utility helicopters for the Navy, two naval attack helicopters, MPACs (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, and 12 FA-50 fighter jets. PNA