Submarine offers likely to be discussed in Moscow visit

Russia’s offer of a Kilo-class diesel-electric submarine is likely to be tackled during the visit of Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to Moscow to meet with his Russian counterpart, Minister Sergey Shoygu.

“It’s not farfetched that they will talk about the submarine (offer) during his trip,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said Tuesday.

Russia earlier expressed interest to provide its Kilo-class submarine to the Philippines via “soft loan”.

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 around 6,000 to 7,500 nautical miles. In the ASEAN region, Vietnam is known to operate six improved Kilo-class submarines in its fleet.

“The SND (Secretary of National Defense) is in Moscow upon the invitation of Russian Defense Minister and General of the Army Sergey Shoygu. He is reciprocating the visit which the latter recently paid him in the Philippines,” Andolong said.

Lorenzana left for Russia last Aug. 16 and is expected to be back on Friday.

There, the two defense chiefs will discuss possible areas where the DND and Russian Defense Ministry can cooperate.

“They will discuss possible areas in which cooperation between the defense establishments of the Philippines and Russia may be developed and deepened,” Andolong added.

In a separate message, Lorenzana said he is in Russia to look into some of the defense equipment the latter is offering.

“To look at some defense equipment they are offering: like submarines, helicopters,” the DND chief replied when asked on the purpose of his visit to Moscow.

In October last year, Lorenzana and Shoygu signed an Agreement for Military-Technical Cooperation between the two countries.

The document contained provisions on various areas of military and technical cooperation such as research, production support, as well as possible exchange of experts and training of personnel for joint programs. PNA