The Philippine Navy is planning to spend an initial PHP 75 billion (USD 1.5 billion) to build a 50-ship maritime force to protect the country’s security interests and catch up with its neighbors in South East Asia according to a senior naval commander. The naval officer also disclosed some big-ticket items in the pipeline under the second horizon of modernization program which will run until 2022. This includes two corvettes, six offshore patrol vessels, two landing platform docks and eight fast attack interdiction craft. In addition, the Philippine Navy is also considering 100 other support vessels and more than 30 fixed-wing and rotary aircraft which will cost the government more than PHP 100 billion (USD 2 billion).
Meanwhile, the Philippine Navy formally welcomed its first-ever, brand-new missile frigate warship called BRP Jose Rizal which was named after the Philippines’ national hero, Dr Jose Rizal. The warship will have four anti-ship missile launchers, two Simbad-RC short range surface-to-air missile system, a 76-millimeter (mm) main gun, one Aselsan Smash 30 mm secondary gun and two 324-mm three-tube torpedo launchers as well as helicopter deck and a built-in hangar. Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) won the international tender for the construction of two light frigates. BRP Jose Rizal was launched in May 2019 and has undergone rigorous sea trials before delivering to the Philippines. The second frigate which will be called BRP Antonio Luna was launched in November 2019 and is expected to arrive in the country in October 2020. The contract for the two ships which was signed in 2016 was placed at PHP 16 billion (USD 323.6 million) with another PHP 2 billion (USD 40.4 million) for weapon systems and munitions.
Other planned acquisition of the Philippine Navy until 2028 includes the following:
- 4 more frigates armed with anti-air missiles
- 18 offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) will be acquired for exclusive economic zone (EEZ) patrols
- 8 Fast Attack Interdiction Craft armed with short-range missiles from Israel
- 42 smaller Multi-Purpose Attack Craft from Taiwan
- 2 more strategic sealift vessels
The Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (RAFPMP) enacted in 2012 lays out a 15 year modernization plan divided into three phases or horizons: the first lasting from 2013 to 2017, the second from 2018 to 2022, and the third from 2023 to 2027.
(Sources: OneNews.PH; The Manila Times; Philippine News Agency)