The Philippine Defense Assistant Secretary for Logistics and Acquisition visited the Republic of Korea Navy’s (RoKN’s) Submarine Force Command and held talks with his counterpart, the Vice Minister of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, to discuss areas of cooperation such as the Philippines Navy’s future submarine requirements.
Apart from the RoKN’s submarine workshops and training sites, the official also visited Daewoo’s Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) facilities and the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) to discuss soft-loan support.
Since 2011, Daewoo has been offering the Philippines Navy (PN) a total solution package which includes 1,400-ton diesel-electric submarines – an upgraded and modified version of the Nagapasa (DSME 1400) – along with crew training and a soft-loan to meet the PN’s submarine acquisition project.
In 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the acquisition of submarines although the funding has not been resolved. Thus, in November 2020, the Philippines’ Undersecretary for Finance and Material and the PN Chief Vice Admiral visited DSME and the RoKN’s Submarine Force Command to discuss the package.
Although the bidding has not yet taken place and is currently being prepared, the PN targets to sign a procurement contract for 2 submarines along with an integrated logistics support package (ILS) on the 2nd quarter of 2021, however, due to diversion of funds towards Covid-19 response, the planned acquisition is expected to be finalized by the first semester of 2022 instead. The submarine acquisition program will reportedly cost PHP 70 billion (USD 1.438 billion). Interested bidders include companies from France, South Korea, India, and Turkey.
South Korean defense companies have a long experience in supplying to the Philippines government, among them were two frigates shipped by Hyundai Heavy Industries for the Philippines Navy worth PHP 16 billion (USD 328 million) and 12 FA-50 light fighters for the Philippines Air Force sourced from Korea Aerospace Industries for PHP 18.9 billion (USD 388 million).
(Source: Janes, Inquirer)