By Priam F. Nepomuceno
MANILA, (PNA) — In a likely shift in focus to territorial defense, Northern Luzon Command head Major Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang presented a paper detailing the country’s plan to acquire three submarines.
He said submarines, by their inherent stealth capability, can be deployed to monitor and protect the country’s extensive maritime domains.
These vessels are the conventional-powered or diesel-electric type and generally cheaper than nuclear-powered ones.
Also being eyed is the acquisition of six frigates for anti-air warfare, 12 corvettes for anti-submarine warfare, 18 offshore patrol vessels and three anti-mine warfare ships.
However, the paper presented by Catapang did not specify on how long and how much it will cost the Philippines to complete this acquisitions.
An earlier Philippine Navy (PN) study revealed that it would need around P497 billion to fully upgrade its fleet.
Once it has this money, the Navy can acquire the above-mentioned items along with four sealift vessels, 18 landing craft utility vessels, three logistics ships, 12 coastal interdiction patrol boats, 30 patrol gunboats, and 42 multi-purpose assault crafts that can be equipped with torpedoes and missiles.
Also envisioned are eight amphibious maritime patrol aicraft, 18 naval helicopters, and eight multi-purpose helicopters.
“Looking at the PN’s inventory of mission essential equipment, it is very discernible that majority of our assets and vessels were acquired not necessarily because they fit into our strategy or operational requirement but because they are available as grant from the US or from our allies,” the PN study stated.