Submarines to give AFP credible maritime defense capabilities

by Philippine News Agency | March 31, 2021

MANILA – Having diesel-electric submarines in its inventory will allow the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to achieve a credible defense posture, aside from enhancing the Philippine Navy’s (PN) maritime defense capabilities, the country’s Navy chief said Tuesday night.

“We have (a) desired force-mix of submarines, frigates, corvettes, OPVs (offshore patrol vessels), LDs (landing docks), FAIC-Ms (fast attack interdiction craft-missiles), MPACs (multi-purpose attack craft), AAVs (amphibious assault vehicles), etc. This is embodied in our Naval Operating Concept submitted to HHQ (higher headquarters) in 2020,” Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Bacordo made the response when asked why the Navy continues to focus on the acquisition of diesel-electric submarines.

Under this plan, the Navy would acquire six anti-air frigates, 12 anti-submarine corvettes, and three submarines, along with other naval assets.

“This is the force-mix that will enable the AFP to achieve a credible defense,” he said.

In another message on Wednesday morning, Bacordo said the acquisition and development of submarine warfare capability would better equip the Navy to fulfill its primary mandate on territorial defense, security, and stability.

“Submarines will enhance our maritime defense capability and can effectively carry out anti-access/area denial, maritime surveillance, maritime interdiction, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The submarine is the most effective ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) platform and the best killing machine in the Navy inventory,” he added.

Bacordo said a submarine capability would provide deterrence against aggressors, credibility to the PN, international consideration of the Philippines, and recognition of the AFP from other armed forces.

“Submarines are undetectable and could be anywhere patrolling around the WPS (West Philippine Sea) to act firmly if necessary. Having an operational submarine at sea will be a game-changer for the PN. Contenders will have to take into consideration the probability of facing a submarine at anytime, anywhere, without any warning, hence will affect their entire assessment of the tactical situation and their behavior,” he said.

Bacordo noted that the planned Philippine submarines would be equipped with a large number of weapons.

“It can infiltrate an enemy task force to hunt aircraft carriers and landing docks, and provide decisive superiority with a single lethal hit,” he said.

“It will enhance our maritime defense capability for us to fulfill the primary mandate on territorial defense and maritime security.”

Earlier, the French Navy (Marine Nationale) has committed to helping the PN in developing its submarine arm.

“The French Navy committed to assisting the Philippine Navy in the creation of a submarine force, especially in terms of training and project management,” Bacordo said, adding that this commitment was made during a bilateral high-level meeting between ranking officers of the PN and the French Navy in Paris on March 12.

Bacordo, who was head of the Navy delegation in France, met with Adm. Pierre Vandier, chief of the Naval Staff of the Marine Nationale.

“(The) PN and French Navy bilateral meeting enabled a high-level engagement between the two navies in terms of naval cooperation and other potential areas of interest. The visit of the PN delegation to France has been a successful and fruitful one. The bilateral talks provided significant input that is useful in the PN’s thrust on capability development and modernization,” he said. (PNA)