Philippines to get 25-30 more warships: Navy chief

The Philippine Navy (PN) is planning to acquire 25 to 30 warships of various types within the next five to 10 years as part of its efforts to augment its fleet.

“We have plans to acquire 25 to 30 in the next five to 10 years. (This) includes corvettes, OPVs (offshore patrol vessels), and even submarines,” PN flag officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad told reporters shortly after the keel-laying ceremony for the second missile frigate, BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), at Dock 4 of Hyundai Heavy Industries’ (HHI) shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea on Thursday.

The BRP Antonio Luna is the sister ship of the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), the PN’s missile frigate, which was formally launched in the same facility also on Thursday.

Empedrad said these projects are open to all shipbuilding firms with naval construction capabilities worldwide.

“I think there is a need to beef up the PN because we have vast maritime (territories) and we need to protect it,” the PN chief said.

The BRP Jose Rizal, which is scheduled for delivery in 2020, and the BRP Antonio Luna, which will be delivered in 2021, will be armed with an Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid main gun, an Aselsan SMASH 30mm remote-controlled secondary cannon, anti-submarine torpedoes and anti-air and ship missiles along with sensors and surveillance systems capable of detecting and neutralizing air, surface, and sub-surface threats.

The BRP Jose Rizal is also equipped with Hanwha Systems’ Naval Shield combat management system (CMS), which integrates all shipboard sensors and weapons and decides on the ideal way to deal with any incoming threat. (PNA)

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