Submarines for the Philippine Navy – Lessons from the ARA San Luis

The ARA San Luis after her sailing days were over, preserved with anti-rust paint. Photo courtesy of the Histarmar Website
The ARA San Luis after her sailing days were over, preserved with anti-rust paint. Photo courtesy of the Histarmar Website

One of the major highlights of the Falklands War was the sinking of the Argentine ship ARA General Belgrano by the British nuclear attack submarine, the HMS Conqueror.1 This had an astounding effect on the war as it ended up stranding almost the entire Argentine Navy to their ports for the remainder of the conflict. And while the Argentine ships were quivering in their ports at the threat of submarines, the Argentine Air Force and Army were forced to fight on their own, taking considerable losses in battles against the British. This in effect led to the loss of a lot of prestige to the Argentine Navy after the war.

In fairness, the loss of the Belgrano was quite a feat for the British: The Belgrano was a LARGE ship, around 10,000 tons, and heavily armed with FIFTEEN 152 mm guns in addition to eight 127 mm guns. It was the second largest ship in the Argentine Navy after their aircraft carrier. What unnerved the Argentine navy even more was the nature of the sinking of the Belgrano, where it sank within 20 minutes after being hit with two torpedoes, and with its two Destroyer Escorts unaware of the sinking due to poor visibility and the fact that the Belgrano lost all electrical power and was unable to radio for help. It was only HOURS later when the escorts learned about the loss of the ship.2 So in the eyes of the navy, one of its largest naval combatants just literally vanished into thin air without any of its escorts even knowing about it until later.

‘The ARA San Luis’
However, almost lost to history are the exploits of ANOTHER submarine, this time on the side of the Argentine Navy, the ARA San Luis. At the start of the Falklands War, Argentina had four submarines consisting of two World War II era Balao-class Submarines and two modern Type 209 Submarines. One Balao and one Type 209 submarines were held in reserve, while the other Balao-class submarine (the ARA Santa Fe) and the other Type 209 submarine (the ARA San Luis) were deployed against the British forces. The ARA Sante Fe was lost early in the war due to helicopter attack because of its captain’s incompetence.3

The ARA San Luis, on the other hand, served with distinction during the war, as we shall see later. The Type 209 is a Diesel-Electric propulsion Submarine made by the German company “Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW)”, and was first commissioned in 1971. It is one of the most commercially successful modern submarine designs as over 60 have been built and pressed into service on 13 countries around the world. There are a total of five variants with displacements ranging from 1,200 to 1,800 tons. Maximum speed is 11 knots on the surface, 22 knots submerged, while range is 20,000 km @ 10 knots on the surface, 15,000 km @ 10 knots snorkeling and 700 km @ 4 knots submerged. The maximum depth it can dive to is 500 m, and its armament consists of a mixture of 14 Heavyweight Torpedoes and Anti-Ship Missiles that can be launched thru its eight Torpedo Tubes.4

‘Elusive Submarine’5
After the sinking of the Belgrano, the Argentine Navy moored almost all of its ships to port except for very few ships, among them the ARA San Luis. In fact, during the remainder of the Falklands War, the Luis was the ONLY Argentine boat still seeking combat with the enemy. In total, the Luis conducted CONTINUOUS patrols around the waters of the Falklands Islands from the second week of April 1982 to the third week of May 1982, or a period of 39 days. During that time, the British ships deployed one aircraft carrier, eleven destroyers, five nuclear attack submarines, one diesel submarine, and over 25 helicopters conducting 24-hour airborne Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations against the Luis. Note that the Royal Navy not only had more Submarines of their own at five, but those were BETTER nuclear powered submarines which can travel much faster and stay much longer underwater than the Luis, and yet them and other naval assets were not able to neutralize the Luis.

The British forces also expended over 200 ASW weapons in the hunt for the Luis, including 30 air-launched Mk46 Lightweight Torpedoes, almost depleting their entire ASW weapons inventory and needing the help of the United States for the re-supply of these weapons. The threat of the Luis forced the Royal Navy to cancel the rescue operations of helicopters that ditched into the sea TWICE. Remember that the Royal Navy is no ordinary navy, at 500 years old it is one of the oldest navies in the world and once played a crucial part in turning the British empire into a dominant world power.6 Of course the RN is not anymore the superpower it once was centuries before, but its rich tradition and advanced weapons and equipment still makes it as one of the most powerful and professional navies in the world, and the fact that against this the Luis was able to operate with relative impunity against them makes its feat all the more impressive.

‘San Luis on the Offensive’5
The Luis did more than just troll around in the Falklands waters, it did reportedly make at least three attacks during its period of continuous patrols. It likely would’ve been able to make more attacks if it had gotten airborne surveillance support where aircraft could’ve been tasked to find the British fleet and then relay the information to it, but instead the Luis was forced to find the enemy ships on its own, not an easy thing to do in the large expanse of the ocean.

Its first attack was on May 1, when it detected two Destroyers with their helicopters which turned out to be the HMS Brilliant and HMS Yarmouth. Around two weeks earlier the Luis’ Fire Control System (FCS) broke down and its crew was unable to repair it, but they could still fire their Torpedoes manually. The Luis fired one SST-4 Anti-Surface Torpedo at one of the destroyers from around 10 km, but as the torpedo was launched its guidance wire was inexplicably cut, causing the torpedo to miss. The British ships detected the torpedo attack and counter-attacked for 20 hours, expending torpedoes, depth charges and depth mortars on what turned out to be false targets.

The second attack occurred on May 8 when the Luis detected a possible torpedo attack against it. The Luis maneuvered to evade weapons lock and counter-attacked by firing an Anti-Submarine Mk37 Torpedo of its own towards the direction of the contact. The Luis’ shot was later ruled out as another miss.

The third and final attack was on May 11 when the Luis again detected another two Destroyers, which this time turned out to be the HMS Alarcity and the HMS Arrow. The Luis made a silent approach and again fired an SST-4 Torpedo at 5.6 km, but again the torpedo cut its wires inexplicably after launch. The Alarcity later found out that its towed torpedo decoy was damaged, presumably from the errant SST-4 torpedo which still managed to find the decoy despite the loss of its guidance wires.

After suffering two failed torpedo launches and with its defective FCS, the Luis broke radio silence and reported their situation to their base, which ordered them to return. Repairs were made, but it took four weeks and by the time she was ready, the war was almost over, and the Luis never saw action again for the rest of the war.

‘Training and Technical Problems’5
The Luis was unsuccessful in sinking or damaging any ship because of two things: First is the lack of proper training and lack of experience in terms of live weapons fire. It is likely they relied almost entirely on diagnostic tests to determine the condition of their weapons and equipment beforehand, and these tests were unable to detect some of the problems. If they were able to test their weapons extensively before they set out, problems like the misalignment of the FCS and the Periscope system and the incorrect reconnection of leads to power up the torpedo would’ve been found out.

The problematic German SST-4 Torpedo. Photo courtesy of the Patrulleras Argentinas Website.
The problematic German SST-4 Torpedo. Photo courtesy of the Patrulleras Argentinas Website.

Another problem was with the SST-4 Torpedo itself, which were eventually found later after the war during extensive tests to be unable to maintain depth while under wire control. The manufacturer subsequently quietly fixed all of its exported torpedoes to correct the problem. At any rate, if the crew were able to train with their weapons extensively, these problems would’ve been found out sooner and the problems fixed, giving them more reliable weapons.

‘Submarine Effectiveness’
The elusiveness of the San Luis during the war can be attributed to first, the good performance characteristics of the Type 209 submarine, such as its excellent range even while snorkeling (15,000 km) enabling it to travel far and expanding its area of operation where its opponents will need to find it. That long range also enables it to go out of the theater of operations to recharge its batteries and come back in again to look for targets to attack for a number of cycles.

Another reason is its ability to dive deep (500 m) making it harder to detect from the surface or underwater. A third reason is the fact that Diesel-Electric submarines when running on its electric engines are naturally quiet, even more so than nuclear submarines. You can’t help but think about some “what ifs” in this instance. What if the Luis’ crew had better training, for example? What if the Argentine Navy invested more in submarines than surface ships, and were able to field more submarines during the war? How differently would the outcome have been? These are “what ifs” now lost in history.

Of course, 1982 was a long time ago, 32 years ago to be exact, so one wonders how much ASW has evolved since then. However, recent naval exercises still show the effectiveness of diesel-electric submarines up to now. One such exercise was Exercise Amazolo in 2007 involving South African and NATO warships. The exercise called for NATO and South African ships to “protect” a target from the South African Type 209 submarine SAS Manthathisi. The seven ships that formed an Anti-Submarine screen for the target consisted of an American Ticonderoga-class Guided Missile Cruiser, a Dutch Zeven Provincien-class Frigate, a Canadian Halifax-class Frigate, a Portuguese Meko-class Frigate, a Danish Niels Jeul-class Corvette and two African Valour-class Frigate. Against these, the Manthathisi not only was able to “sink” the protected target, but all of the seven ships as well during the exercise.7

The Philippine Navy (PN) could also always confirm the effectiveness of these submarines during local and international naval exercises once they have some in their inventory. The Navy could initially buy one or two, and over the years as they gain operational experience and confirmed its effectiveness they could then acquire more boats as needed.

The example of the Luis and the Manthathisi indicate that current ASW technology seems to be tilted in favor of the submarine, making them an effective weapon for use against a superpower such as China. Despite that, though, submarines does have disadvantages of their own, and the first of these is the COST. For example, in 2011, Indonesia bought three Chang Bogo-class (a variant of the Type 209) submarines for USD 357 million EACH,8 which is almost equivalent to the price we are paying for 2 brand-new Frigates. There is a cheaper option in the smaller Type 210 Ula-class Submarine estimated to be around USD 250 million at only 1,000 tons,9 but it does give up much in terms of performance, only having about less than half the range and maximum depth of a Type 209.

And the bleeding does not stop with the initial cost: Submarines like the Type 209 have limited service lives between overhauls, usually around eight years. After that it will have to go thru a major overhaul to keep it in top combat shape. The Chang Bogo-class submarine in South Korean service for example goes thru such an overhaul or refit every eight years, and it involves cutting, complete disassembly, and re-welding of the hull for the upgrade or total replacement of the submarine’s old engines, navigational equipment, batteries, and other essential equipment.10 Cost for the overhaul/refit of a Chang Bogo class is unknown, but a recent, less comprehensive minor overhaul of a South African Type 209 submarine cost around USD 3.3 million for just one ship.11

On top of that, as shown in the example of the San Luis, a technical and experienced crew is needed to effectively use a submarine properly, hence investments also have to be made in terms of getting them technical training and also giving them regular realistic training exercises.

‘Parting Shot’
Submarines have proven to be one of the more effective naval weapons in modern times. In times of war against a powerful enemy with a strong submarine force, submarines of our own may be the only weapon we can use to go on the offensive, hunting down enemy ships and harassing their naval-based supply lines. This is probably the reason why Vietnam recently added no less than SIX new Improved Kilo-class Diesel-Electric Submarines in their arsenal in their Cold War against China.12

However, the hurdles in owning submarines are considerable. They are expensive to buy, and expensive to maintain, and their crews need extensive training and exercises also. They are high maintenance weapons, even more so than aircraft. So there are a lot of challenges for the Philippines, like for example, can the Navy live up to the technical requirements to crew submarines effectively?

An overhaul required at least every eight years means budget for this will have to be approved separately by each incoming new government elected every six years, so will the Philippines be able to maintain these expensive periodic overhaul requirements over a period of several governments? These are the challenges that the country will need to address if is to own submarines, but if other countries like Vietnam can own them, then perhaps we should strive to do the same also. If we are able to conquer these challenges, then we will have the weapon to be able to stand up against the might of the Chinese naval fleet if the need arises.

Lighter and smaller submarines may lower the cost and maintenance of owning submarines, but their trade off in terms of performance (i.e., much less range, can’t dive as deep, etc.) means they may be less effective and less survivable in an actual combat environment in the open ocean, hence I feel that the minimum should be set with the proven Type 209 submarine.

As for the ARA San Luis, after a long and fruitful career in the Argentine Navy, she finally was retired from active service in 1997, while her Type 209 sister ships continue to patrol the waters all around the world to this day.

A modern Type 209 Submarine, South Korea's Chang Bogo class. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
A modern Type 209 Submarine, South Korea’s Chang Bogo class. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.


  1. HMS Conqueror (S48) Nuclear Attack Submarine (1971),
  2. ARA General Belgrano (C-4) Light Cruiser Warship (1951),
  3. ARA San Luis (S-32),
  4. Type 209 Diesel-Electric Attack Submarine (1971),
  5. “Almost Successful: ARA San Luis War Patrol” article from the “2008 Submarine Almanac” 
  6. A brief history of the Royal Navy,
  7. SA sub causes red faces in Nato exercise,
  8. South Korea Exports Submarines to Indonesia,
  9. Knm Utvær Type 210 Ula (Type P 6071) Class submarine,
  10. ROKN Chang Bogo Class Submarines, South Korea,
  11. Manthatisi refit nearing completion,
  12. Vietnam Confirms Kilo Sub Buy at Shangri-La,

117 thoughts on “Submarines for the Philippine Navy – Lessons from the ARA San Luis”

  1. im not really very enthusiastic with submarines because once they are detected they will become crew men’s coffin. really dont know. germans experience in world war 2 they were then successful in the early period but once the allies improve their ASW and supported by air force those subs were sitting ducks. but U.S. have been successful in world war 2 in using subs because they have a powerful navy and air force. there you are, having a strong navy and air force the subs become an effective weapon system. this is also the experience in the falkland war, the british having a stronger navy and air force dominate the battlefield employing their subs very effectively. but the argentines since they have a weaker navy and air force cannot exploit the use of their subs and they have to stay in their ports. i just feel it might be a waste to spend for subs specially china also have hunter killer submarines. i rather equip our navy ships with ASW and compliment it with HELOs or planes with ASW.

    1. I think the fear is that when Submarines are hit, they will not be surviveable. But modern submarines have more escape hatches, some even have escape vehicles, and some like the Type 212 have double hulls allowing the sub or its crew to have better chances of survivable.

      Besides, as the Argentine example showed, a sub maybe the only weapon you can use against an enemy with a strong submarine force.

      1. At this time, I think the Philippines is not yet ready to have big and expensive naval ships & submarines bec. we are incapable of waging war against China. What we need now are a thousand MPAC patrol boats for our CG & Bureau of Fisheries to protect and guard our coastlines from dynamite fishing and sea smugglers, our 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone marine resources from Chinese poachers, our territories in the Spratly Islands from being occupied and in escorting our local fishermen from being Chinese CG & maritime ships. MPACs supported by a squadron or 2 of PAF fighters and establishing land-based SAM & ASM missile defense systems are better & more effective deterrent and has quicker response time against Chinese naval & air intrusions into our territorial boundary.

  2. The author is right,submarines are the only naval ship,that we could effectively deploy for our maritime survailace and could even the fight agaist the overwhelming opponent provided that ,the submarine crews would have a skills on the submarine technology.Yes, philippines would be able to have the submarines,if vietnam could have six new submarines ?Why not the philippines? This is a matter of political will, and the most important of all- this is an investment for our country to protect our national patrimony and natural resources.if we will sum up all the money that was loss from graft and corruption- philippines will be able not just those submarines…even frigates an planes and its maintenance….the bottom line is are we able to rid of those corrupt goverment officials?we are far richer and progressive as compare to vietnam….but where are we now?wake up filipinos….you deserve far better goverment…..good thing you have p- noy who started to invest on our arm forces….try to rid corruption….

    1. Compared to Vietnam, our Per Capita Income is higher at USD 3.9k compared to their USD 3.1k, but they have a lower Poverty Rate than us at 14% compared to our 26% (Sourc: Index Mundi Website), so overall I think our economies would be about equal.

    1. Who knows, it could happen. We could either buy a smaller Coastal Submarine first for training purposes, or maybe ask the help of the US for submarine training. Then buy 1 or 2 Type 209s. Eventually I think 2 more large submarines (for a total of 4 large submarines) would be ideal.

  3. The dilemma of a sub is that it is a bottomless pit of expenditure that the rp can not maintain given its resources. Politicians will argue that it is better spent somewhere. If i was a closed minded senator or congressman i would shoot down this purchase. BUT if RP can somehow put back into the economy the funding for the sub by building and maintaining it locally using Filipino craftsmen (with german supervision and training of course) then at least it would soften the blow and start up our local defense industry. Which is what Indonesia, India, China are doing. Now if only there are enough power plants to make it actually cheaper to build here then a sub is not a bad idea after all. Lastly, If only we have politicians that have enough balls and brains… now that is another matter.

    1. There are some folks at timawa suggesting a radical solution to soften the impact of this massive defense spending on our national economy. We could build these subs and other naval assets ourselves through one of our local shipyards. Partly nationalize some of them to give them enough capital to engage in this project so that when government procurements come, most of the cash still stays in local circulation, hence avoiding inflation. We should aim for the Andrasta class, the advanced version of Scorpene still on the drawing board, to give us several steps ahead of our neighbors. Another reason why we should ease the privatization policy: China is also waging war against us through the economic front, not only diplomatically and militarily. They are now in the initial stages of what U.S. did to Cuba in the 60’s. Our private sector will be vulnerable, which means state industries must be incorporated as early as now to prevent total economic breakdown.

      1. Building some of the boats in our local shipyards is possible, both India and Indonesia were able to negotiate this on their submarine buys. But for the Philippines, there are questions like, which local shipyard can do it? Also, a certain amount of technology and knowledge transfer will have to made to our local shipyards due to their lack of experience of building subs.

        Building some of the boats locally will only apply for multiple buys. Most manufacturers will insist on the first build to be made on their shipyard, with the subsequent builds to be made on the local shipyards. So if we are buying only 1, it won’t work, we need to buy at least 2.

        IMHO, I think it would be better to go for the Type 209, or something that can match its performance. The Andrasta and Scorpene are good boats, but doesn’t have as long a range or can dive as deep as the 209.

    2. Hi Omar, i can understand your pessimism on how far PH budget can support operating a sub but i believe that there’s no way for this modernization to go to but forward and acquire those assets.

      If PH continues the trend of 6-7% economic growth, there is much support we have to operate at least 2 submarines- that is irregardless of whoever gets reign of Malacanang.

      To give credence to our discussions, is anyone around here privy of what are the specific steps DND has done in the direction of submarine acquisition for PH Navy? Wiki says that PH plans to acquire submarine by 2020 but was there really serious plans to follow this path?

      All I need to know and it is what matters most to me, is that there are concrete steps going in that direction.

      If we, civilians that we are, sees the urgent need to acquire subs, I don’t think officials and the military are not giving it serious consideration. Otherwise, this nation and its sovereignty is seriously compromised by its flawed program of external defense.

      1. The Philippine Navy released a “Desired Force Mix” about a year or so ago, but this really was more of a “wish list” than anything else. If this list is to materialize, I don’t see it happening in 2020, I think 2030 is a more realistic target date: “Philippine Desired Force Mix” on Youtube,

    1. The Silkworm missile attack against the US Ships described on my “Modern Large Ship Naval Battle Lessons” were launched from shore-based platforms. Egypt and Syria also used shore platforms during the Yom Kippur War and subsequent skirmishes, but I’m not aware yet of any success against naval combatants. Against unarmed merchant ships, probably a couple …

  4. This is an excellent, well-written, well-researched post, rhk111. I agree with everything said here.

    As much as I admit that we lack the funds, it is clear to me that we need submarines as an integral part of our defense capability, for all the benefits mentioned in the article. Even DND has already decided that we need 3 submarines as part of the PN’s desired force mix.

    Yet, even if we have the funds, we have no knowledge base, technical skills, logistics, and industrial capability to operate, maintain, and support them. We are still 10 years away before we can challenge any PLAN sub in the WPS, and I am being generous in my estimate

    Given the aforementioned limitations, we should nevertheless start our submarine program. It is very doable. We do this by focusing first on the most critical part: the human resource, especially the personnel.

    So I suggest that DND buy the cheapest 2nd-hand submarine, perhaps a newly decommisioned submarine, at bargain price maybe $50-$80M. This submarine should be used primarily for training personnel to get the minimum skills required to operate subs. This training sub is probably docked most of the time at a Subic port, acting as a classroom for our future submariners so that they can intimately familiarize themselves with the sub hardwares and systems and operation. Maybe they can sail it around the bay a just few times a year.

    And 2-3 years after the first sub, we can get another similar sub. Then both ships can accelerate training by training together, detecting and chasing each other around and outside the bay, firing dummy torpedoes, eluding detection from our AW159 anti-sub choppers, train with visiting US subs, etc

    The DND can also put up a on-land submarine training facility, maybe at PMMA in Zambales.

    This is just the first step: training. Our govt can easily allocate just enough operational funds to keep cost at the minimum, spending maybe P10B-P15B over the first 5-year program including the cost of the 2 subs.

    Again, we need subs. There are challenges, but it is doable.

    1. I’m glad you liked the blog, pchoy. Yes, I think we will need to buy at least 1 smaller submarine for first, our sailors to train with; And second, to serve as proof to the PhN on the capabilities of a submarine. I think this can be done by buying a 2nd hand Coastal Submarine.

      By the way, “Midget Submarines” as per Wikipedia are submarines that are less than 150 tons in weight. Coastal Submarines are heavier than Midget Submarines but lighter than a regular-sized submarine, although the definition of the weight of a regular-sized submarine is not fully defined. For me though, a regular-sized submarine would be at least 1,000 tons in weight, so that would put a Coastal Submarine as between 150 to 1,000 tons in weight.

      There are a couple of 2nd hand Coastal Submarines in storage and ready for refurbishment in various countries which could serve as our training and first submarine. There is the Danish Kobben-class Coastal Submarines, and also the German Type 206. Both have decent performance and would make for good initial submarines for the PhN.

  5. i have nothing against the future purchase of submarines…what i am concern if it has a strategic value at present situation when our air force has no legitimate MRF (fa-50s are only 12 and only capable as an LCA), no modern frigates and our naval forces and air support have no ASW capabilities. if this will happen, same what happened in argentina once war will erupt these subs will be confined to port. we have to develop first our air capability and surface naval forces before investing on subs. history dictates that there is no such thing submarines can dictate the future of war specially ASWs have been upgraded for several times. the lesson learned from the germans in world war 2 and during the cold war, the former soviet union, both develop a powerful submarines fleet, but loss their strategic value when ASWs where being improve to counter such submarine threats. further, with china having those HUNTER KILLER SUBS and advance ASW system on their ships and helicopters, us investing on submarines might not be a wise decision.

    1. We should not look at it as an EITHER/OR proposition; it should be BOTH/AND so that we can be resourceful into making this into reality. We need both MRF and subs for these perform different roles and accomplishes different tasks, but both aiming the same overall goal.

      The former is an immediate need, while the latter is a long-term need. We should plan and aim for both.

      Lack of funds alone is not really a hindrance to modernization, or else Vietnam would not be able to afford their 6 Kilo subs nor their missile-firing frigates and corvettes.

      Nor presence of govt corruption is a hindrance also, since many nations have corrupt govt yet have a more competent and stronger armed forces than ours.

    2. I think we have enough surface ships already, as long as we take time to upgrade those that we already have. 3 Jacinto-class, 2 Del Pilar Class plus 2 new Frigates and another Hamilton/Del Pilar class.

      As for the German U-Boats in World War 2, true, they were routed during the end of the war, but so were the rest of the German Armed Forces. Their Air and Land Forces are completely routed also, hence the defeat of the U-Boats were a reflection of Germany’s overall defeat rather than the defeat of submarine technology in general.

      You can have your opinion, of course, but as I said in my blog, the relative success of the ARA San Luis and SAS Manthathisi still shows that current ASW technology leans more in favor of the submarine.

      1. If the germans were not too complacent during ww2 and developed the new diesel subs further and their enigma code not broken ww2 might have been extended. They were that powerfull. The only reason nobody dare threaten the US in symetrical warfare is because of their sub fleet with ICBMs. That is why china is increasing their sub force. It is an open secret to all world powers while powerfull they are also inconspicuous. Imagine a fleet of them in all oceans of the world at any one time that is how large the sub fleet of the US is. Rp must realize that eventually we will need an actual sub. Surface ships will become mere figure heads of navies but submarines will be doing the killing. My only fear is that the government will be too shortsighted to realize this and will doom us into a perpetual cycle of ningas cogon mentality with regard to afp modernization. Perhaps they were all absent when history class discussed ww2.

      2. The Germans still make the best Diesel-Electric Submarines in the world, just look at the performance characteristics of their Type 212 Submarine, its ahead of other DE subs …

      3. Omar, I think our govt has already decided that we need subs. The PN has included 3 subs in its Desired Force Mix.

        Though, I initially thought that this DFM is just a mere media-blitz and not really achievable, I am starting to think otherwise, that the DND is serious with modernization judging by how relatively wise they are in spending the some-what limited $1.9B fund. I am already eager to know what are the current, concrete plans the DND has in relation to submarine acquisitions, but we may not know yet until 2017 at the earliest.

        I too share your same fear though about ningas-cogon mentality, especially if we vote a new President in 2016 who doesn’t give emphasis to our territorial integrity and AFP modernization. But in the meantime, let us all hope and be encouraged by recent progress.

  6. rhk, I think we still need more surface ships. I prefer getting more bigger hulls on the cheap like the WHEC, even if they are not well-armed in the meantime, for the sake of maritime domain patrol.

    Though I personally prefer putting more firepower emphasis on the MRF, subs, and AShM-equipped MPACs, these 3 platforms can’t win us any stand-off. We still need to win the next WPS stand-off, and we do it by bringing more high-endurance ships to maintain presence and not give up position.

    There are still 7 WHECs to be retired, I hope we can get many, if not all, of these by virtue of our soon-to-be ratified EADC with the US. If we get 5 for example, 3 can be assigned to the PCG and 2 to the PN.

    1. A WHEC Navy? Not that I mind, though. There’s a TV interview a couple of months ago where the PhN said they intend to buy 4 more new Frigates, one every new Administration. So that means, what, a possible 9 incoming Frigates? Maybe too many to maintain, maybe some of those should be smaller Corvettes.

      Then again, up to the PhN. I just hope they should start getting that Coastal Sub in their for Training and Operational Experience in there soon …

    2. Yes, a WHEC-dominated navy if you may, maybe 4-6 WHECs in all. And we build this fleet using US-donated money, since they are the one who pays for refurbishment anyway. For me, this has to be the best, cheapest, and quickest way to strenghten the surface fleet, augmented by 4 new Incheons. If all ships have AShM and AAW capability in the future, that is one formidable fleet, a 10-frigate-strong fleet.

      I think we Filipinos should ready ourselves in operating and maintaining a strong, sizeable navy that we can all proud of, making sure we are masters in our own backyard.

      1. 4 WHECs for the PhN plus 6 new Frigates, that’s 10 Frigates. Plus 3 WHECs for the CG. And the 3 Jacinto Corvettes … That’s a good number of good surface ships already.

      2. For me, it’s more like 6 WHECs and 4 new frigates. Incheons are quite pricey. We should try saving a few peso more to give funds for the sub program.

        Anyway, we Filipinos should be glad that somehow these combination of events, namely, the WPS situation, EADC with US, timely retirement of the WHECS plus free refurbishments, the 2012 revised AFP modernization law, a growing economy, and a good presidency, are providing us enough motivation and capability to significantly strengthen the PN in a shortest possible time.

        Lets hope our leadership are able to accomplish this.

      3. Might i suggest that the AFP send a contingent of the finest PMA grads directly to the US navy submarine school to start training while the Navy in parallel could also start feasibility studies on our first sub and its specs. The only stumbling block I see are our antiquated politicians. They need upgrading too hehehe.

    3. pchoy, we (including me) are hopeful US will be more generous this time around to PH in providing military assistance.

      I was taken to school by that statement from the left-leaning group that US presence in our country has not modernized our military. I can’t help but agree.

      I strongly believe though that the PH-US ENhanced Defense Cooperation and the impending Obama’s visit is really something big and significant for our military pero SANA nga lang.

      In fact, i anticipate an additional 2 WHECs to be turned over to us to signal this new agreement.

      1. It is not the US’s job to modernize our afp. The left leaning groups may have a point but ultimately the fault goes back to ourselves. We kicked them out thinking that we can fend on our own but look at the current situation we are practically begging for them to return. Those patriotic senators during those times were all bark but no bite. The left should also be blamed for not being hard on china while they protest the presence of the US knowing that we dont have anyone to help us but the US. They also know that we dont have enough resources. Its damned if you do and damned if you dont with them. Just wanna slap them silly and make them cannon fodder to the chinese.

  7. precisely, this is my opinion to develop first our surface naval ships, add more or less 3 to 5 new missile frigates, upgrade the del pilar’s ASWs capability and get a squadron or at least 12 MRFs to augment our 12 FA-50s. after those requirements have been complied, then get some subs. at least our basic needs air defence and surface ships are already available before we get the subs. the problem, if we get the subs now it could be the purchase of the MRFs or surface ships will be further delayed. but i really felt we have a better fighting chance in the air than in naval warfare. why, also surface naval ships are significant because we need them to project PRESENCE. we have to set our focus what are the priorities. the subs can wait, but lack air and surface ships capabilities cannot be further delayed.

    1. The plans for the purchase of surface ships and fighter aircraft are solidly in place, all that is neede now is the execution. But there are still no plans in place for a submarine, and I think it can be done in parallel with the other purchases also. I think initial plans for a Coastal Sub for training should already start as it will take us awhile to procure and gain operational experience with them.

    2. PNoy himself has stated last 2011 that DND is looking into subs. A year later when the PN’s Desired Force Mix was released, 3 submarines are included. Late last year, there were further news about possible sub acquisition.

      And just recently, there is the announced acquisition for 2 anti-sub choppers, which, though a totally different platform than subs, is still part of the broader submarine warfare capability. So if DND have already decided to begin buying ASW choppers, I am sure they have strongly looked into subs as well.

      Also, the planned long-range maritime patrol plane is rumored to be a refurbished P-3 Orion, a strong ASW platform itself.

      Now, by putting pieces of the puzzle together, I am personally sure that there is an ongoing plans to acquire subs. I think its more a question of when, not if.

  8. whatever it is being said against the submarine, there’s always the need for it for PH in order for it to have a credible minimum defense and RESPECT for any adversary.

  9. i hope so rhk111. im just worried PNOYs administration is coming to end. it is only PNOY have these urgency to develop our armed forces to be at least respectable. but after PNOy i never heard from other politicians strong words and seriousness of protecting our territorial integrity. what i heard of is more about surrender of sovereignty. yes its good policy to have a joint development with china or any other countries in the disputed areas but we should start first where the demarcation line. we will not allow any foreign ships or planes specially military in nature to intrude our territory without respecting the rights of nations provided in the U.N. charter. its o.k. for me we acquire subs but it should not interfere or delay procurement of MRF and surface ships. problem with our politicians it is difficult to finish priority projects if there so called other bright ideas will come out. i hope next time senate, congress and executive will have a unison PRIORITY AGENDA of modernization of our armed forces for external defence so that budget for credible defence can easily be prioritize.

    1. I share in your sentiment, jmc. There is a dark cloud overhead as far as the next president is concern; we have no control over this except via the vote we cast. And I’m still not sold on Binay.

      Nevertheless, we can still hope that the AFP modernization will continue because there is already a revised 2012 law about it. And IMHO, the DND seems to be improving as an institution as far as big-ticket acquisitions/projects, unlike DOTC for example.

      Moreover, the AFPM program is already gaining momentum with all capability upgrade and announced acquisitions in place. And it will be in full-swing just before PNoy steps down in 2016. So if the next president is smart, he should be pro-AFPM, or else he risk losing credibility before the public and congress.

    1. We are not capable of absorbing, operating, and maintaining Apaches yet.
      More like enhanced HAWK missiles and not Patriot.
      We will be using FA-50 soon, which leads us naturally into F-16, so this is more probable if we are buying MRFs from them.
      US doesn’t manufacture, operate, or sell conventional submarines. And they dont export nuclear-powered subs either, not that we can afford it in the first place.

      Realistically, we can get C130s, M113, Humvees, maybe Bradleys, P-3s, Hawk missiles, Harpoon missiles, Hueys, and WHECs.

      1. I suggest we need at least 5 attack helicopter using Helmet Display unit with a gun turret for close air support. I seen how 3 Apache triangulate the two groups of Taliban mow them down one by one. Beside our troops in Basilan have endless duel against the stubborn Abusayaf.

      2. Apaches are absolutely nice. But it is primarily aimed for anti-armor operation. To our military, using Apaches on the Abus Sayyaf is like killing rats with bazookas, an overkill. The US can do that though because of their resources.

        But for us, the incoming 8 night-capable AW109 attack helicopter and 6 close air support planes (Super Tucano?) are more than adequate for our needs, highly capable yet much cheaper to operate.

    2. If indeed the US will give us what we need, then I would ask them these:
      1) 4 WHECs with CIWS
      2) Anti Ship Missiles
      3) 2 Towed SONAR
      4) 2 P3 Orion
      5) Torpedoes

      What do you think RHK?

      1. My wish list
        1. 4x fully upgraded whec’s (uscgc Mellon – fitted with harpoons, ciws, torpedoes) applied to all
        2. 2x p 3 orion (second hand)
        3. 12x two seat f16 block 52 (second hand)
        4. 1x ohp class (expensive but can be refitted with codog engines -wish list nga e) as flag ship
        5. land based/silo based anti ship missiles/ cruise missiles batteries based in palawan, pangasinan, cavite

    3. It is in the US’ interest to help our armed forces become stronger as it will enable us to “pull our weight” also in any confrontation against China. Hence if this is really true, I think it means the following:

      * We will get all the WHECs we want. 7 are set to retire, I don’t know how many of those the PhN wants but they are good long range-long duration ships which will enable us to patrol our large coastlines (4th in the world) better .

      * We might get to see F-16s in PhAF service soon. The US has been helping important allies like Egypt, Taiwan and Pakistan get the Viper, hence if we are now as important as those other countries as allies in the US’ effort to contain China, we might just get some of the F-16s. The F-16C Block 50/52 are still in production, we might see those by the next Administration.

    4. For major platforms and equipments from US, I hope we get 6 more C-130s. Our PAF has a need for 9 in operation, and we currently have 3.

      Also, all 7 of the soon-to-be retired WHECs if possible. These ships are actually frigates by design, just pretending as civilian ships in the USCG. They are highly capable for our use despite their age, and they could probably operate another 20 years at least.

      I also hope we get Harpoons later to up-arm the WHECs.

      We should also get 3-4 P-3 Orions for ASW operation.

      Long-range radars too, together with the Hawk SAMs.

      Lastly, the latest F16 versions. And if we can, maybe the F-15 for air superiority.

      I hope our govt are able to fund the acquisition for all of these.

    5. I don’t want to be the guy that wants to rock the boat but this news is quite confusing and hazy. The newscaster is saying that the US of A will provide the AFP of whatever it needs as long as it is constitutional. On the other hand the Philippine ambassador is quoted saying,” yes, they (the Americans) have to get our consent I mean for whatever they bring in. That”s a part of the agreement (EDCA).
      It seems to me that the journalist has misunderstood or unfamiliar with the true context of EDCA. IMO, the ambassador is saying that the visiting US forces can bring whatever equipment the AFP consented.
      Can anybody clarify this matter?

      1. I would put more weight on what the Ambassador said rather than what the newscaster said at this point.

  10. A possible schedule for equipment including submarines would be probably something like this:

    2010-2016: Under PNoy we were able to get 2 Hamilton-class ships, and 2 new Frigates soon. Plus 1-2 more Hamiltons before his term ends so that’s around 5-6 Frigates in just a single Presidential term.

    2016-2022: If PNoy’s candidate wins, we can be assured of at least 12 main combat aircraft and another 2 new Frigates. I think under this term would be the ideal time to procure 1 Coastal Submarine for Training and Operational experience.

    2022-2028: Under this Presidential term we will need to get 1-2 Diesel-Electric Submarines.

    This is all assuming that within this time period we will not get into a shooting skirmish with China. If that skirmish happens and we lose our territories in the Spratlys, then expect this schedule to be accelerated …

    1. I love that optimism and no-fear insight RHK pero sana walang skirmishes muna. I hope Vietnem, India and Japan will rattle the chinky langrabber first so that their attention will get distracted.

  11. hope those politicians been reading these page rhk111. territorial integrity is a serious matter..selling our sovereignty to other countries is treason. this is the reason why other countries do no respect us. because PNOY made a strong stand about this…but other politicians make comments that sometimes china interprets it that we are passive or short of surrendering our position. hope next time the DND will not automaticall implement automatic reserve officers to politicians…specially congressmen or senators…sayang yung reserve rank na colonel pero di naman kayang ipagtanggol ang bayan. mas mabuti i strip un reserve rank na yun…insulto yun sa tradition sa military.

    1. You are just stating an obvious fact. It is his blog anyway. Though the same general thing can be said about other blogs in other sites and majority of news articles.

      But for the sake of positive input and discussion on this post, can you be more specific about which particular ‘opinion’?

    2. Thanks Phil, but I don’t remember claiming to be speaking for the entire AFP. Do you have a contrary opinion about the blog? Well, this is a free country, you can state it here if you want.

  12. Why mind if it is not an official stand from the AFP? Is the blog disturbingly right on the dot?

    Besides, AFP would never discuss anything of their specific details and plans in the open public or else I’ll call them BOBO. Why would they?

    I see that this blog’s aim is to enlighten the obvious to those that are blind or has little knowledge about the technical details and issues revealed, explained and dicussed in here. And I don’t even see an attempt of this blog to influence or brainwash its readers. Just simple basic education of the uneducated when it comes to military and arms issues.

  13. Exactly, i was just stating the obvious. now i wonder why my comment caused such a stir. hmmm… first of all, i have no antagonistic opinion as to the article (“Tighter Budgets Limit Southeast Asian Plans”, Well except that the ASEAN nations are actually doing well economically. In fact the Philippines is within the top 40 as to GDP. Yet, some of our politicians have different opinions as where budget priority should be allocated and have no sense of urgency as to our external security issues. Now, the author of the aforementioned article simply failed to take into account such parameters. Nonetheless, it was well written and well researched similarly to those of Sir rhk111’s blogs.

    Second, Mr. Deewii, with utmost respect, obviously the AFP would not entirely tell us every detail of their plans as this is exempted in the FOI Act. It seems rather strange that for such a simple comment, it elicits such aggressive reactions from Mr. pchoy and Mr. Deewii. Did I touch a nerve or too that triggers both your violent emotions? I am simply stating my opinion that the article has no official source from the AFP. Does that fact bother both of you?

    Lastly, Sir rhk111, i am not refering to your blogs and i have never mentioned in any of my comments that i suggested you were nor it matters that you are. As you can see, i am a fan of your blogs and simply impressed as to your well researched pieces and indepth analysis of future and current Philippine Military hardware, as well as military hardware that may or may not be purchased by the AFP.

    Gentlemen, we are here to have an educated and academic discussion of issues and not as barbarians reacting violently to mere words.

    1. Phil, I have read and re-read my own reply to your very short comment above. It doesnt sound ‘agressive’ and ‘violent’ but my sincere apologies if you read it that way, judging by how offended you were with your lenghty response and the heavy words used.

      You are right. Lets keep the discussion enlightening and academic and civil. Keep posting, friend.

    2. Hi Phil, I have to say sorry because I misunderstood you but just like pchoy I went back to my comment but Idon’t find it like “barbarian reacting violently”

      I just hope you can expound a bit on your one-liner next time.

      1. This all boils down to the fact that we all feel strongly about this issue of modernizing the afp and its effect to our country. A strong armed forces reflects on all of us. Sadly even if our gdp figures increase our armed forces still look comparatively insignificant compared to our asian neighbors. I am jealous of countries like the US or even China when a soldier comes along dressed in his dress whites (for the US navy) their countrymen really make way for them. What I really cant stomach are our politicians. So petty and feeling special but when you point a gun at them (china) they will cringe and cower (not all but some) and make side deals to sell us out. Anyways I hope that rhk can make a head to heat between an f16 block 52 versus a jas39ng-e if ever obama ok’s our f16 purchase.

  14. Wow! This is a different blog,the most substantantive blog ever i encountered…author/ subjects wise and reader wise especially for those who gave their opinions and suggestions,kudos to all of you.
    There is no choice or timing when ,we should acquire submarine but now…afp should start buying even the one or two second hand submarines,that would serves as flatform for developing skills for our future submariners,developing the logistic and technical knowhow,submarine is one part of credible deterence of any arm forces of any country…even it is hamilton cutter,f-50…those are flatforms that would help our soldiers to expose and develop their skills for the future tecnologies of military weapons…(our arm forces is in dismal state.)this is a stepping stone to develop future submariners of our arm forces,this is human investment….and from here , a multiple gradual development would come like maintenance and technology development for future indigenous military arm programs for our afp…once we invested,something good would come of it especially under a very good political and military leadership.. Look at vietnam,have they just invested on their military now or recently?no,they started investing on their military way back on the 70′s,way back after vietnam war,for they knew,they could not trust the chinese….and by that time till mid 90′s,philippines is way ahead to vietnam…economically speaking…check bangladesh….they have a minimum deterrent,north korea,a very poor country….nobody will just mess up with her,not even south korea.,even u.s.a would think twice….japan….those countries i mentioned came from the ashes of war and yet they progress a lot ,not counting their good arm forces…the bottom line is a good political will.
    We are so lucky ….no matter what they going to say about P-noy administration…i could say …he is the most prolific honest,courageous and patriotic modern president we ever have…becouse of him…philippines is back to the eyes of the world,economically,diplomatically and he started a gradual true modernazation of our arm forces…we can see with our eyes the result.P – noy is doing the right thing,by not coerce and bullied by the chinese govertment….and this where the problems come when 2016 presidential election come…the next president? We the kind of readerships you have on this blog and the rest of the patriotic and intellectual voters….lets vote the next president who will love and lead this country and its people to progress

    1. We both feel the same way, Bhert.

      As for PNoy, he is doing a pretty good job. I didnt vote for him. I thought he would be a weakling who lacks any previous experience aside being a low-key congressman, senator, and son of a national hero. But Im glad he proved me wrong.

      Keep posting.

    1. It is a “warship”. A “warship” is defined by the United Nations as, “a ship belonging to the armed forces of a State bearing the external marks distinguishing such ships of its nationality, under the command of an officer duly commissioned by the government of the State and whose name appears in the appropriate service list or its equivalent, and manned by a crew which is under regular armed forces discipline.” (Source:

  15. i do apologize for the vague comment. i was busy and was not able to elaborate further. no harm no foul. after all, we are all just passionate patriots believing in the righr to defend our beloved Pilipinas’ sovereignty.

  16. So that would make 3 del pilars and 2 new incheons (if they push thru). I thought they said 6 would be enough? They should get one more just on time before pnoy leaves office. Or give japan a hand by buying a frigate from them as well. Purchase everything before the government gets replaced or else we risk another lost decade in afp modernization. The sad part is noys supposed successor…i dont like…

    1. 2 WHECs will be retired next year. It would be nice if DND plans to get both.

      As for the 6 frigates mentioned being enough, I was under the impression that it was referring to 6 BRAND-NEW frigates that is supposed to be purchased every 5 years under the 15-yr AFP modernization program.

      As for Japan, they are not yet exporting powerful weaponries like armed navy ships and subs. They restricted themselves from doing so mandated in their pacifist law.

  17. For more than 25 yrs(1986-2010)our country have a chance to recover from the ashes of 20yrs (1966-1986)of corrupt and bad authoratic marcos dictatorship ,instead we regressed,stagnated in many areas of opportunities to move on ,develop and progress in terms of our economy,technology/innovations and militarily speaking becouse of too much politics and corruption to our goverment,we are lagging behind and playing catch up im many areas we neglected especialy on our arm forces….and now we just started for a true gradual modernazation of our pathetic,decaying arm forces,out of urgent matter concerning our territorial integrity and its national patrimony,we started talking ,considering and acquring military arsenals but we should not forget the area of maintenance of those newly acquired arsenals and future acquistions,caring and maintenance of those expensive military hardware plays an important roles .it introduce/expose and acquired skills for our engineers for proper maintenance and from there we could innovate/ create and make our own spare parts replacement…my case of point …our retired (2005) f5-freedom fighters planes,a dozens countries like taiwan,south korea and turkey…f-5,are still integral part of their air forces,still on flying conditions,and some of them are in upgraded version…like turkey ,is able to develop a defense industry for maintenance,overhaul and upgrading several old fighter planes…where are the philippines f-5?grounded…lacking spare parts…becouse our afp is just cannibalizing spare parts from one plane to another until nothing is left…this is a wrong way of maintenance….we should develop develop a technical knowhow,(our afp have knowlege/skills gap on high tech military arsenals,this one of many reasons why maestrales frigates from italy did not push thru)by 1. Tranfers of technology,even if is an old technology like an f5,an old ships like hamilton or an second hand submarines like type 209…these is the way how south korea,taiwan started developing their technical know how developing their own defense industries.(and that how indonesia and malaysia is doing right now),type 209 submarine technology came from one type of german ww2 submarine and is available on the internet. 2. The goverment should fund this research and development,and they could do it cheaply by,with the help of technical schools/universities and with possible help from private enterprise and reward them by giving them the original patent of the invented tecnology/products.This is how other countries do,initial reasearch were done by college graduate doing so ,it will create a new area of development for our industry,especially for youth’s mind…that would stimulate and gives them another area of focus endeavor rather than we become a nation’s of lawyers and nurses.,accountant …..pardon me….but its true,we neglected area of technological development and innovation.There would be a lotof long lasting multiplier socio-economic benifits aside from eco-militarytechnology developments effect,if we going to give area a serious thoughts
    With proper maintenace and producing our own parts…we could maximize the the life and potentials of our hard earned arsenals aside from the good benefits i mentioned above.
    No countries in the world,no matter how rich they are,could afford of buying an expensive military hardwares even after every ten years,thats why,israel,taiwan,japan,south korea ,singapore were able and established their own defense industries…and that what malaysia and indonesia are doing, it right the case of taiwan…i think u.s.a, was refusing to sell them an f15/16 fighter planes and missiles way back 1984 becouse of political pressure from the communist chinese,what the taiwanese did.?they established/funded research and development of their military industry,after less than five years they were able to make their own indegenous fighter planes and missiles…after few years,america and western nations ageed to sell weapons to taiwan again.I know,out of the blues,some says, it would not cost feasible and takes long time but in the long run this is the cheapest way to be self reliant,if we are not going to invest now…when? That’s why some readers here are advocating here even an old technologies from second hand military arsenals and we could use it,harness it,innovate and develop it base on our specifics need,…this is the cheapest way….case of point.. Malaysia is started developing their weapns industries and yet still planning to buy mrf ….but due to budgetary contraints ,they are just going to lease a squaron of multi role fighters…thats an investment for their pilots, they know their priorities,like us,the chinese is creeping on their territotory on south china sea.another ex. Vietnam,recently they cancelling and refusing to host the2019 asean games,that’ s five years from now,reason budgetary contraints and yet they have six new submarines,two new corvette and upgrading their old frigates plus new orders of batteryof missiles…just like philiipines,they have a territorial problem with the chinese on the south china sea,even both of them ate both communist country and yet they could not trust each shows once and for all that their political leaders knows their national priorities of their own coutry.
    Again,this humble opinions of mine base on my comparative assessement countries i mentioned ,would have a fruitition if our next political leaders would be like P- noy or better than him,who has a farsighted vision for the progress of its people and its country,protecting its national patrimony and territorial integrity.Sometimes, how i wish we could be under a good authocratic patriotic leader( like taiwan,south korea malaysia indonesia,singapore have been throught) or vietnam to be able to bring this country what it ought should be,but too much bad politics drag this country down…take note,china started to move her economy from early 80′s till today sustained economic growth for the past 30 years, and that time we should started and get our acts together but we lost that momentum from 1986-2010 due to too much bad politics.

    1. I’d hate to turn this forum into a political discussion but I just want to correct the historic errors that some people still believe after decades of Marcos hate. Probably you’ve heard the news about the plans of the Philippine Navy to organize an R&D team for the construction of indigenous naval vessels. Everybody is crying hooray! hopefully it will kickstart our own defense industry but they didn’t know that this is just a revived plan that was running along during the time of Marcos then halted during Cory’s military budget cuts. In fact, we were in the early stages of creating our own ballistic missiles with the project Santa Barbara. Then Cory came along and ruined everything. No wonder she faced a lot of coups during her time. And if any of you think that AB-Noy is really sincere in developing our military, think again. The military is actually pointing a gun at his back, making indirect threats of a coup (and even assassination) if they don’t receive adequate funding. Just dig up the events surrounding the plan to revive the ROTC program and the drama that led to the suicide of Gen. Angelo Reyes. AB-Noy screwed the military big time that he’s now down on his knees begging for his dear life.

      1. “Project Santa Barbara (PSB)” was a good initiative by Marcos, but Marcos stayed in power for 20 years and in all that time, it never really got beyond the prototype stage. In fact, most references to PSB were mainly in the 1970s, but Marcos stayed up to 1986. So in a way, it was never really a successful project.

        I urge everybody to learn how to use SIPRI’s database ( so you can see for yourselves what each Philippine President really was able to buy during his or her term in office.

        As for Marcos, he indeed bought a lot of stuff for the Philippines. But that is mainly because he stayed there for so long, 20 years. Also, most of the big ticket items he bought were 2nd hand, like the Frigates, LSTs, F-8 Crusaders were 2nd hand. Not only that, the F-8 Crusader buy for example was reportedly replete with corruption, and they were so hard to maintain that they served in the PhAF for only about 11 years, from 1978 to 1989.

        I will respect your opinion if you are for Marcos, but I would just like to set the record straight also as far as the facts are concerned.

    2. The past is past. No use complaining about it now. But i heard about the ballistic missile project. I heard that the cia had a hand in sabotaging that project. They were scared of another world power emerging. I have another question why is it that rp never pursued an indigenous weapons program that was practical? Its common sense right? If we were so rich back then why did nobody think about it? Or were we that corrupt even back then? Or were we softies that thought every country loves one another that the afp was just a civil service job? Frustrating.

      1. Marcos borrowed heavily to fund many ambitious infrastructure projects that would place us at par with Japan as an industrial power. Then Ninoy came in and ruined everything. He conspired with Malaysian theocrats to sabotage Marcos. The first stage of the plan for Ninoy to publicize the Jabidah Massacre hoax to show to the international community how ruthless the Philippine Government is. This led to the organization of the MNLF which Malaysia funded. The second stage was to use this hoax as a justification for international sanctions. Malaysia did its work by using its influence in the muslim dominated OIC and OPEC to impose oil embargo on the country. This jeopardized the country’s ability to pay the foreign loans back. Defense industries, BNPP, PNR, and NSC projects ground to a halt. Ninoy was so destructive, it’s no wonder so many people wanted him killed.

        You can see why AB-Noy is so beholden to Malaysia right now. He’s just continuing the treacherous deals that his father left off after he was assassinated.

      2. It is so sad to realize that there are people who are perverted in their ways of seeing things and blindly clinging to what is unreal and false.

        They even have this insane tendency of putting the blame on others for their own failure. And they never accept change and they never move on.

        Whatever, they deserve some degree of respect even if they do not know how to reciprocate it.

        I’ve lost 17 uncles and cousins (excluding other relatives) due to LIC brought about by the senselessness and barbaric militarization in the 70’s and 80’s. So there’s no reason to believe along with the millions like me that there were good things in the administration of the dictator. Everything else were going downwards.

        People surrounding or supporting the iron-fisted ruler failed or refused or simply ignored that everyone else should benefit the riches and wealth of the nation- not just them, the minority in them. They even treat others who are not with them as lesser individuals.

        Worst of all, they still have these gall to brag about those things of “what ifs” and other hideous plans that were heavily tainted with corruption of the highest degree.

        This nation still has a long way to go of ridding people with SICK mindset. In fact, Remnant of that barbaric regime is still enjoying people’s money acquired through corruption even if he’s old already as in he’s even called Tanda.

        And why he’s still at it? Because we still have people around us who has never learned to accept change moved on and most of all NEVER accorded respect to others.

    1. Yes it is integral part of the SSV. 4 AAV per SSV. It allows the Phil Marine to deploy brigade size troops from both air and sea, but mainly sea.

  18. we’ve got to move on…the best lesson we should learn is to learn from the past…hope positive changes will be made by our govt. were still a long way to go for our minimum defence requirement. but the situation implies “we need it now”. some sectors thinks were going to militarism. but were not. we are even the weakest military in asia
    the most ill equipped not a single missile capability in all areas not even our air force..well, with the coming of the fa-50 after more or less 8 yearts we can now have a missile capable jet.

      1. Yeah, I read about it this morning, and frankly, I am quite skeptical about it. In fact, I’m planning to blog about it. I admire the spirit of initiative of the Philippine Navy, but I am not so sure if they can do it. First of all, they don’t have a good track record of developing indigenous projects. The “Project Trident Strike”, an initiative for a locally made Remote Weapons System (RWS) for example, has been in development for 10 years now, and it seems to be going nowhere. No mention of it even on this article, so are they just going to abandon and forget about it altogether?

        Second, MILITARY-GRADE equipment is HARD to make, you’re talking about equipment that need to function under adverse conditions (i.e., temperature, handling, etc.) for long periods of time (i.e., days, weeks, etc.), that is why there is a difference between “Commercial-grade” and “Military-grade” equipment. If the PhN is going to go ahead with this, they will have to adopt a MILESTONE-BASED project, which means slowly building up the capability of the equipment. You don’t go from not building any radar equipment whatsoever then building one that has a 100 km range for a 5 m^2 target right away. I has to be gradual, like start with short-range radar first, then medium-range radar, then long-range radar, etc.

        Third is that the prudent thing to do is LICENSE BUILD military equipment first whenever they can before developing their own design. Most countries like India and South Korea goes to this route when they can, they try to get the experience of building established top grade military equipment design first before they go out on their own.

        At any rate it is a good initiative, but one that needs to be handled PRUDENTLY if it is to bear fruit. The Philippine Army’s “Research Development Center” is doing well, just look at their Facebook page, starting out with low-tech but doable projects before slowly moving to more ambitious projects. I sense a bit of inter-service rivalry as to why the PhN suddenly comes out with such ambitious projects.

      2. We’ll just hope they are up to the task. Personally, I still don’t have that trust in our system about undergoing an ambitious project because of politics and corruptions.

        Our leaders has a long way of winning the public trust but I believe this administration is doing the right steps towards that direction especially the military.

        There is really a need for us to step out of mediocrity in order for us to get the needed respect outside and inside our state walls

  19. with due respect raymondx, it seems you have a very pro-Marcos conspiracy theory and facts. Marcos was intelligent and had great ideas, that i admit. also, i have nothing against him personally as he was my lolo’s personal friend and colleague in congress. but he was undoubtedly corrupt and stole from the coffers of the philippines. that fact was definitely proven. the philippines was bankrupt when he left the philippines. i’m afraid he was a dictator similar to idi amin and not of lee kwan yu’s stature. i apologize if i am telling negative facts about him, but i’m afraid these are backed up by facts and not by mere conjectures.
    as i mentioned, after marcos, the coffers of the philippines was empty and we had debts amounting to billions of dollars. cory had to start from scratch. i hate to admit that it was a miscalculation on her part to continue paying debts that marcos made but i admire her courage to rebuild the philippines from scratch. it is with this marcos debts and empty govt coffers that the philippines had to allocate a large chunk of the budget towards debt servicing. thus, the military suffered. also, aquino had an animosity with the military as they were marcos’ tool to control the people. fortunately most of our debts have been paid so that is why today we have the luxury to advance militarily.
    in the end, we sjouldnt blame marcos but rather ourselves for voting these corrupt politicians instead of those true statesmen in the likes of Carlos P. Garcia and Ramon Magsaysay. let us not dwell in the past and move on together hand in hand. we should always remember that our true enemy is those who undermine our sovereignty.

    1. I’m not a Pro-Marcos. In fact I personally participated the 1986 revolution and stand on my position that it was correct to kick him out of Malacanang. But nomatter how bad Marcos was, this doesn’t justify Cory to use her position to privatize state assets in favor of her relatives at a huge discount. The greed of the Cojuangcos made Marcos look pale in comparison. And why did she decline the US offer of debt amnesty? She said she wanted the Filipinos to feel how painful Marcos’ damage was to the country. Why did she refuse to activate the BNPP? Because she wanted to wipe the government clean of anything Marcos. That’s how delusionally vindictive she was. And these are facts, straight from the mouths of Marcos, VP Laurel, and even Joker Arroyo, her executive secretary. Stories about Ninoy collaborating with the enemies of the state have been circulating ever since he was alive. We were just so caught up with the Anti-Marcos fever and topple-the-dictator hysteria that we failed to give it so much attention. That was the time when almost all of the University students and professors were left-leaning and rabidly calling Marcos as “tuta ng kano”. Almost everyone was so focused on Marcos that we failed to scrutinize the hidden agenda of every politician that was against him planning a more sinister opportunistic exploitation of the masses once they got to the seat of power. And that’s our mistake. We allowed ourselves to be used and we were not vigilant in harnessing our newly earned freedoms to guard us against the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Just look at the stats; We enjoyed the highest living standards during the time of Marcos (at least during his early terms) and its all downhill from the time of Cory up to the present. We only have ourselves to blame for our own stupidity.

  20. Now i see. The ssv’s carry the amphibious tanks. I thought they would carry the mpacs in their well decks. By the way is it true that the phn will get an an additional air warfare frigate aside from the 2 multi purpose new ones? By the way who won the frigate contract? About the radar we still have to learn from already existing military grade radar then build from that. It is ambitious to start from square 1 if square 100 is already available. We need a third party country to help us. Elta and saab could also help us network the radars for the gripens or vipers.

    1. – Not sure about the AAW Frigate, probably just a mistake on the part of a reporter
      – No new news from the DND about the status of the new Frigate bidding. Latest news we have is still the one that says they expect the contract signing to be by July 2014.

    1. In SEA, we are 4th overall. Ranking of SEA countries in the 2014 Global Firepower Index are as follows:
      1) Indonesia
      2) Vietnam
      3) Thailand
      4) Philipppines
      5) Malaysia
      6) Singapore
      7) Cambodia
      8) Laos

      I was a bit surprised as we all know that both Malaysia and Singapore has more advanced weapons and equipment than us, but in the end the ranking put more weight on the actual number of personnel of our armed forces and the number of materiel available. For example, we have at least 10 regular Army divisions, and that’s just for the Army.

      1. rhk, am really baffled why Spain amongst the top 20. I believe they have the fleet of the most dangerous frigates on earth.

        on the other hand, will PH crack the top 30 in two years time once we have our 2 new frigates?

      2. Global Firepower uses a relatively complex ranking system that not only considers military equipment and personnel, but also other factors like Oil Production, Economy, Labor Force, etc. So it looks like while Spain has good QUALITY when it comes to military equipment, they fail in other indicators like Quantity of Military Equipment, Economic capability (they have a lot of debt), etc. Here is a comparison of the profile of Spain and Thailand by Global Firepower, and comparing the two we can see the difference. Note that Thailand ranks higher in Global Firepower’s list:

      3. The global firepower index does not only count on equipment but also geography and potential manpower as well as logistics. An example is singapore, while it may have modern equipment its size, location and population betrays its capability to engage in prolonged conflict. Compared to us we are bigger in our standing army, surrounded by water, large population, long coastline, no common land border, etc. we can conduct a more prolonged defensive campaign. European countries that have small and modern armies but are boxed in their common borders with other countries may rank lower than ours. This list makes us look good. The problem is china is in the top 5 vs our 37. Wala pang submarine, frigate at jet yan ha. Paano kung meron? We jump to the top 20? Wohoooo!

    1. Tsk-tsk-tsk … As I said before, when China bribed Benhur Abalos during Gloria Arroyo’s time, the amount involved was P 300 MILLION. That is a LOT of money, and shows how much money China is willing to throw into the faces of our politicians. Little wonder that there are those who “bite” China’s offers …

    2. I won’t take that signing very seriously, I think we should look at China’s actions more than their words. It has become a pattern for them to say one thing, then do another …

  21. This is one of many reasons why we need to start to have a submarine,one or two submarines,even a second hand,plus two or three hamilton frigates and 2-3 asw helicopters – these force mix would be good flatforms for afp to introduce,develop and up keeps necessary skills and formulate a strategic defense and offensive strategies,and these skills and strategies can be still enhance by joining military excercises with other friendly countries like u.s. ,japanese and other asean navies,thereby leafrogging afp capabilties infantile stage to a modern one in a shortime frame.remember? We could not develps this skills if we don’t have something to learn on.
    This tongressman albano should be try with treason,he is a one front faces of chinese here…they are afraid
    1.Chinese is very much afraid,if we could develop and enhanced our skills on these areas,for they know chinese skills and technologies is far behind even to the level submarine capabilties of japan.
    2.if the afp have a capabilties on these area(asw and submarines) ,they would behaving hard time of sneaking stealthy on our eez,let say eavesdropping for our future naval bases in palawan and other strategic areas.right for now…the chinese have capabilties of eavesdropping not just on us,but also all other ships and countries nearby on west philippines sea,all time long 24 /7 ,irrigardless of sea conditions ,COURTESY OF THE phil’s panganiban(mischief reef) which they taken and occupied since 1994.
    3.afp would have a capabilities of monitoring/ patrolling stealthy on our own eez,not to consider also the defense capabilties that these afp force mix would provide.for now,foreign’s submarines are lurking freely undearneath our territorial water,knowing it at this time ,we’re incapacitated,becouse,we dont hand anything on our hand to counter and neutralise these – that’s why chinese are become so agressive/bullied us .
    4.we could benefits a lots of multiplier positive effects aside from the sbove i mentioned,not just military wise but also economic effect like development infrastructures and logistics to accomodates those afp force mix arsenals.
    During cold war,mainly between u.s.a and russia,- have an overwhelming numerical advantage over u.s.a., in terms of strategic geogaphical locations(russia could be on european and asia ‘s and artic teather at all time and can shift militay capabilities on short notice, becouse of its geograpical locations)manpower,military arsenals and its force mix,even on the number of conventinal/ nuclear missiles …russia have had numerical advantage at that time,even to consider those red block countries as opposed to nato countries,BUT what tipped off against those Russia’s numerical advantage??? 1. America’s submarines- its technoligal advantage and its economy.
    From what,i heard from the u.s.a,though u.s is no longer making a coventional submarines, u.s.a is going to help taiwan to produce/ make submarines…
    Japanese submarine technology is one of the best,they have the only one having technological innovation on conventional submarines that makes other countries especially australia to sought and incorporate this innovations oo their own submarines.
    I noticed that…some readers paints some politics on this blogs on as per their own convenient perceptions…we should open our minds and widen our horizon,we could not move on and progress,if we just gonna make our comparison,deeds and goals on the basis of our own self / own country….we need to change our mindset…or else we going to be left behind ….on this GLOBALIZED world,that’s why i was using comparative assessment militarily,economically and politically speaking our country to other countries,that’s why i used bad and good politicss and to add now….good policies…lets face it…politics,economy and military,they are interdepent to one another…..politics will directly affects….your life….my life ,economies including on what we aspiring for our country through this blog.and for the reader’s information….for the past 15 yrs…im just an ordinary ofw who happened to lived and visited those countries i mentioned….and i proud to say,we are bit progressing and hoping this progress,economically and militarily would be sustained by brand new sets of ideas,goals and politcs/policies…even the communist are changing goals and policies so that they could compete on this globalized world by opening their economic market…

    1. strong points bhert. hope the dnd sees it the way you do. much better if they have think of it before you did. and much much better if they are doing steps to make it somehow into that direction

    1. These are brand new Apaches, and Taiwan only bought 8. Now they only have 7. Countries are supposed to put their best pilots on their newest aircraft, and yet they still couldn’t keep this from happening …

  22. I admire what PNOY is doing to enhance our the territorial defense… and go with word war with China.. enough being so nice… We need a person to stand before us, and tell them we are not just a push over. and stand strong of what is ours

  23. Daewoo Shipbuilding three submarines to Indonesia is a very low price.
    German submarine U-209 HDW company is not making any more.
    HDW U-209 was never at that price does not make

  24. Good if the Philippines can afford to procure even just one brand new USD 357 million type 209 submarine but probably we have to wait a very long time before we can get one. Better to buy 357 units of Anti-Ship, Surface-to-air and Air-to-Air missiles at USD 1 million each.

    1. They will acquire the new submarines in the Philippines for the Philippine Navy by 2020 the military items came from the United States South Korea Japan & United Kingdom very soon. Thanks for the information. From:Wayne

  25. I am really enjoy reading your blog, rhk, i find the comments very much alive with ideas and national that brings out heated but sensible arguments.

  26. That’s why for the Philippines, the lesson here is that Submarines are NOT Cheap and they cost twice as much as a Frigate and the overhaul and Maintenance cost more than a Frigate. The Philippines have to find a way to justify in paying for the submarine and pay for the overhaul and Maintenance cost of the submarine.

  27. we have to build up the minimum requirements of surface ships before acquiring a submarine. and i hope it is a brand new submarine cause a second hand sub is more costly in maintenance than a second hand missile guided frigate. or eventually we might bought a sub that will go directly to the museum.

    1. It’s not only building a fleet, it’s also building up the technical skill set required to operate SSK submarines. It’s also building the Infrastructure and skills & education required to operate Submarines. You have to remember, SSK submarines cost 2x as much as a Frigate and Overhaul and Maintenance cost $3 billion+ per Overhaul/Maintenance period, which can be every 8 years. If you don’t realize this, look at how much Vietnam had to shell out for their Submarine program. It was around the $3 billion dollar’s. So that was not cheap for them and they had to pay a steep cost.

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