New Frigate Bidding Candidate: Upgraded Floreal-class

(This blog has since been “rebooted” in January 24, 2016 after the manufacturer published the brochure of the upgraded Floreal. You can access the rebooted blog here: New Frigate Bidding Candidate: New Generation Floreal Frigate)

A front view of the Prarial, a ship of the Floreal-class. Photo courtesy of the French Hong Kong Consulate website.
A front view of the Prarial, a ship of the Floreal-class. Photo courtesy of the French Hong Kong Consulate website.

We got a rare glimpse of what is being offered in the bidding for the Philippine Navy’s (PN) new Frigates when the French ship Prarial made a five-day stopover in Manila. The Captain of the ship, Frederic Daumas, revealed that one of the missions for the visit was to demonstrate the Prarial to Philippine officials as it turns out that an updated version of it is being offered as one of the candidates for the bidding.1

Spain’s Navantia and South Korea’s Daewoo actually also stated the ships they wanted to enter into the bidding earlier,2 3 but they released their statements before the actual bidding itself and before they knew what the technical specifications for the ships were going to be. France is the first country to publicly declare the design of the ship they are offering after the start of the bidding, and is being represented in the bidding by STX France.4

‘The Floreal-class Frigate’
The Prarial is a ship of the Floreal-class, and is made by the French company “Chantiers de l’Atlantique”, which is a business unit of STX France. It is described as a “Light Surveillance Frigate” and first entered service with the French Navy in 1992. A total of eight ships were built for this class, six for France and two for Morocco. Here are some of the physical characteristics of the ship:5
Displacement: 2,950 tons
Length: 93.5 m
Beam: 14.1 m
Draft: 4.3 m

The Floreal Frigates are generally LOW COST ships designed mainly for LONG RANGE and LONG ENDURANCE. To save on costs, the ship was designed using COMMERCIAL rather than military specifications. The main difference between commercial and military construction methods is that less equipment and weapons can be packed for a given space and weight on commercial ships as compared to military ships.6

It has excellent range at 16,200 km at 15 knots, and also excellent endurance at 50 days or more than one and a half months. In order to get such a range and endurance performance, a good part of the ship’s space and weight are allocated for fuel, food, habitability, etc. Add this to the fact that it was built using commercial specs means even less allocation for weapons and equipment.

Overall, the Floreal is really an “Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV)” due to its stress on range and endurance and relatively light weapons, although France chooses to use different terms for it like “Light Surveillance Frigate”, or “Patrol Frigate”.

‘As Is Systems’
As it is right now, the Floreal-class ships seems to have a couple of features that would meet the current bid requirements already,7 and these are:

  • Helipad Capacity and Enclosed Hangar Space – The Floreal class ships usually carry only a medium-sized AS565 Panther Helicopters, but it does have the capability to carry heavier helicopters like the NH90 or AS332 Super Puma Helicopters, both of which are in the ten-ton range as required in the bidding. It doesn’t look like the enclosed hangar space will be a problem as the minimum space requirement is 136 m^2, but the existing hangar space on the Floreal is already more than twice that at 300 m^2.

  • Softkill System – The ship has a pretty sophisticated “Softkill” or decoy system whose latest version, the Next Generation Dagaie System (NGDS),8 can use various types of decoys against both missiles and torpedoes.

  • Main Gun System – The manufacturer can choose to stay with its 100 mm gun as it fulfills the bidding requirement of a minimum of 76 mm caliber, although I think a 76 mm caliber gun would be more desirable for us because five of our ships in service (three Jacinto-class and two Del Pilar-class) are already using it, hence it would be easier in terms of logistics for the Navy. Switching to a 76 mm gun won’t be a problem as the Floreal ships made for the Moroccan Navy were armed with 76 mm guns.

As a note, though: The bid requirement does not specify a low Radar Cross Section (RCS) or “stealth” profile hence STX France could altogether just skip on this feature to lower costs, but if other competitors like Navantia or Daewoo offer this feature on their candidate ships then the upgraded Floreal-class ship would be in a bit of a disadvantage.

‘Modifications’
A number of modifications will have to be made on the Floreal in order for it to fit into the MINIMUM requirements of the bidding, and among the major ones would probably be as follows:

  • Air Search Radar – The bid requirement is for an Air Search Radar (ASR) range of 144 km, but it doesn’t specify the size of the target to detect, hence the Floreal’s DRBV-21C Mars ASR should qualify as it can detect a target that far if it is large enough. I don’t think the Mars is still in production, though, hence a replacement will likely be used, something newer and probably French, and with likely similar performance. The Mars radar’s range performance isn’t really that great for a ship, only estimated at 63 km for a 5 m^2 target,9 better than an FA-50’s ELM-2032 Radar, but not as good as a JAS-39C Gripen’s PS-05A Radar (99 km for a 5 m^2 target), for example. Then again, since it doesn’t have SAMs that can reach that far, no need for such a long-ranged ASR anyway.
A side view of the Germinal, a ship of the Floreal-class. If you squint hard enough, you will see the Exocet missile launcher just behind the mast. Photo courtesy of Gedour Ar Minou thru Flickr.
A side view of the Germinal, a ship of the Floreal-class. If you squint hard enough, you will see the Exocet missile launcher just behind the mast. Photo courtesy of Gedour Ar Minou thru Flickr.
  • Surface to Air Missiles – Its Mistral10 missiles on two Simbad Launchers (each is a twin launcher) fits the quadruple missile and 6 km minimum range requirements, but its configuration will have to be upgraded to a Remote Weapons System (RWS) like either two Mistral RC or 1 Mistral Tetral system as the requirement calls for a system that can be integrated with the ASR and the ship’s main Fire Control System (FCS).

  • Increased Maximum Speed – Its maximum speed will have to be increased by 25% from 20 knots to meet the 25-knot requirement of the bidding. This probably means changing at least two of its Diesel engines to more powerful but heavier engines. The new engines will have higher fuel consumptions, and with the fuel capacity remaining the same, this means the tradeoff will have to come from the ship’s range. The minimum range requirement for the bidding is only 8,100 km at 15 knots, and with the Floreal’s range already twice of that, there is a lot of range to trade off with and it won’t likely be a problem.

  • Close In Weapons System (CIWS) Upgrade – The Floreal uses two manually-fired 20 mm F2 Cannons on a stabilized mount, but this will have to be upgraded as the bid requirement is for a RWS type that should also be integrated into the ship’s main FCS, perhaps something like the MSI Lightweight Seahawk mount.11 Since the caliber for the CIWS requirement is not specified, the 20 mm caliber will likely be retained.

  • Additional Anti-Ship Missiles – The Floreal only carries two MM38 Exocet Anti-Ship Missiles (AshM) on launchers placed just behind the mast area, but the requirement is for at least four AShMs, hence this capacity will have to be at least doubled. Here is a video of a Floreal-class ship test-firing its Exocet missile:

  • Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Capability – The Floreal currently has NO ASW capability, hence this capability will have to be added in the form of at least a bow/hull-mounted or dipping sonar system as sensor, and at least two triple Torpedo launchers as weapons.

‘Commercial Spec Issue?’
As can be seen above, quite a number of weapons and equipment will have to be upgraded or incorporated into the Floreal in order for it to meet the required bidding specs. I wonder, though, if it will be possible to do this on the existing hull configuration given that a commercial spec vessel will be less equipment/weapons “dense” than a mil-spec vessel, and assuming that the current Floreal-class ships are already near their maximum growth potential.

If not, the manufacturer may consider “stretching” the hull a bit to fit in all of the required equipment and weapons. But even if they can eventually fit all of these equipment in, given the limitations of commercial spec vessels, there may be little room for future growth potential of the ship. But then again there doesn’t seem to be any requirement for future growth potential for these new Frigates, hence this might not be considered much.

‘Maestrale Replacement’
So this is the type of ship that could replace the Maestrale-class Frigates the Navy was planning to buy before. In terms of capability, it is not much of a match, the Maestrales are WAY superior. This fact hasn’t hit me until now when we finally got an idea of a possible candidate ship. The Maestrales have MORE missiles that have LONGER range, more CIWS at two with bigger caliber cannons, can carry more helicopters at two and have better sonar system with its Variable Depth Sonar (VDS) system. They even have a Prairie Masker System that makes them harder to detect via Sonar by enemy Ships or Submarines.12

However, the Maestrales are OLD ships, and not only are they old, they are also COMPLEX ships requiring a lot of manpower (over 200) to run efficiently. The combination of age and complexity could mean a more difficult ship to maintain at or near 100% efficiency, especially for our navy which do NOT have any experience running a ship as sophisticated and capable as the Maestrales. A less complex ship like an upgraded Floreal might have less capability, but will be easier to maintain since it is at least new, and could prove to be a good “transitional” ship for our navy (assuming we will get better ships in the future). At any rate, these upgraded Floreals (if they win) will be the most capable ships in our inventory, to which standards our Del Pilar-class ships SHOULD be upgraded to.

‘Parting Shot’
You have to give credit for the French for an excellent sales presentation. So far they are the only country included in the bidding that I know of that sent a ship for the evaluators to look around with. I wouldn’t be surprised if the officials of the Navy Technical Working Group and their Private Consultants were given a tour of the ship to see how STX France’s offer will look like.

An upgraded Floreal-class ship is not really bad, it is a decent ship. However, of course since this is a bidding one hopes to see a more capable ship with better arms and equipment if we can get them. Personally, I would be satisfied with an upgraded Floreal if it will instead have the following:
– Longer ranged SAMs like the Aspide 2000 for example, instead of just the Mistrals. The Aspide 2000 have heavier warheads (40 kg versus 3 kg) and longer range (25 km versus 6 km) than the Mistrals.13
– A VDS system as its main sonar system and a Hull/Bow sonar as secondary system. This will improve its submarine hunting capability.
– Improved ASR with at least 50% more range than the current DRBV-21C.
– Better CIWS with full autonomous operation like the MSI Seahawk Sigma14 gun/missile combination, for example.

If these items are met, I think we will have a much more survivable ship capable of matching up to China’s modern naval combatants. The Navy and the other manufacturers have been pretty mum on what the other candidate ships that are on offer, at worst they ALL would be pretty similar to this upgraded Floreal, with minor variations here and there.

A nice rear view of a Floreal-class ship, the Prarial showing its enclosed helicopter hangar. Photo courtesy of the French Hong Kong Consulate website.
A nice rear view of a Floreal-class ship, the Prarial showing its enclosed helicopter hangar. Photo courtesy of the French Hong Kong Consulate website.

SOURCES:


  1. Try us, says visiting French Navy commander,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20160607125946/http://globalnation.inquirer.net/103327/try-us-says-visiting-french-navy-commander
  2. Navantia ha presentado a Filipinas el sofisticado patrullero Avante 1800 para optar al concurso que convocará a final de año,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20130805024847/http://www.elconfidencialdigital.com/defensa/085893/navantia-ha-presentado-a-filipinas-el-sofisticado-patrullero-avante-1800-para-optar-al-concurso-que-convocara-a-final-de-ano
  3. South Korea Offers Incheon-Class-Frigate to Philippines,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20130717083005/http://asitimes.blogspot.com/2013/03/south-korea-offers-incheon-class.html
  4. DND admits Indian, French shipbuilders to frigate program,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20160304091751/http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/05/01/1318193/dnd-admits-indian-french-shipbuilders-frigate-program
  5. Floréal Class Frigate, France,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20160303224623/http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/florealclassfrigate/
  6. Differences between Military and Commercial Shipbuilding – Rand Corp.,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20160721031244/http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2005/RAND_MG236.pdf
  7. Philippine Navy Frigate Acquisition Project Technical Specifications,
    https://rhk111smilitaryandarmspage.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/frigate_acq_proj-tech_specs.pdf 
  8. Sagem Next Generation Dagaie System,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20140813155349/http://www.sagem.com/IMG/pdf/D1438E_NGDS.pdf
  9. Smarter (and Simpler) Radar in Harpoon,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20160313125508/http://clashofarms.com/files/smarter%20radars%20for%20hpn.pdf
  10. Mistral (missile),
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20160315022145/http://www.army-technology.com/projects/mistral-missile/
  11. 20 mm Seahawk Lightweight (LW),
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20160307162555/http://www.msi-dsl.com/our_products/weapons/seahawk_lw.php
  12. Maestrale Class Frigates, Italy,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20160324164004/http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/maestraleclassfrigat/
  13. Aspide 2000,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20140802225300/http://www.mbda-systems.com/mediagallery/files/aspide-2000_ds.pdf
  14. MSI Seahawk Sigma Mount,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20160317104409/http://www.msi-dsl.com/our_products/weapons/sigma.php
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108 thoughts on “New Frigate Bidding Candidate: Upgraded Floreal-class”

  1. RHK, I believe that what ship will be considered will boil down to what is the immediate plan and main objective of the Navy and that is MINIMUM CREDIBLE DETERRENCE in securing and defending our territory.

    These French ship may lag with in terms of armaments as compared to what is offered by other bidders, I truly believe that it is way ahead PRACTICALITY, POLITICALLY and ECONOMICALLY.

    Practical because of their excellent range and endurance.

    Politically excellent because it would mean reinvigorated business dealing and strengthened relationship with the most powerful nation that is not beholden to any of the US, GBR, Russia and China. And it will serve the US a notice that we need a stronger ally who can give us fair and just opportunities in defense and that we do not need their armaments that are not ready fire to defend their allies in the face of a real threat from an enemy.

    Economically sound because the ship is cheaper.

    I would not mind if this one comes out the winner.

    1. If it comes out meeting the “minimum” requirements I would be happy, but of course I would be a lot happier if it will have better sonar, radar and CIWS. But even at minimum specs, it would still be our most capable ship if it wins, and the most capable ships in our history so far. Also the first brand new Frigates that the Philippines ever bought …

      1. I’m sure the Bids committee have made it known to the French what ship PH really want and I believe the French government also would not come as far as strongly backing up this move by STX if they know they can’t win or don’t have a strong chance at it at the very least.

        They will make the necessary adjustment and upgrade…

    2. I would prefer a frigate or any naval ship that has the most effective countermeasures against multiple anti-ship missile attacks bec. just one good shot is all it takes to sink a ship and millions of pesos going down the drain…

      1. Actually, for larger ships over 1,000 tons in weight it will take multiple shots to actually sink it, especially if the ship has a well-equipped and well-trained Firefighting and Repair team …

  2. This ship looks ugly. I hope their bid comes in real cheap or they heavily modify. I want to see what the Koreans and Indians have to offer.

    1. “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”. To me the ship looks fine, but of course not as beautiful as, say, the Sigma or Formidable-class ships …

      1. From an ordinary observer’s point of view, it is definitely not a headturner. But matters on defense least considers beauty and French military creations are never known for such.
        In terms of performance in actual battle, they are a nightmare to their adversary and they are guaranteed to perform- history will tell you that. (Just don’t mention to them the Royal Navy. Hehehe!)

      2. If the French arm them to the teeth and they are significantly cheaper than the competition, I will gladly take these ships. I’m not saying the French can’t make good looking ships. Their newer La Fayette-class firgates are beautiful.

        I tried really hard to find flattering pictures of these ships. The best I could find was this Moroccan version with the 76 mm gun.

        http://www.seaforces.org/marint/Moroccan-Navy/Floreal-Mohammed-V-class.htm

        As of right now, these ships aren’t very appealing. Our Hamiltons painted in navy gray look sexier than these Floreals,

        Perhaps it’s because these Floreals aren’t very sleek at 307 ft. It’s not much longer than Korea’s Pohang class corvete at 290 ft.
        Our Hamiltons are longer at 378 ft.

        If the Koreans offer the Ulsan class (340 ft) and Incheon class (374 ft) they will be my preferred choice if costs and armament are the same. They look modern and sleek while the Floreal looks like a fat turkey.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BNS_Bangabandhu

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incheon_class_frigate

    1. Yes, the French are known for their romantic and lusty nature, hence you’d expect their designs to also be sexy, LOL. Who knows, the upgraded version of the Floreal might have “sexier” lines. After all, France did pioneer the use of stealth design on operational ships with their La Fayette-class Frigates … https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:FS_Surcouf.jpg

  3. RHK, this is the biggest joke of the day for me: the UNCLOS is not binding with the United States because it has not adapted it as a law. So what business do they have in saying they are supporting the action of PH in bringing its case to the ITLOS? What right do they have in claiming they are the global police in upholding international law?

    Zero Credibility! Shame on the Americans….

    http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/05/30/1329020/obama-calls-us-senate-ratify-unclos

    1. They never had to because their territory hasn’t been contested by anyone else. It doesn’t mean that they are totally against it, in fact, the American government has repeatedly persuaded all parties to follow the UN rules. We can’t blame them for the implications of their non-signing or lack of foresight. Who could have thought that another superpower will emerge in Asia suffering from extreme US envy? The Chinese in particular are justifying every wrongdoing they commit just because the Americans did this and that.

      1. Obama wants to approve it but the gop do not. Even if the US does approve it it does not mean china will pull out. Chinese communists cannot be trusted at all. Look what happened to panatag and mabini shoals. Even the malaysian pm is courting the chinese. Kaya sabog asean front natin sa mga malaysian na yan. Btw, the floreal isnt bad. Just treat it as an advanced ship trainer. Since we’re getting 2 the other one must be more complicated and well armed. Get 1 from france and the other one from spain or korea.

      2. Make no mistake. Malaysia is a very desperate and dangerous country. The stunt they pulled off at Sabah where many UMNO-BN officials were seen by eye-witnesses talking with the MNLF just as soon as they landed at Lahad Datu is the proof of this. Hours before that, a Chinese armada was already mobilized as if they knew what’s going to happen and they established a fixed formation near Sabah instead of patrolling the whoie Spratlys. It was a trap! Just imagine if Filipinos gave in to their nationalism and sent forces to bolster the MNLF? The results could have been disastrous for us. When we didn’t bite the bait, Mahathir came to the scene crying ” Oh please don’t kill them, they are Muslims!”. Eventually the Malaysian Armed Forces were forced to annihilate the intruders and set off a chain of events that permanently destroyed their fixed deposit of Project IC voters. The plan blew up on their faces.

        Are the Chinese and Malaysians conspiring against us? Yes! and I am sure they are planning another stunt. The MNLF, strongly secessionist and anti-Philippines suddenly turned pro-nationalist to claim Sabah on behalf of the Philippines? Heck, they didn’t want to take Sabah that’s why they rebelled in the first place right? Then Misuari asking China to support their rebellion. Then Malaysian admiral denies Chinese Navy intrusion despite heavy surveillance in the region. Stranger things will happen in the future, no doubt, so he have to play our cards right.

    2. When I read this yesterday, my first thought that this is probably the reason why Obama couldn’t commit to our defense of the Spratly’s Islands. Note that he is taking the initiative to have the US adopt it as a law. Now if the US does adopt the law and Obama still vacillates in helping us with the Spratly’s issue, no more excuses, he is just weak …

  4. what really is important for us is a naval ship that will fit our definition of credible defence. we might be looking for a sexy or stealthier type of naval ships or pack with everything it can throw against ships, aircrafts and submarines, but if we cannot afford to increase our defence budget then we might see these ships more in port than patrolling our coastline. we have to be realistic, so long a ship can provide us what we need for our defence such us low cost, long endurance and range, a month endurance and range of 16,000 kms will save us a lot on logistics. in the present situation i rather prefer the floreal class although it has has no ASW. but for our defence budget which only rank 4th 80.420 billion in the 2013 fiscal national budget (1st Education P232 billion, 2nd DPWH P155 billion and 3rd DILG 91.164 billion), we should not be too ambitious because getting a more sophisticated ships will have to be provided with a bigger budget and for now our armed forces cannot afford it. and for the DND 80,420 billion, only 5 billion is allocated for modernization and 2.1 billion for external defence but education allocated 1.5 billion procurement for textbooks alone. DND being fourth in the budget, we must be practical and just be contented what we can procure per definition of our minimum defence requirement. if the budget policy will not be changed were stocked with the FA-50 and the Del Pilars were just short of our dreams to get a brand new MRF and modern missile frigate. maybe we can do second hand MRFs and missile frigates with our present budget.

    1. Yeah, even if we do get an upgraded Floreal-class ship with the MINIMUM specs of the bid requirements, I think we should be happy with it.

      1. Let’s wait until we see what the other offers are before we “settle” for the Floreal’s.

        We don’t even know what these Floreal’s are being offered ($) for.

  5. thats true rhk111 and just focus re-arming them, including the del pilar with ASW capability. hope,also the del pilars, will be installed with anti-ship and air to air missiles.

    1. what really we intended is a ship that can patrol but with substantial deterrent. we really dont need an offensive weapon cause that will only proliferate arm race in our region and as of the present we are in a great disadvantage because have no capability to produce arms and to buy in quantity.

      1. I wouldn’t worry about us proliferating any arms races. China is doing fine job doing that.

        Besides, 2 low cost frigates won’t worry anyone. Especially not China. They are building up their navy to counter the US / Japan.

      2. again, if we know the playing field it is up to us how we will play our cards in how we can deal with our allies. we have 3 important allies in the region U.S., Japan and South Korea. these 3 allies will directly deal with China in regards to military build up. and us just continue to acquire our minimum defence requirement. 2 low cost frigates like the Florial with 2 exocet MM38 anti ship missiles is not a baby. the MM38 exocet is designed to sink large warships and any military minded admirals and generals including the Chinese will not take any chances. just think of it a low cost guided missile frigate can sink a state of the art frigate or destroyer. the MM38 exocet is a sea skimming mode and as counter measure against air defence it maintains a very low 1-2meters above the sea surface and due to the effect of radar horizon, this means the target may not detect an incoming attack until the missile is only 6,000 meters and with its almost mach 1 speed the enemy will have little time to react. Florial might not beautiful to some but its exocet is known to be accurate and effective. and another thing we must let our allies be responsive to our needs. the chinese is still out gunned. the japanese industrial might is still hibernating but as you can see even up to this moment they have already 3 or 4 brand new destroyer helicopter carriers but it seems a medium size aircraft carrier that is capable carrying at least 20 F-35. so with the south koreans their amphibious assaul ships are also capable to carry f-35s and both already ordered a couple squadrons of f-35. add with the U.S. 7th and 3rd fleet in the pacific region the chinese have really no chance. these 3 allies are also industrial giants, if China will continue to build up other countries within its boundaries such as India and Russia will also build up their defence and in such scenario just like the Soviet Union before, economically China will collapse. China have so much enemies, even hidden enemies such as the russians there is no other way if
        china will continue to build its defence it will collapse.

      3. Any frigates we order will be armed with at least 4 anti ship missiles. I’m confident that the other bidders will be able to install perfectly acceptable weapon systems on their ships. All the bids will probably be within our budget (or else why would they even bother to go through the bidding process).

        I am fairly confident that we will be offered a better platform than the Florial. A more modern ship that we can upgrade and be more future proof. A ship that we can proudly call the pride of the fleet.

        Let’s not fall in love with the first lady we meet. 😉

        * Please try and break up your statements into smaller paragraphs next time. My eyes were having a hard time going through it all.

      4. Agree but I don’t worry much about the arms race thing because it still has saturation point wherein everything is balanced militarily so bullying and aggression poses a little or no problem at all.

  6. distrust should not be our attitude but we should be observant and anticipate whatever the malaysian and chinese will do. thats why we need to prioritize our external defence, the budget allocated for modernization is only P5 billion and for external defence is a mere P2billion. if department of education can allocate for P1.5billion for text books, i think policy makers should re-think. our internal security have already been stabilized but it is only politics can destabilize the situation but not delivering the necessary needs to the people. government got to focus on external defence buy patrol guided missile ships like the floreal. if military budget will increase thats the time we should think ambitious, buy state of the art warships and MRFs. but for now let us be contented. because trying to achieve something more of the measly budget of P5 billion for modernization and P 2 billion will only invite corruption during weapons window shopping because after all we cannot afford anything of the call state of the art weapons of the existing DND budget. lets wake up, buy only what is affordable for us let us not force the issue.

    1. Interesting.

      We’re having trouble resupplying our garrisons as it is. Even if we can somehow get troops to retake the islands, they will probably be surrounded and cut off by many more Chinese frigates and destroyers.

      I like your enthusiasm though. Hopefully we can build something like what you envision in my lifetime. 🙂

    2. there is only one way to establish administration of the islands in the WPS we legally claimed as ours. PHYSICALLY OCCUPY IT AND BUILD STRUCTURES. our case in the international court will not hold water when chinese already occupy these areas. even we win, its short on declaring war to the chinese if we will force to evict them. and no one even the americans wants to start a war with the chinese. we must start occupying now or else it will be too late.

  7. we have difficulty re-supplying our marines in the sierra madre because we do not use our coast guard or navy vessels to send the goods. and we never tried it. what is ugly we used civilian ships to supply our marines.. how about send the world war 2 escort destroyer datu kalantiaw lets see if they are interested to ram it with their modern warshiips..

    1. Instead of building a rapid reaction force, perhaps it might be more cost effective to harden our defenses on the islands. So that it won’t fall to a few “Armed Fishermen”.

  8. that is the dilema of pnoy. If we fortify we go against the code of conduct draftedin 2002. If we do not fortify china will fortify them for us and claim it as their own. If we continue to claim unclos by the time we finish the case china would have set up shop on all of them. And if Obama does ratify the US unclos as well china might not even care. Sometimes i wonder if the chinese are so one track minded that it might end up like facist germany. For me vietnam’s claim even if it may be shady is doing all that it can to prevent china’s aggressiveness. Even sending its own unarmed civilian ships as sacrifice. I think they are the last line of defense against china. If china starts killing them then I hope the world will start to notice. I don’t buy china’s claim that the vietnamese boats rammed the chinese boats. A small boat can’t ram a big boat and survive!!! Physics and common sense. So who rammed who?

  9. In your parting shot, I would agree for most part of your suggestions, but I would probably consider a Sea Ram or a Phalanx for CIWS and a couple of Mark 32 triple tube launchers for Mark 46 torpedoes.
    Otherwise, with the amount of money available for two ships, I think it is good for starters like the PN. The Aspide 2000 may jack up the price to much otherwise it is a good alternative to a more expensive ESSM.

    1. The reason why I wanted a Seahawk Sigma as CIWS is because I suspect it is the cheapest available CIWS around, cheaper than a Phalanx or Sea RAM and yet still effective because it is both gun and missile based.

      As for the Aspide 2000, I actually wanted a Crotale as SAM because it has a large warhead and 16 km range, but it won’t fit the requirement of the PhN that the SAM should have IR or Semi Active homing guidance.

      Now you could do away with the Sigma and the Aspide and just one use one missile system for both CIWS and SAM in the Sea RAM, for example, but I was also thinking of “redundancy” or a “layered anti air” defense.

      1. Just curious. Are the two frigates similar in spec or the other one specializes in asw and the other anti air warfare? Its june already is there any news who is most likely the preferred choice in the frigate?

      2. The available documents point out to a common specifications for the 2 ships. No news whatsoever from the PhN on the latest developments. Actually, the AFP was pretty open and transparent about the acquisitions early on, but that somehow changed lately. I wonder why. Maybe some people started telling them to do otherwise …

  10. Would it be overkill if we build a helicopter destroyer like what the japs are doing (smaller scale maybe)? The hyuga class is a carrier in disguise but carries only seahawks but is armed with various missiles. Come to think of it is also multipurpose since we can use it for hadr missions. Feasible or too loud for the phn? btw, sk gave us an lst? wow saw the specs its like a full fledged ship to me. It can carry everything including a helicopter and has a turntable inside for tanks. Can we get the rest as well? There are only 4 in existence. Perfect for hadr and a country like ours.

    1. I’d also like to know exactly what LCU we got. This article says it has a crew compliment of 40 and can carry 100 troops. I couldn’t find an ROK ship that has those specs.
      http://www.rappler.com/nation/59626-philippine-navy-landing-craft-utility-south-korea
      ——————————–
      Kojoonbong LST
      Crew: 120
      Troops: 350, cargo: 1800t (690t beaching)
      http://www.harpoondatabases.com/encyclopedia/Entry111.aspx
      ——————————–
      Go Jun Bong-class LST
      258 marines
      Crew: 121
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_Jun_Bong_class_LST

      1. As far as I know, South Korea only has the Go Jun Bong class as Landing Ships on active duty, and as per the articles the ship they are giving us seems to be on current active duty, hence it should be the one, unless Sokor has other landing ships on active duty that we don’t know of. As for the difference in specifications, it could just be a question of misinformation. If Gazmin wanted to be exact, he could’ve just asked the name or class of ships we are to be given.

      2. Do you think they donated this ship to us because we chose the Golden Eagles for our fighter/trainers?

      3. Possibly. Gazmin denied it, but well, not so sure about that. In fact, some were speculating we would be getting better ships like the Pohang-class Corvettes, but it doesn’t seem so.

        *****************

        Some reports now say the vessel will be an LCU 1600 class ship, which is a LOT smaller and humble than a Go Jun Bong class ship. A bit of a bummer, but then again puede na rin …
        http://navysite.de/ships/lcm.htm

      4. I think we’re all hoping for the Go Jun Bong class. But these Korean donations should be another factor to consider when choosing our next frigate.

        Lets see if our negotiators can pry some of those Pohang-class Corvettes. I’m sure it will be a win-win for both countries since we’re purchasing so much of their stuff.

      5. These LCU 1600 ships would actually pair up well with our SSVs. They are short-ranged ships designed work with larger ships like the SSVs to carry and then land men and vehicles to the beach. Sokor reportedly has 8 of them, I wonder if we will be getting more.

        South Koreans are tough negotiators, never mind if we did help them a lot during the Korean War, but if they win the Frigate bidding, its possible more “bonuses” will come in terms of “Excess Defense Articles” …

    2. Some versions of the Makassar/Banjarsamin class of ships, similar to the Strategic Sealift Vessels (SSVs) that we are buying, can actually carry up to 5 Helicopters, making them as “mini” Helicopter Destroyers. Of course that means the ships can then carry less troops and vessels. It looks impressive with all those Helicopters around, but I still would prefer a traditional Destroyer or General Purpose Frigate for our use …

  11. the philippines need a missile guided frigate patrol ship that has long endurance to save as on logistics. we have a long coast line that extends up to the WPS. one example that defeat that purpose of such acquisition of long endurance frigate. our del pilars are long endurance patrol frigate but where it is now?? guarding the malampaya oil rig!!! does the acquisition of the del pilar serve its purpose?? A BIG ANSWER IS NO. the malampaya can be guarded with our peacock class corvette or the cyclone class patrol boat in a rotation basis. or if there is a helipad in the oil rig, maybe a scheduled assignment of an armed MD-520, i think that will serve enough security for the malampaya.

    please released our del pilar class frigates from the responsibility of securing malampaya. the del pilars can be will served its purpose in patrolling our long coastline and the WPS. i know there is a need malampaya be secured but the del pilars are not designed for that. it is a frigate patrol ship not for guarding a limited space or area of an oil rig.

    and now, we are in the process of a bidding of brand new frigate. but still i prefer a long endurance so long the minimum requirements have bee complied with than a ship fully loaded with state of the art weaponry but we cannot afford to maintain since it has only a short endurance. if we have put majority of our ships in the harbors rather patrolling is a sign of problem of logistics. so what is use of acquiring such modern ships if we cannot afford its logistics.

    the french have been practical in offering a ship just fit for us but an upgrade florial class will do best for us. the acquisition of the del pilars (hamilton) is a wise decision it only need upgrade, such as missile defence system and ASW.

  12. please take note on this. taiwan has converted their MD-500 to be ASW assigned to their knox class frigates. the taiwan MD-500 model is same with our MD-520. why we cannot convert our MD-520.the same. what is the cost of acquiring a new ASW helicopters against the conversion of our MD-520 to ASW. we have still more or less 20 active MD-520 in our inventory. .

    1. No, the last report I read said there were only 6-9 MD520s out of 28 we bought were in operational status as of last year. These aircraft are more than 20 years old, and coupled with our mediocre procurement/maintenance system meant much less flyable aircraft available …

  13. Taiwan 500 MD/ASW specifications:
    1. Bendix RDR-1300 search radar
    2. one towed ASQ_BIC(v) 2 magnetic anomaly detector
    3. 1 or 2 MK 44 torpedo
    4. smoke markers

    1. I like the Search Radar and Light Weight Torpedo on the MD-500ASW, but the Magnetic Anomaly Detector is not as effective in detecting subs compared to a Dipping Sonar or Sonobuoy as it has a much shorter range.

      1. rhk111, is it a possibilie more or less two of this MD 520 converted to ASW. enhance it with dippling sonar or sonobuoy. another thing this is a work horse aircraft. maybe to improve procurement system can revive the other frames to operational status.

      2. Not sure if its possible to install Dipping Sonars on the MD520s, weight and power requirements MAY be a hindrance. Besides, if the PhN is going to upgrade helicopters (add Dipping Sonar, Search Radar, Torpedoes, etc.), they might as well do it on the 3 new AW109Es instead …

    1. Even if we can, at almost 6,000 tons I think its too large and sophisticated for us. We need something smaller, a “Coastal Submarine”, or a Submarine between a Midget Submarine ( 1,000 tons) as a “Training” sub. Something like a “Kobben” class Submarine, for example. The Kobbens have been retired from service, but are ready for refurbishment … https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobben-class_submarine

      1. just can’t contain my eagerness to see our armed forces fully modernized and equipped… am like an addict searching for updates daily… hahaha!

        thanks anyway…

    1. You mean updating PNoy’s purchases on my blog about Presidential Arms Procurements? I’ll do it soon …

    1. Nakaka Hi Blood naman yang balita na yan… As in my excitement is getting up to new heights once again…

      Mabuhay Pinas!

      Meanwhile, I am now expecting Sokor to win the bidding of the 2 frigates- WITHOUT A DOUBT….

      1. with this magnitude of generosity, I believe some great deals are closed by both parties along the way.

        only morons can’t see the writings on the wall.

        if it turns out one way or another, then I am a moron. hahahaha

      2. Come to think of it, even without the Frigates we already bought a lot from South Korea, and these are:
        – 12 FA-50 Fighting Eagles
        – 8 Amphibious Assault Vehicles

        Other posters also have pointed out that the vessels might be stripped of some/most weapons and sensors, which would be a letdown …

      3. I was expecting Korea to win the Frigate deal even without these donations.

        If we are getting priority status when it comes to decommissioned ROK ships, it would serve as a massive incentive to keep buying Korean (until our own ship building industry is ready).

      4. My guess is that South Korea is making a strong statement, something like, if you get more South Korean equipment and weapons, expect more “donations” of Excess Defense Articles …

  14. I guess sokor is really pushing for their frigate design. Just hope their handmedowns dont end up like the f5’s and trainers they gave us a while back…all scrapped because of lack of maintenance. How about the japs? I hear they are gonna retire a lot of their ships and tanks as well and their defense market is opening up. The ssv we can also configure to a heli destroyer if we let elbit or elta modify the vessel. That is one of their core business models.

    1. I think Japanese equipment and weapons are of very high quality, but also more expensive, just like their appliances …

    1. They haven’t officially lifted the arms embargo yet. This means that their defense industries aren’t totally controlled by their politicians. Or worse, European leaders are secretly approving it regardless of their official public statements against China to avoid diplomatic fallout. The consequences of these yields tremendous benefits to Europe.

      1. Direct benefit in the form of profit from the sale of military technology.

      2. Indirect benefit: When violence escalates in East/South East Asia, There will be an instant capital flight from South East Asia towards Europe. That’s how desperate they are in saving their economies from recession.

      This is called “demand destruction”. It has happened extensively in the Middle East, and it about to start in Asia. It’s about time for Asians to say goodbye to economic growth. The whole world does have a vested interest of instigating a war here in the region.

      1. I guess spend on asia is the key. Boycott eu arms. Funny how they all support us but when money talks its the other way around. I recall germany and the uk also had that dilemma in ww2. Economic relations were so good they were willing to turn a blind eye that they gave land to hitler to appease him. But let us buy dirt cheap arms now than later. Ukraine has a lot of mothballed airframes.

      2. I wouldn’t go so far as say boycott EU arms, but if I had my choice I’d rather buy from countries that aren’t shaking our hands on one hand and stabbing our backs with the other.

        If France is willing to offer us the best and cheapest Frigate design, I’d grudgingly accept it. However, South Korea has been very generous with their recent donations.

        If all things are equal, I’d prefer to continue doing business with South Korea. If not them maybe India, Japan, US, etc.. (Countries that have their own problems with China).

  15. production and buying arms is a business. it does not mean a supplier of your enemy is your enemy. so it is not a hindrance if we buy arms to a country that also supplied our enemies. even our military has also take into consideration buying arms in russia that also supplied the chinese. another example pakistan an ally of the americans acquired J-17 fighters from the chinese and other equipments, so it is not a hindrance. if we want to be flexible we should be open minded. what is important we buy military equipments that can be fully utilized by our armed forces.

    1. Something tells me France wouldn’t be selling them all these dual use arms if they had their own territorial problems with China.

      I agree we should be open minded. It doesn’t mean we should like what they’re doing either.

  16. Buy arms but not from france then. But we should buy now or else when war breaks out magkakaubusan yan. Pakyawan yan. We should buy planes from russia as well. Let israel supply the western avionics. If worse comes to worst we get the maestreles and soldatis from italy asap.

  17. we will buy from russia??? but wont buy from france?? but we will buying from russia which is the major arm supplier of china. russia is the supplier of the su 27, su 30 and you forgot the liaoning the first aircraft carrier of china it comes from russia. majority of chinas military equipments comes or copied from russia such as their tanks, armored personnel carriers, howitzers, ships even assault rifles and etc.

    1. With Russia’s involvement in Ukraine and pissing off half of Europe, I’d be wary of dealing with Russia for other reasons.

  18. Its a worst case scenario nga lang. You all know how cheap russian hardware is compared to western tech. In fact african countries poorer than us have su30s already. We can buy them not from russia but through india’s hal, ukraine or iai of israel who specialize in western avionics conversion. Indonesia and malaysia also employ su27 & f16 combinations in their airforces. Id rather have squadrons of phaf f50 & su30 or mig 29 vs hundreds of chinese fighters than a handfull of very expensive f15s. By the way russia also does not trust china that much since almost all their tech is being copied. Its a partnership of convenience since russia has the tech but needs china’s cash to produce it. Kung pwede sana galing US gamit natin kaso sobra mahal naman.

    1. The problem is that overhauls of engines and other critical parts still have to go thru Russia. Seeing how close Russia is to China now, absolutely no way…

      1. Agreed. With Russia being squeezed on all sides because of their Ukraine annexation/invasion, China might be the only friend they have left.

  19. also dont like the quality of russian armaments. in times of war, such what happened in the war in the middle east, russian equipmens such as tanks, armored personnel carriers and fighter jets are known to bog down. they start many but at the middle they end few because of mechanical problems. even during the iraq war russian armaments has short endurance. and i feel uncomfortable dealing with russians specially they are also the major supplier of the chinese, they might sabotage us by giving us defective equipments. also another example, the former warsaw pacts countries such poland are now buying u.s. f-16s (even second hand) to replaced aging mig-29s and su-27s. is’nt the f-16s are older than mig 29s and su-27s??

    1. Yes, the design and time of operational service of the F-16 is older than the MIG-29 by around a decade.

      As for the Russians, take note that ever since the relations between the Philippines and China cooled off, they have NOT joined in any of our bidding for military equipment. Strange because they are one of the top exporters of arms in the world, but I think everyone knows the reason.

      What worries me is that if the “Dark Lord” wins the next elections, relations with China will improve and the Russians will march right back in. But if things go sour between the Philippines and China again, it will be a problem for us if we end up with Russian military equipment …

  20. I see. Well now all we have to do is convince the west to give us some discounts for buying their arms. We really need them asap.

  21. after china take over scarborough shoals and reclamation of mabini reef, now they are also in the process of reclaiming and take over of gavins reef, calderon reefs and malvars reef. again, we have to physically occupy build structures in all islands, shoals and reefs in the WPS we claim OURS. My God were losing territory. even we win in the international arbitration we still loss position. its time to play their game. activate the coast guards and navy patrol ships. we should closely coordinate with vietnams coast guard and navy for combine operations in the spratlys. and we will just be wasting money, since the fa-50s are still for delivery and in the process of bidding of new frigates. by the time fa-50s and the new frigates will arrive, we are already choke due to our shrinking territory. the chinese knows this they have to work fast, faster than we can buy our military equipments.

  22. i think its time our politicians WILL listen to our military planners. speeches no longer work in this kind of atmosphere. the problem up to these point our military is still being sideline in regards to the WPS situation. i still believe whatever strategic plan the military will implement it is still to avoid war. i believe of the great general mcarthur famous quotes: A SOLDIER ABOVE ALL OTHERS PRAYS FOR PEACE. FOR IT IS THE SOLDIER WHO MUST SUFFER AND BEAR THE DEEPEST WOUNDS AND SCARS OF WAR. It is always the politicians who mishandled the situation thereby instigate war. because the politicians made the decisions our territory shrunk, our politicians made the decision we have difficulty supplying our marines in siera madre. it is our politicians who made the decision that our military will become one of the most ill equipped armed forces in the world after its glory in the 60s up to the early 80s. in fairness of pinoy i also mean congress and senate. WPS was never a major issue in our HOUSE OF CONGRESS. lossing territories is NOT A MAJOR ISSUE IN CONGRESS. BUT NAPOLES IS A MAJOR ISSUE IN CONGRESS. that why the chinese are are very happy that internally our politicians are bickering instead facing the real threat of the state.

  23. Jmcenab,i agreed with you…where is our coast guard?our leaderships,on both side of our political entities,pro admi or contra admi.,this is a national security issues…it would be too late for us if we gonna wait for those military hardwares we ordered.right now …the impression we’re giving to the world is “we are allowing the chinese to do what they want on our territory”. No one would help us ,if we could not do and help ourselves…it seems that we dont have any national agenda and plans in a situations like this.we dont war…at least we need to do something in actions,show our white ships on those areas…were contesting…becouse those areas at wps is ours…and we need to assert what is ours.

  24. China and the Spratlys is really a difficult issue to tackle. We could try to send in our Coast Guards and try to use non-lethal force to establish our claims, which is what Vietnam is doing right now. However, if you look at the results now, Vietnam is still in the losing end of that contest. China can send a lot more ships, something like 80 ships right now, and the Chinese have succeeded in sinking at least 2 ships by ramming so far.

    The key to containing China really is the US, but the problem is that they are clearly reluctant to help on the issue of the Spratlys. They will help us if the mainland Philippine territories are invaded, like Palawan, for example, or Luzon. But when it comes to the Spratlys, they will NOT. Obama made this clear during his visit, he never committed to help defend the Spratlys.

    Without the US’ help, I am afraid that the Spratlys will be LOST to China, eventually, even with them using non-lethal swarm boats and ramming tactics.

    Its a hard pill to swallow, but eventually we might have no choice but to try to live with China. Yes, any “Joint Exploration” projects will be one-sided and tend to favor them, but at least we will get something out of it. If we continue on antagonizing them, we will end up with nothing.

    This is the reality of the world right now where might equals right. Its hard to accept, but if you want to be realistic about it, I think this is what is going to happen.

  25. The only problem with this is that china will become the asia’s bully. If we as asean will tolerate its behavior then what is to stop them? If they get spratlys we will loose virtually the entire fishing grounds in our west side. For me the problem is malaysia. It is in cahoots with china. Asean with the excemption of cambodia and malaysia know china is a threat but it refuses to acknowledge it as serious. Takot sila na madamay sa gulo. They are the worst friends to have…fair weather. On our side sadly itlos is our only option. Nobody else will help us but the law. But the law is useless to lawless elements. Bahala na si God sa kanila. Si dark lord sana hindi maging tuta ni singkit kung mahal niya bayan niya.

    1. Not one of the other ASEAN members except for Vietnam and the Philippines are willing to stand up China, that is the reality of the situation. Even Indonesia, arguably the most powerful nation militarily in ASEAN is taking a “neutral” stance when it comes to China.

    2. If our next president has the military ingenuity & skill just like Hitler in making Germany a world military power before the start of WW2, our AFP will probably be able to match China’s PLA in a few year’s time and be able to reclaim back our lost Spratly Islands, Scarborough Shoal and Sabah. These territories are worth trillions of US dollars if we let it go.

      1. Well, the estimated value of Oil Reserves in the Spratlys is around USD 1.2 Trillion (11.2 Billion barrels at USD 110 per barrel), while the estimated value of Gas Reserves in the same area is around USD 475 Billion (190 Trillion Cubic Feet at USD 2.5 per Cubic Feet):
        http://www.eia.gov/countries/regions-topics.cfm?fips=scs

        So overall it would be close to around USD 1.675 Trillion. A lot of money, but a lot of money needs to be invested to explore the area also. And not only explore, but secure from other countries. China sees might is right, so they will just bully themselves into the area …

      2. The estimated USD 1.675 Trillion worth of Oil and Gas reserves in the Spratly’s Islands is equivalent to 7 years worth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Philippines, which was at USD 250 Billion in 2013 …

  26. I guess the only good asean is used for is visa less travel. I hope china claims one of the islands near malaysis para madamay sila.

  27. the only problem with us were still not occupying or build structures on islands, shoals and reefs in the wps. if we will just wait for the international tribunal if we wake up tomorrow only pag-asa and ayungin will be in our hands. will put it in this way. since we been wasting time with our speeches and complaining to the world body…how about just deal with the chinese. lets share our resources rather we will loss them all because of our inactions. and to further appease them buy chinese fighter such as the j-10 or j-17 and other chinese made weapons. maybe they would leave the wps. hahaha kahit saan angulo talo na tayo kasi pina abot natin sa punto wala na tayong magagawa. sana earlier pa ginawa na nating hakpang to occupy all areas sa wps na consider natin na atin.

      1. If our government will cut 25% of the budgets of DEPED, DPWH AND DOH and re-allocate it to DND for the next 3 years only (2015,2016,2017), our AFP’s weapons acquisition will be faster. Then our gov’t. can restore back the normal budgets of the 3 departments in 2018. We are already in a “state of imminent danger” from China’s expansionist aggression and DND needs to be given a top priority.

  28. rhk111 thats why there is need congress and senate to look seriously the situation in the wps. this is not only Pnoy call but for every filipino. one example need to review the budget of only P2 billion for external defence. if education allotted P 1.5 billion for text book only (but we have still problem of lack of text books) what more if it concerns external security whereby there is already an indirect invasion of our territories. and dont think we can recover our loss territory, so, we have to put more budget of our external defence to put up structures and physically occupy the islets, reefs and shoals not yet occupied by china.

    i say this again china is slowly choking kalayaan and ayungin once they have fully realize their intentions we will have difficulty supplying
    kalayaan islands and ayungin. one the most critical they will choke our sea lanes and general aviation. one example, our airlines once it pass over the wps will be harassed or escorted by SU-27s this will seriously disrupt our economy. hope our congessmen and senators will realize the seriousness of the situation. but it seems congress and the senate is till silent, no one consider this a serious problem.

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