Pohang-class Flight II Corvette for the Philippine Navy

The Pohang-class Corvette PCC 758 Geyongju. Photo courtesy of the Poder Naval website
The Pohang-class Corvette PCC 758 Geyongju. Photo courtesy of the Poder Naval website

The relative stillness of my late afternoon was jolted by the announcement that the South Korean government was going to donate a Pohang-class Corvette to the Philippines, and that it is going to arrive by the end of 2014.1 There had been a couple of rumors about this since around 2011, but nothing official has come out of it … until now. The Philippines highly appreciates this “gift”, the Korean government said it is a token of appreciation for the sacrifices made by Filipino soldiers during the Korean War.

This donation came after we bought a dozen FA-50 Fighting Eagle Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT) and eight Armored Amphibious Vehicles (AAV) from South Korean defense companies,2 3 and there’s also the issue of the upcoming bid for the two new Frigates where South Korean companies are involved. France sent a demonstration ship in the Prarial to help STX France’s bid using an upgraded version of the Floreal-class Frigate,4 and this donation will also help foster a lot of good will between the Philippines and South Korea.

We should be VERY grateful for this ship, after all, on its own it is quite a lot of money, worth around USD 30 million each when the country of Equatorial Guinea tried to buy them a couple of years ago5 (it didn’t push thru). I am sure that once Sokor starts retiring more of these ships, they will be in high demand to a lot of navies around the world because they are very capable ships, indeed.

‘The Pohang Class’
The Pohang-class vessels are described as Patrol Combat Corvettes and first served with the South Korean Navy in 1984. A total of 24 ships were built in four batches named Flights II to V by various South Korean companies like Hyundai Heavy Industries, Hanjin Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering. Important details about the ship’s physical characteristics and performance are as follows:6
Displacement: 1,200 tons
Length: 88.3 m
Beam: 10 m
Draft: 2.9 m
Maximum speed: 32 knots
Maximum range: 7,400 km at 15 knots
Complement: 95
Propulsion: Combined Diesel or Gas (CODOG), 2 2,334 Kw Diesel engines and 1 20,283 Kw Gas Turbine engine

As for other details, first off let me just state that there seems to be a bit of confusion on how the Pohang-class ships are exactly armed and equipped, at least as far as the English-language websites are concerned. I think this is partly due to the language problem and partly due to the secrecy of the South Korean military. As a result, there isn’t really a single source that accurately details the development of this class of ship, especially with the later batches. Instead, a fair amount of detective work needs to be done to get a better picture of what really happened, cross referencing various sources and double checking it with picture evidences when they are available.

From what I gathered, this is how things are supposed to be: Initially there were two types of Pohang-class vessels: The Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW) version, and the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) version. The first batch of four ships produced known as “Flight II” were initially classified as the ASuW version while the next 20 ships were built on batches “Flight III” to “Flight V” ended up being classified as the ASW version. The two versions are distinguished by the fact that the ASuW versions were supposed to have no ASW capability, and uses different armaments and sensors.6 However, latest information seems to indicate that the ASuW versions were eventually upgraded to have ASW sensors and weapons as well, blurring the lines between the two versions.

For example, the ROKS Pohang (PCC-756) Corvette is NOT supposed to have any ASW capability as per most if not all of the English internet sources as it is a batch Flight II ship, but if you look the video of tour of the Pohang, you will clearly see that it has two triple torpedo launchers (at the 55 second mark of the video), and it is likely that these were added later.

What’s left to distinguish the Flight II ships from the Flights III-V ships now are:
– The Flight II ships have only one 76 mm gun instead of two;
– Uses Emerlec-30 Anti-Aircraft guns instead of the Dardo 40L70;
– Older electronic equipment (Radars, Decoys, Fire Control Systems, etc.)
– Exocet missiles instead of the Harpoon missiles installed on the later batches

What the Korean Navy probably did was to start off conservatively arming and equipping the Flight II ships, but as they gained more operational experience and confidence with the ships, they subsequently added more and more weapons and sensors to the later batches. Eventually they went back and upgraded the earlier ships to as close a standard as the newer or later ships.

‘Which Ship?’
The report didn’t say exactly which ship will be donated, this will likely be revealed in soon. In the meantime, assuming that South Korea retires their Pohang-class ships from oldest to newest: The first ship, the Pohang has already been retired and turned into a museum; The second one, the ROKS Gunsan (PCC-757), was supposed to be donated to Colombia in 20117 but this didn’t seem to have pushed thru, hence the status of this ship is currently unknown, whether is it still active, has it been retired, etc.

If it had been retired in 2011, it’s likely to be not the one because the news report indicates that a currently active ship that will be retired this year will be given to us; The third and fourth oldest ships on active duty are the ROKS Geongju (PCC-758) and ROKS Mokpo (PCC-759) respectively, and it is possible that either of these may be the one we are getting. At any rate, it is likely that we will get one of the two or three ships of the first four ships. Below now are what I THINK are the latest available weapons and sensors that the batch Flight II ships will be equipped with, based on the verifiable references I can find.8

‘Multiple Cannons’
What makes this transfer more exciting is the fact that as per the Department of National Defense (DND) Spokesman Peter Galvez, the ship will be transferred with ALL of its weapons and sensors INTACT,1 and the Pohangs are a pretty good ships because despite the fact that they are only a third in weight of our Del Pilar-class ships, they are much more heavily armed and heavily packed with sensors.

First off would be its multi-purpose guns that can be used for both Anti-Air and Anti-Surface threats. There is the single Oto Melara 76 mm cannon which our Navy are very familiar with as five other ships (three Jacinto-class and two Del Pilar-class) are already using it. It can fire at a rate of around 80 rounds per minute up to a range of 18 km, with 80 rounds of ammunition available.9

Next you have the two Emerlec-30 mounts, one in front and one in the rear. These mounts carry two 30 mm cannons, with each gun having a cyclic rate of 600 rounds per minute with around 985 rounds of ammunition available. The mount is powered and stabilized, and can be either fired manually or remotely. Range is estimated to be 10 km for surface targets and 3 km for aerial targets.10 11 The Emerlec-30 actually reminds me of those turret mounts you frequently see on science fiction movies where an operator straps in and starts blasting away at enemy fighter spacecraft.

‘Exocet Missile’
If the Pohang ship will arrive at the end of the year, and it retains the missiles as promised, then it will be the first Anti-Ship Missile-armed ship in the history of the Philippine Navy with its two MM 38 Exocet Missiles. The MM 38 is an old model and probably near the end of its shelf life, but missiles can be refurbished, and refurbishing the missiles will be cheaper than buying new ones.

An MM 38 Exocet missile being launched from an Uribe-class Corvette. Photo courtesy of the Fotosmilitares.org website
An MM 38 Exocet missile being launched from an Uribe-class Corvette. Photo courtesy of the Fotosmilitares.org website

The MM 38 Exocet missile is the first version of the Exocet family of missiles and was made by the French company Nord Aviation. It first entered service with the French Navy in 1975, and since then it has become one of most commercially successful Anti-Ship Missiles with over 1,270 produced in service with at least 15 countries. It is a ship/ground launched missile but has since been replaced by the newer MM 40 model, although many are still in active service around the world. Guidance is initially via Inertial Navigation System (INS) during launch but switches to its own Active Radar when it is around 12 km from the target. Here are other important data on the physical characteristics and performance of the missile:12
Total Weight: 735 kg
Warhead Weight: 165 kg
Speed: Mach 0.9
Range: 42 km

‘Fire Control System, Radars and Decoys’
The ship’s main Fire Control System (FCS) is the WM 28 which the Mk 92 FCS used on the Del Pilar-class ships is based on, so this is something the Pohangs will have in common with the Del Pilars. The WM 28 integrates with the AN/SPS-64 Navigation and Surface Search Radar to detect ships at longer ranges and provide targeting information to the MM 38. The AN/SPS-64 radar has an estimated range of 32 km for a surface target with a Radar Cross Section (RCS) of 30,000 m^2 which, if true, would actually be better than the AN/SPS-73 Radar used on the Del Pilar ships which can only detect the same size target at around 22 km.13

The WM 28 also integrates with the Thales Lightweight Fire Control Radar and Optronic Director (LIROD) Mk1 to control the 76 mm gun. The LIROD combines a shorter-ranged radar with an Electro-Optical (TV) system that allows visual identification of the target.

The only issue I see right now is that the Pohang’s AN/SPS-64 radar doesn’t have an Air Search function, unlike the Marconi ST-1810 Radars13 installed on the later ships. This means the Pohang will only be able to detect aircraft at relatively low altitudes. The Philippine Navy (PN) could invest in a medium range Air Search Radar to correct this, giving the ship earlier warning of aerial threats at all altitudes and at longer ranges.

Another thing the Pohangs have in common with the Del Pilar-class ships is the use of the Mk 36 Super Rapid Blooming Offboard Chaff (SRBOC) Decoy System, which is a pretty good system that can launch different types of Chaff and Infra-Red (IR) decoys,14 and as we have seen in my previous blogs,15 16 systems like these are actually more effective at neutralizing enemy AShMs.

‘ASW Capability’
The Pohangs reportedly has the Signaal PHS-32 Sonar System, giving our Navy another ship with ASW capability as we don’t have a lot of ships with this capability. However, the effectiveness of Hull-mounted Sonars can only be considered as “fair” at best, as illustrated by the sinking of the Pohang-class ship ROKS Cheonan (PCC-772) by a North Korean Midget Submarine.17 For me though, this incident only highlights the difficulties of hunting submarines as I had indicated in my blog about the ARA San Luis,18 which is probably why the South Korean Navy is switching from Hull-mounted to Towed/Variable Depth Sonar systems with their newer ships.

Actually, the PHS-32 does have the option of to be converted to a Variable Depth Sonar (VDS) configuration,19 assuming that the manufacturer is still offering the conversion. If so, our Navy might want to explore this option to improve the Pohang’s ASW capability if they want to. A VDS configuration will improve the efficiency of the Sonar as it will be away from the noises made by the ship, and can also be lowered to the “Thermocline Layer” where Submarines can hide under.

ASW weapons consists of first, its two Mk 32 Triple Tube Torpedo Launchers, one on each side. Each tube holds a single Mk 46 Light Weight Torpedo (LWT) which has a warhead of 44 kg, can travel at 40 knots and has a range of 11 km.20 On top of this, the Pohangs also have two racks of Mk 9 Depth Charge Launchers, with each rack holding six Mk 9 Depth Charges. A Mk 9 Depth Charge has a warhead of 91 kg and can reach a depth of 180 m.21 I wonder if the Navy will keep these Depth Charges, though, as these are basically World War Two weapons with arguable effectiveness in this day and age, and their weight can be allocated instead for extra Mk 46 Torpedoes. The Navy had previously removed all of their Depth Charge Launchers and Depth Charges from their older ships.

‘Parting Shot’
Despite being a relatively small ship, the Pohang Flight II ships have decent all-around capability. To summarize its capabilities:

  • Anti Surface Warfare is good with short (one 76 mm cannon and two Emerlec-30s) and medium-range (two Exocet missiles) weapons, medium-range sensor (one AN/SPS-64 radar) and advanced Fire Control Systems (WM 28 and LIROD Mk 1)

  • Anti Air defense would be fair with very-short range weapons (one 76 mm cannon and two Emerlec-30s), limited short-range sensor (one AN/SPS-64 radar), advanced Fire Control Systems (WM 28 and LIROD Mk 1) and respectable decoy system (one Mk 36 SRBOC)

  • Anti-Submarine Warfare would also be fair with short-ranged weapons (two Mk 32 Torpedo Launches and two Mk 9 Depth Charge Launchers) and short-range sensor (one PHS-32 Hull-mounted Sonar)

Colombia spent USD 2.5 million to refurbish the Donghae-class Ship that was donated to them by South Korea,7 and I expect that once we get ours we will also have to spend a couple of million dollars to keep the ship in optimum shape. But that’s okay, nobody is going to give you a used ship in pristine condition, of course you will have to spend money to keep it in top shape. A couple of million dollars in cost for a working, highly capable ship is a bargain anywhere, especially when you consider that South Korea were going to sell these at USD 30 million apiece.5

The Flight III-V ships are more heavily armed and with newer electronic systems than the Flight II ships and thus would’ve been the better choice, but the Flight II ships as they are right now are still formidable ships, much better than anything we have afloat right now. Hence I can’t contain my excitement of having these ships on our fleet. Who knows, we might have a chance to get more of these in the near future, especially if this first one is found to be agreeable to operate and maintain for our navy. If we do end up getting more, we may have finally have the chance to retire most if not all of the World War Two relics that we still have in service with our navy.

For more pictures of the Pohang-class Corvette, especially its interior, check out this travel blog of the Pohang museum in South Korea. The accommodations actually seem to be nice … Chinn Stew: Sailors for the Day!

The Pohang-class Corvette PCC 757 Gunsan. Photo courtesy of Jager thru the KODEF website
The Pohang-class Corvette PCC 757 Gunsan. Photo courtesy of Jager thru the KODEF website


  1. South Korea gives Corvette to Philippine Navy,
  2. KAI won a contract to export 12 FA-50s to the Phil,
  3. South Korean firm emerges as sole bidder in Philippines AAV acquisition,
  4. Try us, says visiting French Navy commander,
  5. Equatorial Guinea seeks South Korean corvettes: report,
  6. Pohang (PCC Patrol Combat Corvette),
  7. Corbeta ARC Narino Ilega en Agosto a reforzar la seguridad en el Pacifico,
  8. US Naval Institute Combat Fleets of the World, 16th Edition,
  9. Italy 76 mm/62 (3″) Compact 76 mm/62 (3″) SR,
  10. EMERLEC-30 Twin 30mm Mounting,
  11. United States 30 mm/75 (1.2″) EX-74 and Emerlec-30,
  12. Exocet,
  13. Smarter (and Simpler) Radar in Harpoon, (https://web.archive.org/web/20160313125508/http://clashofarms.com/files/smarter%20radars%20for%20hpn.pdf
  14. Mk 36 SRBOC Chaff and Decoy Launching System, (https://web.archive.org/web/20141218231730/http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/systems/mk36-srboc.pdf
  15. MISSILE BOAT NAVAL BATTLE LESSONS, (https://rhk111smilitaryandarmspage.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/missile-boat-naval-battle-lessons/
  16. MODERN LARGE SHIP NAVAL BATTLE LESSONS, (https://rhk111smilitaryandarmspage.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/modern-large-ship-naval-battle-lessons/
  17. The Implications of the Cheonan Sinking: A Security Studies Perspective, (http://www.marineclub.com/calendar/content/BruceBechtolIJKUS.pdf
  19. Medium-Range Scanning Sonar System PHS 32,
  20. Mk 46 Torpedo,
  21. United States of America ASW Weapons,

118 thoughts on “Pohang-class Flight II Corvette for the Philippine Navy”

  1. That is impressive for rp standards. The only thing missing is training. Battle management is key so there must be a weapons control officer and battle management hardware and software. We will be getting two new frigates so there must be two pohangs to train in as well. We should also get the asuw version because lets face it it is very hard to find a sub. And if our pohangs get sunk by a sub then that is truly a war. The crews of the pohang then graduate to the new frigates after training. In the end i hope rp lets the koreans win so we can have a buy one take one deal or who knows maybe a buy two take three or four deal. Btw, we should add ciws phalanx to the pohangs also or a manpads.

    1. Is it just possible to get rid of the rear 30 mm and convert it to a flight deck so that maybe an AW109 can land? Maybe also get rid of the forward 30 mm since our navy seems to dislike this gun as it was removed on several ships and replaced with oerlikon 20 mm guns

      1. Maybe, but that is a major and risky redesign. There is no guarantee it will work, and that other problems might be found later on. It will also be costly, so for me I would just leave things as is.

        I can’t recall any other navy doing anything similar to this, like modifying an existing ship to put an enclosed hangar on it …

      2. what I mean is something like the Jacintos, no need for a hangar, just space for a chopper to land so that we could at least have aircraft operations on the corvette

      3. because when I looked at the picture, it seems that if the aft 30 mm was removed, it could be possible to land an AW109 in there even if there would be no hangar, at least we could have naval helos land on the ship

      4. Possible. That area will have to strengthened though to handle the weight of a Helicopter. But without an enclosed hangar, servicing of a Helicopter during bad weather or at night will be difficult …

      5. Have you ever wondered what the ROKN designers were thinking when they built the Pohangs and Ulsans? Like: “Screw helicopters, give our ships more missiles!” Seriously, the ROKN’s most capable frigate (back then) could not operate a chopper?

      6. The Pohangs and Ulsans were built in the days when Helicopters weren’t a big thing in ships. It is only lately when navies started putting Helicopters in the smaller ships …

      7. I think they will have to replace the Emerlec 30s because if not, there would be too many guns already on the ship. The Emerlec 30s are actually better in that it has a much higher rate of fire than the Mk38s, but it is an old technology that has not changed much since the mid 70s.

        Also our Navy doesn’t seem to like them, we had these on our Kagitingan class of ships and on the Chamsuri class ships donated by South Korea, but almost all were eventually removed. Perhaps our Navy found them difficult to maintain …

      8. I agree, get rid of the emerlec 30 mm guns, keep the aft side clear and have it strengthened so it can be a landing pad or replace it with a phalanx ciws, then replace the forward emerlec with a 6-shot mistral sinbad, then lastly we should hav mk 38 guns for defense against small craft

  2. Hi RHK,

    As usual, my great gratitude for a very informative and revealing blog.

    I just figured out that in 2 to 3 years time. PH Navy will have these major assets:
    – 2 ASW Helos
    – 5 Frigates including 2 brand new
    – 12 corvettes including 1 Pohang-class
    – 2 brand new Makassar-class LPD’s
    – 5 AW109 Power helos with 3 armed versions
    – 8 amphibious assault vehicles

    If 1 Hamilton-class and another Pohang-class will be added, which I am sure is forthcoming, PH will then have one of the strongest Navy in the region, right?

    But can this be considered a force worth of China’s concern?

    1. Thanks, Dewi. As for your question if the forthcoming assets will be enough to be a main concern to China … I don’t think so. Even with all those assets, our navy will actually still be one of the less powerful navies in the region. Note that most of our ships, particularly our Corvettes, are WW2 vessels, only 4 of those are somewhat modern. Here are the fleets of our more modern SEA neighbors:

      China has a very powerful naval fleet, their West Philippine Sea fleet alone consists of 8 Destroyers, 17 Frigates, 8 Submarines and 13 LPDs/LSTs – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Sea_Fleet

      We cannot hope to match China on a ship-per-ship basis like Japan, so we will have to find ways to offset that. IMHO, the best way to do that would be to use other platforms that could be used against ships, like those Shore-based AShMs, for example, and air-launched AShMs. Our main advantage is that we are nearer to the Spratlys than they are, hence our supply lines are shorter.

      Lastly, we will also need Submarines, despite the PhNs aversion to them. Subs are what are called “Force Multipliers”, each Sub is worth a couple of Surface Ships (although Surface Ship proponents will argue with that). If we can have all these in place, that will be enough to give pause to China.

      Although I don’t agree with Iran’s “Swarm Boat Tactics”, I do agree with some of parts of their “Asymmetrical Naval Warfare Doctrine”, particularly their stress on:
      a. Using many, different platforms for Anti Ship weapons;
      b. Using a LOT of Anti Ship weapons (missiles, guns, etc.) to OVERWHELM the enemy’s defenses

      Like us, Iran is against a major superpower in the US who has a vastly better naval capability, hence it maybe good to adopt SOME of their doctrines …

      1. Yeah, that submarine dream… I can only sing “Is it okay if I call you mine?” And “Quando, quando, Quando”…..

      1. It is important for the Philippines to keep having a good leader for a longer time for this to happen. Turn PNoy into a Prime Minister so he will have an open-ended term, and maybe that will happen, LOL. Just kidding, of course.

    2. when the two frigates and boutwell arrive, that will give us five frigates, when pohang arrives that will give us four corvettes, at least we can catch up to indonesia after the horizon 3 plans, which would leave us with 6 brand new frigates plus three WHEC’s, 12 new corvettes, plus a Pohang and three Jacintos, and a submarine or two, that is if the next admin. is supportive of AFP

  3. The PN wil never be able to match the big naval ships of China if the sea dispute escalates into a conflict. What we need are increased Air Power w/anti-ship capabilities & coastal anti-ship missile batteries. For. illegal Chinese poaching, what we need are, in big quantities, small & very fast steel-armored patrol boats capable of punching holes in the wooden hulls of these fishing vessels by ramming them at the propeller side.

    1. I have looked at this vessel before, specifically the slightly bigger MRTP 34 (http://www.yonca-onuk.com/productList.php/?p=148). I agree it would make a good “Swarm Boat” as it has a decent gun, AShMs, and short-range SAMs. But the problem is cost, how much will it cost? For the SB concept to be effective, it will have to be cheap also so we can buy many. The reason why the PhN find the MPAC to be such an attractive platform for their SB concept is because it costs only USD 2 million.

      I have been thinking of writing a blog about what I think will be an “ideal” SB based on the lessons learned on my previous blogs about Missile Boats and Large Warships, I think I will proceed with that one of these days …

  4. It is very important that we select a good leader to improve this country.. A person that is committed with the national interest and continues implementation of the AFP modernization.. The faith of this Country is in our hands.. WE should know the real color and intention of the candidate and Think twice before voting..
    With all these assets are coming.. It’s a big moral booster for those who are in service.. The 8 Brand New KAAV7 will replace the much heavier LVTH6 in service.. Im hoping that PMC will reconsider replacing it with the same firepower.. I mean LVTH-6 has a 105mm Howitzer compared to KAAV7.. BMP-3 with 100 mm cannon, like what the South Korean and Indonesian had will be the best choice. and if it is not the doctrine of PMC.. why they still use the LVTH-6 with the same capability of BMP-3

    1. What a big surprise. But do we really want to buy Russian, with them being so close to the Chinese? They could give away vital information about the weapons we buy from them. That being said, their Flankers are VERY tempting. It would be like getting cheaper versions of the F-15s …

      1. We get them from ukraine. I think ukraine has an aircraft factory for the flankers, india has one as well for locally assembled flankers.

  5. when we have that minimum naval deterrent then we should shift to air power next. China would not risk open war by sinking our ships with a torpedo from a sub unless it wants to start one. the distance card will be effective here since it would take an hour or more for their aircraft to arrive and rearm even with their aircraft carrier. siguro naman a year of ajt training would be enough for the phaf to reconsider new mrf’s or a couple more geagles with maritime strike ability. dun nalang bumawi to protect our ships also. btw, there is talk of a HAWK mission module for the c130 to convert it into a gunship as well as the c295. It would be dual purpose for cargo and cas roles.

    1. The Harvest Hawk is an interesting concept, but one thing to consider about this is the operating costs. A C-130 with its 4 huge engines won’t be cheap to operate, not to mention the expensive Precision Guided Munitions. If used against high value targets like ships, etc. the cost could be justified, but if only for anti-insurgency purposes, not sure about that …

      1. Then i guess the c295 gunship according to janes is the next best thing but it still is a concept. I hope they attach a howitzer and some bofors and bushmasters to the transport like the ac130 hehe. Its cheaper to use artillery shells than missiles and bombs.

  6. But the source of information came from the Russian http://vpk.name/news/112171_filippinyi_proyavlyayut_interes_k_rossiiskoi_bmp3f.html and translated to English… so it means that Russian and Philippines are discussing about BMP-3F and quoted “We are working with the country on the BMP-3F. The specific results are reported later, “- he said. I think they are looking for a replacement of LVTH-6 with the same capability which offers increased fire power, maneuverability and protection of the marines. Imagine we have those BMP-3 providing firepower support ashore and then the KAAV7 carrying more number of marines.. Wow!! I’m dreaming the beauty of PMC’s capability…

  7. What the name for our new warship? What about BRP Benigno Aquino II? This warship will be the most modern and strongest warship in ASEAN….and next frigate will be best in Asia.
    Go navy go…

    1. Wala pa as of now, it will be revealed in the next coming months. They will probably name it for another hero of the Philippine Navy …

      1. I noticed that we had 12 conrado yaps and just 2 or 3 are operating. Can’t they rehabilitate these and transfer some to the coast guard?

      2. Very good question. However, in fairness I don’t think those ships were made for long-range, long-duration patrols, maybe not enough space for a decent habitation. If you take a look at this picture, for example, you will see that the PhN removed the weapons behind the bridge and turned it into a open-air mess hall. This is probably the reason why these ships were never really maintained as well.

        But the bigger Tomas Batillo-class is VERY active, it is one of the more important vessels in our navy …

  8. i hate to be the bringer of bad news but look at this

    View at Medium.com

    i know rp has a lot of problems and cash is one of them but please for the love of God spend on the afp. anyone who becomes president who has half a brain knows that china will only get more belligerent if we are perceived as weak militarily. even the dark lord knows that being friends with china has its limits and like some chinese businessmen practice the might is right and money talks tagline. a third aircraft carrier and not a second? wtf. The US has 11 but we don’t have no beef with them and they don’t have a beef with us. the chinese navy pretty much already has a 10 to 20 year procurement plan and we need that kind of planning as well. Win or loose the arbitration we need shore based ashp missiles with assets to protect them as well. Most likely ASEAN member countries know this also and it is only a matter of time when the LIaoning or any of china’s carriers presence cannot anymore be denied and china’s belligerence will only grow stronger because to some ASEAN member states’ belief that money talks and china has a lot of their money ergo let’s let vietnam, philippines suffer china’s wrath. so please dark lord don’t sell us out, to the leftists stop blocking afp procurements and stop rallying in the US embassy and start rallying in the chinese embassy because id rather have the US help than chinese arrogant intrusion. Btw, the chinese keep on releasing articles in the philstar claiming its right to own the spratlys (alongside confucius’ teachings and other crap) every so often that it makes me sick. Maybe we could get a brahmos hypersonic cruise missile or the storm shadow stand off stealth cruise missile to sink those carriers when they reach Palawan. Just ranting.

    1. I have seen that. Perhaps some one should take a full page advertisement on the opposite page which says “READ THE CHINESE LIES IN THE PRIOR PAGE”.

  9. A couple of hypersonic & stealthy anti-ship cruise missiles with a heavy warhead and sophisticated multi-homing systems can probably disable if not sink a Super Aircraft Carrier no matter how many defensive systems it have. It’s worth spending 10-20 cruise misssiles in sinking a Super carrier with 5,000+ sailors and 100+ combat planes going down with it.

    1. Yup. A couple of camouflaged missile silos combined with mobile launchers both sea and land based. With air cover from fighters and sams. Now that is a statement for china not to mess with the rp.

  10. The Chinese doesnt have experience how to counter torpedo. I think a few advance torpedo Black Shark torpedo should be install in the isolated island will be tougher for the Chinese navy to get closer in the island.

  11. to acquire the minimum defence requirements, the phil navy must have the following:

    1. 5 missile guided frigates
    2. 10 missile corvettes
    3. 20 missile patrol boats
    4. 15 ASW capable helicopters
    5. 3 submarines

    in regards to the threats of china’s aircraft carriers kalayaan island must
    be made a operational naval and air base. allowing ships from u.s. and japan to have a frequent visitations and naval exercises.

    our present and future acquisitions are only for our territorial defence and has no capability to face the large navy and aircraft carriers of china. therefore, there is a need for our government to have an effective mutual defence treaty with U.S. and Japan to neutralize these threats. one way is to allow U.S. and Japan naval ships to used our naval and air bases such as in palawan and in subic.

    1. I think this is similar to the “Philippine 2020” Wish List of the PhN. I think those ships will certainly be needed, but I think even more will be required. I am coming up with a blog on what I think will be needed to negate China’s Naval might …

    2. If war erupts and China sends 100 combat ships to attack our coastal defenses, we need 300 BrahMos anti-ship cruise missiles to defend it @ 3 missiles/ship. 1 Brahmos cost $3 million x 300 missiles =$900 million (P37.8 billion) w/c our gov’t. can afford. A BrahMos has an operational range of 300-500 km w/c is enough to cover our 200-nmile Exclusive Economic Zone. And with a warhead of 250 kg, a speed of March 2.9, sea skimming as low as 3.5 mtrs above surface level and a sophisticated guidance/homing system, it has better chances of sinking any large Chinese naval ship than sending our few Navy ships against it. Our naval ships are 100x more costly to maintain (fuel, sailor salaries & training, food, clothing, accomodation,etc) compared to missiles which are just kept safe and ready for firing at it’s silos with not much maintenance costs.And that is the best deterrent against China’s Naval forces from getting near our shores. The same applies to China’s Air forces, we just need 300 MIM-104 Patriot SAMs as a defense against 100-300 of China’s combat planes & ballistic missiles. The PLA army’s 2 million combatants has no chance of getting a foothold on our mainland bec. we can raise the same number of soldiers from our population of 100 million filipinos aside from the advantage of distance and no land border with China.

      1. The Brahmos is currently limited only to under 300 km to comply with international missile proliferation rules, hence it will have tactical and strategic limitations because of this. Also, I have serious doubts about anything built with Russia due to their closeness to China.

        We shouldn’t limit ourselves to just using one weapons platform over the other, we will need a lot of submarines, ships, land vehicles and aircraft armed with Anti Ship Missiles and other weapons to negate China’s Naval Might. This is what other countries in a similar “unequal” or “assymetrical” situation like Iran and North Korea is doing now …

      2. I agree with you that we need a lot of submarines, frigates, fighter planes, tanks, etc..But with limited military budget, it will take several decades to be able to meet our minimum credible defense needs with these expensive weapons systems. For now, missile systems are the most cost-effective alternative to meet our defense needs quickly and w/c can easily be procured and manufactured locally under license. As an example, I would rather use 20 anti-ship missiles worth $ 60M @ $3M each to defend against 1 to 20 Chinese Frigates than buying a single $60M Phil.Frigate to confront 1 to 20 Chinese Frigates.

      3. Unfortunately, apart from direct intervention from the US, there simply is no shortcut in dealing with a country as rich and militarily powerful as China. Either we build up our entire armed forces, or not. Missiles have limitations, too, if you’ve read my blogs about “Missile Boat Naval Battle Lessons” and “Modern Large Ship Naval Battle Lessons”.

        Take Vietnam, for example. Vietnam has a very powerful armed forces, much more powerful than ours. In fact, they have the kind of armed forces that we aspire to, and yet that has not kept China from beating them around the block.

        As for the Brahmos, I am coming out with a blog about it, I think its time to do so as it just keeps coming up every now and then in forums, news, etc.

    1. Well, technically we are not with war with China yet, hence we can’t completely cut doing business with them … yet. I agree that Chinese companies should be kept from bidding on government projects, but as far as other aspects of trade goes, unless there really will be a shooting war then, I don’t know, I don’t think that can be stopped as of now.

  12. sir what if our hamiltons will be used as OPV instead as frigate since the designed can endure long time on the sea. what if they will ligthly armed (2 harpoon AShM, 2×4 AAM launcers and 2 mk 38 mod 2 autocannon) and there will be a savings since the dnd planned to armed them heavily as compared to my suggestions. then the supposed savings will be used to our upcoming brand new frigates. as we all know that the specs of the upcoming frigates are lacking of CIWS and the AAM defense are not potent enough compared to other brand new designed frigates. the hamiltons will be our secondary force in case war broke out and it will be our primary ship when patrolling our EEZ against drug traffickers, smugglers and poachers.

    according dnd another hamilton on the pipeline and it will be welcomed addition since we will be needing 18 OPV’s. then hopefully the 4 remaining AAW frigates will acquired as brand new (6 were desired by our PN).

    1. We need as many heavily armed ships as possible, hence the ideal scenario is actually to complete the bidding of the 2 new Frigates, and then upgrade the Hamilton/Del Pilars also.

      1. With our Spratly territories and Scarborough Shoal already under a “state of occupation and annexation” by China, there is no more time to wait several years to receive our planned & expensive combat planes and naval ships. What we need immediaely now are hundreds of ASM/SAM missiles and radar systems w/c will be less costly & quicker to procure and deploy before the year ends.

      2. I can understand the fear and the sense of urgency, but my personal opinion is that no amount of “cramming” will help keep our territories if China really wants to get them. The only thing keeping them back is the threat of US intervention, but if China calls the US’ bluff and forces things, and the US doesn’t help, then there’s nothing that will stop them, no even filling the Spratlys with missiles.

        Even if we do get so many missiles to the territories, who will operate and maintain them effectively? People need to be trained, and tactics and strategies will have to be developed, and war exercises will need to be made so the personnel can practice what they learned. This is not an easy thing to do, even in other countries it takes years for armed forces personnel to get to the proper level.

        You’re talking about simple soldiers who have never been exposed to advanced weaponry, and expect them to be prolific with their use and maintenance in months? That doesn’t happen in any of the world’s armed forces. It takes years of preparation.

        I feel that what we can do now is simply not assume too much, and keep our current plans moving along. Besides, speeding procurement up will only mean more opportunities for corruption. We’re talking here of hundreds of billions of pesos, and if we are not careful it will end up like the PDAF Scam, in the pockets of corrupt and powerful individuals …

      3. Well, its one of those topics that I start out with, but eventually find to be too depressing, or too negative, hence I have problems motivating myself to finish it or make a good blog about. Hence, it eventually takes a back seat, most especially if I find a more “fun” blog to do, like right now a blog about the Brahmos, for example, which I will insert into the schedule.

        As for my blog about the US not defending us, I think I will finish it, eventually, but it will just take a bit more time. I think I will do it after the Brahmos blog, then.

    1. An Oil Tanker converted into a Helicopter Carrier for Anti-Insurgency and HADR operations is a good idea, but it is up to the PhN to see if this is feasible to operate. It doesn’t seem like they think they need such as of now …

      1. Hi RHK, I can sense how depressing it will be. In fact my own theory is that the US does not really want to up arm the Philippines like how it has done with others as they fear we might start our (even if we lose it) own little war that may drag them in. What’s 40 M dollars that is not much and hardly have they donated much for fear of antagonizing China.

      2. I am almost sure that is in the minds of the Americans as well, which why the Hamiltons they sent us were lacking in some features, and why they haven’t helped us as much as other allies. Pakistan and Egypt got more than USD 3 Billion in military hardware as aid, but when Obama visited us, “Shibolleths” is what we got as Joker Arroyo said.

        We understand the importance of Egypt and Pakistan compared to us, and we won’t ever likely to get USD 3 Billion in aid from the US, but what about, say, USD 1 Billion for a squadron of F-16s, for example?

        Anyway, like it or not the US is still our best hope. This reminds me of the time when Churchill went to the US to charm, beg, demand, etc. the US for help in WW2. Do our leaders need to do the same also, and will it actually be successful? I don’t know …

      3. Conspiracy theoriest were saying the Brits set up the Americans and dragged them into WW2. The Americans are too wise now to allow that to happen again because this one war in the Pacific will be the most expensive on a Dollar per hour if it happens. Is it why the Philippines decided to drop the P3 negotiations as it will be stripped off everything except for the engines?

      4. Not really sure about those P3 negotiations, but if they did happen and those were the terms, its not a good sign that they don’t even seem to help us as much when it comes to procuring military equipment …

  13. Sorry, I am referring more to the tens of thousands of well-educated Filipino engineers and technicians with the technical background to learn fast in operating missile systems and not simple soldiers. But I do agree with you that it will take time and experience to hone & improve their skills in manning such systems. It is better to procure early the weapons for AFP during Pnoy’s term than the next coming presidents bec. corrupt gov’t. officials & military officers are now less likely to do wrong during his term. We don’t know when will war take place bet. China & the Phil. but better to be prepared early than wait for war to erupt first before we start arming the AFP. We must never allow China to build a naval and airbase inside our EEZ zone which will make Metro Manila and the rest of the Philippines just a few seconds striking distance.

  14. as what i have said before we should first buy weapons that we are capable to produce and be self reliant.
    1. missile patrol boats
    2. air to air and anti ship missiles platform
    these are examples of equipment that i feel once we can buy, later we could copy or request for a license to manufacture.

    1. There is a tem for that. They call it tot and offset terms. Technology transfer(tot) to license and produce and offset terms to build locally for the country that is gonna purchase them (taxes from local labor will offset some of the cost of production). Saab does that and so does austal, hal and ptpal. Dont know why the dnd does not consider this also.

      1. This mostly applies in bulk purchases, and if the local industry has the capability to undertake the build. This has been done before, particularly with the Simbas and the SF-260s. But such undertaking is only temporary, after the Simba build the local company was eventually closed, although the PADC that built the SF-260s is still around …

      2. whatever is the term for these technology transfer, our govt must pursue this project of buying first missile boats and air to air/antiship missiles so that we can be self reliant and no longer depend on buying expensive equipments. in the long run, this is more economical and we can improve our skills and technology as what the israelis, japanese, taiwanese and south koreans have done,
        these are the less expensive equipments that we are capable to produce. but this will suite for our immediate needs for territorial defence while we are still pursuing the acquisitions of more expensive missile frigates/corvettes and MRFs.

    1. That’s not a credible article, they are the only ones who reported that and it was never picked up by a major and credible news organization. Frankly I abhor the people who started that article. What is it that they want? To share their fantasies about the Philippines acquiring F-35s to others? To draw more traffic to their website? We can’t even afford to buy F-18Es and JAS-39Cs, and suddenly these people are talking about F-35s? Anyway, I would just ignore that website from hereon …

  15. Even if we have that. We still cannot be the strongest with hand me down items and no real combat training. I agree we may have those but that is still very limited. We may have the fighting chance but not really the title of the strongest navy in the region. We do not even have submarines which are very important. It is far more easier to hunt a surface ship than a submarine.

    1. Hi Goalkeeper, I agree that we have no real combat training.

      However, we have this distinct and natural advantage over any other race including China when it comes to Naval battle because Filipinos are natural seafarers and mariners. No need to explain that with PH being an achipelago.

      That what you just termed fighting chance. Remember: Vietnam also has “only” that when it faced the US.

      Yeah, it is stupid for us to go to war with China but it does not mean we cannot outfox them even with their superior firepower.

  16. I do agree on this. What can you do in a 6 year term compared to an open ended term? a ship takes years to build and if the next president is a lemon then what is next for us ?

    1. I share the same apprehension and worry, goalkeepr. I am just hoping that the current turnout of events will also raise the awareness, commitment and dedication of whoever gets elected to the highest post in continuing the improvement/modernization our military.

  17. the afp should start from somewhere and if means being under trained then so be it. mind you african nations with no airforces to speak of are now acquiring su27’s already. nations who have no considerable gdp’s to speak of are arming themselves with high tech gear. we just have to practice, practice and practice more. what i expect to happen is that china really gets all the islands they are reclaiming today pending the arbitration. but we can make it harder for them by training our navy to sub hunt and close the door on them by harassing them from reaching the open waters of the pacific via batanes. now if only the indonesians and australians do their part by denying them access in the celebes, java and timor seas. i recall that china was so pissed off with us they conducted drills in the philippine sea. i think janes reported this but our local media was not even aware of this. News blackout maybe… deny us our islands we will harass your ships from reaching the Pacific. Go sub hunting and arrest chinese poachers at the same time.

    1. Those Flankers are really quite nice. When India bought a lot of them, the unit price was only around USD 45 million, not a lot more than the USD 38 per aircraft we paid for the FA-50s. This for an aircraft as good or better than the F-15. But Russia is just too complicated for us to deal with right now, as I will mention in my blog about the Brahmos …

  18. me too im not confident buying any russian arms. it has always been proven if advertised the russians arms particularly their fighters excel against the americans. such as the reputation of the mig 29 but when it comes to a real war most of them are disappointing. the russian fighters have never been proven a winner start from the korean war until the iraq war. well, as advertised and during air shows su27, su30 and the mig29s are superb. advertisement and air shows is not a gauge that these aircraft can perform in a real war. yes, they are less expensive compared to the u.s. and europeans fighters but since it is less expensive it should not be the basis that we just buy it with out the consideration if it will perform as what is expected. if the former WARSAW PACT countries (former ally of russia) are now pursuing american and european fighters, is it that self explanatory?.

    1. I think the Warsaw Pact nations going for Western aircraft is more due to them trying to cut off ties with Russia rather than because they found western aircraft to be better.

      If you look at our SEA neighbors now like Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, they all have Flankers and seemed generally satisfied with them. Malaysia did have problems with their MIG-29s, but not so much with their Flankers …

      1. I think its just how the east and west differ in their philosophy. The east likes a no frills fighter that can do their job well and is easily produced. The west likes a high tech fighter that can do everything and can be very reliable and last a whole lot. If we do intend to buy cheap but lethal flankers we can source them from hal and supply avionics and weapons from elbit or iai (they specialize in east to west conversions). Btw, china released a new 10 dash line map. Wtf. If the bali meetings fail then we officially have a chinese version of crimea.

      1. The days of the Humabon in major exercises like these are numbered, and rightfully so since it is a WW2 relic. Pero of course the crew will still need some exposure as long as it is in service …

    1. Ala, we’ll have to wait for the PhAF Anniversary at the end of the month for the pics, naka static display daw ang mga iyan …

    1. I’m afraid medyo matagal pa iyan, taon siguro unless China moves to occupy more territories in the Spratlys …

    2. I think Russia doesn’t care much in selling to any country (except its enemies) interested in buying it’s SU-27 as long as it will bring in money in it’s treasury and since there are many comparable 4th Generation fighters available from other arms exporters which can be selected. Besides, Russia is replacing this fighters with 4++ & 5th Generation fighters exclusively for its own Air Force only or closest ally. So, it’s a bargain for the Phil. to better buy SU-27s OR MIG-29Ms as our next MRFs if our gov’t. cannot afford to buy F-15s. That would be a big leap from FA-50 trainers to SU-27 / MIG-29M MRFs. Getting well-trained fighter pilots is not a problem to fly these MRFs.

  19. bangladesh navy BNS somudro joy is the hamilton class USGC jarvis supposedly our third frigate but we rejected because we opt to buy brand new frigates. but what really surprise me we acquired earlier our 2 hamiltons in 2011 and 2012, the bangladesh navy acquired the USGC jarvis only may 2013 but they have transformed it into a ASW, with its 76mm they added 2 type 730 6 barrel 30mm CIWS and 2x324mm b-515 tube whitehead a2445.

    It will be further upgrade to install c-802A anti ship missile and FL-3000 or fm-90n SAM missile and aw-1097n or z-9c asw helicopter. and i think they will do it. but the initial upgrade alone has turn this ship a real fighting ship.

    this how fast the bangladesh navy upgraded the hamilton in just several months after its acquisition. why we cannot do the same.


    1. As far as I know, the planned modifications on the Somudro Joy hasn’t been done yet, just like on our Hamiltons …

      1. yes, the anti ship and SAM were not yet installed but the 2 CIWS and the ASW torpedo tube were already installed. the CIWS and ASW torpedo tube is already a big improvement.than our refit of our del pilars of a 20 mm and 30 mm cannons only.

      2. I can’t find any credible source that says that CIWS and ASW capability has been installed on the BNS Somudra Joy as of now …

      3. please look on the Wikepedia.of BNS Somudra Joy on the installed upgrades. installation of missiles is already programmed by the bangladesh navy. the bangladesh navy have 4 frigates all missile capable.

  20. Funny how the gripen ng storyline in its ad is what is actually going to happen to us. About the article on the urgency to destroy those chinese bases i agree to a certain extent. A realistic red line for us would be the deployment of chinese troops and beach fortifications on the islands. Now that is purely an act of unadulterated disregard for peace loving countries like ours. If you could imagine a boat ride away is chinese territory is bastusan na ito. To deter this we should start training our marines for rapid beach landings, fire support, demolition etc. there is logic to his assertions. I hope china does not force our hand because they know that once they start doing this there is no going back. Its either a falkland scenario or a crimea at sea.

    1. It just so happened that we are an archipelago and we don’t have any close neighbors around us, but the truth of the matter is that majority of countries in the world have had to live with neighbors that could be a threat to them. It is only now that we get to experience what most countries are experiencing, which is having a possible threat close to them …

      1. Unfortunately our neighbor is a communist state. Even if their people do not agree with the government they would just be killed off. They are brainwashed as well. Makarma sana sila.

    1. Taking so long, they’ve been talking about that for about a year now. But what can we buy or get from the Japanese? Not ships or submarines as they are too big. They have a different, much higher standards for their navies, they basically have a Destroyer Surface Fleet with 37 Destroyers, none weighing less than 4,000 tons. Their submarines are also too big at around 4,000 tons also.

      I think missiles will be the best things we can get from Japan, and also ground vehicles …

      1. They have a lot of high displacement ocean going vessels. While the pohangs are coastal corvettes and the hamiltons too old sana at least one opv lang sana para makasali naman tayo sa rimpac hehehe. Alam ko marami rin ngayong for retirement na frigates sila.

  21. Maybe Japan can sell to us their 70+ battle-ready F-4 Phantom IIs at give-away prices while waiting for the FA-50s to arrive. F-4s may not be suitable as a Fighter Aircraft but it will be effective as an Attack-Bomber for offensive use on the military post at Mischief Reef and as Interceptor for defensive use against IRBM ballistic missiles.

  22. Philippine Navy Frigate Acquisition Program FB Page.. https://www.facebook.com/groups/pnfrigate/

    by: S` Sam Marcelo about Single mission corvette/ OPV size. instead of having multipurpose frigate with all the capability of AAW, ASuW, ASW.
    He suggested that DND should acquire more Pohang size corvette with single mission. 3 different variants of single mission corvette each AAW, AsuW, ASW Vs. 1 multipurpose frigate. He said that.. do not put all your eggs in one basket..
    I think this is a good idea not only they are cheaper. you will also have multiple number of ships. and you will not loose all your capabilities if one of your ship get sink unlike a multipurpose frigate.. once it is hit and get sink.. then all your capabilities will loose..

    1. The group is closed, and I have no intention of joining it.

      At any rate, I agree that we should get more Pohangs, it the cheapest way now for us to have modern ships in our arsenal.

      But as for his concept of getting single-mission boats instead of General Purpose boats … I think we will need a combination of both. The problem with small, single mission boats is that they have limited range and endurance, which makes them not so efficient in patrolling large territorial waters like ours.

      So in the end, we will still need large ships as they are more efficient and economical when it comes to patrol duties …

  23. I had a robotics competition in Korea last year and I got to tour the Pohang museum, torpedoes are there alright and those MM-38 launchers looked good if they weren’t outdated but i hope the ship comes with them either way, I can’t wait to see the ship enter service in our navy

  24. scale picture shows that Pohang looks only a little smaller than Del Pilar, maybe the navy will commission her as PF and not PS?

      1. It is heavy because it has a lot of range and can stay a long time at sea. The Del Pilars can easily travel twice as far and stay out at sea twice as long than most other ships of its size.

        Most of its weight and size is allocated for Fuel, Food, Oil, etc. and other Consumables. And it also has to have good Habitability and Recreational Facilities for its Crew since they have to stay a long time at sea …

    1. I see, since the Pohang has only half the range of Del Pilar, she would probably require RAS from BRP Lake Caliraya if sent to patrol the WPS, that or return to Palawan all the time…

  25. IMO, the Philippines should make a MASSIVE Grab for all the remaining Pohang class Corvettes and Ulsan class Frigates. It would give the Philippines a HUGE Leg to Stand on and the Pohang class Corvettes would give the Philippines the ASW capability and the Ulsan class frigates would give them the ASUW capability as well. It would free up the Hamilton class Frigates to protect the newer Frigates.

  26. Would it be possible to replace the DARDO CIWS with Phalanx? and probably add some SEA RAM in lieu of the mistral missiles that was removed?

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