A Bonanza of South Korean Warships?

The Ulsan-class Frigate FF-956 Kyong Buk. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.
The Ulsan-class Frigate FF-956 Kyong Buk. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

‘A Second Pohang?’
The Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said recently that the Pohang-class Corvette that will be donated to the Philippines by South Korea will arrive in October, 2014.1 While reading around about the Incheon-class Frigate, I noticed that a new such Frigate, the Gyeonggi will also be commissioned on the same month.2 Putting two and two together, it looks like the South Korean Navy (SKN) in this case will be making a straight swap, retiring a Pohang and commissioning in a new Incheon vessel at just about the same time.

The more interesting prospect though is the fact that the SKN also intends to commission another Incheon-class vessel, the Jeonbuk,2 by December 2014. The big question is, will the SKN also retire another Pohang? No news yet from South Korea on this, but if so, what will happen to this ship? And more importantly, will the Philippines have a good chance of getting this vessel also? Right now we can only speculate, and time will tell if another Pohang will really be retired, and as to what its possible fate will be.

‘Pohangs and Ulsans to be Retired’
The commissioning of the Gyeonggi could signal an even bigger opportunity for the Philippines as there will be a windfall of South Korean warships in the next couple of years when the SKN retires more old ships and replaces them with new ones. Originally there were a total of 24 Pohang-class ships, but out of that number only around 20 remain in active service. The first Pohang-class ship, ROKS Pohang (PCC-756) was retired and turned into a museum; A second Pohang-class ship, ROKS Gunsan (PCC-757) was supposed to have been retired in 2011, although no available confirmation about this yet; Another Pohang-class ship, ROKS Cheonan (PCC-772) was sunk by a North Korean Midget Submarine;3 And a currently unnamed Pohang will be retired in October and donated to us.

Aside from the 1,200 ton Pohang-class ships, the SKN also intends to replace the Ulsan-class Frigates with the Incheon-class ships. The Ulsans are bigger, around twice the size of the Pohangs at 2,350 tons, and more capable with better and more weapons, better and more sensors, and better performance. There are around nine ships of this class currently in active service with the SKN,4 so together with the Pohangs that makes a total of 29 ships that the SKN will be retiring by 2020 and replacing with around 15 Incheon-class ships. To make up for the numerical shortfall, the new Gumdoksuri-class Patrol Vessel will also be taking up some of the operations done by the Pohang-class vessels.5

South Korea builds its ships in batches, they build them, test them operationally and then make corrections if necessary based on manufacturing and operational experience, and also add improvements if so desired, and then build the next batch of ships. This means the retirement of the Pohangs and Ulsans will also be done in batches.

‘Haksaengs and Chamsuris’
The last time South Korea retired some of its boats, the Philippines was able to get a lot of them. In the mid-1990s, when the SKN retired their Haksaeng-class Patrol Boats and started retiring their Chamsuri-class Patrol Boats, the Philippines got around a dozen Haksaengs (renamed to the Conrado Yap-class) and eight Chamsuris (renamed to the Tomas Batillo-class). The boats were either donated or sold at a token price partly in recognition of Fidel V. Ramos’ presidency then who fought in the Korean War and was actually highly decorated in that war, at one time assaulting and wiping out a Chinese position.6

The 65 ton Haksaengs were not well-maintained, though, as only three out of twelve reportedly remain in active service.7 Maybe it’s because the Philippine Navy (PN) prefers to prioritize the maintenance and operation of the newer Andrada-class of ships which is about the same size at around 56 tons. However, six out of the eight bigger 170 ton Chamsuris are still in service and has been very active in the Navy’s Counter-Insurgency and Humanitarian and Disaster Response (HADR) operations.8

Of course the Pohangs and Ulsans are much bigger, more capable and more expensive than the Haksaengs and Chamsuris, so I am not sure if we will get the same generous terms we got for the smaller boats before. Some might be given away to us, but I think if we want more we will need to buy them. The estimated selling value of the Pohang ships are around USD 30 million each based on the sale that did not push thru to the African country of Equatorial Guinea a couple of years ago,9 while the bigger Ulsans will probably be 2-3 times more expensive, around USD 60-90 million.

A Conrado Yap-class Patrol Boat, PG 847 BRP Leopoldo Regis or former Haksaeng-class Patrol Boat. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.
A Conrado Yap-class Patrol Boat, PG 847 BRP Leopoldo Regis or former Haksaeng-class Patrol Boat. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

At that price, if these ships comes with all of their weapons and electronic equipment intact plus if all of its critical systems will be refurbished, they will actually be quite cheap if we compare them to the prevailing prices of brand-new ships of equal size, weapons, electronic equipment and capability, hence they would be very good deals for us. I would like to think that the Philippines does have a unique bond with South Korea not found with many countries in that we did fight side-by-side with them before, hence there is probably a better opportunity for us to be able to acquire war material from them which we severely need right now.

‘No Helicopter or RHIB Support’
The only sort of issue I see with both the Ulsan and Pohang is that they don’t have provisions for rotary-winged aircraft (i.e., Helicopters) and Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB). Almost all new design for Corvette-sized and up ships now carry at least one helicopter, and this is because helicopters are very useful. They extend the sensor and weapons range of a ship for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW), and they can even help defend ships against missiles by acting as decoys.

On the other hand, RHIBs are very useful as they allow personnel and cargo to be sent to and from the ship right up to the beach without the need for a deep port for the ship to dock on to. Almost all of the major Navy vessels have RHIB support, I think the Navy found them to be very useful in reaching many of the undeveloped areas around the archipelago.

The Pohangs and Ulsans could be modified to have one or both of these features, but it will likely mean that some of the weapons will have to be removed, and I am not so sure if that is a very good idea. Of course, it is up to the Navy to decide if they see this as a worthy tradeoff or not.

‘Parting Shot’
I think what the DND and Navy should be doing as early as now is to start planning the re-aligning of our budget for defense so we can get as many of these Pohangs and Ulsans as we possibly can. There is also the issue of manpower and training, that will also have be planned well if we are to be able to man and maintain these more sophisticated ships well.

We have to remember that opportunities like this don’t come often, based on the fact that the Pohangs and Ulsans were built in the mid-1980s means that the SKN is projecting a 30-year lifespan for their ships, hence an opportunity like this will not happen again until around 2050 when the SKN retires their Incheon-class ships.

But the big problem is the uncertainty being brought about by the coming 2016 Presidential elections, we don’t exactly know what kind of a Presidency we will be getting, whether it will be a generally good one like PNoy, or if we will end up with The Dark Lord, Jejomar Binay. If Binay is elected, we might not be able to get the full advantage of this unique opportunity of the windfall of warships from South Korea.

Around the same time frame South Korea will also be retiring more military equipment such as fighter aircraft like the KF-16, but I feel that it would be better if we get ships and ground vehicles instead as aircraft have higher and more difficult standards in terms of refurbishing and maintenance. Aside from the Pohangs and Ulsans, more Chamsuri-class boats will also be retired by 2020, and since the ones we got before have proven to be very useful to the Navy so far, we may want to get more of these ships also. I hope though that the Navy will maintain most of the Chamsuri’s armaments and systems this time around as opposed to downgrading them like they did with the earlier Batillo-class of ships.

A Tomas Batillo-class Patrol Boat, or former Chamsuri-class Patrol Boat. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.
A Tomas Batillo-class Patrol Boat, or former Chamsuri-class Patrol Boat. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.


  1. PH set to receive warship from S. Korea,
  2. Hyundai Heavy Industries launched the 3rd Incheon class frigate ROKS Jeonbuk,
  3. Pohang-class corvette,
  4. Ulsan-class frigate,
  5. Gumdoksuri-class patrol vessel,
  6. FVR recalls Korean War exploits during the assault of Eerie Hill,
  7. Conrado Yap-class patrol craft,
  8. Tomas Batillo-class patrol craft,
  9. Equatorial Guinea seeks South Korean corvettes: report,

79 thoughts on “A Bonanza of South Korean Warships?”

  1. HI RHK,

    Not many are aware that the about 70% of PH Navy patrol boats are from SOKOR.

    And not many are also aware that SOKOR is one of the most feared Navy in the world especially after that very successful and jaw-dropping recue mission in the Gulf of Aden in Somalia.

    And a lot more people are simply ignoring the significant contribution of the SOKORS in the Philippine economy especially in the future. Even here in Davao, Sokors are tasked to study the feasibility of LRT/Monorail in the city.

    But for me, Sokors along with Nippon will play a very important and vital role on the current state and future of this nation…

    1. I think South Korea wants to help us even more, but they have big problems of their own also in North Korea. In fact, I think China wants North Korea to keep South Korea busy worrying about them, taking South Korea out of most regional issues …

  2. our government need to be fast in negotiations if we are interested with the SKs corvettes and frigates to be retired or near its retirement. always we come short handed because countries in south america, africa and other under developed asian countries are fast to react with the opportunity. but we still dont learned our lesson.

    although second hand these re the most capable fighting ships if we will have it in our inventory.

    rhk111 have u look into wikepedia of BNS Somudra Joy (former WHEC Jarvis) of the installed CIWS and ASW upgrade. furthermore, for sure they will install antiship and SAM to the frigate since all bangladesh frigates are missile capable. they intend this hamilton class in their hand to be the most armed frigate in their inventory by adding also ASW helicopter. .

    1. I don’t think the Wikipedia article regarding the BNS Somudra Joy is accurate, unless it has been verified by other credible sources. And so far there has been no other credible source that confirmed the modifications on that ship.

    1. The Ulsan-class that Bangladesh got was a new build, hence they were able to put a lot of modifications into the design before they built it. I don’t think most of the current Ulsans can be modified to get those modifications that the Bangabandhu got …

  3. i wonder if it is technically possible to upgrade the pohangs with heli capabilities. i would assume that the pohangs that we will acquire would be tasked for sub hunting. having an asw chopper would increase their subhunting capabilities.
    i would also assume that once we have more modern ships… the antisub ships would be patrolling in tandem with guided missile frigates like the two new frigates that we have and/ or the hopefully upgraded WHECs.
    If we are able to acquire at least 4 pohangs and 2 ulsans… plus maybe 4 del pilar class (converted as missile frigates), 2 new guided frigates (incheons maybe) and 2 LPDs… we can more or less cover our West Philippine Sea territory. then maybe a few small submarines and well placed shoreline AshM batteries, long ranged SAMs and MRFs.
    Still quite optimistic that these will be fulfilled within a span of 6 years.

    1. I think a helipad can be fitted into the Pohangs, but the guns at the rear will have to be removed. Also the resulting helipad will likely be open, not ideal in rough seas or weather …

      1. the pohangs with the exocet missile (batch II i think) dont have a gun at the rear but have the exocets located there, so maybe easier to convert to a landing pad.

      2. No, all Pohang batches have at least 1 Twin 40L70 Bofors turret at the rear, so those will have to be removed to make room for a helipad. But it will likely be an open helipad, which won’t be able to support maintaince of the helicopter in bad weather conditions.

        I think for the Pohangs, just leave off the Helipad, they are a bit too small anyway. The bigger Ulsans, though, could use an enclosed Helipad, but not sure if that is feasible …

  4. With the inutile and unreliable superpower in the US’ reluctance to provide PH with the needed firepower, Sokors and Japan are the ultimate source for us.

    And as termed “BONANZA” by this blog, I don’t see any reason why we can’t acquire more especially of a Sokor firms wins the frigate bidding.

    And if that happens, I can already see the advent of another Pohang class warship patrolling our waters.

    But I am hoping we can acquire more, say, 3 more Pohangs… and perhaps 1 Ulsan…

    That will be great and it’s not improbable unless the conspiracist theory that US will not allow PH to acquire more hardwares for fears that it might get dragged into the conflict if PH becomes a warmonger, will hold true…

    1. The US interfering to make it harder for us to have teeth is a possibility.

      Between the Pohangs and Ulsans, I think the Pohangs are better for us simply because the bigger Ulsans also lack Helicopter and RHIB support. We should get at least half a dozen, then retire the Malvar-class Corvettes which are WW2 relics.

      1. RHK, I am not familiar with the Ulsans but I understand from you and the link shared by Ephil that there is a difference between the old and new Ulsans and that is the helipad. Right?

      2. No, the original Ulsan-class Frigates in service with the South Korean Navy did not have provisions to carry a Helicopter:

        However, in the late 1990s Bangladesh ordered a variant of the Ulsan which is slightly heavier and can carry a Helicopter:

        Now, Ephil suggested to upgrade the Ulsans to Bangabandhu standard, but I am not so sure if this can be done as the differences between the 2 classes of ships seem to be extensive enough …

  5. I am worried that Manila is not exerting enough to strengthen bilateral relations with Seoul.

    It would be short sightedness to dismiss that the donation of the Pohang class corvette is simply wooing Manila to buying more arms from Seoul. I am convinced that Seoul values ties developed during the Korean war. Colombia is another beneficiary of an earlier Pohang class donation. Colombia also fought alongside South Koreans during the Korean war

    I commend Rhk111’s blog because it highlights great opportunities with of Seoul. A heightened bilateral relations with Seoul could solve the greater part of our PN’s materiel deficiencies

    I also commend Deeii for pointing out that Seoul has been heavily supporting us for several years now and, if I may add, perhaps better that the US had. In addition to the Pohang corvette, Seoul has also donated an LCU, RHIB’s and computers also in this month. What concerns me, is what are we giving in return to make the relationship really meaningful

    I see Seoul’s security issue with North Korea works to our advantage rather than the opposite. For starters – Would a statement that “Manila we will send a Filipino expeditionary force again if a South-North war breaks” be imprudent? A folly?

    I beg to say not. Perhaps, this level of defense commitment is the key element missing to secure the security solution in SCS. If war with China breaks out over the Senkaku islands – Who will be there? The Japanese will be there, of course. Perhaps, the US will be there. However, in the current environment I am almost certain that Australia, Philippines, etc will not be there. This – just like everyone watched Hanoi get raped by Beijing over the oil rig deployment(s) and the still ongoing ship rammings. These events would have easily qualified as acts of war if it were done in Israel’s backyard

    This week, Chinese President Xi Jinping will be visit the Korean peninsula for the first time- not in Pyongyang but in Seoul. I am certain that just like before the FA-50 deal, Beijing will apply pressure on Seoul not to arm Manila. This will be tremendous pressure as Beijing is the largest trading partner of Seoul at $274 billion last year. Is Manila putting anything on the table to make it worthwhile for Seoul to say “No”?

    1. I’m glad you liked my blog, rhoydec.

      As for the Philippines getting involved in the Senkakus, I think the Philippines SHOULD send forces there if war breaks out as Japan has been pretty strong in supporting our claim against China. Whether we will, though, largely depends on who is the person sitting in Malacanang. I think PNoy will do it if the Senkaku war occurs in his term, but I don’t know about the next President.

      As for China wooing South Korea, I would like to think that SK will resist any such moves, just like they resisted the Chinese protests of the FA-50 sales to us. China is also North Korea’s largest and perhaps only solid ally, so SK-China relations seems a bit “complicated”, sort of a “Frenemies” type of a relationship.

  6. Correct me if im wrong but china has does not have friends that are altruistically concerned about them. A friend with benefits kind of relationship persists. Russia, india, nokor, malaysia, african countries seem to love china but also know that they will someday be backstabbed. Mainly due to its inconsistent, selfish, chinese businessman foreign policy. We should get both pohangs and ulsans because they will be great training ships for the pn if we intend to buy more new ships. Another suggestion would be copying what brunei did. Their opv’s look like up armed makasser class ssv’s without the well deck i suppose. We should get an ulsan so we can join rimpac hehehe.

    1. Maybe after they’ve upgraded the Del Pilars and gotten more ships, then we can go out and join RIMPAC …

  7. Btw love the australian assesment of our afp in the article in defense news. Hope somebady in the afp reads it. If we cant go toe to toe with them in vessel strength vs china then an integrated missile defense battery is the only way to go.

  8. I hope we can get 6 pohangs and 3 ulsans. Add to these the 4 WHECS, plus the two new frigates, we can have a formidable surface fleet within 5 years.

      1. Dreaming of Arleigh-burkes and F-35s? Yes kailangang mangarap. But the above list is very doable and very realistic, hindi kailangan ‘mangarap’ para makuha ang mga eto. Determinasyon at aksyon lang on the part of the govt.

      2. Not a problem rhk, at least one is being retired so there is still chance. I am confident we will get this ship, since we just signed the EDCA with the US.

        But if worse comes to worse and still no 3rd WHEC for us, i still wont mind. My personal preference has now shift to the Pohangs and the Ulsans, which are far more superior to the teethless WHECs.

      3. I think its a bit of conundrum, really. The Pohangs and Ulsans are heavily armed, but have no Helicopter support. The Hamiltons are lightly armed, but can carry a Helicopter and can actually carry more weapons and equipment because it is a bigger and heavier ship, provided that you are willing to spend money to upgrade it. The best solution would be something like a combination of both …

      4. Just strengthening the theory on that conspiracy to prevent PH from being armed and equipped.

        Duwag talaga tong si Obama…

  9. Hoping the Japanese donate there decommission Shirane class to the Phil. Para talaga sigurado malakas relasyon sa Phil.

  10. yup a treaty would be a double edged sword. if they get attacked we also help them and china would double its efforts to build the structures in the spratlys. we should be ready for that. the pohangs and ulsans must be purchased asap. the ssvs and aavs must also be finished as well. btw, the f35 is having a lot of bashers these days. maybe boeing’s silent eagle will be a better dream 5th gen fighter for us.

  11. The Philippines, Japan and S.Korea have individual defense agreements with the US so it is only natural that we should also have a defense treaty with Japan & S.Korea bec. we will be obliged to assist the US if China attacks Japan or N. Korea invades S. Korea.

  12. And a defense treaty with Japan & S. Korea makes the Philipppines a more favored country to receive decommissioned warships from Japan and S. Korea.

      1. In the comments section of the article in angmalaya some say it was just a passing chinese vessel and that it had a right to pass. Its ok but how come when we pass the spratlys with vessels of our own we get turned away by the chinese? Its like open season for philippine territory. Unahan nalang. When will we learn to prioritize the afp?

  13. I hope Pnoy will now order the PCG to take immediate action if the Chinese fishing vessels starts poaching at Benham Rise and not make the same big mistakes at Mabini Reef and Scarborough shoal.

    1. I think the reason is because the boat is to be used for law enforcement/anti-piracy, hence it has to be donated to government agencies who has the authority to enforce those actions, and the Marines do have such an authority.

      Of course, if the government had spent enough, there would be no need to have such a donation in the first place.

    1. “Jane’s” is the world’s leading defense publication, so when they say something, it has a lot of credibility, and when what they say contradicts the other reports out thee, then that puts the credibility of those reports in doubt.

      The sources of those reports saying otherwise should issue a formal rebuttal to Jane’s … If they can.

      1. Yeah, it runs counter to the PH claim of massive Chinese reclamation build-up in the Spratlys. But both still agree that China is indeed undertaking “works” in the area….

  14. Was surfing the net about ulsans and came across an article that the bangladeshi navy has a modified ulsan with a helo deck, searched further a found out they also got a hamilton modified to carry ashms and despite the oldness of it it is still bangladesh’s heaviest ship. Bangladesh is also set to receive a sub. If they can do it how come we cant? Pakyawin na yan lahat ng pohangs at ulsans bago mapunta lahat sa bangladesh nanaman. Btw any word about that chinese vessel in benham rise? Alam mo kahit na hindi tayo manalo sa lotto basta maka jackpot tayo ng oil or nat gas sa benham masaya na ako. Pambayad afp modernization lang.

    1. The Ulsan that Bangladesh bought was not modified in the sense that it was an old ship and then modified, the DESIGN was based on the Ulsan and modified to build a new ship.

      As for the modifications on their Hamilton, its not confirmed yet, no solid proof that it has been done already. Just plans to do this and that.

      As for Bangladesh’s armed forces being better than ours, that because they prioritized their military than their civilians. Their poverty rate is 31% compared to the Philippines’ 25%, and our capital Manila compared to their capital Dhaka is a paradise, with much more development.

      Sorry, folks, I know this is contrary to the sentiment floating around there, but I don’t think there is any shortcut in dealing with a country as rich and as powerful as China. Its not like we just need to buy a lot of military hardware and then suddenly we can match up with China.

      It will take decades of modernization for our armed forces for us to be able to have a credible defense against China, and proof of that is Vietnam, who has a much more modern and powerful armed forces than ours, and still is being humbled and bullied by China more than us.

      1. To be able to match the miltary strength of China, we need for our next president a combination of the military brilliance and nationalistic character of a leader like that of Hitler (but not his evil side) and the statesmanship of John F. Kennedy. Maybe we can see that in Roilo Golez, Trillanes, Lacson and Honosan. If Binay wins, forget about our claim to Spratly Islands & Sabah and be content with what Pnoy has already bought for the AFP bec.the next military modernization will just be on papaer.

  15. I think majority of the people here know that as well. We cant afford conflict but at the same time we cant just roll over and die. That is the frustration. In essence collectively we want the afp to have enough to put up a fight and that china hopefully stops being an ahole and just accept the fact that they do not own the entire south china sea. Could have been easier if asean was solid but no we have to fend for ourselves. Special shout out to the malaysians who love the chinese and is ready to pounce on mindanao resources once the peace deal is reached.

  16. Our previous & present government is undecisive about our stance on Spratly Islands & Sabah. If we are to reclaim them, we should be prepared for war and start militarizing the whole nation and give priority to the AFP just like what Israel did against the whole Arab countries. Is it worth going to war. Spratly Islands and Sabah are worth trillions of dollars that will turn the Philippines into an oil-rich country & major regional power. If our government wants to give up our claims, it is pointless to modernizing the AFP. Better utilize our yearly budget for the economic and social development of our country.

    1. There has to be a balance between economic development and AFP modernization because we really cannot predict 100% the future. The reason why we are in this predicament right now is because our leadership kept choosing to neglect external defense for internal issues. The Present may be lost already, but not the future, not if we keep modernizing our armed forces.

      As for dealing with the Chinese, I think the Soviet system is a good model for our Assymetric Warfare against China, it has been adopted by Iran and North Korea with some modifications in their own version of Assymetric Warfare.

      1. for me we could have avoided this if asean was united. instead some countries think that china is not their problem. now the whole asean is in deep sht if vietnam decides to attack. who’s side is asean gonna take? neutral again? might as well dissolve it. if china wins who’s next? taiwan? rp? a simple united stand saying stop it is all. no need to start an arms race. maybe by some miracle china stops the problem is will china acknowledge its fault? then that is the biggest riddle of all. ma pride sila. patayan nalang kaysa mapahiya.

      2. China is actually aching for Vietnam to fight back, its part of their “Kill the Monkey, Scare the Chicken” strategy. Like any bully who wants to establish their reputation, they want to fight and beat a big, strong country like Vietnam so the other countries will be afraid of them.

        I don’t think China will invade Vietnam this time, though, not with Russia guaranteeing assistance to Vietnam if they are invaded. The war will likely be limited to the West Philippine Sea only.

        The other ASEAN countries will likely just stand back and look, but we should send a force to Vietnam if they seek assistance. Our soldiers are our best military asset, we should send them to build more solid alliances, we never know when that action will benefit us in the future.

        Look at what happened with South Korea when we sent troops before, now we are reaping the rewards of our soldier’s sacrifices just when we really need it. A couple of hundred or even thousands of troops is okay, wherever Vietnam needs them.

      3. asymmetric warfare can only be effective if the armed forces has the necessary system to employ such tactics, equipments, technology and personnel. our capability and culture is limited that such asymmetric warfare will be ineffective for us. one example, Iran since cannot beat the might U.S. Navy has prepared tactics such as smaller boats with anti ship missiles will employ swarm attacks to an aircraft carrier and fast boats loaded with TNT for a suicide missions. North KOrea preparing an invasion force capable to swim on South Korean islands to prevent detection. But Iran and N. Korea both have missile capability, large airforce.and a respectable size navy. both also declared their intentions at least to let the U.S. know that they are capable of destruction what ever the cost.

        against china, since we have no asymmetric tactic to established it would be hard for us to adjust to the situation. what we are good for now is a guerilla warfare but this will only apply if we are invaded in the main islands or we can penetrate any territory of China and make some trouble within in order they will be busy in their domestic security, but are we capable to do such tactic.

        china, not using military force is very effective in occupying WPS knowing the U.S. could not respond since the case is still under arbitration. however, china occupation of some areas in the WPS is already moot and academic that it will already be difficult for the world body to evict china. .this is an example of asymmetric tactic an actual invasion without the use of military might ( using the coast guard). no need for china to follow russia without bloodshed they were able to invade and occupied areas not their own.

      4. Asymmetric warfare means “a war between belligerents whose relative military power differs significantly, or whose strategy or tactics differs significantly.”

        This perfectly describes our relationship with China as they have much more resources than we have. It also describes the relationship of the Soviet and US Navy because even though their resource capability doesn’t differ very much, the Soviets chose the route of missiles while the US chose the route of aircraft carriers.

        On the contrary, various exercises have confirmed that Iran’s “Small Boat Tactics” against the US Navy will work, but that is as long as they use the SUICIDE as a weapon, meaning sacrificing the boats and the lives of their people as long as they can inflict damage to the US fleet:
        – ‘Millennium Challenge’ War Game General Doubts US Military Capability,

        I don’t think we will use suicide real soon, it is not in our culture or religious beliefs, but I think we can still adopt some components of the Soviet strategy for our use against China. I will be blogging more about this, though, in the near future.

      5. This is the likeliest that china will implementing. what i also see is that if china does manage to own the south china sea it will now be open season for china’s sub fleet. nobody would openly confront the chinese surface fleet but the bulk of the action will be underwater. the US cannot afford china getting out into the Pacific because it would undermine guam and hawaii. nor would japan or russia tolerate chinese intrusion into their waters. china’s subs will be going against japan, us, australian, vietnamese, malaysian (if they have balls) sub fleets. i also agree that we need to send troops to vietnam when they get attacked.

  17. ASEAN will never be united in condemning China’s creeping invasion of Spratly & Paracel Islands bec. it has member countries who are close and allied to China. China’s tremendous increase in it’s military budget is an indication that it is preparing for a war that can match the military might of the US to be able to take control of the whole South China Sea and dominate Southeast Asia within it’s realm of influence. What is needed is a military alliance limited only to the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia and the US with a common goal of preventing the spread of communism and stop China (and N. Korea) from taking complete control of the whole South China Sea (and S. Korea) just like when SEATO was formed in 1955. Once ITLOS has decided in favor of the Philippines, China will still continue with it’s expansionist aggression and is ready for war even if the US gets involved because Obama is a weak US president and has diminished the military strength of the US armed forces. Russia will probably help China in defeating the US if WWIII breaks out.

  18. at this time in the height of its economic power china will never declare war with U.S. They may have their old tactics of war rhetoric but actual war is far fetch. U.S. and China needs its other to make Russia weak. the common denominator here is Russia. If both U.S. and China are weak it will be Russia who will dominate the world. So it needs U.S. and China to continue to be strong because Russia dominated world will be much worse. U.S. and China have their real strength in their economy, while Russia is purely military.

    China already admitted its still a long way they can match the U.S. militarily and no such strong military alliance (only North Korea and China do not trust Russia and vise versa) unlike the U.S. that has NATO, Israel, Japan and S. Korea, no way a war will happen to them.

    to deal with China is not only about the Philippines is about ASEAN. if ASEAN is strong, China could have been check. but we have a weak ASEAN every country has its own agenda with China. so we know already which country China prefer to make trouble because other ASEAN countries are not bound to rescue their neighbor that were bullied. if ASEAN is the same time a strong military alliance it could have been difficult to China to impose his will. look what happen to Ukraine when NATO make a strong stand to punish Russia economically and at the same time prepared militarily, Russia withdraw his support to the rebels in Ukraine and slowly Ukraine began to recover the rebel controlled areas.

    so definitely if we deal it on our own we will fail. this time we need statesmanship to convince ASEAN to become a regional power either economically or militarily. WPS is ASEAN region not China so it must be ASEAN who must impose his will. I dont think China will declare war with ASEAN being the no. 1 trading partner in the region. a combine military force of singapore, malaysia, indonesia, vietnam, thailand and the philippines is a force to reckon if ASEAN have a political will. it is an ambitious undertaken but it can be done.

    1. Tell that to the malaysians and cambodians. Asean will is the key. On the other side money talks. They could not resist the investment bribes of the chinese. Bilyones ba naman e.

  19. I can only foresee that in 5 to 10 years time, China would already have established a fully-operational air and naval bases at Paracel Islands, Spratly Islands and Ayungin Shoal and be able to project its military power across the whole South China Sea. The whole Philippines will be within a few seconds of striking distance from China’s SSMs, Strike Aircraft and Bombers. The Philippine economy is slowly being owned by Chinese infiltrators from Mainland China posing as legitimate businessmen. The NPA and leftist militants will grow & regain strength again with China’s backing. China will be the new imperialist Pacific power who will takeover the Philippines and be one of its puppet states. If our present and coming presidents are not going to take military actions and just all talk, China will probably attain its evil plan. As the saying goes “Military might is always right”. So what options are left for the Filipino people from not becoming a communist state like N. Korea. US Statehood I guess.

    1. As long as the Americans have military personnel in our country, the Chinese will never attack the mainland Philippines. The US may not help us defend the Spratlys, but I think they are pretty solid in terms of defending our mainland.

      Of course, we will still need to continue modernizing our armed forces, we never know if the Americans might end up being too weak economically to help us in the future, or that the Chinese might change their minds and take Palawan despite American presence, we never know. Hence the need to continue our military build up.

      Sad to say, the US is a waning superpower, hence we really don’t know how much longer they can continue to project their power here in Asia. China, on the other hand, is a rising superpower, with almost everyone insisting how they will be the number one superpower eventually, stronger than even the US.

      One promising prospect though is Japan, who will continue to contest China’s regional dominance in Asia. Those 2 giants will continue to butt heads, not sure who’s going to win. Japan realizes this also, hence they are establishing a strong military-economic alliance with us …

      1. Our best hope is that China does something stupid like invade Taiwan or the Senkaku Islands. I would have no doubt that the majority of their major warships would be sunk in the ensuing conflict with the 7th fleet, the JMSDF, and US Pacific Subs.

      2. Now that is something for the history books. The fallout would also be for the books. Having spent its entire armed forces china would then be partitioned again. Russia, india, korea, even nepal and hk can now freely carve their territories and the global economy declines. I hope their government knows this and realize that its not worth waging conflict. Para tipid usap nalang kasi. Gusto kasing magpataasan ng ihi sa mundo e.

      3. Actually it would be better for us. A weakened Chinese Navy won’t be able to bother us anymore …

      4. Hi Rhk i like your blog, its very informative. But its hidden, why not put this also in facebook…so that everyone can access your blog. Could you please write a blog about the Philippine Military needed to have a Minimum Credible Defense. Like how many figates, corvettes, missile boat, submarine, fighter jets, attack helicopters, missile defense system etc. and why? I will really appreciate it if you could write this blog one of this day.

    1. Wish we could have turned back time and prioritized the afp continually even after marcos’ time. Siguro tayo regional military power ngayon. Imagine f86’s become f15’s and brp humabon becomes an arleigh burke…

  20. Education and Public Works are the priorities of our government. Defending our sovereignty is only the 3rd priority. Kung tutuusin, our government can afford to increase the DND’s 2013 budget (P121.6 B) by cutting 10% of the budgets of other departments and re-allocating it to DND. With a 2013 national budget of 2.006 Trillion pesos. This translates to an additional 19.879 billion pesos ($44. 175 million) to the budget of DND. $44 million can already buy 22 patrol boats for the PCG @ $2 million each.

    1. We understand the budget…yun nga lang tapos maririnig mo sa news na binulsa lang pala sobrang nakakainis. What if we invest in a sam shield battery of ashm. Yung hypersonic. If its assymetrical then this is the only way to go. Much like what pyonyang has nukes we should have hypersonic ashms. Lubog agad liaoning nila. Doesnt look good but at least they know we can sink them.

  21. Under Pnoy Administration, I don’t think maibubulsa ang DND budget. And I agree with you, that batteries of Brahmos Supersonic Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles along the coastlines of Palawan and Western Luzon are more cost-effective and will scare the Chinese naval and maritime surveillance ships from entering and going out of our EEZ at will if the sea dispute escalates into a conflict.limited to the Spratly Islands.

    1. Yun nalang. Hindi nga lang top gun dramatic but the chinese know that it is its most glaring weakness. Build a carrier strike group then it is practically a giant bullseye. Now the question is how many and where to put them.

  22. what I really like about the chamsuris is that there a lot of them…so a deal could involve getting at least a dozen of them not just for the PN but for the PCG and BFAR as well…. would really help solve the lack of assets for these two civilian agencies

    1. The Chamsuris are good ships, the PhN seems to like them a lot as they’re quite active and has been maintained well.

      1. yeah, i even read somewhere that they are resistant to ramming so can more than hold their own against similar sized vesseis in the WPS. and maybe, a good number of these can also be made into missile boats along side (or instead of) the MPACs for the PN’s planned swarm tactics.

      2. Yeah, they would be better “Swarm Boats” if armed properly with both AShMs and SAMs since these are much heavier ships, 150 tons compared to the only around 20 tons for the MPACs.

        But Swarm Boats are effective only for Sea Denial strategies, if we want to exploit the riches of the Spratlys, we will need to go for Sea Control, which will mean much bigger, more capable ships …

  23. Rhk111 has already posted that Beijing applied pressure to Seoul to prevent Manila from getting the Pohang donation

    Interestingly, this happened way back in June. Beijing hinted that the donation will impact the then planned meeting between the two nations’ leaders Xi and Park scheduled in July at Seoul. The meeting of the leaders happened anyway

    By all indication, Seoul is not reneging on its promise to donate the Pohang. Please read this current article from The Diplomat –


    It is quite obvious that Seoul highly values its economic ties with Beijing but is also intent on balancing to maintain the traditional US alliance security structure in Asia Pacific. Beijing is frantically exerting all it can to romance Seoul using the Tokyo-Seoul rift over WWII history and the leverage of Seoul’s largest annual trade of USD 274 with Beijing

    As I posted above in 30.Jun, I remain very concerned that Malacan is not exerting enough to cultivate our relationship with Seoul. In the face of these unwanted pressures that Beijing exerts on Seoul, it makes a lot of sense to double our efforts to give Seoul overwhelming incentive to continuously say no. I am certain that DND is eyeing more defense assistance from Seoul beyond this Pohang corvette

    1. It is worrying, and it indicates that China really want to dominate Asia. Note that they aren’t protesting (not that we know of, anyway) when we buy stuff from Israel (M113s) or Europe (AW109s), but when South Korea does it, they protest. They did it with the FA-50 sale, and now the Pohang donation.

      This indicates that they will KEEP PROTESTING whenever they can, and I feel that sooner or later they will start imposing sanctions in one form or the other because they can’t afford for the countries they are protesting to from always ignoring them. This means South Korea might eventually have second thoughts of selling or donating to us.

      It is up to the DFA to maintain our relations with Sokor strong despite all these opposition from China, this is Secretary Del Rosario’s alley, he should be on top of this.

      The only “good” development I see is that South Korea itself seems to be “preparing” not only for China, but their traditional enemy Japan as well, if the reports from one our South Korean posters here is true, that Sokor has cancelled the Incheon and are getting more Aegis Destroyers in the future.

      The South Korean Aegis ships, the Sejong-class are arguably the most heavily armed Destroyers in the world with 128 VLS cells. At a maximum weight of 11,000 tons some would consider it a Cruiser already. At any rate, the Sejongs are more than a match for even China’s Type 52D or Sovremenny-class Destroyers.

      So watch out, China (and Japan), South Korea is also up arming …

  24. The only real problem with warships like Pohang and Ulsan is simply: “Why the f*ck do these ships not have any facility for helicopter or RHIB operations?” Seriously, I understand the Jacinto corvettes not having an aviation facility because those ships are really tiny, at least the Gregorio del Pilars have a hangar for our AW109 helicopters. But the Ulsan and the Pohang seriously don’t, seriously, maybe the ROKN wanted pure war machines armed to the teeth? Or did they just not care about having a helicopter on their warships?

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