Category Archives: Submarines

Kilo class Submarines for the Philippine Navy?

A Kilo class Submarine of the Russian Navy. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
A Kilo class Submarine of the Russian Navy. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Oh, what a difference a year makes. This time last year it was almost inconceivable for the Philippines to consider getting weapons from Russia. And yet look at where we are now, under a new President with a radically new Foreign Policy, the Department of National Defense (DND) recently went out and announced that it was considering getting the Kilo-class Diesel-Electric (DE) Submarines from Russia for the Philippine Navy.1

’Submarines in Asia’
Now may be time the right time for us to seriously start thinking about getting Submarines because after Thailand solidified their deal of acquiring Yuan-class Submarines from China,2 the Philippines and Myanmar are about the only major countries left in Asia without Submarine capability. The other Asian countries with no subs are either smaller countries, or countries that are landlocked like Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, etc.
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Submarines for the Philippine Navy – Lessons from the ARA San Luis

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

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

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