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DND to procure 2 naval vessels

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) is now rushing the procurement of big-ticket items, including the acquisition of two naval vessels to improve the country’s territorial defense.

In line with this, DND planners held a pre-procurement conference yesterday for the acquisition of two service support vessels (SSVs) worth P2 billion each for an outlay of P4 billion.

“We are rushing our procurement of big-ticket items for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),” said Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo, whose office is directly in charge of the acquisition of military hardware.

Defense sources said that Japan, Singapore, South Korea, France, and Italy have expressed interest in supplying the country with two SSVs that are multi-role vessels which could serve as a Navy platform for search and rescue operations during disasters since the ships could be fitted with hospital facilities and a helipad, aside from its primary role as a transport vessel capable of transporting one battalion of troops with armored vehicles.

“It’s a mission capable ship, though a little smaller than the MRV (multi-role vessel),” the source said.

He said the pre-bidding conference would be held soon for the procurement of the two vessels with several defense contractors expected to participate.

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On top of this, the DND is also in the final phase of its procurement of a squadron of T50 trainer jets from South Korea through a government-to-government deal.

South Korea is also being eyed to supply the country with two brand new missile-firing frigates instead of the two Maestrale warships being offered by the Italian government.

The AFP has lagged behind its neighbors in terms of military assets and equipment due to neglect by the past administrations.

However, with the recent developments in the region, the Aquino government is prioritizing the acquisition of military hardware for the AFP to rebuild a credible defense capability to secure the country’s territory.

China’s aggressive posture in its territorial claims in disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea had prompted the AFP to speed up procurement plans for new military hardware.

 

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