Philippine Navy eyes 2 more warships
Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - January 17, 2014 - 2:10pm

MANILA, Philippines - Amid threats posed by territorial disputes, the Philippines is expected to boost its maritime defense capability as the Navy plans to get two additional warships.

In a report by the state-run Philippine News Agency (PNA), Navy spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic said they are planning to acquire two more frigates aside from the two units that are now undergoing bidding.

Fabic said if the plan proceeds, the Navy will have a total of seven frigates including the two Gregorio Del Pilar frigates and the BRP Rajah Humabon, the last active duty World War II era destroyer escort in service.

According to a Philippine Navy study, around P497 billion is needed to fully upgrade its fleet.

The PNA report said that with this budget, the Navy will also be able to acquire four sealift vessels, 18 landing craft utility vessels, three logistics ships, 12 coastal interdiction patrol boats, 30 patrol gunboats and 42 multi-purpose assault crafts that can be equipped with torpedoes and missiles.

Also included in the envisioned force mix are eight amphibious maritime patrol aircraft, 18 naval helicopters, and eight multi-purpose helicopters.

"Looking at the PN's inventory of mission essential equipment, it is very discernible that majority of our assets and vessels were acquired not necessarily because they fit into our strategy or operational requirement but because they are available as grant from the US or from our allies," the PNA report quoted the Philippine Navy as saying.

In an interview with ANC earlier this week, Armed Forces chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista said the country wants to acquire more navy ships from the United States amid the threats from China.

“Within the last year, we realized that there is a real threat out there in terms of securing, defending our territory,” Bautista said.

The Philippines and China are still locked in a territorial dispute over the South China Sea, with the Asian giant claiming practically the entire waters.

Last week, China declared a new fisheries law requiring foreign vessels to seek permits for activities in much of the South China Sea, in a move that sparked angry protests from the Philippines.

ARMED FORCES EMMANUEL BAUTISTA GREGORIO DEL PILAR GREGORY FABIC NAVY PHILIPPINE NAVY PHILIPPINE NEWS AGENCY PHILIPPINES AND CHINA RAJAH HUMABON SOUTH CHINA SEA UNITED STATES
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