PHL getting swamped with offers of frigates, offshore patrol vessels

January 7, 2013 7:11 am 

MANILA, Jan. 6 — Department of National Defense (DND) undersecretary for finance, munitions, installation and material Fernando Manalo said that five countries have expressed their intention to sell to the Philippines modern frigates and offshore patrol vessels, which will help the country protect its vast maritime territories.

He said that offers have been coming from the United States, Israel, Croatia, South Korea and even Australia.

All vessels being offered by these nations are brand new.

Manalo said that offers of the above-mentioned countries started coming during the last quarter of 2012.

The DND official attributed the sudden influx of would-be-suppliers to the fact the Philippines is now seriously upgrading its military forces.

The Philippines is in the market for two modern and powerful frigates in order to enhance its maritime domain awareness and protection capabilities.

As this develops, Manalo noted that acquiring two missile-firing frigates, capabilities offered by Italy's "Maestrale" is the priority of the military's modernization.

He also emphasized that the DND is conducting "evaluation and due diligence" studies to determine whether the above-mentioned ships are the best for the Philippines in the long run, economically and service wise.

Manalo also stressed that the contracts for the frigates, regardless of type or supplier, will be definitely out in this year.

The contract for the two "Maestrales" is pegged at around P11 billion.

At the moment, the DND official stated that they are developing the "capability matrix" which will determine the specifications of the frigates that will give the Philippine the best performance and at the least possible cost.

Manalo said such procedure is needed in order avoid accusations that the DND acquired sub-standard equipment when high-end ones can be acquired for the same amount.

"We are doing market research on all brand-new and second hand ships of similar capabilities to ensure that we will get the best naval vessels possible," he stressed. (PNA)

LGI/PFN

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