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Philippines eye submarines to boost navy

By Katherine Evangelista
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 14:50:00 05/17/2011

Filed Under: Navy, Conflicts (general), Government

MANILA, Philippines ? Submarines for the Philippine fleet will help the navy protect the country?s territorial waters a lot better, a military spokesman said days after a study advised that new vessels be bought.

According to Navy spokesman Commodore Miguel Jose Rodriguez, submarines are the vessels of choice of many countries, including our Asian neighbors.

?A submarine is a very good naval platform to monitor what?s happening in your maritime environment,? Rodriguez explained.

Submarines are equipped with sensors and radars that can monitor movement on the surface, and even identify nearby ships using propeller signatures.

He added that purchasing a submarine will help even out the playing field, especially now that some of the Philippines? Asian neighbors have purchased their own submersibles to beef up their fleet.

?What is important is that we really have to leverage on the things that we need,? Rodriguez said. ?As other nations acquire submarines, we need to even up our capability. It becomes a very good deterrent against future potential conflicts.?

However, Rodriguez said that while buying a submarine will automatically boost the capability of the Philippine fleet, legislators should also allocate a budget for training of personnel and maintenance of the vessel.

??We need to program funds for training and maintenance,? he pointed out.

Philippine Navy fleet commander, Rear Admiral Jose Luis Alano, recently ordered that a study on the purchase of submarines be conducted.

The Navy is likewise waiting for the arrival of a Hamilton-class patrol ship from the United States set to be delivered in early August.

The cutter was acquired by Armed Forces of the Philippines as part of its modernization and capability upgrade program. The Philippine government acquired the patrol vessel through the US Excess Defense Articles for a minimal price, but had to shoulder costs for the refurbishment, transfer of the ship, and training of personnel.



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