PH Navy gets green light to install US-compatible operating technology on new warships
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of National Defense has given the green light for the Philippine Navy to equip its new Rizal-class warships with Tactical Data Link 16, the standard military network being used by the United States and allies.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana this week approved the acquisition decision memorandum for the Tactical Data Link 16 equipment and terminals, INQUIRER.net learned from a government source.
The system would likely be acquired from the United States in a government-to-government deal through the US’ foreign military sales program.
The Link 16 would allow monitoring of battle space operations, share information in real time and improve interoperability between allies and other Philippine military platforms with the same capacity.
There would be seamless real-time data swapping with allies or local platforms without the risks of getting hacked or being intercepted by hostile forces.
The Philippine government has recently completed the acquisition of two multi-role frigates worth P16 billion from South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI). The process to acquire the warships wasn’t smooth sailing, however.
The involvement of Malacanang, cited in some of the documents related to the frigate deal, drew national attention and even prompted the Senate and House of Representatives to conduct hearings.
The selection of the combat management system, described to be the brains of the warships, was one of the contentious issues of the acquisition process because of the Navy’s Link 16 compatibility requirement.
HHI promised in 2017 that Hanwha Systems’ Naval Shield ICMS would be compatible with Link 16 by 2019 or before the first frigate was delivered.
The compatibility requirement was not officially met upon the delivery of the first ship in 2020, but the South Korean Ministry of National Defense issued a guarantee to resolve it. HHI also said it will shoulder the Link 16 integration costs when the Navy acquires the equipment in the future.
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