Philippine Navy flag officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad has thrown his supports to all plans that would enable the country to acquire its first diesel-electric submarines as soon as possible.
“It’s my intention to support this project. Like what I said before the Senate (frigate) hearing (in February), the trend now is submarine warfare because it’s very hard to find (and destroy) an enemy that you can’t see,” Empedrad said in Filipino during an interview with the military-run DWDD radio on Wednesday.
He said in undersea warfare, it is very difficult to fight an opponent one cannot see or detect due to its ability to go underwater.
The Philippine Navy is expected to acquire its first diesel-electric submarines during Horizon Three of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program that will be implemented in 2023 to 2028.
In line with this program, Empedrad said the Philippine Navy has already created a Submarine Group that is now sending Navy personnel for training on submarine operations in preparation for the country’s eventual acquisition of several naval craft.
This is necessary as submarine acquisition, including building the vessel, training and support facilities, often takes seven to 10 years, he added.
The Navy chief said the decision to acquire submarines for the Philippine military is bolstered by a recent conference he attended in London, where more modern navies are shown building up their submarine fleet and anti-submarine capabilities.
Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the government is on the lookout for potential suppliers as early as now since it takes up to 10 years to build a submarine. He also noted that several of the country’s neighbors already have submarine capability, which is being pushed to boost defense and security.
Lorenzana had said the government is eyeing South Korea, Russia and other countries as possible suppliers.#