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Philippine Navy - Modernization Plan

This is a discussion on Philippine Navy - Modernization Plan within the Navy & Maritime forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Hi everyone, I'm new here in DefenceTalk and I want to know from your point of view what should be ...


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Old January 10th, 2017   #1
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Philippine Navy - Modernization Plan

Hi everyone, I'm new here in DefenceTalk and I want to know from your point of view what should be our priority in attaining minimum credible defense status. With a limited budget yearly, what should be first among all the requirements of our navy should be in their plan.
Example, how many frigates, corvettes, OPV, fast attack crafts, etc. (kindly include the weapons the ship should have).

Per my understanding, no policies were violated with this post and if there is kindly inform me and I will abide.

Thanks to everyone.
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Old January 10th, 2017   #2
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Get Congress to triple or quadruple the Modernization Fund and tell the President to drop the Internal Security Ops focus from the AFP.

Don't bother with number and types of ships and weapons. At this stage its irrelevant. The AFP is woefully underfunded for a country of Philippine's size and economy. As long as funding remains at the current level and the focus remains on internal security (something that should've been left to the police), then it's pointless to talk about ships and weapons, because the money won't be there and the drive won't be there.

The Philippine has a $330 billion economy in 2015. The state budget was $55 billion. The defense budget was $2.6 billion, however, the portion allocated specifically for modernization is about $450 million (iirc 20 billion peso, but I don't remember what the exchange rate back in 2015 anymore). This is too low. The Philippine can afford to quadruple the modernization fund and the total would still be under 2% GDP and under 10% of the national budget. And it's not like the Philippine is too poor to do it. Back in 2015 it turns out that there was 278 billion peso (appr. $5.8 billion) of money unspent from previous budget years. Mere improvement in efficiency would've funded the increase in modernization fund. IIRC for 2016 and 2017 the modernization fund has been increased to 25 billion peso per year, but that's still far too low. Try at least 50 billion peso/year ($1 billion/year at current exchange rate) dedicated to modernization at the minimum, 75 billion if politically possible, and know that the Philippine can afford even 100 billion peso/year in the modernization fund without sacrificing anything simply by being more efficient in allocating the money.

The current administration shifted focus back to ISO, which really should've been the domain of the police and coast guard. The result is that the Philippine Navy will get lots of small patrol ships. The thousand bancas (boat) idea is stupid. It may work if the enemy intends to invade the Philippines like the Japanese did in WW2 (and note that the Japanese did anyway), but if the enemy is content with shelling you with land-attack missiles from 300 km away and then leaving to resupply and reload then you're fucked. The majority of the small patrol ships should have gone to the coast guard. Let them take care of the pirates and smugglers. Give them the means to take care of the pirates and smugglers.

Tell your representatives and senators and president to increase the modernization fund and to shift the internal security duty to the police and coast guard. These two things are far more important in achieving minimum credible defense than trying to figure out which ships to get first and how many.

Last edited by tonnyc; January 10th, 2017 at 09:48 AM. Reason: typos, grammar, etc.
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Old January 10th, 2017   #3
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Thanks tonnyc, actually that's the dilemma in our country, DND budget for this year is $2.72B (14% inc. from last year but still very low to accommodate modernization plan). With this budget, $1.1B (20% of DND budget) went to Army because our president prioritized internal threat, while Air Force got $382M & Navy got $416M.

And for our president's pet project "war against drugs", DILG got $3.02B (20% increase) in which 74% of the budget went to National Police.

The way things are going here, we need 5 more years to see if DND budget will get more of the allocations.

Just to add 1 thing, congress here are always allied with the president. What president wants, the congress always approve no matter what the people will say. Again, thanks tonnyc for the reply.

Last edited by aim-7 sparrow; January 11th, 2017 at 12:28 AM.
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Old January 15th, 2017   #4
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Example, how many frigates, corvettes, OPV, fast attack crafts, etc. (kindly include the weapons the ship should have).
Given that there is little likelihood of the Philippines been involved in a conflict with a state actor I feel the priority should be in getting assets that will better enable the PN to secure its vast maritime domain against non state or low intensity threats. Sure, stuff like a couple of missile armed frigates/corvettes as a minimal deterrent are needed but stuff like patrol boats, MPAs, helos, coastal radars and UAVs would be more useful and in line with current requirements. Also, given that the Marines are actively engaged against non state actors in Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago shouldn't funds be allocated for newer vehicles and stuff like comms, body armour, etc?

With regards to ''frigates, corvettes, OPV, fast attack crafts'' the thing to bear in mind is that the PN currently operates a gun only fleet. To operate a sizeable number of ships armed for surface, sub surface and air ops will also require the needed shore support infrastructure in order to support these assets and have the needed trained manpower. This will take time.

Last edited by STURM; January 15th, 2017 at 08:48 AM.
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Old January 15th, 2017   #5
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Given that there is little likelihood of the Philippines been involved in a conflict with a state actor I feel the priority should be in getting assets that will better enable the PN to secure its vast maritime domain against non state or low intensity threats. Sure, stuff like a couple of missile armed frigates/corvettes as a minimal deterrent are needed but stuff like patrol boats, MPAs, helos, coastal radars and UAVs would be more useful and in line with current requirements. Also, given that the Marines are actively engaged against non state actors in Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago shouldn't funds be allocated for newer vehicles and stuff like comms, body armour, etc?

With regards to ''frigates, corvettes, OPV, fast attack crafts'' the thing to bear in mind is that the PN currently operates a gun only fleet. To operate a sizeable number of ships armed for surface, sub surface and air ops will also require the needed shore support infrastructure in order to support these assets and have the needed trained manpower. This will take time.
Maybe Philippine Navy could be interested in buying our RNZN IPV as they are fairly new, and we are looking for larger vessels and selling them off?
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Old January 15th, 2017   #6
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Realistically I cannot see the Philippines being able to afford the sorts of ships needed to deal with any major conflict in the South China Sea.

I would be inclined to stick with patrol boats and OPVs.

I would perhaps look into buying a number of Long-Range Patrol Aircraft and equipping them with standoff missiles. I would suggest that they might want to consider a few refurbished P3Cs. In fact I remember reading that the US had offered some of these aircraft to the Philippines before ... but the offer wasn't taken up because of the high operating costs.

Another cost effective solution might be land-based anti-ship missiles. Something like the PJ-10 Brahmos would scare the hell out of me if I had to go up against it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BrahMos

Unless the Philippines are willing to greatly increase their defence expenditure their options are always going to be limited.
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Old January 16th, 2017   #7
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Given that there is little likelihood of the Philippines been involved in a conflict with a state actor I feel the priority should be in getting assets that will better enable the PN to secure its vast maritime domain against non state or low intensity threats.
It is true that the Philippines right now has near zero chance of a military conflict with any state actor. But that is because they have little capability of dealing with a serious military conflict with a state actor. They must try their best to avoid having the conflict escalate into the military sphere, including making concessions and even folding entirely if necessary. If that is indeed what the Philippines see as in their national interest, then yeah, the current path is indeed correct. The money saved by deliberately discarding credible deterrence is real and will be reflected in the annual budget.

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Realistically I cannot see the Philippines being able to afford the sorts of ships needed to deal with any major conflict in the South China Sea.
No one so far has challenged my numbers regarding Philippines' economic capability. The Philippines can afford them. Without jeopardizing their citizens' well-being. That the Philippines chooses not to budget sufficient funds to do so is a question of will, not capability.
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Old January 16th, 2017   #8
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I would perhaps look into buying a number of Long-Range Patrol Aircraft and equipping them with standoff missiles. I would suggest that they might want to consider a few refurbished P3Cs. In fact I remember reading that the US had offered some of these aircraft to the Philippines before ... but the offer wasn't taken up because of the high operating costs.
The priority should first be to get MPAs for surveillance duties and stuff like SAR and have them equipped with a decent sensors suite. Standoff missiles are great to have but when taking into account current requirements; aren't very useful as they have zero peacetime utility. What's the point in investing in gear that's suited for state on state threats when other pressing requirements haven't been addressed? The PN has quite a number of ships that are more than 60/70 years old and its ''newest'' assets are ex-USCG cutters that were constructed in the late 1960's - shouldn't newer ships be bought before considering stuff like air launched missiles?

As for getting P-3s the issue here is that any P-3s bought will be on average 30/35 years old. It makes more sense to get a newer platform.

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Another cost effective solution might be land-based anti-ship missiles. Something like the PJ-10 Brahmos would scare the hell out of me if I had to go up against it.
Land based missiles on their own aren't very useful. There will be a need for MPAs and stuff like coastal radars to work with those land based missiles but why invest in land based missiles when there are other pressing priorities?

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It is true that the Philippines right now has near zero chance of a military conflict with any state actor. But that is because they have little capability of dealing with a serious military conflict with a state actor.
No, it's because there is little reason for anyone to want to get involved in a conflict with the Philippines and vice versa; not because of the lack of assets or capabilities on the part of the AFP.

For decades the Philippines was able to focus on internal security because it benefited from the presence of the U.S. military on Filipino soil. Today the Philippines no longer hosts U.S. assets on a permanent basis but it still benefits from the Mutual Defence Treaty. No doubt the Philippines has to start investing more in defence capabilities to better enable the AFP to deal with possible external threats but the fact remains that the main security threat to the country at present is still from non state actors and that the AFP still faces huge challenges meeting its vast peacetime commitments on account of being underfunded.

Last edited by STURM; January 16th, 2017 at 05:40 AM.
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Old January 16th, 2017   #9
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Well , like i said , if its maritime patrol vessels they need surely 4 or so 7yr old RNZN IPV with a few 50 cal gun mounts will be ample for dealing with minor threats , modern ,reliable and good range,well within their budget. Or even look at Australia's OPV programme,if they wish to wait a few yrs longer and spend a lot more.
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Old January 16th, 2017   #10
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There was news of South Korea transferring a Pohang class corvette to the PN. Last month it was reported that the navy had recommended buying a couple of ex-Portuguese Joao Coutinho class corvettes and in October 2016 Hyundai Heavy Industries announced that it had received a contract to deliver a couple of 2,600 tonne frigates.
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Old January 16th, 2017   #11
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The priority should first be to get MPAs for surveillance duties and stuff like SAR and have them equipped with a decent sensors suite. Standoff missiles are great to have but when taking into account current requirements; aren't very useful as they have zero peacetime utility. What's the point in investing in gear that's suited for state on state threats when other pressing requirements haven't been addressed? The PN has quite a number of ships that are more than 60/70 years old and its ''newest'' assets are ex-USCG cutters that were constructed in the late 1960's - shouldn't newer ships be bought before considering stuff like air launched missiles?

As for getting P-3s the issue here is that any P-3s bought will be on average 30/35 years old. It makes more sense to get a newer platform.
Maybe so but if they acquired some P3Cs say ex USN and JMSDF through aid programs, that would be a start and the aircraft if a MLU was done would be viable for maybe 15 - 20 years. We have managed to keep our P3Bs (now P3K2s) in the air for 50 years so that is where NZ could help with the planning of the MLU and maintenance side.
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Land based missiles on their own aren't very useful. There will be a need for MPAs and stuff like coastal radars to work with those land based missiles but why invest in land based missiles when there are other pressing priorities?
I agree because even mobile ones need infrastructure and sensors which do cost money. They would be better off putting missiles on ships.
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No, it's because there is little reason for anyone to want to get involved in a conflict with the Philippines and vice versa; not because of the lack of assets or capabilities on the part of the AFP.

For decades the Philippines was able to focus on internal security because it benefited from the presence of the U.S. military on Filipino soil. Today the Philippines no longer hosts U.S. assets on a permanent basis but it still benefits from the Mutual Defence Treaty. No doubt the Philippines has to start investing more in defence capabilities to better enable the AFP to deal with possible external threats but the fact remains that the main security threat to the country at present is still from non state actors and that the AFP still faces huge challenges meeting its vast peacetime commitments on account of being underfunded.
There has to be a political will in the Philippines to invest in defence. You are right in your assertion that because of a US presence since the Spanish - US war until the 1990s, the Philippines has not had to concentrate upon external defence matters. Now it has too.
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Old January 16th, 2017   #12
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I agree because even mobile ones need infrastructure and sensors which do cost money.
Which is why I was very surprised following reports not too long ago that there was interest in SSKs. Buying SSKs is the easy part; the not so easy part is establishing the needed infrastructure to support those SSKs. Using Malaysia as an example; it spent a billion Euros on a couple of Scorpenes years ago but has also spent hundreds of millions refitting both boats and establishing the needed shore support infrastructure [a simulator; maintenance facilities, equipment to support the batteries and other stuff; storage areas, slipways, etc].

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There has to be a political will in the Philippines to invest in defence.
Very true and in recent years we've seen increased amounts of cash being allocated for defence. Whether it's because there is a greater realisation that there is a vital need to do so or because there is no choice given the age of some of the AFP's assets and how overstretched it is, is the question. The way I see it, there must be a fine balance between how much the country's leadership is willing to spend on equipping the AFP for external defence and how much it will continue spending on internal security. Can it devote equal focus and priority to both?

The good news is that there is a truce with groups with the NPA, MILF and MILF but there are other groups like the BIFF and ASG; the army and Marines regularly engages in ops with both and just last week 6 men were killed off Zamboanga in a pirate attack.
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Old January 16th, 2017   #13
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No, it's because there is little reason for anyone to want to get involved in a conflict with the Philippines and vice versa; not because of the lack of assets or capabilities on the part of the AFP.

For decades the Philippines was able to focus on internal security because it benefited from the presence of the U.S. military on Filipino soil. Today the Philippines no longer hosts U.S. assets on a permanent basis but it still benefits from the Mutual Defence Treaty. No doubt the Philippines has to start investing more in defence capabilities to better enable the AFP to deal with possible external threats but the fact remains that the main security threat to the country at present is still from non state actors and that the AFP still faces huge challenges meeting its vast peacetime commitments on account of being underfunded.
That attitude is precisely why the Philippines find itself with their current defense posture.

"It's really unlikely we'll get into conflict with anyone serious" leads to "so we don't need defense" leads to "so why spend on defense" leads to "wait, what happened to our defense?"

Your opinion though are shared by many Filipino and is certainly the official government policy. If they are satisfied with it, then good for them. But for those who aren't satisfied, well, my advice is to increase defense spending, which can be done without affecting the well-being of the average Filipino, and to shift the internal security duty to the police and coast guard.
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Old January 16th, 2017   #14
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That attitude is precisely why the Philippines find itself with their current defense posture.
The current state of the AFP is due to various longstanding factors, not due to any ''attitude''. In fact, if you ask many Filipinos, most will agree that the AFP is underfunded and ill equipped and that there is a vital need for modernisation.

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"It's really unlikely we'll get into conflict with anyone serious" leads to "so we don't need defense" leads to "so why spend on defense" leads to "wait, what happened to our defense?"
No ...... That was not what I was getting at.

It's a question of which priority should be addressed first and having the right defence policy in line with the country's threat perceptions and regional geo-politics. Not a question of being complacent towards defence matters. Should procurement be threat or capability driven? What are the current threats facing the Philippines and will the nature of these threats change in the near future? It's not just a question of having the needed funds to buy gear.
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Old January 17th, 2017   #15
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... if you ask many Filipinos, most will agree that the AFP is underfunded and ill equipped and that there is a vital need for modernisation.
I really wish that were true, but you really only sometimes get that out of those in middle-class and upper circles or out of the big universities...

meanwhile down at the neighborhood gym "bakals" (low end gyms), nighttime "inuman tambayans" (streetside drinking sessions), "palengke" (streetside markets), most really have the "wala naman tayo gegerahin, bigay mo nalang yung pera sa tao" (we're not going to make war with anybody, just give the money to the people)...

I cannot count how many hours I've spent in "inuman" (streetside drinking) sessions explaining to my "tropa" (buddies) why securing the south china sea/west philippine sea EEZ is important if only for the income from it's resources (eg. Malampaya gas fields)... and the reaction I always get is "warfreak ka lang" (you're just a war-freak)...

in time the attitude of the masses will change, but right now, well...
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