Philippine Navy Discussion and Updates

tonnyc

Active Member
Dare I even ask this, but given HHI's track record for giving bribes, shouldn't it be asked what the motivation was for those superiors to accept the changed equipment package?
They say the replacements are of equivalent quality and performance and everything is aboveboard and according to procedure. There is nothing to question. Move along.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
It's more complex than that. By Philippine law the TWG can not preselect an equipment by brand name or model number. It can specify minimum requirements and often this pretty much narrows down the field to a couple or even a single manufacturer, but in this particular case the list was selected from the bidder's offer.

So there was a specified budget (18 billion peso) and a specific set a requirement and a tender process. One of the bidder offered a package with those included at a price within the budget and they won the bid. Once they won the bid they changed the list, replacing it with cheaper equipment.

Several Philippine officers in charge of the bidding process refused to accept the change. They were overridden by their higher ups. A vice-admiral was forced to retire when he refused to comply. The changes then were signed off and now that's what the Philippine Navy got.

Look up Philippine news mentioning the frigate circa 2016-2018 for more details. You can find a summary at Wikipedia but the usual disclaimer on Wiki stuff applies.

So in this one case the TWG (or at least it's pre-2017 incarnation) indeed did their best. The budget's ceiling was well published. The bidder, by participating, indicated their ability to meet the budget. The package they offered was indeed good. That the package was later changed, with the complicit acceptance of higher ranking officers and politicians, is indeed not their fault.

This does not change the fact that the whole thing is FUBAR, but there are people who did try their best but was stymied by their superiors both military and civilian.
1. Totally agree with your comprehensive reply — really appreciate your effort to be fair and balanced to the Koreans and Pinoys. Thanks to the man made islands in the South China Sea, the PLA(N)’s KQ-200 MPAs are able to refuel and operate for extended periods there to track the numerous American, Malaysian (2), and Vietnamese (6) submarines.
Dare I even ask this, but given HHI's track record for giving bribes, shouldn't it be asked what the motivation was for those superiors to accept the changed equipment package?
2. Given that the toothless Gregorio del Pillar Class OPVs have yet to install the AN/SPS-77 Sea Giraffe AMB 3D radar (given by the US), and the poor sensor and weapons fit of the Jose Rizal-class, it is safe to say the Pinoys are not serious or effective in upgrading their navy’s capabilities. That is why in any Philippine military procurement attempt there are local politicians whose interest it is to get a cut or else they will stop the deal.
(i) The Philippines has fallen 14 places in a year in Transparency International's 2020 corruption perceptions index, which was published in Jan 2020. A place Duterte was elected to clean up in 2016 now ranks 113th, on par with Kazakhstan and Zambia.​
(ii) The Philippines has fallen 18 rungs in total on Duterte's watch. Many worry Duterte is merely empowering a new business elite -- his own, known as "Dutertegarchs" -- and worsening the extreme concentration of wealth and power among a handful of landowning families.​

3. In 2014, HHI Chairman Lee Jai-seong and some 150 executives from affiliates of the world's biggest shipbuilder by sales adopted a resolution not to give or take bribes. The HHI quote to win the contract was professionally done. If there is any bribes, I would be willing to bet HHI was given a choice behind the scenes — pay the corrupt Pinoys and continue the contract or lose money due to endless delays created by the Pinoys. But of course, I have no evidence of this sort.
They say the replacements are of equivalent quality and performance and everything is aboveboard and according to procedure. There is nothing to question. Move along.
4. I think this is a good way forward for HHI and it meets the Duterte Davos gang’s needs. The corruption levels in the Philippines is very high and they tend to blame others for their culture of corruption — in this case, I really don’t know who is telling the truth; and who is really at fault. I would chalk it up to inexperience by the Pinoys in military procurement.
(i) MaxDefense has written about some of these hidden moves in Facebook and elsewhere — where he tries to blame HHI for the issues relating to link 16 (which are beyond Korean control) and the space allocation for the FFBNW towed array (which seems to be a demand for an unpaid engineering change request).​
(a) The Koreans are really trying to solve it and even gave the Pinoys “a sovereign guarantee to support the guarantee given by the contractor.” HHI promised in 2017 to make Hanwha Systems’ Naval Shield ICMS compatible with Link 16 by 2019 or before the first Philippine frigate was delivered. But so far, it has yet to officially meet this requirement.​
(b) In this case, I don’t see HHI as causing this problem — rather I suspect they are the victim of a squeeze play by the Duterte Davos gang. Having taken away HHI’s margins, it can’t be realistic of the Pinoys to demand more changes when the Philippine Navy have even not bought or finalised the FFBNW towed sonar.​
(ii) When the time comes, they have to pay for an engineering change request. It’s TWG’s fault for not specifying the type of towed sonar at the design stage.​

5. I suspect if anyone is to blame it is the Pinoys but tonnyc will have better insight than me. As he said, “the whole thing is FUBAR, but there are people who did try their best but was stymied by their superiors both military and civilian.” I hope he will explain these allegations against the shipbuilder to me, as I don’t want to take blogger comments at face value.

6. Given that the Chinese Navy added 119 ships since 2005, being a US ally is not the possession of magical immunity idol — like many Pinoys seem to think.
  • The defence of Korea for example is a Korean responsibility. The Prime Ministers of Australia and Japan will treat North and South with proper care and be carefully balanced in their responses to ROK. Australian and Japanese responses to Mar 2010 ROKS Cheonan sinking and Nov 2010 bombardment of Yeonpyeong in Korea, were carefully balanced.
  • These incidents with a US ally demonstrated that if the stakes are high enough, no one really dares to or wants to escalate — keeping in mind that North Korea maintains nearly 6,000 artillery systems within range of major South Korean population centers, which it could use to kill many thousands in just an hour, even without resorting to chemical or nuclear weapons. Rand researchers assessed the magnitude of this threat in 2020.
  • Being prepared matters. If the PLA(N) sinks a Pinoy navy boat, no war is expected as they are not prepared to respond. It is up to the Philippine Navy to develop the capability to shoot back. If they can’t do it, they will just have to back down in a confrontation. India found this out the hard way, when 20 of their soldiers well clubbed to death by the PLA at their border.
7. Washington is not taking sides in the long-standing territorial disputes. Rather, it is explicitly declaring that Beijing’s harassment of other states’ fishing and hydrocarbon development is illegal. This move is long overdue. Arcane debates over international law and the fact that the United States is not a party to the Convention on the Law of the Sea delayed unqualified and explicit backing of the 2016 ruling. Doing so now clears the path for U.S. policies to support allies and partners in their efforts to rebuff Beijing’s coercive maritime practices. The US Navy’s reassuring presence in the South China Sea not only limits the escalation options available to the PLA(N), it also limits the responses from the claimants — keeping the peace.
 
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swerve

Super Moderator
I'm not at all sure of that "keeping in mind that North Korea maintains nearly 6,000 artillery systems within range of major South Korean population centers". Looking at the estimated ranges, & the location of major population centres near the DMZ, that could be hard. It might require, for example, masses of medium-range artillery packed into some very small areas, able to target fairly small parts of a major population centre (e.g. some northern suburbs of Seoul), & leaving artillery thinly spread or limited to short-range weapons along most of the DMZ.

That's not to downplay the threat: there are still very large numbers of N. Korean guns & rocket launchers that can hit deep into Seoul - but not 6000, unless the DPRK has more long-range artillery than published estimates give.
 

Toptob

Active Member
I'm not at all sure of that "keeping in mind that North Korea maintains nearly 6,000 artillery systems within range of major South Korean population centers". Looking at the estimated ranges, & the location of major population centres near the DMZ, that could be hard. It might require, for example, masses of medium-range artillery packed into some very small areas, able to target fairly small parts of a major population centre (e.g. some northern suburbs of Seoul), & leaving artillery thinly spread or limited to short-range weapons along most of the DMZ.

That's not to downplay the threat: there are still very large numbers of N. Korean guns & rocket launchers that can hit deep into Seoul - but not 6000, unless the DPRK has more long-range artillery than published estimates give.
Wow you're right! I always hear that the DPRK has thousands of artillery pieces aimed at Seoul. But I just took a gander at google maps and the main metropolitan area is still 25 to 30 Km from the border. And although there are other big inhabited areas closer to the border, to rain down shells on Seoul they'd have to shoot pretty far. For normal ammunition they should be just in range of their heavy guns and indeed their rocket artillery.

However, as we can all agree, pointing artillery at someones civilian population is pretty aggressive behavior. And despite some problems the South Koreans have constructed a nation that can face and respond to such threats. Sadly there's much less of that in the Philippines. We can lament the corruption, as we should, but there's also corruption in Korea. Is their success just because their pie is bigger?

I think not, there are plenty of countries that are not so lavishly funded that still manage to present a credible defense to answer threats to the safety and prosperity of their population. But the Philippines are just in the last few years decommissioning WW2 era ships. And while it's certainly commendable that their crews have kept them at sea for so long. It is just irresponsible of their political overlords to not have replaced these ships long ago.

And if we look at the threats they are facing I can't blame anyone for thinking it's a lost cause to deal with China in the South China Sea. Their navy is one thing and they've built a very impressive armada over the past few decades. But their other "naval" forces are at least (if not more) impressive! The China Coast Guard has a lot of large long range patrol vessels that very much look to be a match of many naval ships in the area. But their enormous fleet of fishing boats loaded with angry "reservists" is maybe the scariest tool the Philippines navy will have to contend with.

That's the crazy thing, that one fishing boat that rams your ship. Has the backing of all that other force and you know they are just there to provoke and stake their claim. And it's hard to see how things could get better in the weird political climate the Philippines finds itself. I think there's little they could do if China chose to start building closer to their shores. And those island bases of the Chinese do look mighty impressive, so when they're established it might take a lot to reverse the situation.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Background Info

1. North Korea maintains nearly 6,000 artillery systems within range of major South Korean population centers, which it could use to kill many thousands in just an hour, even without resorting to chemical or nuclear weapons. Rand researchers assessed the magnitude of this threat across five attack scenarios.
2. The strike scenarios assessed were (i) five minutes against a major industrial target, (ii) one minute along the DMZ, (iii) one minute against downtown Seoul, (iv) one hour along the DMZ, and (v) one hour against downtown Seoul. Estimated total casualties from the attacks ranged from about 4,500 to more than 200,000.

3. Forum members were arguing on the nature of threat presented by North Korean artillery to the South’s civilian population in the past — glad that we finally found a paper that attempts to make some estimates.
@swerve and @Toptob, the link to the Rand estimates of civilian casualties from a North Korean artillery attack is provided in the Korean Peninsula Developments thread. Can we discuss this there? My comment on it here was a by the way statement to illustrate a conceptual point that an attack resulting in deaths do not always result in a substantial retaliation (be it the sinking of a warship or an artillery attack), if the stakes are high enough.

For good order, I have copied your posts there and you can check out the link and express yourself there for anything Korean related. Many thanks.
 
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Toptob

Active Member
@swerve and @Toptob, the link to the Rand estimates of civilian casualties from a North Korean artillery attack is provided in the Korean Peninsula Developments thread. Can we discuss this there? My comment on it here was a by the way statement to illustrate a conceptual point that an attack resulting in deaths do not always result in retaliation if the stakes are high enough.

For good order, I have copied your posts there and you can check out the link and express yourself there for anything Korean related. Many thanks.
You're absolutely right @OPSSG. We've seen the South China Sea blow up over the last decade(s) and there have been a number of ships that have been sunk, territory that has been occupied and lives that have been lost. So the price that China has put on a potential conflict is pretty high and rising as we speak.

But it still is disheartening to see how the Filipino leadership reacts to these provocations.
 

Ananda

Well-Known Member

So, Philippines Defense Minister wants more decommissioned Pohang class Corvettes. Well they have to give some business concession to ROK. Nothing really free in this world.
 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member

So, Philippines Defense Minister wants more decommissioned Pohang class Corvettes. Well they have to give some business concession to ROK. Nothing really free in this world.
The Philippine government wishes and receives a lot of free donations, but the point is not only getting things heavily discounted or for free. The real thing to think about is, does the Philippine government has the willingness to spend money on maintenance? Looking to the Gregorio del Pillar class frigates/cutters, it seems that there is a lack of willingness to take care of their defence equipment.
 

Ananda

Well-Known Member
They do upgrade project for Jacinto/ex RN Peacock class. However I do agree that their efforts to do upgrade on those ex USCG Cutter, bit questionable.

Both Hamilton and Pohang are CODAG, thus it's not as economical to run compared to their New Frigates or even Jacinto class. I don't know if this is one of the factor that theyre contemplating.
On the other hand, they still can got perhaps another 10-20 years for those Pohang Corvettes. Seems I remember reading from Max Defense that they are planning to upgrade to Pohang.
 
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