Philippines moves ahead with ‘second horizon’ modernisation

21 June 2018

The Russian-made Kilo-class submarine is regarded as a possible procurement under the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ ‘second horizon’ modernisation programme. Source: Russian MoD

Key Points

  • President approves USD5.6 billion modernisation programme
  • Requirements include accelerated submarine procurement

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has given approval to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to progress plans to procure a wide range of defence equipment under its ‘second horizon’ modernisation programme, which runs 2018–2022.

The state-run Philippines News Agency (PNA) reported on 20 June that the second horizon programme has been allocated “roughly PHP300 billion” (USD5.6 billion) and includes the procurement of a range of tactical military platforms including multirole combat aircraft and diesel–electric submarines.

Department of National Defense (DND) spokesman Arsenio Andolong was quoted by the PNA as saying Duterte has approved the funding programme, which also encompasses an accelerated schedule for the submarine procurement. This was originally scheduled for the 2023–2027 third horizon but has now been moved forward, said Andolong. “This is not included in horizon three any more,” he said. “It has been pushed into horizon two [and the procurement] must be studied.”

While Andolong did not state the reason for the shift in schedules, Philippine Navy (PN) officials have confirmed to Jane’s a need to accelerate the submarine procurement given the growing trend in Southeast Asia to boost subsurface warfare capability as part of efforts to secure offshore territory.

PN officials have said the service requires at least two submarines and that the procurement was initiated in 2015 through the issue of a preliminary request for information (RFI). The PN has also established a submarine office that, as part of planning processes, is reviewing contemporary submarine designs and drawing up a concept of operations. Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also confirmed in 2017 that the Russian-made Kilo-class submarine was one platform under consideration.

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