Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Philippine Military to acquire 2 more ships


The Philippines is planning to acquire two more ships to boost the maritime security capabilities of its military, one of the most poorly-equipped in the region.
Armed Forces chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista told the ABS-CBN News Channel Wednesday that the military needs to purchase about six naval vessels.
            
“Ideally we need about six (ships)… That’s part of the plan. In fact we are (conducting) bidding for two frigates so we will acquire them in a couple of years,” the military chief said.
“We realized that there is a real threat out there in terms of securing, defending our territory. We need to be very conscious about that," he added.
The Philippines has acquired two frigates from the United States (US) namely the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, which arrived in the country in 2011 and BRP Ramon Alcaraz, which became part of the Navy inventory last year. The two ships are part of Washington’s excess defense articles program and are now patrolling the country’s territorial waters. 
The bidding for two more ships worth P18 billion is underway. The STAR earlier reported that at least four companies have qualified to enter the next stage of the bidding.
These companies are Navantia Sepi (RTR Ventures) of Spain, and South Korean firms STX Offshore & Shipbuilding, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd., and Hyundai Heavy Industries Inc.
The second stage of the bidding will involve the opening of financial proposals and technical documents. This phase will determine if the bidders’ offers are within the approved budget of P18 billion and if their ships comply with the specifications provided in the bid documents.
Security officials will soon thresh out details of the acquisition of two other vessels. 
Bautista, however, said other maritime security equipment will be purchased through the $40-million military aid announced by US State Secretary John Kerry when he visited the Philippines last month.
He said among the items to be prioritized are radars, maritime patrol aircraft and patrol ships.
The US assistance aims to improve the Philippines’ maritime security and domain awareness amid recent aggressive actions by China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The grant will be spent over three years and will be under the US Global Security Contingency Fund.
“We are upgrading our capabilities to address all our mandates, internal security, defending our territory, and also helping in disaster relief and rescue operations,” Bautista said.
A total of P41.2-billion worth of military upgrade projects have been completed and awarded during the first three years of the Aquino administration, according to the Defense department.
The amount represents 36 projects that were spread out to the Armed Forces General Headquarters, the Government Arsenal and the three major services namely the Army, the Air Force and the Navy.
A total of 16 Navy projects worth P5.3-billion have been completed including the acquisition of frigates BRP Alcaraz and BRP del Pilar and three naval helicopters worth P1.34-billion.
The Navy is expecting the delivery of P6.4-billion worth of equipment including the strategic sealift vessels, additional naval helicopters and amphibious vehicles.
Article Source: The Philippine Star

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