Your 1st in Philippine defense

The return of the self propelled howitzer is coming soon!

The Philippine Army is close to acquiring 155mm self-propelled howitzers

Let us welcome BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39)!

The Philippine Navy finally welcomes its latest asset, the Pohang-class corvette BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39)

Hermes 450 MALE UAVs arriving soon!

MaxDefense presents the first photo of the Elbit Systems Hermes 450 MALE UAV of the Philippine Air Force!

Elbit's Skylark 3 UAV coming soon!

The Philippine Army just made a massive order for several UAV types from Israel.

Philippine Navy and HHI launches BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150)

The Frigate acquisition project reaches a milestone with the launching of BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150).

The Philippine Navy's first Combat Management System from Saab

The Philippine Navy introduces the first CMS in PN service, the Saab 9LV Combat Management System on PS-35

Friday, October 25, 2013

Tech Specs Released for PAF's Medium Lift Fixed Wing Transport Aircraft - Is there a Sure Winner?

Just right after MaxDefense posted the blog regarding the Php 5.3 billion Medium Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft acquisition project, PhilGEPS made available the Technical Specifications for the said project. Earlier it was discussed that this is the key to know who will be eligible to join the race and probably know who will win as well.


The Alenia Aerospace C-27J Spartan, one of the expected competitors for the Medium Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft program.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

Here is the summary of the Technical Specifications for the said program:

- Requirement is for 3 brand-new units, and will be used for Airborne Operations, Aero-Medical Evacuation, Passenger Transport, and Limited Maritime Patrol and Search and Rescue Operations;
- For the aircraft to do such missions, it has to be equipped with paratroop seats, capable of static and free fall paradrop operations, must be able to accomodate at least twelve (12) litters, must accommodate at least 40 seated passengers, and must be convertible from full-cabin military transport to maritime patrol aircraft;
- A minimum range of 950 nautical miles (nm) without refueling;
- A minimum payload of 11,000 pounds (lbs) with maximum fuel load;
- An endurance of at least 4 hours and 30 minutes;
- A minimum crusing speed of 230 knots and a service ceiling of at least 25,000 feet;
- Must be capable of loading at least four (4) palletized cargo with dimensions of 2.5m x 2.0m x 1.6m and has a ramp loading capability;
- Short Take-off and Landing Capable, maximum of 1,000m length;
- Communications to include VHF-AM/FM/Marine Band and HF radios and provision for future upgrades;
- Autopilot capable, with GPS, Traffic Collision Avoidance System, Ground Proximity Warning System, Colored Weather Radar, Glass Cockpit;
- Programmed to fly 500 hours/year for thirty (30) years;
- Paint Scheme to follow the current Fokker F-27s with the 220th Airlift Wing (white and grey, as indicated).


According to the technical specifications, the paint scheme shown above will be followed for the Medium Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft requirement.
Photo taken from DND.

As discussed before, there are 3 expected competitors which already made known their interest to join the bidding: 

1. Alenia Aerospace (Italy) with the C-27J Spartan,
2. EADS/CASA - Airbus Military (Spain/EU) with the C-295,
3. PT Dirgantara Indonesia / Indonesian Aerospace (PT DI / IAe) with the CN-235.

(Discussions regarding the 3 aircraft models are discussed HERE). 

Looking at the above summarized specifications, MaxDefense believes that all 3 aircraft meet the required range, payload, cruising speed, endurance, and STOL requirements. All 3 can also do the required mission profiles, although it appears that the C-27J is weak with regards to configuration for limited Maritime Patrol since this aircraft has no MPA variants so far, unlike the CN-235 and C-295 which has palletized MPA suite as an option, although MaxDefense believes the DND/PAF won't avail of them for this program. The C-27J is also weak with regards to pricing, as the minimum requirements is enough for its 2 cheaper competitors to fit the requirement albeit a lesser capability. These 2 parameters is where the CN-235 and C-295 may beat the more capable C-27J. 


CASA-EADS's C-295 (above) is the middle-spec'd of the 3 possible competitors.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.
It is surprising though that the specifications, specifically the payload is way lower than even the smallest of the competitors, the CN-235, as MaxDefense expected the specifications to be closer to a fight between the C-27J and C-295. With a lower labor cost in Indonesia than in Western Europe (Spain & Italy), plus its smaller dimensions and lower specifications, Indonesia Aerospace's CN-235 is actually a strong candidate in this acquisition program in terms of pricing, it can definitely submit the lowest bid of all 3 candidates.


The IAe's CN-235 (above) is the cheapest of all the possible offers, but is it the aircraft to beat? Let's see in a couple of weeks.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.
But it now appears that the CN-235 and C-27J may fail the requirement on cargo capacity space. 

Although the CN-235 claims to be able to carry 4 108" length  x 88" height (2.74m length x 2.24m width) pallets, it can only do so with the ramp opened and flat, as shown on the photo below:


For the CN-235, only 3 pallets of 2.74m length each can be carried by closed ramp, and will need an open supported ramp to carry a 4th pallet, as shown above.
Photo taken from nifc.gov and EADS.

The DND requirement is for 4 pallets with dimensions of each pallet at 2.5m length x 2.0m width x 1.6m height. Thus, 4 pallets will require a little more than 10.0m cargo space length to fit. The DND is not clear though if the 4th pallet can be placed on an open but flat supported ramp. As shown on the photo below, the CN-235 only has a cabin length of 9.65 meters excluding the ramp. If including the winch, the space becomes less. 4 pallets as required by the technical specifications require a cabin space of at least 10.0 meters excluding the ramp and winch space.


The CN-235's cabin length is 9.65m excluding ramp, if including the winch (shown in orange square), the space becomes even less. 4 pallets requires at least 10 meters of cabin space length excluding ramp and winch space.
Photo taken from nifc.gov and EADS.

So it appears that the CN-235 may not be capable of meeting the cabin space requirements of the DND as specified in the technical specifications, except if the DND will accept the ramp area as a possible space. More of the report regarding the CN-235 HERE.

The Alenia C-27J Spartan may have the same problem as the CN-235 due to its short fuselage length, the aircraft being shorter than even the CN-235 by around 3.0 meters. Some sources quote the cabin length as only at 8.58 meters, shorter than CN-235's 9.65 meters including winch.


The C-27J's length is shorter than even the CN-235 although it meets the width and height requirements for cargo fuselage.
MaxDefense now believes that it could be a chance for C-295 to win the bidding. The C-295 has the same cabin width and height dimensions as the CN-235, but is 3.10m longer in the cargo fuselage portion, thus giving it a cargo space of at least 11.0 meters long and can fit 4 pallets of 2.5 meters long each as specified.


The specifications has been released and is available at PhilGEPS's website. Even with the availability of the specifications, bidders are required to pay the necessary dues to join the bid.
Photo taken from DND's Medium Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft technical specifications.


The only parameters in which will either chop off some of the bidders will be the other requirements in the specifications, specifically the Eligibility Documentation portion, where many bidders in other procurement projects fail to pass. Take note that Daewoo/Daesun failed in this portion for the Strategic Sealift Vessel (SSV) project, while Sikorsky failed in this regard for the Light Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft project.

Another parameter that needs to be given a second look are the Maintenance Requirements, which include flying hours required before overhaul of the airframe, powerplant, propeller, landing gears and other major aircraft components. These information are usually not made known publicly by aircraft manufacturers and may only be included on previous offers made to PAF and DND.

So although the C-295 seems to be the aircraft to beat in this program, we cannot finally say that until the bidding actually proceeds and everyone pass the initial requirements as indicated in the specification checklists, and also when DND makes a decision. There could still be some hook-ups along the way for any of the 3 potential bidders, although this is actually a good fight to watch.

For a public copy of the Technical Specifications, you may take from 'HERE'.


===========================================================
Updates:

October 26, 2013: 
The bid submission and opening was moved from October 29, 2013 to November 11, 2013. This is according to the new Supplemental Bid Bulletin issued by the DND on October 21, 2013. No word if bidders requested the schedule change or if DND's decision.
===

November 12, 2013: 
Another adjustment on the schedule for this project. The bid submission and opening was moved again, now to November 18, 2013. This is according to the new Supplemental Bid Bulletin issued by the DND on November 11, 2013. No official reason why it was moved but it is possible that the bidders requested for an extension. 
===


January 14, 2014
Only 2 bidders submitted in the bid submission and opening for this project on January 13, 2014, namely EADS-CASA (Airbus Military) and PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI / Indonesian Aerospace). Of the two entities, only EADS-CASA's bid using the C-295 was found eligible, while PT DI's bid failed to meet the requirements with its CN-235. More on MaxDefense's latest blog on this project.
===
 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

PAF's Medium Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft Program - A Simple Analysis of the 3 Contenders

With the pre bid conference started for the much anticipated bidding of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) Medium Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft worth Php 5.3 billion, it is worth noting that 3 contenders were present, and they have long been anticipated to participate in this project. The following aircraft manufacturers are:

1. Alenia Aerospace (Italy) with the C-27J Spartan,
2. EADS/CASA - Airbus Military (Spain/EU) with the C-295,
3. PT Dirgantara Indonesia / Indonesian Aerospace (PT DI / IAe) with the CN-235.

For the case of Airbus Military and Indonesia Aerospace, tt's surprising to see that they will be competing separately although these companies and their products are closely related to each other, MaxDefense didn't expect them to bid separately using 2 almost similar aircraft models.


The PAF is in need of a new medium-sized transport aircraft to complement and eventually replacement the venerable Fokker F.27 aircraft (above), which lacks the capability to fill-in transport duties from the larger Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules.
Photo taken from defense-studies.blogspot.com c/o sires9094.


Brief Summary of the Contenders:
Construcciones Aeronauticas SA (CASA) was a Spanish aircraft manufacturer which tied up with Industri Pesawat Terbang Nursantara (IPTN) of Indonesia to build a medium transport aircraft which eventually became CN-235 (C for CASA, N for Nursantara). Both aircraft manufacturers eventually made changes to their organizations, with CASA eventually changing its name to EADS-CASA (with EADS being a consortium of European aerospace companies where CASA is a member), which also includes Airbus and Airbus Military in the consortium. IPTN in the meantime was restructured and was renamed PT Dergantara Indonesia, or Indonesian Aerospace in 2000. Although both have rights to the CN-235, EADS-CASA and PT DI decided to develop and market the aircraft independently after the Series 100, which includes the division of marketing between the 2 countries for the aircraft. The Philippines is actually part of PT DI's jurisdiction thus they are the one marketing the CN-235. The CN-235 is a successful military aircraft with more than 26 countries operating them in military organizations plus a few other civilian operators.


The CASA-IAe CN-235 aircraft, photo above in Spanish Air Force colors.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

EADS-CASA further developed the CN-235 into a bigger aircraft, the C-295 (C for CASA, take note the missing "N" unlike the CN-235), which is actually a stretched and more powerful derivative of the CN-235. Being a different aircraft but almost in the same category of the CN-235, EADS-CASA's offer with the C-295 actually gives the Europeans a chance to challenge and provide an alternative to the Indonesian-built CN-235. Spain and 15 other countries operate the C-295.


The CASA-EADS C-295 aircraft, in Polish Air Force service.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

Alenia Aerospace's C-27J Spartan is actually a derivative of the older Aeritalia G.222 medium transport aircraft from Italy. Early G.222 aircraft were sold to the US miltary, and was called the C-27A in behalf of the US military requirements. Further development of the aircraft was made, with assistance of Lockheed Martin resulting to the C-27J Spartan. It uses the same engine, propellers and many systems found on the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules, thus the "J" designation. Aside from the US and Italy, 7 other countries use the C-27J, with more countries taking some interest on the aircraft.


The Alenia Aerospace C-27J Spartan of the Italian Air Force.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

The Acquisition Project:
The 3 aircraft being offered have their strengths and weaknesses as different platforms, and the DND will have to release it's specifications that will ultimately pinpoint to who will take the project. Here's why:

The C-27J has the largest cargo capacity with almost 3 times that of the CN-235, is the fastest, longest ranged, and most expensive of the choices. MaxDefense believes that the C-27J would lose the bid if the C-295 or CN-235 are all within the specifications of the project because of high cost. The only way this aircraft would bag the project is for the specifications to be high enough for C-295 and CN-235 to impossibly possess. This is by making the most of the C-27J's strengths in terms of capacity and power.


A Lithuanian Air Force C-27J Spartan with an aerial refueling probe.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

The C-295 is a cheaper alternative to the C-27J, but has less payload capacity and smaller fuselage size, operational range, and speed. The CN-235 has an even lesser capability than the C-295 due to its smaller size. But it is expected that the CN-235 will be the cheapest of the 3 aircraft being offered to the DND & PAF. 


Photo above shows the fuselage difference between the C-27J and C-295. The C-295 might not even be capable of taking in a Humvee which the Philippine military widely uses. This proves a disadvantage for the C-295 and CN-235 which are both smaller than the C-27J.
Photo taken from militaryphotos.net c/o Hyde.


MaxDefense believes that comparing the 3 different aircraft models is like comparing different fruits, lets say an apple to an orange and to a pear. Unlike the Light Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft Program where the competing aircraft models are closely similar, the aircraft models competing for the Medium Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft Program are not.

Ultimately the specifications will immediately say who will win as it will set the parameters into order for the 3 manufacturers. If the CN-235's dimensions and capability is enough to pass the set specifications by the DND, then it will surely win the bid due to pricing as compared to the C-295 and C-27J. Thus it would be easy to guess who will win the bid by just looking at the specifications to be released by the DND.


But MaxDefense believes that the C-27J has a lead in this project, based on previous announcements and press releases by the DND and PAF. Like the Light Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft and Surface Attack Aircraft/Lead In Fighter Trainer acquisition programs, DND's ASec Patrick Velez told Aviation Week late last year that they have already chosen the C-27J as the next medium lift transport aircraft for the PAF after evaluating it against other aircraft models like the C-295 and CN-235. This was also pointed out by reports from ABS-CBN in an earlier news report, thus making the C-27J's bid stronger compared to its competitors. Take note that so far, all aircraft models pointed out by the DND and PAF came out leading the respected bidding programs, except for the Attack Helicopter which reverted back to its original choice. If not for the bidding requirements as decided by the Aquino administration, the DND could have already signed a contract with either Alenia Aerosspace for the C-27J as early as 1st quarter 2013.


Photo showing fuselage comparison between a C-130, C-27J, Antonov An-32, C-295, CN-235. Take note of the size differences and capability to take in different kinds of expected cargo like vehicles, goods and fighter aircraft engines. These cargo are expected to be carried by PAF medium lift transport aircraft as well.
Photo taken from militaryphotos.net c/o Hyde.

Bid opening was moved from October 14, 2013 to October 29, 2013 as indicated in the 1st Supplemental Bid Bulletin, as expected like other similar procurement of major defense equipment. So it would be best to see who are the final contenders for the next week. MaxDefense will post updates upon availability as the acquisition program progresses.

===========================================================
Updates:

October 26, 2013: The bid submission and opening was moved from October 29, 2013 to November 11, 2013. This is according to the new Supplemental Bid Bulletin issued by the DND on October 21, 2013. No word if bidders requested the schedule change or if DND's decision.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Philippine Navy Frigate Acquisition Project - An Analysis of the 1st-Stage Bidding Specifications

Finally what we've been waiting for is out. MaxDefense has obtained a copy of the 1st-Stage Bidding Specifications released by the Philippines' Department of National Defense (DND) for the Philippine Navy's New Frigate Acquisition Project. This is the basis for contending bidders on the initial bidding stage, with a budget of Php 18 billion for 2 frigates. Many suggest that the frigates are to become glorified Offshore Patrol Vessels based on the said specifications.


MaxDefense earlier believes that the Incheon-class frigate will be the basis of the frigate program, but it is worth checking what will be the final output of this bidding process.

MaxDefense summarizes the important details of the said 1st-stage bid specifications, with a few edits as shown below (additional commentaries in Italics):
==================

Technical Specifications:
Budget: Php 18 billion for 2 brand-new frigates.
Capabilities: 
- Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), and Electronic Warfare (EW);
- Extended Maritime Patrol with embarked helicopter;
- Operation on up to Sea State 6

Dimesions: per function of design (depend on bidder's proposed design
Displacement: per function of design (depend on bidder's proposed design)
Range: 4,500 nautical miles @ 15 knots;
Endurance: 30 days in tropical condition;
Speed: maximum continuous of 25 knots;
Boats Carried: minimum of 2 Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats;

Operating Environment:
- Operation at Sea State 6,
- Non-degradation of warfare mission at Sea State 5;
- Helicopter operation at Sea State 4;
- RHIB operations at Sea State 3

Complement: per function of design (depend on bidder's proposed design), but will have a non-organic crew of 8 officers, 16 enlisted personnel (embarked Task Force/air crew/1 SEAL team.)

Propulsion: minimum of 2 engines with 2 propellers with reduction gear box;
Power Supply: minimum of 3 diesel generators;
Replenishment at Sea Capable.

Navigation Equipment:
- minimum 2 navigation radars (X-band and S-band), at least 1 in solid state design, capable of Automatic Radar Plotting Aid (ARPA), Automatic Identification System (AIS) and Automatic Tracking Aid (ATA);
- GPS;
- depth sounding set;
- vessel tracking system compatible to Philippine Navy's system

Communications:
- Standard VHF AM/FM and UHF radios; 
- Satelite Communications (SATCOM) system;
- Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system;
- "Fitted for but not with" Tactical Data Link (NATO standard), still to be determined which type, supplied by PN;
- Local Area Network (LAN); 
-Connectivity to the PN's Littoral Observation Stations and Maritime Research Information Center.

Sensors, minimum requirement:
- Combat Management System (CMS), readily upgradable;
- Fire Control System integrated to CMS, can track and engage surface, air and missile targets simultaneously;
- Fire Control Radar and/or Electro-Optical targeting system;
- Electronic Support Measures (ESM) with Radio Detection and Finding (RDF);
- 2D air search radar for air surveillance and target acquisition, minimum range of 80nmi, can detect sea-skimming missiles with maximum altitude of 10ft., integrated to ESM and CMS;
- 2D surface search radar, can detect anti-ship missile threats minimum range of 40nmi, integrated to ESM and CMS;
- Passive and Active Sonar system;
- Decoy launcher minimum 6 tubes per side or centrally rotating launcher

Weapons Systems, minimum requirement:
- 76mm gun at forward section with target tracking radar and/or electro-optical target acquisition and fire control computer;
- 1 x stabilized secondary gun;
- 4 x 50-caliber machine guns;
- primary and secondary guns shall be integrated to combat management system;
- 4 x surface-to-surface missile launchers, minimum 50km range, active homing seeker and ECCM capability;
- surface-to-air missile launching system, minimum quadruple launcher, minimum 6km range, IR or semi-active homing seeker, with ECCM and/or IR CCM capability;
- anti-submarine torpedoes, minimum range 2km, minimum depth 500m, with acoustic countermeasures capability, 2 x triple launchers (one on each side);

Flight Capability: Hangar and deck facilities for at least 1 helicopter up to 10-tons. 
Helicopter Hangar Dimensions: 14.3m L x 9.5m W x 4.5m H, capable of accepting 10-ton helicopter design;

Ammunition:
- minimum 10 rounds each for surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles;
- minimum 6 torpedo rounds and a dummy torpedo;
- minimum 652 rounds assorted 76mm ammunition;
- fragmentation and high explosive rounds for secondary gun;
- minimum 54 rounds for assorted chaffs and decoys;
- minimum of 2 ammunition storage spaces
==================

Additional Information:
Aside from the specifications released by the DND, PTV-4 was able to interview the commanding officer of the Philippine Navy's Patrol Force, Commodore Jose Renan Suarez, wherein he pointed out a few of the basic information of the frigate project. He emphasized the availability of a main gun firing 120 rounds per minute, and that the ship would be built to accept numerous upgrades in the future to be relevant and competitive with new threats.


Points for Discussion based on the Information:
There are 2 parameters set on this bidding that must be considered before making conclusions:

First, the project will go through a two-stage bidding, with the initial bid only intended to provide basis of capability of competing bidders to comply with the initial specifications;

Secondly, all specified requirements in this specification by the DND are "minimum requirements", and bidders may propose a better system according to their decision.


Similar to what the DND and PN did for the Strategic Sealift Vessel, the manufacturers are given the free-will to submit a hull design that would fit to the requirements, without being specific on the dimensions and displacement. The range and endurance is acceptable for frigates, although most corvettes and OPVs also have the same capabilities with this regard. The speed appears to be slow as compared to typical frigates which have design speeds between 29 to 32 knots. Most ships with 25 knots maximum are usually offshore patrol vessels or corvettes with an all-diesel propulsion in CODAD or CODOD configuration. The propulsion requirement calls for at least 2 engines, which is standard to most warships, but it did not indicate the propulsion configuration, leaving it open for bidders to propose and if it would incorporate other propulsion systems like gas turbine or electric system. 

No indication that a gas turbine engine is required, although the specifications only allowed for minimum requirements.
Photo taken from General Electric website.

Previously the Philippine Navy high command announced the preference on use of diesel engines or diesel engines in conjunction with a higher output alternative power source for high speed operations. This was the main reason why they rejected earlier offers by the US government for COGAG-configured Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates so it is safe to assume that 2 diesel engines are the minimum. So we could either see a CODOD/CODAD configuration, or CODOG at best depending on what the bidders can offer.

The specifications also included a clause that requires the hull design to be based on a proven design that passed extensive model tests, with emphasis on survivability, being able to withstand damage and flooding in any 2 adjacent watertight compartments. This is very important since the ship will be used for combat operations and high-threat environments. This clause also strongly supports the previous requirements disallowing the AFP to be end-users of unproven designs. This would hurt some of the prospected bidders like ST Engineering which may offer a design that is unproven although derived from a smaller but proven ship's design.

The organic complement appears to be a matter of function of design and automation according to the proposal, but since budget is a major factor, MaxDefense expects the ship to have less automation compared to most recent designs. This would push the number of crew to a higher level, with an estimated crew of around 160 men and women. Non-organic complement includes the aviation crew and pilots (4 pilots, 2 TACCOs, 8 enlisted personnel), a SEAL team for special operations (1 officer and 7 enlisted personnel) and might also include enough accommodations for task force officers (1 senior officer, 1 junior officer, 1 enlisted personnel) indicating that the frigates can be used as task force ships or SEAL insertion platforms.


A PN SEAL team, together with their RHIB can call the new frigates their home.
Photo taken from US Navy website.

The navigation requirements appear to be standard, and is somehow available on some of the Philippine Navy's current assets. Same for the communications requirements as well except for the requirement for connectivity to "Littoral Observation Stations", which MaxDefense believes to be the National Coast Watch System. Such system is also currently available with the BRP Gregorio del Pilar. A requirement for a future Data Link is also present, and appears to be "fitted for but not with" due to the absence of such system within the AFP. Upon decision of the AFP which type would be used by the entire armed forces, only then can a Data Link be installed on the ship. Due to the Philippine military's close relationship with the US, it is expected that the Data Link will somehow be an American type, possibly the Link 16.

It is in the weapons and sensors that MaxDefense finds interesting discussion. The minimum requirement calls for a 2-dimensional (2D) air search and surface search radar systems. This appears to be contradictory to what the PN was planning for some time. Previously a released Request for Information (RFI) by the US Navy's Naval Sea Systems Command 2 years ago requires a minimum of a 3D-radar set for a possible PN OPV requirement. Also, 2D-radar sets may not be able to complement most modern anti-aircraft missiles, as the system can only provide bearing and range information but not the elevation. Examples of 2D radar sets that fits the range include Saab's Sea Giraffe LT, Selex's RAN30X/I, and Terma's Scanter 4100 series, which are mostly used for small OPVs or as secondary radar systems for surface combatants. 


A 2D-radar system was specified for the air and surface search radar requirements. Above is the Selex RAN30X/I which appears to meet the requirements.
Photo taken from Selex Sistemi Integrati website.

The requirement for sonar systems, which only said as capable of active and passive detection modes, remains a mystery due to lack of further information. No specific information if t would be a hull-mounted sonar, a towed array sonar, or both. This would probably be clarified later on as the project matures.

The ship's main gun will be a 76mm type, probably an Oto Melara model due to commonality with current PN systems. Although not in the specifications, the earlier report from Commodore Suarez's interview indicated a 120rpm gun, which is possibly the 76mm Super Rapid version. A secondary gun was also specified, and was designated in the specifications as a "CIWS" but did not mention the capability to shoot down incoming high speed targets like anti-ship missiles or aircraft. MaxDefense believes that the specification meant  it be probably like the Mk. 38 Mod. 2 gun planned for the Gregorio del Pilar-class frigates to simplify logistics and support. 


A 76mm main gun capable of firing 120 rounds per minute is being considered. Above shows the Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid naval gun.
Photo taken from naval-technology.com.

An Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) suite appears to be not specified, although ESM and RDF were included in the Electronic Wafare (EW) system. Anti-ship missile and torpedo decoy launchers are also required, and will be integrated to the CMS and EW systems. Further clarification might be made if a full ECM suite is needed, similar to the AN/SLQ-32 used by the US Navy and LIG Nex1's Sonata EW System. MaxDefense places this requirement on top of priorities in the absence of an effective anti-aircraft and CIWS system as active defense against incoming missiles. 


Labelled by the DND and PN as a CIWS, the specifications appear to point out to a secondary gun system similar to the Mk.38 Mod.2 gun mount that are scheduled to be installed on the PN's Gregorio del Pilar-class frigates. This gun system is not designed to shoot down incoming missiles, but can be used for slow and small surface targets like terrorist or pirate boats.

The numbers of anti-ship missiles appears to be below the standard mount of similar-sized ships, but the ship would possibly be able to carry up to 8 launchers when necessary as this is the standard number of mounts designed for launching tubes. Requirement is for it to have an active homing seeker and ECCM capability, and a minimum range of 50km. This means missiles like the Boeing Harpoon and MBDA Exocet Blk. III are acceptable, while shorter ranged missiles like MBDA's Marte Mk.2 are out. 


The specifications require a surface-to-surface missile with a minimum range of 50km, with active homing seeker and ECCM capability. Among possible offers may include the MBDA MM40 Exocet Block III anti-ship missile.

But the surface-to-air missile requirement is the most surprising of all, with a minimum range of only 6.0km, mounted in a quadruple launcher. Such requirement means that the minimum air defense requirement is something similar to the MBDA Mistral IR-homing very short range air defense (VShoRAD) missile mounted on a Tetral quadruple mount. Such missile system is not advisable for modern frigate-sized combat vessels as it lacks the range, thus decreasing the capability to defend itself. It decreases the number of defensive layers of the ship, making it easy for OPFOR aircraft with stand-off weapons to engage the frigate, firing at a distance without expecting any defensive threats. Also, the lack of effective air defense system plus the absence of an anti-missile CIWS makes the ship a sitting duck to missile attacks. But since it is just the minimum requirement, contenders can still propose a better system.


Above is the Tetral quadruple launcher for the navalized Mistral VSHORAD missile from MBDA. Indonesia's Diponegoro-class (SIGMA) corvettes are armed with such system.


MaxDefense's Opinion:
This project is a 2-stage competitive bidding, and MaxDefense believes that the specifications released by the DND is NOT FINAL for the frigate project. Since the coming bid would only be a first out of two rounds, it will only accept bidders who would pass the requirements and not yet determine the final winner. 

In short, the 1st stage bidding's specifications are still bound to change, subject to the offer of accepted bidders that may exceed what was initially specified for the project. They will be given a chance to make use of their capability to provide a product that maximizes the budget allocated. Thus, we cannot make a final conclusion yet based on the information we have, but it is highly possible that the final product would definitely be better.

The current specifications does not point to that of a modern frigate due to the following reasons:
- it lacks enough information for possible "fitted for but not with" requirements should the PN find additional funds to upgrade the ships;
- reduced mobility due to low speed and low power for acceleration;
- it has an insufficient active and passive defensive capability;
- a relatively reduced detection and tracking capability;
- lack of strong anti-aircraft system with enough reach;
- unclear ASW detection capability;
- lack of emphasis on stealth or reduced radar cross section capability.

The DND and PN should give more emphasis on items that will be fixed on the ship permanently or for long term, like the hull design, space considerations, propulsion system, and radar system. MaxDefense believes that the PN should have considered at least a 3D radar system as a minimum requirement, and avoid the need to replace the proposed 2D-radar once a decision to upgrade will be made in the future. Propulsion is another fixed system that needs to be looked into.

The DND and PN appears to have given emphasis on the "fitted for but not with" items, as it seems that the direction is on that path. Although no information was released regarding this matter, it is expected to be clearer in the 2nd stage bidding. Ship size and dimension, and power generation requirements are relevant to this, as the ship must be ready to accept such upgrades when the time comes. This lack on initial capability is the consequence of under-funding the project. 


The 1st-stage bidding specifications of the ship has a light sensors and weapons system suite, and may be comparable to an improved Pattani-class OPV of the RTN, as shown above.
Photo taken from mdc.idv.tw.

So is the PN Frigate a "Glorified Offshore Patrol Vessel" as many suggest it is? 

NO. It is too early to say because of the complicated bidding procedure

So until the 2nd-stage bidding starts, it is safe to say that everything is bound to change for the better than what was released in the 1st-stage bid specifications.

MaxDefense will be closely monitoring the updates for this project, with the pre-bid conference scheduled this Friday (October 11, 2013), expect several questions to be thrown and answered at the Supplemental Bid Bulletins in the coming days. 1st-stage bid submission is originally scheduled on the October 25, 2013, with the opening to be done on the same day.

For the complete 1st-stage bidding specifications, an open copy was posted here:

http://www.mediafire.com/view/cjw5782dz18176i/Bid(3)

For more information the concept of a 2-stage bidding, please see here, starting at page 85:

http://www.gppb.gov.ph/downloadables/forms/GPM%20-%20Vol.2.pdf

==================================================

Updates:

October 25, 2013:
For those asking, according to the Supplemental Bid Bulletin released by the DND on October 18, 2013,  the PN Frigate acquisition program schedule has been moved. Probably due to complexity of the project, there will be a 2nd pre-bid conference on November 11, 2013. The 1st bid submission and opening is also moved, from October 25, 2013 to November 25, 2013. Also be reminded that this is a 2-stage bidding process, so don't expect any winners on the bid opening date yet. For further details on the 2-stage bidding process, read this blog again.

====

November 21, 2013:
The bid submission and opening of the Philippine Navy Frigate acquisition program was moved from November 25, 2013 to December 4, 2013. This is to provide more time for bidders to formulate their offers. Details are provided on the Supplemental Bid Bulletin released by the DND on November 18, 2013.

===

December 6, 2013:
UNTV reported that there were 7 companies that submitted a bid for the frigate project. Although there is no indication on the report of which companies submitted a bid, 7 companies is good enough to make the project a competitive one. A copy of the video was posted HERE.

===

February 7, 2016:

WIth new information released, let's re-do the summary found on the first part of this blog entry:

Technical Specifications:
Budget: Php 18 billion for 2 brand-new frigates.
Capabilities: 
- Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), and Electronic Warfare (EW);
- Extended Maritime Patrol with embarked helicopter;
- Participate in Joint Maritime Operations
- Operation on up to Sea State 7
- Stealth design

Dimesions: minimum 95 meters long, per function of design (depend on bidder's proposed design
Displacement: minimum 2,000 tons, per function of design (depend on bidder's proposed design)
Range: 4,500 nautical miles @ 15 knots;
Endurance: 30 days in tropical condition;
Speed: maximum continuous of 25 knots;
Boats Carried: minimum of two 7-meter Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats;

Operating Environment:
- Operation at Sea State 7,
- Non-degradation of ASuW, AAW, EW mission at Sea State 5;
Non-degradation of ASW mission at Sea State 4;
- Helicopter operation at Sea State 4;
- RHIB operations at Sea State 3

Complement: per function of design (depend on bidder's proposed design), but will have a non-organic crew of 9 officers, 16 enlisted personnel (embarked Task Force/air crew/1 SEAL team.)

Propulsion: CODAD with 4 diesel engines, 2 propellers with reduction gear box;
Power Supply: minimum of 3 diesel generators;
Replenishment at Sea Capable.

Navigation Equipment:
-  2 navigation radars (X-band and S-band), solid state design, capable of Automatic Radar Plotting Aid (ARPA), Automatic Identification System (AIS) and Automatic Tracking Aid (ATA);
- DGPS;
- Integrated Navigation Bridge
- Automatic Identification System
- depth sounding set;
- vessel tracking system compatible to Philippine Navy's system

Communications:
- Standard VHF AM/FM and UHF radios; 
- Satelite Communications (SATCOM) system;
- Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system;
- Integrated Communications System;
- Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP);
- With proponent's Tactical Data Link;
- Fitted for but not with Tactical Data Link (NATO standard), still to be determined which type, supplied by PN;
- Local Area Network (LAN); 

Sensors, minimum requirement:
- Combat Management System (CMS), readily upgradable & proven design;
- Fire Control System integrated to CMS, can track and engage surface, air and missile targets simultaneously;
- Fire Control Radar and Electro-Optical targeting system;
- Electronic Support Measures (ESM);
- 3D air/surface search radar for air & surface surveillance and target acquisition, minimum range of 100nmi for aerial targets and 40nmi for sea targets, can detect sea-skimming missiles with maximum altitude of 10ft., integrated to ESM and CMS;
- Passive and Active Bow-mounted Sonar system;
- Decoy launcher minimum 6 tubes per side
- Fitted for but not with Towed Array Sonar System

Weapons Systems, minimum requirement:
- 76mm gun @ 120rpm at forward section with target tracking radar and/or electro-optical target acquisition and fire control computer;
- minimum 1 x stabilized 30mm to 40mm secondary gun;
- 4 x 50-caliber machine guns;
- primary and secondary guns shall be integrated to combat management system;
- 4 x surface-to-surface missile launchers, minimum 150km range, active homing seeker and ECCM capability;
- surface-to-air missile launching system, minimum two twin launchers, minimum 6km range, IR or semi-active homing seeker, with ECCM and/or IR CCM capability;
- 2 x triple lightweight anti-submarine torpedo launchers, minimum range 2km, minimum depth 500m, with acoustic countermeasures capability, one on each side;
- Fitted for but not with 8-cell VLS launcher

Flight Capability: Hangar and deck facilities for at least 1 helicopter up to 12-tons. 
Helicopter Hangar Dimensions: 15.6m L x 7.24m W x 5.7m H, capable of accepting 10-ton helicopter design;


==================

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why Not The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate for the Philippine Navy?

As talks regarding the increased rotation of US forces in the Philippines begins, different groups threw their reasons for supporting or not supporting the plan. But one thing started appearing to be a common ground between the opposing groups: both agree that the Philippine military is ill-equipped to secure its territory, its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and the Kalayaan Group of Islands (KIG) from foreign threat, specifically the Chinese and Taiwanese.


An Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate of the US Navy. Several of the class are available for transfer to allied countries like the Philippines.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

The Philippine Navy (PN), through its Desired Force Mix (DFM) white paper released in 2012, plan to have a fleet of at least 6 anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) frigates and 12 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) corvettes in its arsenal in a time frame covering around 15 years. But currently it only has 3 old gun frigates, and is still grasping to purchase 2 brand new light frigates that appears to be underfunded at around Php 9 billion ($208 million) per ship considering the capability the PN is requesting the ships to have. These new ships would only be in service with the PN several years from now, estimated between early 2017 to early 2018 if the PN chooses a design that is still to be realized, or it could be a little earlier if the PN chooses an existing design. Thus the PN will have to make do with what it has while it waits for the new ships to be fully operational.


The PN is actually looking forward to have Anti-Aircraft Warfare Frigates in its future arsenal. The Royal Netherlands Navy's De Zeven Provincien-class frigates is an example of a typical AAW frigate.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

At this rate, the PN will be short of capable surface combatants for the organization to effectively do its missions, and have the minimum deterrence and capability to defend Philippine waters and EEZ. Also the PN would not be able to attain its desired capability and numbers since the committed ships for commissioning is not enough. Even without following the said white paper plan, there is obviously not enough combat ready ships in the PN's fleet. 

To beef up its fleet, the PN should consider obtaining used but still capable frigates and corvettes, which can be obtained from allies and friendly countries. Currently there are a number of friendly countries that plan or have already started decommissioning their naval assets that can still be useful with the PN, and are definitely more capable and younger than its current assets. Many of these ships, especially those from the US are dropped before they reach their original scheduled retirement.

After making a U-turn on the Italian offers, and bypassing offers from France and other European countries, there is another frigate class that was always rejected by the PN's top brass but is the only relevant choice right now:

The US Navy's Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, also known as the OHP-class.


Purpose:
The OHP frigates were designed and built for the US Navy as fast fleet anti-submarine warfare escorts, with capability for limited area air defense and platform for anti-ship missiles. They are required to move fast to keep up with nuclear powered aircraft carriers which usually run at around 30 knots when required. But it lost its missile capability with the removal of its single Mk. 13 arm-type missile launcher. It has hangar space for 2 SH-60 Seahawk shipboard helicopters.


Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates are great anti-submarine platforms but in its current state it does not even have sufficient surface and anti-aircraft combat capability and will need weapons upgrade.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

In contrast, the PN's frigate requirement based on it's DFM white paper is for an "Anti-Aircraft Warfare Frigate", as the designation suggests it would be general purpose surface combatant, with emphasis on anti-aircraft warfare but with sufficient anti-submarine and surface warfare capability. There is another requirement for the PN for corvettes that are general purpose but with strong emphasis on anti-submarine warfare. The corvette's requirements are actually closer to the OHP-class' strengths, although the OHP-class does not have sufficient air and surface warfare capability in its current guise.


Age:
At more or less 25 years old average, the ships are definitely old per Western standards, but that is expected from used warships, besides they are still younger than most PN major assets which are more than twice that age. With proper refurbishing and modernization these ships would be able to meet the PN's requirements for another 15 years, which is the stipulated parameter for purchasing used materiel for the AFP according to the Philippine government's Administrative Order (AO) No. 169. Sec. 3.2.3.b.


Availability:
The OHP-class is currently being retired by the US Navy while being replaced by the newer Littoral Combat Ships (LCS). A number of ships are available for transfer to allied countries like the Philippines, and there are even some countries previously offered by the US government that did not took the opportunity for many reasons. Thailand may pass on an offer for 2 ships as they decided to instead purchase a new frigate from South Korea.

Of all countries that have available used warships for transfer to other navies, the US Navy currently leads the market.


Operating Cost:
This has been the major reason why previous offers for the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates were always declined by the PN. The ships are powered by 2 General Electric LM2500-30 marine gas turbines in a Combined Gas and Gas (COGAG) configuration. Although gas turbines are light, compact and provide a higher output, it consumes more fuel as compared to diesel engines, and the OHP-class uses these turbines even on cruise speed and economy speeds.


The General Electric LM2500 marine gas turbine, 2 of this powers the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates making it a gas guzzler in Philippine Navy standards which mostly has a diesel-powered fleet.
Photo taken from GE Energy website.

According to Globalsecurity.org and FAS.org, the average operating cost of an OHP frigate in 1996 was $16 million a year. That was when the OHP-class still has its Mk. 13 single-arm multi-purpose missile launchers with SM-1MR Standard surface-to-air missiles and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

It should be taken into consideration though, that the PN operates at a lower cost as compared to the USN. Points to consider are lower manpower costs, lower services and maintenance costs, less operating tempo, less rigorous training programs and attendance, and longer maintenance duration. Thus it is expected that the PN can operate the OHP-class frigates at a lower cost than reported. But it would still definitely be higher than the operating cost of the Gregorio del Pilar-class frigates that the PN currently has due to the higher fuel costs.

It should be taken into consideration that the entry of the 2 CODOG-powered frigates into PN service already pushed the gasoline, oil and lubricants (GOL) expenses to record levels.

Upgrade Options:
The OHP-class frigates in the current neutered state is nothing more than a large anti-submarine platform, with no missiles but still retaining its anti-submarine suite plus more close in weapons. The absence of the Mk. 13 arm-type missile launcher due to obsolescence and standardization of US Navy missile delivery systems will actually push any buyer to take a look at alternative ways to up-arm the ships.

Taiwan's OHP-class known as the Cheng Kung-class, are still equipped with the Mk. 13 launcher although they have a separate boxed launcher for the locally developed Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles and some are reportedly already equipped with the "carrier killer" Hsiung Feng III missiles. Pakistan's sole OHP-class ship, the PNS Alamgir, is also reportedly armed with Harpoon missiles in boxed launchers. Thus the concept of installing an anti-ship missile system without relying on the Mk. 13 missile launcher is possible.


A Republic of China (Taiwan) Navy Cheng Kung-class frigate, Taiwanese-made Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate equipped with their locally-produced Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles in boxed launchers just below the main mast.
Photo taken from ROC Navy / Ministry of Defense website.

For air defense, the ship was also dependent on the Mk. 13 launcher, but there are also programs made by other countries to increase it's capability without relying on the said arm launcher. Australia installed an 8-cell Mk. 41 vertical launch system (VLS) for Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM), located forward of the Mk. 13 launcher (which was still retained) of their Adelaide-class frigates (Australian version of OHP-class frigates). This was done as part of the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) SEA 1390 FFG Upgrade Program. The Turkish Navy's (TDK) G-class frigates (ex-USN OHP-class frigates) also did the same upgrade of installing a Mk. 41 VLS as what the Australians did. As for the PN, the absence of the Mk. 13 launcher means that there is more space available at the ship's A-position which can be used to install a VLS or other missile-launching system, in addition to the space where RAN and TDK installed their Mk. 41 VLS.


The Royal Australian Navy's HMAS Sydney, upgraded with an 8-cell Mk. 41 VLS located forward of the original Mk. 13 arm-type missile launcher.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

Besides weapons, the ships are known to be capable to receive new upgrades for the combat management system, radar systems, and other combat electronics if necessary, as demonstrated by similar upgrades done by Australia, Turkey, Taiwan and Spain on their OHP-class ships.


Upgrade Cost:
The only issue here that will be detrimental for any Philippine Navy undertaking for OHP-class is the cost of upgrades and returning anti-aircraft and anti-ship missile systems to the downgraded ships. Below let us assume that the PN will only opt to improve the ship's anti-ship and anti-aircraft weapons systems, and continue using the same sensors, combat management system and secondary weapons:


An 8-cell Mk. 41 VLS installed in an Adelaide-class frigate (Australian Oliver Hazard Perry-frigate derivative).
Photo taken from Wikimedia.

Mk. 41 VLS Tactical System:
Each Mk. 41 VLS will have 32 ESSM rounds quad-packed to 8 Mk.25 VLS canister.
- The 8-cell VLS system itself costed around $16.3 million dollars in a contract with Spain in 2006. It is expected that the current price would be higher now.
Thailand paid $18 million in a contract involving 9 ESSM missile rounds, 3 Mk. 25 quad-pack canisters, 4 shipping containers, spares and repair parts, support and testing equipment, publications and technical documents, personnel training and training equipment, US government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services and other technical services related to the product.
- Additional requests for further ESSM may be cheaper on the average per missile, but MaxDefense estimates the deal for 32 missiles to be worth around $50-60 million.
- MaxDefense estimates for the entire Mk. 41 tactical VLS system with full-load 32 rounds of ESSM would cost around $80-90 million.

The Boeing RGM-84 Harpoon Blk. II anti-ship missile is the US Navy's foremost surface warfare missile.
Photo taken from SeaForces website.

Harpoon Missile:
Standard anti-ship missile load-out for frigates is at least 8 missiles. 
- A 2012 US order for Block II missiles and associated hardware went on average of $1.6 million per missile.
- The US, being the primary user, is expected to have complete knowledge and support system for the Harpoon missiles. The PN currently lacks this, and it is expected that the 1st order for Harpoon missile systems will probably cost a lot to include logistics support, training and technical services, spares and repair parts.
- A 2009 request from Egypt for 20 RGM-84L Harpoon Blk.II missiles, 5 4-shot missile batteries, spare and repair parts, and all other associated support mechanisms costing a total of $145 million
-Based on the Egyptian contract above, on average it would cost more than $60 million for each ship with 8 missiles and associated support and logistics package. This is reasonable considering the Philippine Navy is again a first time user of the type.

So just with the 2 missile systems, it would cost around $140-150 million per ship. 

Does the PN have other options? So far MaxDefense believes that other friendly countries can provide an alternative for the PN that would probably cost less than what the Americans have to offer. A budget of probably less than $100 million per ship using Israeli systems could make a possible PN Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate as capable as an American-upgraded one.


Israel's upcoming Barak-8 (left) and MF-STAR active phased-array radar system are good alternatives that can be used to upgrade PN ships, including possible OHP-class frigates. Besides Israel, South Korea also has some wares that are worth taking into consideration.
Photo taken from trishul-trident blog.

Only problem is, if the Americans would include clauses in the transfer contract to only upgrade the ship using American products and services. This is the same problem highlighted in the Hamilton-class frigates that the PN plans to upgrade in the near future.


Timeline and Availability:
Another problem seen by MaxDefense is the timeline of availability of the ships. So far the US government has not offered a single OHP-class frigate to the Philippine government, and offers and US Congressional approvals usually take a year or two to obtain. Transfer and training of crew to a US-spec OHP-class frigate would require at least 8 months to more than 1 year, using PN crew that has prior experience with the Gregorio del Pilar-class frigates. The complexity of the OHP-class for PN crew will require a longer training period as it needs to cover not just the usual operational conversion training, but also basic training especially for the weapons and sensors system operators. Bringing the ship for upgrades and modifications to increase capability, including the crew training to handle advanced systems would probably take another 8 months to 1 year based on conservative estimates. So that would be a total minimum of 3 years!


Would it be not better to instead purchase a new frigate, like the Incheon-class from South Korea, which costs almost the same and can be obtained in almost the same time as an upgraded 25 year-old OHP-class frigate?

So if the Philippine government would request for a ship or two during the visit of President Barack Obama this October, probably we could only see a partially upgraded OHP-class frigate in Philippine service by late 2016, or just after President Aquino's term.


Practicality:
So the question now is, would it be practical to have Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates in the Philippine Navy?

Based on the parameters above, MaxDefense believes that getting the frigate is not feasible, for the following reasons:
- Obtaining them as-is would render it a large gunboat similar to the current guise of the Gregorio del Pilar-class frigates with only anti-submarine warfare as its main focus. For its current capability the purchase and operating costs are too high.
- Not only is it expensive in its current guise, but it also lacks the endurance if employed as an offshore patrol vessel.
- Receiving them as-is and undertaking an upgrade program for it would cost too much as well, almost as much as a brand new light frigate with similar or even greater capability.
-  Not only will the upgrades cost too much, the time needed to complete the purchase from request until end of upgrade would also take too long, canceling the very reason why the PN should obtain used warships.


Alternatives:
As a short term goal, the Philippine government should try to deal with other friendly countries with frigates or corvettes that are scheduled for retirement but is capable enough in its current guise to not undertake immediate, lengthy and expensive upgrades. MaxDefense sees a number of countries that the Philippine government can turn to, like South Korea for its Pohang-class corvettes, Italy for its Maestrale, Soldati/Artigliere and Minerva-class ships, Germany for its F122-class frigates and Spain. The government should also continue in their push for capable assets that could be acquired cheap, like more Hamilton-class cutters to beef up naval presence and replace older PN assets. The viability of more Hamilton-class ships was discussed in earlier MaxDefense blogs.


With South Korea getting more Incheon-class frigates and FFX-II already in the horizon, the ROKN is expected to release some of the Pohang-class combat corvettes, which the Philippine government can obtain. These are simple, easy to use ships that can bridge knowledge to modern equipment while giving the PN enough capability than what it currently has.
Photo taken from militaryphotos.net

While obtaining used assets that could still be in service for several more years, the Philippine government must also invest in building new frigates and corvettes according to its naval white paper as a medium to long term solution in increasing naval capability. This must not be taken fore granted by the Philippine government if it is indeed serious in putting more value to defending the country's sovereignty and territory in the coming future without keeping the navy at bay due to lack of assets and support.


Is it a totally lost cause to have Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates?
Actually not yet.

We still don't know what the Americans will practically offer to the Philippine government in the next few months or years. If the Americans could provide a ship or two for free, including transfer, training, initial support, and at the same time provide a subsidized operating budget, then the Philippine government should say yes, as this would enable it to reduce the cost issues that is currently the main reason of it's impracticality with the Philippine Navy.

Philippine Coast Guard Modernization Projects