The government may need to spend about P497 billion to build a “strong and credible” Navy that has equipment like frigates, corvettes, and submarines, a Navy official said.

The Navy Fleet’s “desired” force mix includes six frigates for anti-air warfare, 12 corvettes for anti-submarine warfare, 18 offshore patrol vessels, three submarines, three anti-mine vessels, four sealift vessels, 18 landing craft utility vessels, three logistics ships, 12 coastal interdiction patrol boats, 30 patrol gunboats, and 42 multi-purpose assault crafts that can be equipped with torpedoes and missiles, Lieutenant Commander Nerelito Martinez, the Fleet’s acting chief of staff for plans and program, said.

Also included in the envisioned force mix are eight amphibious maritime patrol aircraft, 18 naval helicopters, and eight multi-purpose helicopters, Martinez said in an article in the April edition of the Fleet’s official magazine, Phil Fleet.

All the equipment included in the force mix is estimated to cost the government about P497 billion, he said.

“It may be costly at our current standards but it is not unrealistic,” Martinez said.

The national budget for this year is P1.816 trillion, of which the entire Armed Forces was given P89.769 billion.

The force mix, which the Fleet came up with during a strategic workshop last year, “shall be the basis of the Philippine Fleet in its force structure and capability development plans,” Martinez said.

“The Fleet shall refer to this force mix whenever new equipment acquisition, in any form, is proposed,” he said.

“Looking at the Philippine Navy inventory of mission essential equipment, it is very discernible that majority of our assets and vessels were acquired not necessarily because they fit into our strategy or operational requirement but because they are available as grant from the US or from our allies,” Martinez added. (John Roson)

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