Upgrades boost Navy’s capability

CLOSER LOOK. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte uses the binoculars to get a closer look on the fleet review of the Philippine Navy’s naval surface and air assets during their 120th anniversary at the Coconut Palace of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Complex in Roxas Boulevard, Manila on May 22, 2018 (Tuesday). Rey Baniquet/Presidential Photo

MANILA, May 23, 2018 – The Philippine Navy (PN) will become more capable of protecting the country’s vast maritime domains in the coming years.

This is due to the ongoing upgrade programs, PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad said during the Navy’s 120th founding anniversary ceremonies held at Coconut Palace, Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex, Pasay City Tuesday.

“At this point, I wish to mention some of the Navy’s upgrade program(s) in recent months; two months ago, the PN received the last three of the five TC-90 aircraft from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. These aircraft upgrades the Navy’s capability in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, search-and-rescue operations and surveillance capability. The aircraft has longer range that can effectively cover our vast maritime waters in support to our littoral monitoring stations,” he added.

The above-mentioned aircraft have a range of over 1,000 nautical miles, and a maximum speed of 226 knots and capable of carrying eight passengers along with the pilots.

The TC-90, which is part of the Beechcraft King Air aircraft family, was offered by Japan shortly after the Agreement Concerning the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology was finalized last Feb. 29, 2016.

“A month ago, the very first missile capability (Spike-ER) of the PN was acquired from Israel. These will be integrated onboard the Navy’s multi-purpose attack craft. The system will be fully operational in July,” Empedrad stressed.

The Spike-ER surface-to-surface missiles along with its launchers have arrived third week of April.

These missiles are capable of penetrating 1,000 mm (39 inches) of rolled homogeneous armor and has a range of eight kilometers giving the Navy a potent anti-ship capability.

Aside from this, the PN chief said the “Pohang” class corvette, donated by South Korea, may be delivered by the third quarter of this year, boosting the number of its surface assets.

“The two anti-submarine helicopters (AgustaWestland 159) with torpedoes will be operational by May next year and finally, the (first of the) two missile frigates will be delivered in 2020,” Empedrad said.

The above-mentioned assets will give the PN the capability to hunt, detect and if necessary, neutralize surface, sub-surface, and air threats.

He added t

hat these upgrades are in-line with efforts to recover the country’s maritime character and boost the Navy’s capability to protect the country’s maritime domains. (PNA)

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