Manila Wants Better Armed Frigates

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MM Granatiere (F 585) is one of four ‘Soldati’ Class (Lupo) frigates operated by the Italian Navy, these vessels were originally built for the Iraqi Navy in the 1980s.

Manila is seeking to add a third frigate to the Philippine Navy. According to Peter Paul Galvez, defense spokesman, Manila is planning to acquire new frigates that will be armed with more advanced weaponry than the current vessels provided by the US, including surface-to-air capability. Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said earlier the military wants to acquire additional naval crafts from Italy. The only class of frigate available from Italian navy surplus that has air-defense capability is the Lupo Class patrol frigate ‘Soldati’.

This 2,500 ton vessel is armed with eight Otomat Mk 2 anti-ship missiles, a launcher of Sea Sparrow or Aspid surface to air missiles, two Mk 32 torpedo tubes, two Oto Melara twin 40mm L70 DARDO compact guns (also designed for air defense) and a 127/54 gun turret. It is equipped with a comprehensive array of radars for air defense, surface search, fire control and navigation, sonar, electronic support measures, decoy launchers and acoustic countermeasures. The Philippines are also interested in acquiring a larger vessel, possibly an Italian Navy “Maestrale” class destroyer. This vessel is employed in anti-submarine warfare role, it has a displacement of 3,300 gross register tons and a speed of 33 knots.


The Philippine navy currently operates an ex US Coast Guard Hamilton class 3,250 ton cutter, which went through extensive upgrades and modification for their new mission. One of the vessels, Gregorio del Pilar was converted into a frigate. The vessel is equipped with 76 and 25mm guns, but has no missiles or air defense capability and its sensors are designed primarily for navigation, search and rescue. The second vessel of this class, BRP Ramon Alcaraz is scheduled to enter service in December 2012. In addition, the Philippines Navy still maintains a single Cannon Class escort ship, BRP Rajan Jumabon, after retiring two of its sister ships after long service.

“We are not totally relying on the United States (for) our equipment acquisitions.” Gazmin said, “We are also looking at the possibility of getting some of our equipment from Europe, specifically from Italy, depending on our budget.” he added.

The Philipine Navy also operate 11 corvettes are also in service, but these are less suitable for the long range missions currently required to secure the nation’s interests in the South China Sea.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. This Navy ship the Philippine must take it no need to think twice this is the answer of the problem which the country is facing 2 Frigate and two High endurance cutter its a good asset but not enough to balance the current China bullying in our territory.

    However this is good start in order for the navy has a better experience for the next acquisition probably by next two years more.

    as my recommendation prerequisite that every President should acquire 6 Frigate and 12 Jet fighter and 10 attack helicopter in their 6 year term of office in order the AFP will not be lag behind to its neighbor in terms of protecting their sovereingnty.

    It is very very a shameful for the past 2 administration that never took care the importance of depending their territory,

    I wish those responsible leader will be remember that when they are still young they are living in prosperity of life with out disturbance from their backyard.

    they suppose to remember that the defense augmentation is not for war minded but for protecting your territorial right. and that cause the Philippine much money tax but never get into the so called living at peace in the region because of disturbances cause by China in our backyard that our AFP not be able to depend because of no war materials on standby.

    and it is very well understood that those past administration was gelding the peoples money into their own account. I hope that after Noy there is another more than Noy will burst to depend and stabilized the country ailing defense posture,

    We hope that it will never be happen again as the 2 former leader of the country were the very example how our defense become dilapidated because of their corrupt mind set.

  2. As the PN move forward also the Army and Air force as well, however the most potent force to be acquired is first skilled, and second discipline and third the equipment.

    The AFP i believe they so skillful and discipline force but 0nly less equipment. The form of budjet for 5years 70billion pesos is not even meet the need s of the ground force.

    DND should forecast an estimate that aFP to move forward not backward the time is running forward not backward.

    The purchasing of 2 real warship is a good start nevertheless this is not the balance of power in terms of depending the WPS. however to the immediate needs this is also good plus the WHECS.

    So i hope not to mention other things Ph. govt. should appropriate thFP yearly. until the AFP can really be a potent not impotent in terms of depending the territorial waters.

    Just think of it that you are not alone in this region building up your defense but as well China, Vietnam, Malaysia and many asian region as well.

    It is must important that The Ph. govt should always think about future not the days pass but the days to come.

  3. Acquisition of major weapons systems after years of neglect by the Armed forces of the philippines is a start. Unfortunately training ,maintenace and the expertice to properly employ these assets will take time .With the problems the AFP has particularly with with its leadership and for that the low morale among its servicemen and women, it will be years before they can be a force that the filipinos can be proud of. Graft and corruption as well as incompetence among the military leadership has been well documented and is a continuing problem .When the great singaporean stateman Lee Kwan Yew said in his memoirs that’ the filipinos are a soft and forgiving people’ he didnt mean it as a compiliment! Graft and corruption is a norm in the philippine culture and it affects a majority of its political and military leadership. And without addressing these problems first the so called minimum defense posture that the goverment wants will be a maximum waste of money but most importantly time!

  4. Those are the kind of ships Philippines need to deter those trigger happy Commies to stop stealing their islands. I am appalled at the US Navy for not giving the Philippines more capable ships besides those 46-year old cutters (toothless and blind except a 76mm but no radar). And we plan to use 7 Ticonderoga cruisers(to be decomm) as target practice the next few years and all of them have 10 to 15 years of life left! What a waste!

    • @ Acadiana Pirate

      i agree with you there sir, but at the moment this may have to do. it really is a shame that ‘real fighting ships’ are going to be used as target practice while still having useable life in them – rather than putting them into better use with people who are in dire need of such.

  5. This is not a waste but US showing only his real attitude towards his allies when they need the allies they deem to sacrifice billion of dollars a Month however if they not concern about security, they are really keen to destroy though it cost them so much,

    Philippines for now is nothing to US thats why they just give the toothless and armless ship for expensive amount where as in other country they can give the most advance weaponry with out any threat from there backyard,

    Now after Gazmin announce the procurement of Naval destroyer and frigate from Italy now the US govt allowed the PH gvt to have the to modernized the two ship acquire from them. for me i better to acquire other countries ARMAMENT rather than this Yankees US.

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