New assets boost Navy capability to defend PH waters

By Priam Nepomuceno

August 30, 2019, 9:09 am

<p>Navy flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad <em>(PNA photo by Joey O. Razon)</em></p>

Navy flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad (PNA photo by Joey O. Razon)

MANILA -- The Philippine Navy (PN) will be more capable of securing the country's vast waters and deal with intruding foreign vessels once additional assets are acquired to beef up its inventory.

Navy flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad made this statement when asked to comment on reports that the Philippines' capability to stop foreign ship intrusions is weak.

To address this, the Navy is acquiring eight fast-attack craft-interdictor-missiles (FAIC-Ms), which is capable of speeds of up to 40 knots; six offshore patrol vessels, two brand-new corvettes and two more "Pohang"-class corvettes from South Korea.

Empedrad said President Rodrigo R. Duterte approved this acquisition, which aims to boost the PN numbers and its capabilities to protect the country's waters.

"(Once these ships arrived), I think we are credible enough to secure all our territorial waters even if it is in Mindanao, Northern Luzon or Visayas Region. Our waters are vast and we need to modernize the Philippine Navy," the PN chief said in a mixture of English and Filipino in a press briefing Wednesday.

At present, the Navy is enhancing its littoral monitoring stations to detect the approach of possible intruders, and deploy or vector naval assets to accost or intercept these vessels, Empedrad added.

In order to fully defend the country's territorial waters, the PN chief said they will be utilizing the "Active Archipelagic Defense Strategy" (AADS), which will require the use of varied weapon systems and platforms like submarines, frigates, and coastal missile defense systems.

Aside from this, the PN also has its "swarming strategy", which involves the use of high-speed naval craft armed with missiles against intruding foreign warships. (PNA)