New Navy chief allays shortage of naval assets

By Priam Nepomuceno

February 4, 2020, 3:45 pm

<p>Philippine Navy (PN) flag-officer-in-command, Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo. <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Philippine Navy (PN) flag-officer-in-command, Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo. (File photo)

MANILA -- Newly-appointed Philippine Navy (PN) flag-officer-in-command, Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said the decommissioning of "legacy ships" and other dated assets does not necessarily mean that the naval service will be experiencing a shortage of naval assets (bottoms).

"What I am saying here is don't count the number of bottoms, because let's say, don't equate three diesel fast (craft) with one 'Shaldag' missile-capable vessel, so don't count it by the number of bottoms but rather the capabilities involved in these vessels," Bacordo told reporters after formally taking command of the PN on Monday.

Earlier, the PN said around 22 to 24 of ships, many of them "legacy ships" or dated assets, will be decommissioned this year and until the second quarter of 2021.

"Ships to be decommissioned have outlived their glory days, ships that are designed for 24 knots are now speeding only 10-12 knots, so it can no longer fulfill its designed mission so rather than have so many bottoms, which have those speed, which can no longer sustain 10 days at sea, better to have lesser bottoms which are capable of longer patrol hours and can speed up to its desired speed," Bacordo said.

Last week, the PN decommissioned two of its aging assets, the BRP Rizal (PS-74) and the BRP Nicolas Mahusay (PC-119).

In the pipeline for the PN are two Jose Rizal missile-armed frigates which are expected to be delivered by April and October this year.

Meanwhile, eight units of fast attack interdiction craft-missiles, two corvettes, six offshore patrol vessels, and another two landing docks are also expected to be approved soon.

The Israeli-made "Shaldag" is the planned replacement of the PN's existing patrol killer medium gunboat fleet.

Once the contract for the project is approved, four of the "Shaldag" patrol boats will be built in Israel while the remaining four will be constructed in the PN Cavite Naval Yard in Sangley Point, Cavite City.

The "Shaldag" is under the PN's Fast Attack Interdiction Craft-Missile (FAIC-M) program, wherein four of the ships will be armed with non-line-of-sight (NLOS) missiles with pinpoint accuracy and a range of 25 kilometers. (PNA)