MANILA – The acquisition of two missile-armed corvettes, which were planned to backstop the two brand-new frigates acquired from Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), will likely be pushed to Horizon 3 of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (RAFPMP), Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Saturday.
"The acquisition of the corvette(s) is still being considered albeit on a later date after our economy recovers from this (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic," Lorenzana said in a message to the Philippine News Agency when sought for updates on the Philippine Navy's Corvette Acquisition Program (CAP).
The CAP, which has a budget of PHP30 billion, is envisioned as more heavily-armed and capable than the two Jose Rizal-class missile frigates currently being put into PN service.
Horizon 3 is scheduled for 2023 to 2028 while Horizon 2 started in 2018 and will end in 2022, is geared for the acquisition of more equipment and platforms geared for external defense like its predecessor program.
Meanwhile, Horizon 1 which started in 2013 from 2017 resulted in the acquisition of two Hamilton-class cutters (renamed the Del Pilar-class offshore patrol vessels, six MPACs, 114 armored personnel carriers, three brand-new C-295 medium-lift aircraft, two C-130 heavy transport planes, five utility versions of the AgustaWestland AW-109 helicopters, eight of its attack versions, five landing craft heavies, and 12 South Korean FA-50PH jet fighters.
Earlier, Lorenzana said modernization projects with contracts and those already provided with funds will push through while those lacking contracts or funding might be postponed.
"The others might be postponed. Depends on the (decision of the) DBM (Department of Budget and Management)," he added. (PNA)