Acquisition of offshore patrol vessels to boost AFP modernization

By Priam Nepomuceno

May 10, 2021, 3:56 pm

MANILA – The acquisition of six offshore patrol vessels (OPV) for the Philippine Navy (PN) has been included in the Horizon 2 of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program.

"Regarding (the) OPV project, while it has been already approved, the next issue is where to find the money. As far as the senior leaders at the DND (Department of National Defense) level, the project's inclusion has been approved for Horizon 2," PN chief, Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency on Monday.

The AFP Modernization Program has three horizons. Horizon 1 started in 2013 and ended in 2017 while Horizon 2 is from 2018 to 2022 while Horizon 3 is slated from 2023 to 2028.

Among those earlier included in Horizon 2 are the acquisition of fast-attack interdictor craft missile (FAIC-M), landing docks, air search radars and other external defense equipment.

The OPVs are expected to replace the World War II ships that were earlier retired by the PN.

Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Australian shipbuilder Austal, which has a shipyard in Balamban Cebu, remains at the forefront of the Navy's OPV procurement program.

"Meron silang branch na gumagawa din ng barko so kung matuloy yun maganda rin yan sa ekonomiya dahil maraming makikinabang na mga Pilipino (They have a branch that makes ships so if it pushes through, it will be good for the economy and the Filipinos will benefit from it), it will generate employment," he added.

Lorenzana also expressed hope that they can sign the contract for the OPV acquisition before the end of President Rodrigo R. Duterte's term. (PNA)