Navy ramps up external capability to support PH new defense concept

By Priam Nepomuceno

May 24, 2024, 3:09 pm

<p>Philippine Navy flag officer in command, Vice Adm. Toribio Adaci Jr. <em>(PNA photo by Priam Nepomuceno)</em></p>

Philippine Navy flag officer in command, Vice Adm. Toribio Adaci Jr. (PNA photo by Priam Nepomuceno)

MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) is now focused on "reorienting and enhancing" its capabilities to focus on external defense cooperations in support of the military's adoption of the Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept (CADC), its chief said Friday.

This is necessary as the country continues to face maritime security challenges over the West Philippine Sea (WPS) issue, according to Navy flag officer in command, Vice Adm. Toribio Adaci Jr.

"Amid these changes and the increasing tension in the western part of our territory, we are keenly aware of our Navy's prominent role in our national defense posture. The CADC now serves as the basis of our strategic framework towards securing the Philippine archipelago up to the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone and ensuring that our natural resources are utilized for the benefit of our nation," Adaci said in his speech during the PN's 126th anniversary celebration at the Navy headquarters in Manila.

In line with this, Adaci said the PN is also focusing on strategic basing and deployment of forces, force structuring and defense cooperation.

"We are also deliberate in our efforts to complete the program defense acquisitions to enhance our capability, to project our presence and defend our waters," he added.

Adaci said the PN had already made "significant milestones" in acquiring modern naval assets and investing in advanced surveillance and reconnaissance technologies.

He, however, said there is still much to be accomplished.

"We are also in the process of strengthening our logistics and support systems including our shipyards and bases to ensure the sustainment of our operations, and at the core of these efforts we are proactively building our personal skills, capabilities and mindset to prepare them for modern challenges," he added.

Through the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) modernization efforts, Adaci said the PN's goal is to establish a multidomain capability backed up by competent personnel and adequate and appropriate support systems to properly implement the CADC.

Acquisition of more missile boats eyed

In an interview, Adaci said acquisition of more Israeli-made missile boats or the "Shaldag" (Acero-class patrol gunboats) are being eyed in the PN's ongoing modernization program.

He, however, did not give an exact number of missile boats to be acquired.

"Well you know numbers can change, we cannot fix the number but if you look at our desired force mix to implement the CADC, we need dozens of missile gunboats to protect our sea lanes of communication, our international passageways," Adaci said.

Adaci, meanwhile, said they would "listen to the guidance of higher headquarters", when asked when they would commission into service the Indian-made BrahMos anti-ship cruise missile system.

Naval development aimed at deterrence

Meanwhile, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., who graced the event as guest of honor, said the ongoing transformation of the Navy is aimed at deterrence and not towards being a naval power.

“The evolution of the PN is not geared solely towards naval power, but as a component of a joint defense and military power to create a credible and strong deterrent force, in order to protect our sovereign rights, sovereignty, and territorial integrity,” he said.

Teodoro also underscored the importance of ongoing training and evaluation to guarantee the effective use of procured assets and capabilities.

“We have evolved a realistic training scenario with evolutionary hypothetical scenarios where we can actually test our capabilities, which is not only what we need to be doing as an armed force, but it is also in deference to the billions of pesos spent by our countrymen,” the defense chief noted.

He also urged the AFP to work collectively towards national stability and progress, emphasizing the crucial role of developing the country’s total defense posture to guarantee the resources in the country's exclusive economic zone and other areas where the Philippines has jurisdiction in order to sustain the future generation of Filipinos.

“I am sure you will not waver and you will not fail your countrymen. We will continue, once again, I repeat, to demand more and more of you, but that is what you are in uniform for,” Teodoro noted. (PNA)