• Knowing the Philippine Army's BO-105 Helicopters

    These donated helicopters operated by the Philippine Army's Aviation Regiment provides much needed field support, especially on medevac-related evacuation and other logistical concerns.

  • Updates on the PAF's C-130J-30 Super Hercules Aircraft

    The Philippine Air Force, for the first time, sets to have at least three (3) brand new cargo aircraft from Lockheed Martin, which is done through a commercial deal between the two entities.

  • Phil. Army's Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge Project

    This AVLB with a Merkava IV chassis serves as the first platform of such type for the Philippine Army to use, and may set as a reference for the service branch’s future armored vehicle plans and programs later on.

  • Navantia's Submarine Offer to the Philippine Navy

    The Spanish shipbuilder has offered its submarine offer for the Philippine Navy's submarine project. How will it fare compare to its competitors like France's Naval Group and South Korea's Hanwha Ocean?

  • Knowing the AW-109 Helicopter of both PAF and PN

    Both the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy possess this type of helicopter that basically define as a first step towards a more capable Armed Forces, implemented during the First Horizon of the AFP Modernization Program.

  • The Phil. Army's Interest on the FGM-148 Javelin ATGM

    The Philippine Army is improving its firepower capabilities, and it witnessed the performance brought by this anti-tank missile during the Balikatan 2023 Exercises. Now they are considering it for their systems.

  • Know More About Us

    Just kindly click this link to understand more about our resolve of providing knowledge and perspective in relation to the Philippine defense and other related topics or discussions.

The Advent of a Missile-Guided Philippine Navy

The Philippine Navy at present is primarily a force with its fleet obtains more guns and no guided missile systems, until a plan that became a reality in which the package was delivered recently and will set into activation months after the arrival. Once operational, this will be the first within the fleet to enter the missile age where other navies across the region are already advancing. Call this a baby step, but this one is a significant thing that opens doors to endless possibilities and opportunities for the fleet to obtain.

The Israeli Company Rafael's SPIKE Family. The Philippine Navy
will obtain two variants: SPIKE ER and SPIKE NLOS. From the Defense Studies Site
In the news reports like this one from The Times of Israel website, the Philippine Navy paves its way to be in the missile age, which for many decades does not obtain any missiles in its inventory considering that it's fleet's armaments primarily consists of machine guns and cannons.

Provided in the said news report, the Navy received SPIKE-ER missiles from Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd of Israel where it arms the navy's three MPAC Mk. 3 vessels to the teeth. This is considered a baby step for an armed force that is considered weak compared to its immediate neighbors in the Southeast Asian Region. The given step paves the eventual process for the Philippine Navy to improve and grow as an organization as well as to further improve its capabilities to do its primary mandate which is to protect maritime territory and the exclusive economic zones against threats that pose danger to the country and its national interest. This sets precedent for other projects of the service organization to also obtain such weapons suit where several of the projects involved are already on its way, providing additional capability and overall firepower than what the Philippine Navy obtains with its other ships, especially on the older ones. Adding also to this detail the plans of the Navy to arm other MPACs that are in the Philippine Navy's fleet in which all of these crafts will receive this upgrade and further enhance the capabilities of the respective vessels should things find out feasible and ideal enough to carry out the project.

Nevertheless, this development is enough to see that the Philippine Navy in its worth is improving and there may be more military equipment and weapons such as these missiles to come depending on the provisions and funding that allow such procurement to take place. 


With its aspiration to become a modern-based naval force, the Philippine Navy at present will be having its own share of various missile systems in which in the immediate span of three to five years from today. This definitely ranges from the MPAC Mk. 3s arming to the teeth to the new Philippine Frigates which will be more sophisticated than the existing assets once in service with the fleet.

Rafael Systems SPIKE-ER Missile System
This is one of the mock-up missile systems presented in a Philippine Navy Anniversary.
Photo Source.
This will be the first and the basic missile system that is to be installed on the active-in-service MPAC Mk.3s which will arm these small crafts into teeth. From there, this will introduce the Philippine Navy for what will be the composition of a modernized navy will be, -a missile-carrying one. 

A primary milestone of its own worth, these weapons systems provide the need for these MPACs particularly the navy personnel on board to conduct its mandate where it can destroy an enemy target when deemed necessary, eliminating any potential threat to the peaceful lives of the people. Given the size of MPACs, these vessels go fit to the Philippine Littoral Waters or in areas of concern such as the Sulu Sea which is infested with piracy and other illegal incursions. One might envision an idea about Swarm Tactics using these missile-armed vessels in highly contested areas like the West Philippine Sea, but such an idea definitely isn't a good one as the reasons why being explained in articles such as this one. Just to take note folks, the Philippine Navy recently tested these missiles onboard its new MPAC Mk. 3s which turned out to be successful in the midst of a rough sea state that the test was made. This move introduces the Philippine Navy to the missile age, a good sign as there will be more to come.

Now that the test proves the effectiveness of these missile systems, this perhaps may also perform as intended should there be actual combat or encounter at seas takes place in the future. Just to take note people, while these missiles may provide sufficient damage for small vessels such as an opposition force (OPFOR) fast craft, but it cannot sink a warship, given that it is not designed to do so. 

Rafael SPIKE-NLOS Missile System

Aside from the SPIKE-ER missiles, Rafael will also supply another version of SPIKE which is the NLOS (Non-Line-of-Sight) which on the details provided, these systems may find its way to the Philippine Navy AW-159 Anti-submarine helicopters assigned for the New Frigates from South Korea which is presently being built. Like the SPIKE-ER missile system, it might as well be appropriate for the Navy to test its missiles to determine its capacity as part of the enhanced capabilities of the fleet. 

The SPIKE-NLOS Missile System obtains a range far longer than the SPIKE-ER that the Navy presently obtains in their MPACs. While the tests made on the MPAC-based missile was made on a target six kilometers away from a firing vessel, the NLOS can reach on a target 25 kilometers away from the firing platform that the missile is originated. It makes the Antisubmarine Helicopter-based missile platform more capable with thrice the range than the MPAC-based ones, although both of these systems can accurately reach its target as intended and still gets its job done. Both of the SPIKE missiles are originally produced and developed for Israel's requirement to disable or obliterate enemy tanks out of the combat. Nevertheless, the fact that the newly-tested missiles aboard the MPACs and soon-to-have ones aboard the AW-159s may have these products made by Rafael find its way to these key Philippine Navy assets aforementioned, for anti-vessel operations where sufficient damage can be done but not enough to sink a warship in which it is a job appropriate for a dedicated anti-ship missile.

With both the SPIKES, especially the helicopter-based NLOS missile system soon to be for Philippine Navy use, these platforms will further enhance the capability of the fleet to address many threats at sea as well as to help further aid its mandate as intended that it creates the leverage or the upper hand where, the opposition forces will surely reconsider its plans and may think twice before making any offensives, or risk being obliterated, depleting their capability to fight further.

LIG Nex1 SSM-700K Haesong Anti-ship Missile

This Korean-based missile platform is indigenous-built ones that the South Koreans produce and uses for their naval ship's enhanced capabilities. And for that matter, these anti-ship platforms will find its way to the Philippine Navy in the form of a systemic integration to the new Philippine Navy Frigates that is being built by, of course, a South Korean-based shipbuilding company.

Developed in the late 90s and tested in the early 2000s, this missile help South Korea self-produced these munitions in which, as the Frigate Acquisition Project pushes through, will make the Philippines as the first foreign user of such anti-ship missile which was originally intended to address local military supplies of missile ammunition. From there, the SSM-700K C-Star Haesong market coverage will get larger given that with missile used in combat/exercise or needed to be replaced if it gets aged, the country may procure missiles again from South Korea on the premise of its reliability upon an assessment made such as a missile fire test. In the long run, having these missiles being the primary weapon for a frigate such as the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) helps a South Korean Defense weapons developer LIG Nex1 to improve its market share where they increase their profitability by adding another source of income other from South Korean Naval contracts which are through these ships that are soon to be in the Philippine Navy fleet.

Made by the same company that produces the K-745 "Chung Sang Eo" or Blue Shark Lightweight Torpedoes, the SSM-700K, being a South Korean component as well as the type of torpedo mentioned are all vital for the Jose Rizal-class Frigates made by Hyundai Heavy Industries for the Philippine Navy where all of these weapons subcomponents will be integrated into the combat management system such as the Naval Shield ICMS, developed by Hanwha Industries.

MBDA Mistral VShorad Missile

This missile from a Defense Contractor in France was selected by the South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries in which this is intended as the band-aid air defense for the incoming Jose Rizal-class Frigates for the Philippine Navy. This joins the LIG Nex1 SSM-700K as the main weapons component of the new frigates, with this one being selected for ship defense alongside Fitted for, but not with (FFBNW) components such as the spacing for an 8-cell Vertical Launching System (VLS) and a Close-Air Weapons System or CIWS.

The missiles will be the primary munitions that will be armed to the SIMBAD-RC ship launchers that are fitted on the ship's broadsides. It is worth knowing that on the succeeding link provided which is highlighted in red, the missiles are claimed to have a 95% success rate which is based on the factors mentioned in the file. These SIMBAD-RC launchers come with a twin launch platform for the Mistrals to be fired upon against air targets that are posing the threat against the survival of the ship and its crew onboard. With its Mach 2.5 maximum speed of missile interdiction, one may say that it suffices the minimum defense for a ship such as the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) to have. Apparently, yes. Such limited air defense somewhat provided that sufficient protection if the terms include a single anti-ship missile coming from the enemy. However, with commentaries coming from credible people like this with the supplementary points provided by the page where the person posted his writeup, the ship's defense may simply go overwhelmed with the barrage of incoming anti-ship missiles (which came in pairs) with the potential chances of the ship to get damaged with injured sailors plus incurred casualties onboard. 

Nevertheless, such a setup may, later on, be augmented with the said FFBNW items intended for defense (CIWS and VLS) where there will be more effective for these threats to be eliminated with the assurance for the ship to be more secure and its personnel onboard, safe enough to resume their usual sailing patrols and to fight another day which they brought along the experience needed in turning the tide of combat through increasing the pool of more competent people with the expertise on naval combat.

A sample of LIG Nex1 SSM-700K Haesong Missile which will be armed
the Jose Rizal-class Frigates later on.
Obtained via Wikimedia Commons.
The Philippine Navy, with these missiles, is now more capable than it was a decade ago where its ships were primarily armed with machine guns and cannons where the fleet relies on such type of weapons especially in terms of protecting the country's territorial waters, in the same manner, that these weapons were fitted on the fleet's old vessels that were originated throughout the Second World War.

Now, newer vessels came in where it is more sophisticated than what was provided in existence in the fleet as mentioned. Here now the MPAC Mk. 3s which are armed with SPIKE-ER missiles with the Mk. 4 variants following through. Then, there are the Leonardo AW-159 Wildcat antisubmarine helicopters where aside from its K-745 Blue Shark lightweight torpedoes from South Korea, it will also be armed with the SPIKE-NLOS where like the SPIKE-ER was developed in Israel with the ER variant tested by the Philippine Navy with satisfiable results. This will not be completed without the missiles fit onboard the Jose Rizal-class Frigates as recommended by its builder the Hyundai Heavy Industries to be the preferred components to the platform. These munitions are the SSM-700K Haesong Anti-ship missile which was made by the LIG Nex1 Defense Company in South Korea which produced the Blue Shark torpedoes for the Philippine Navy use as well as the French-made MBDA Mistral missiles which it will be fitted through the SIMBAD-RC VShorad missile launchers with twin platforms for the missiles to launch that renders limited defense onboard the ship.

These missiles are a symbol of the ever-growing capabilities of the Philippine Navy along with the ships that will be armed by these sophisticated munitions that either deter an enemy or destroy a target through its respective guidance systems fit. So, this is the way this service organization shows its efforts of being a highly-modernized branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines alongside a modernized Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Army in the matter that the Navy has its Sail Plan initiative getting realized bit by bit.

Knowing the South Korean K-745 Blue Shark Torpedoes in the Philippine Navy

The Philippine Navy, during its heyday in the 1950s, obtain the technology that involves torpedoes that is capable to strike the surface and sub-surface vessels, wherein this skill went lost in the process as obsolescence in the tools provided took in that cripple this capability. 

It is being rediscovered and re-enhanced once again, as part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its efforts of Modernizing its organization by improving its standards, train more personnel, repair or upgrade existing facilities as well as building new ones, and most of all buying new assets as well as the weaponry that comes with it.

The torpedo that will soon enter service within the Philippine Navy,
making it a key naval weapon within the organization.
Image Source.

As of the posting of this article, we discussed throughout the length of time on this website, among separate articles about the sub-components that the Jose Rizal-class Frigates and the AW-159 Wildcats will have once these assets will be in service within the Philippine Navy. 

Both obtain new skills, systems, weapons, and capabilities which is relatively new in the service branch, wherein it provides them a significant improvement in delivering their mandate as compared to the time before these projects came into fruition.

One of those components that will find its way to these aforementioned assets is the torpedo, wherein its essentials define a lot in terms of its capability to flush out sub-surface targets and its the main weapon for anti-submarine warfare, although the same can be utilized against surface fleet targets that are usually being done by anti-ship missiles that can provide similar damaging results against the targeted vessel. 

This is one weapons component that will surely utilize by the service branch where, given that two platforms will be fitted by these swimming munitions, then it only makes sense to have a single source of torpedoes that provides a similar type of munitions that are needed to get the job done while getting that satisfaction on the performance of the fleet, saying that it really goes appropriate to the duties and responsibilities of the Navy as an organization.

Hence, this article will be about a South Korean-made torpedo where, as chosen by the manufacturers of the Jose Rizal-class Frigates, may go as the default underwater munition that the Philippine Navy uses once it's sophisticated assets will enter service, improving its capability along the way.

LIG Nex1
Check their Website Here.
LIG Nex1 is one of the leading defense companies in South Korea.
Image Source: Korea Bizwire.

Before understanding the manufacturer in-depth, let us have a primer to what are the products that these companies found their way to the main Philippine Navy assets such as the ones fitted onboard the Jose Rizal-class Frigates. 

Speaking of Jose Rizal-class Frigates, alongside the K-745 Blue Shark which is the main topic of this article, LIG Nex1 is also the same company that will supply the SSM-700K "Haesong C-Star" missile, which will be one of the main weapons of the frigates designed to target surface threats, alongside the aforementioned torpedoes which are designed also to such purpose, alongside eliminating submarine threats in the process.

These said weapons munitions were developed and manufactured by South Korea's notable defense-industrial complex in the name of LIG Nex1. Regarding this company (as it's about us page being highlighted in red), LIG Nex1 was developed in 1976 as GoldStar Precision, which is the one that produces state-of-the-art military technology originally intended for the South Korean Armed Forces and eventually, to be exported to foreign clients such as the Philippines through the sophisticated Frigates that were produced by Hyundai Heavy Industries which is another South Korean company that specialized itself on producing both civilian and military vessels. 

The company's area of business ranges from Precision Guided Munitions, Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance, Command, Control & Communication, Avionics, Electronic Warfare, Unmanned tech & Robotics, and Cyber Warfare/High-energy weaponry. It is worth taking note that under their Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance portion of the business, they have several radar systems that are up for picking such as the AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) Radar for what it seems to be the depicted T/TA/FA-50 family of Lead-in Fighter Trainer Aircraft made by another South Korean company which is the Korean Aerospace Industries or KAI. 

This goes in correlation with the plans of development from KAI to enhance or improve its T/TA/FA-50 family of light combat jet aircraft into a Block 20 variant which may come with Beyond Visual Range capability which was both discussed in our January article here and in our succeeding April article here. It might also be worth taking a nice look at their avionics where they were also the ones who develop the systems for the FA-50s that the Philippine Air Force obtains.

From here, it is ascertained that their prominence in South Korea's defense industry is something to ponder upon wherein they provide their home nation's armed forces the sophisticated tools it needs in a way that this diminishes their reliance on other countries and instead of creating their own path in such a manner that the efforts and technological advantages these South Korean defense companies obtain may somehow get exported abroad, competing for a procurement project other prominent products produced by prominent companies which in this way helps boost the local economy and the profits of these defense industries to keep their operations on-going. 

There is no doubt that the Jose Rizal-class Frigates have proportionate Korean-made tech fitted on the ship which in the process, they maximize the Korean-made components installed on-board which include notable LIG Nex1 such as the Blue Shark Torpedoes.

Now, with the company's undisputed reputation in providing the technology that the Republic of Korea Armed Forces needed in its defense especially when a threat looms coming from its evil twin neighbor up north, it is worthy of a discussion with regards to the development of these torpedoes wherein there lies a story with regards to its creation into its present being, currently in service with the home nation's military and soon to be integrated within the inventory of the Philippine Navy, a branch within the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

South Korea's Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) is the primary user
of the nation's indigenously-built K-745 Blue Shark Torpedoes.
Image Source.

The development of South Korea's first indigenous torpedo such as the K-745 Blue Shark Torpedo started way back before its test fire in 2004 where the South Korean Agency for Defense Development and LIG Nex1 jointly cooperated in its inception, testing, and eventually its entry into the South Korean Armed Forces through DAPA or the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.

Since then, these torpedoes found their way within the South Korean Armed Forces, fitted on several of their military platforms and assets such as their P-3 antisubmarine maritime patrol aircraft, Leonardo AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopters, and onboard their navy ships such as the Incheon-class Frigates and Daegu-class Frigates that shipyards such as the Hyundai Heavy Industries helped built for the South Korean Navy. 

In the Republic of Korea Navy, which is the main maritime fleet of the South Korean Armed Forces, they obtain other types of torpedoes aside from the one we discussed such as the Red Shark, White Shark, and the recently-developed Tiger Shark, all of which are developed by the same company which is the LIG Nex1. 

From this description, the design perspective of the Blue Shark points more to its light-weight attributes that are specifically designed for deployment on maritime helicopters such as the AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopterssurface ships such as the Jose Rizal-class Frigates, and anti-submarine patrol aircraft such as the P-3 Orions as a primary weapon, coming at the purpose of striking enemy submarines lurking in waters of what composes the Philippine geography being an archipelago - a clump of islands surrounded by the water that means sustainability and economic development.

It is worth taking note that the Koreans also developed Heavyweight Torpedoes such as the Tiger Shark wherein its primary purpose is to be a more formidable weapon as it is the primary asset of the Chang Bogo-class Submarines in the South Korean Navy, something that may be worth pondering shall the Philippine Navy pushes to have submarines with such type of underwater asset being one of the candidates of the program.

With the torpedoes providing their worth within the South Korean Navy, it is at no doubt that a company like LIG Nex1 desires to have its wares exported in the same manner as other suppliers which may mean profit to the company's operation that satisfies a lot for its stakeholders and workers which will pave growth not only to this company but also to the local South Korean Defense Industry. This is where Hyundai Heavy Industries gets in, with their weapons choice includes such types of torpedoes which will be part of the Philippine Navy weapons composition for the years to come.

This Leonardo AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopter of the Philippine
Navy is armed with a training variant of the K-745 Blue Shark Torpedo
which will be its mainstay weapon.

Image Courtesy to Frances Mangosing, Inquirer.net

In this article that was originated from a South Korean News Outlet SBS, it is considered the first time for a local South Korean company like LIG Nex1 to export its torpedoes in the form of "Chung Sang Eo" torpedoes which are discussed here as the K-745 Blue Shark Lightweight Torpedoes.

On the contents of the article, the first Philippine Navy asset which will be fitted by such type of torpedoes produced by the South Korean company is the recently-delivered Leonardo AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopters wherein two units were purchased, delivered, and recently entered into service upon the newly-concluded 121st Philippine Navy Founding Anniversary that took place this month upon this article published. It is worth taking note of the image shown above which depicts the K-745 trainer weapons kit fitted on the main helicopter platform.

Aside from the Leonardo AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopters, another likely vessel to have such weapons fitted is the South Korean-made Frigates such as the Jose Rizal-class which are currently in production in the shipyards of Hyundai Heavy Industries which is the one who bagged the project for two vessels which will be the future assignment of the AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopters once these ships will be delivered in the country by next year which apparently, being set on dates earlier than its intended delivery

From here, both the ships and the helicopters that it came up with will be armed with the same type of torpedo which goes with the logistics perspective wherein these armaments will be the key for the main anti-submarine operations in which these weapons are meant for destroying underwater targets lurking, posing a threat in the waters that surround the country, as well as complementing other weapons component in terms of eliminating surface targets which are as threatening as the underwater ones. 

The torpedoes will be fired from one of the ship's two J+S triple torpedo launchers fitted on the ship's broadsides made by SEA, a British Company that supplies such components to the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. 

Then here comes the thing that is worth pondering: If the South Koreans have P-3 Orions in their inventory and they have these types of torpedoes fitted on such aircraft, isn't it ideal also for the Philippines now that they are opting for this type of aircraft coming from the United States of America? The answer is that this is an ideal thing to have and a big plus if the plans for P-3 Orion purchase comes through as it definitely means a lot with regards to the capability of the Philippine Navy not only in terms of maritime surveillance but also in terms of showcasing its antisubmarine warfare capabilities that is a big plus in defending the national territory, sovereign integrity and the safety of the citizenry.

So, the entry of the K-745 Blue Shark Lightweight Torpedoes within the Philippine Navy Service means a lot where it will help arm the new Jose Rizal-class Frigates and new Leonardo AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopters to the teeth in terms of eliminating underwater threats with the great potential if the P-3 Orion purchase option gets into materialization. 


The Philippine Navy is now experiencing its own renaissance period in terms of its military capabilities wherein antisubmarine operations and enhanced amphibious assault operations are now becoming possible all thanks to the newly-purchased pieces of equipment that were recently commissioned in the service branch's 121st Founding Anniversary.

It is worth taking note that by the year 2020, the fleet will receive its brand new frigates from South Korea which is a first for the organization given that it packs more firepower and sophistication than the ones that are currently in operations within the Philippine Navy where this is a welcoming step for the organization's desire of being a more credible organization with the aspiration of adding 25-30 ships for its operations for the years to come.

From these set of plans that are set to materialization along the time period, the role of the K-745 Blue Shark Torpedoes will be more significant as the country - the Republic of the Philippines is considered the first exporter of such munitions product from LIG Nex1 in which it will join South Korea as a prominent user of such weapon that is intended to target both surface and underwater vessels such as submarines. Supplying the Philippine military market of such munitions may serve as a first step for the indigenous South Korean industries to somewhat increase their market share in terms of selling munitions where it benefits the company to improve their products more and eventually getting the satisfaction for the customers that avail these weapons.

A worth pondering note on this one is that with the purchase of the BRP Conrado Yap, the Jose Rizal-class Frigates, and even the Philippine Air Force FA-50PH, these torpedoes are a sign of strong South Korean-Philippine relations wherein the latter together with the United Nations of 1950s help the former in fighting off communism from its neighboring North Korea while the former providing the latter military assets which will help improve the once-ailing armed forces with old armaments into new, better and sophisticated assets that are in line with the 21st-century aspect of the systems-based military battle structure.

Hence, it is an interesting thing to see where this weapons munition may soon help provide key Philippine Navy ships the firepower it needs to tackle and enhance the capabilities it obtains especially in terms of antisubmarine water where it goes as essential as Maritime Domain Awareness given that the country's geography is an archipelago. This, among others, are the key driving force for obtaining the capabilities needed to have the minimum credible defense posture that the nation, its sovereignty, and its citizenry needs for peace, growth, and development.

(c) 2019 PDA, first edition 2021.

Lockheed P-3 Orion Maritime Aircraft for the Philippine Armed Forces?

The Philippine Navy has just improved its maritime surveillance capabilities with the help of the Japanese as they were supplanted by TC-90 Beechcraft King Air patrol aircraft to help the country have its territorial and extra-territorial waters at check. Now, with more plans getting place especially to the augmentation of more patrol aircraft, the Defense Department is opting for this valuable aircraft that means something for protecting the country and its interest.

Image: A Brazilian Air Force P-3 Orion, Modernized. Image Source.
In this report provided by the Philippine News Agency, Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressed interest to purchase even at least one unit of P-3 Orion from the United States through the Excess Defense Articles Program, the same process that the Philippines underwent before on the purchase of additional C-130s and the Del Pilar-class Offshore Patrol Vessels which increases the capability of the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy respectively in terms of additional transport capabilities and patrol of the country's waters.

It is worth taking note that the P-3 Orion they are opting shall be retained its original components and shall not be removed unlike those of the Del Pilar vessels in which its components such as the Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) were removed. The primary aim for this purchase, as the patrol suggests pertains more to the improvement of the country's maritime domain awareness in which it goes in line of providing enforced presence and patrol to the national territory and the waters surrounding it which is essential for the country's economy, national security, maritime safety, and the environment. This means that obtaining such aircraft means a lot when it comes to the patrol of the national coastlines in a way that it plays a factor for the country's sovereignty and development in such a manner that it will complement the roles of other units involved such as the Philippine Coast Guard vessels doing their mandate as well as the surface offshore patrol vessels of the Philippine Navy.

While the plans of procuring such asset is a welcoming thing, one may ask: How ideal and feasible is for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to have this asset for the country to have? What does a single unit mean for maintenance and the logistics chain for spare parts? Given that this is a second-hand asset, what approaches do other countries have in obtaining and maintaining these assets at a tip-top shape? These questions will be thoroughly discussed in this article as obtaining them plays a role in surveillance capabilities that are needed to put the country's archipelagic setup at check.


Throughout the years, the Lockheed P-3 Orion plays this essential anti-submarine role to the countries that have utilized it especially the United States that obtains a number of its units in their inventory. Currently. it is in service in 18 countries wherein Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States are among the notable users in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Developed in 1962, the P-3 Orion is the byproduct of an ever-growing submarine technology that is being utilized by rivals of the Cold War which is the United States and the then-Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of the USSR. This is said to be the successor of the lesser-capable P-2 Neptune in which it was developed by the same company that developed the P-3 Orion which is Lockheed. The basis of the development of its airframe derived from a passenger airliner that Lockheed produced which is the L-188 Electra. 

Speaking of the L-188 Electra turboprop passenger aircraft, it is notable aircraft on its field where at that time before the introduction of passenger jet airliners, it is this large American turboprop airliner which is tainted of problems at that time where it was shadowed by the more sophisticated jet airliners being introduced on that period. 

Nevertheless, it is still becoming the basis for the P-3 Orion's design to obtain where at present is still in service among the countries and the armed forces it serves. Take note that the P-3 in itself is a more successful iteration of the L-188 line of aircraft where it surpassed its predecessor in terms of service life where while it became obsolete in the airline industry, its usefulness can still be seen through the service of these antisubmarine aircraft in various armed forces of the world.

Throughout its service life, upgrades were made to put these antisubmarine platforms up-to-date in terms of assessing threats so as its spectrum gets a bit more sophisticated across the timeline. In other words, it is constantly being enhanced to keep its role up to the current ones such as to eliminate modern threats looming to harm national security at the present date.

The USQ-78 (V) upgrades and the COP or Critical Obsolescence Program in the United States are several of these examples as old equipment is being replaced as well as having their configuration modified to improve its capability in line with its role within the armed forces.


Since its development, the Lockheed P-3 Orion is still being employed in several countries like Taiwan in this example here where they were in the deal with the United States on the refurbishment of 12 Taiwanese P-3 Orions which may involve upgrades in which at that time is a necessity for the island nation to have since they are facing the threat from the Mainland Communist China's desire to retake the territory occupied by the Republic of China even though violent means as part of their goal to reunite their nation under the grasp of the Chinese Communist Party.

Now, in parallel from the Taiwanese down to the Philippine desire to acquire a second-hand P-3 from the United States - what makes this aircraft so highly important that these nations have the intentions for purchasing them? The answer may lie to its capability as an antisubmarine aircraft wherein as employed within the United States Navy, its performance and reliability may be seen as a credible thing to see in which it can be armed with various weapons fit as desired by the said user. At the current date, many P-3 variants were produced and are currently in service with variations on their role and country assignments. Here are several of the variants:
Click the image to enlarge. Screengrab Source.
It is worth to take note that several variants of P-3 Orions are not oriented to its intended role as the antisubmarine aircraft as it was produced in numbers. Take note that several P-3s were either modified as a trainer model for the crew to familiarize how to operate the platform, a research reconnaissance platform for scientific purposes such as oceanography and weather as well as for Electronic Warfare usage. Several models were intended as utility transport wherein back to the Philippine intentions of obtaining such platforms, such a platform is a no-no since the country already obtains a bulk of transport aircraft such as C-130s and C-295s to do a job as well as retaining its original components definitely mean a lot in terms of military capabilities obtained especially on surveillance and antisubmarine warfare operations.

Aside from the antisubmarine warfare capabilities, the P-3 Orions are also capable of carrying out anti-surface warfare operations wherein these types of aircraft can be fitted with anti-ship missiles alongside the torpedoes fit that is the usual thing for antisubmarine operations. Hence, these setups make the P-3 much like the workaround platform that is helpful for naval operations especially for service branches like the Philippine Navy to partake.

To understand more about the specifications of different variants of the Lockheed P-3 Orions, it is better to check it out on the links specified here, with the alternative link in case the first one failed provided here.

On the current note, the Lockheed P-3 Orions were currently being replaced by the newer Boeing P-8 Poseidon where just like its predecessor, is also derived from an airliner in which in Boeing's case, is the Boeing 737 jet airliner. These soon-to-be decommissioned platforms though are something for the Philippines to seek as desired by the Defense Secretary, along with a possibility from Japan where at one point, such platforms were at the table given that both countries forged an agreement back then when it was done by the previous administration. 

Such a possibility may come again now that radar components from Japan are being considered or preferred radar platform to the Air Force by the Defense Department for its air defense system as part of the recently-conducted re-enhanced cooperation from a defense meeting. It is worth taking note that such possibility remains to be seen given that it may or may not happen depending on what circumstances will be having along the way. So, the planned P-3 Orion purchase from the United States will be the welcoming thing as of the moment.

Chilean C-295MPA that plays the same role as the Lockheed P-3 Orion.
Image Source.
Currently, the Philippine Navy operates the Japanese-donated TC-90 Beechcraft King Air patrol aircraft that is intended for surveillance operations. The Philippine Air Force is also having this Horizon 1 project which is the LRPA or the Long Range Patrol Aircraft project which is intended to replace the older Fokker F-27MPA aircraft that they operated. 

It is worth taking note that since 2014, there are no updates regarding the LRPA or the Long Range Patrol Aircraft Project that is aspired by the Philippine Air Force to have despite the good news pouring in such as the delivery of the S-70i Blackhawks and the A-29 Super Tucano Close Air Support Aircraft as well as the hype regarding the Multirole Fighter Jet Program that is currently in competition between SAAB and their JAS-39 Gripen C/D Fighter Jet versus Lockheed Martin with their latest variant of F-16 which is the F-16V Block 70/72 (Viper) variant.

The reconsideration of the Lockheed P-3 Orion may mean an alternative from the Long Range Patrol Aircraft Project which is reportedly suffered from numerous failed biddings where the package they offered isn't up to the specifications or the eligibility that the Air Force is looking for under the project. One may ask: Now that the attention focuses unto the second-hand P-3 Orions from the United States, what will it be for its operations and maintenance? 

To answer the question, let us focus once again on the Taiwanese approach on their Lockheed P-3 Orions. It is notable that the platforms, the one that came fruition from 1967, has undertaken multiple upgrades either to come up with the times or to keep it airworthy to get it up for operations given its reliability when in service. In Taiwan's case, they spent US$9.3 Million for the upgrade program calling for extended service life and re-enhanced capabilities such as modernized avionics. 

From here, it goes usual to these platforms in the same way as the others wherein upgrades and service life extensions to be performed to keep them serviceable in the long run. In the case of the Philippines, it may go appropriate for some refurbishment operations to take place before its turn-over to the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Take note the example of the C-130Ts that were turned over to the Philippine Air Force last 2016 were some re-configuration and test flights were performed to determine its worthiness and other factors that keep up to the standards of the service branch.


With the LRPA failed biddings and the desire of having a more capable force which is now being covered by the TC-90s and soon the frigate-based AW-159 antisubmarine helicopters, the plans of the Defense Department for purchasing at least one or two Lockheed P-3 Orions from the United States is interesting of its own worth, given that its reliability is something that will augment the two aforementioned platforms that is a necessity for the country's geographical setup.

While since it is the plans made by the Department of National Defense, it remains to be seen whether this is to be pursued upon given that the timelines provided may be changed later on varying the conditions that may require this platform or something that is an equivalent to do, depending on their prerogative. 

Nevertheless, if this is to be pursued, then it will be significant to the anti-submarine capabilities of the Armed Forces especially for the Philippine Navy where it ensures the security that is needed to protect the nation's maritime domain especially now that the contested areas like the Panatag Shoal and the Kalayaan Island Group now being the potential flashpoints wherein claimants like China pursues the control of these features that may mean dominant control over the highly-contested West Philippine Sea or the South China Sea in its entirety.

It goes with the hopes and dreams that the Armed Forces of the Philippines, in its desire to modernize its military equipment, doctrine, and its personnel to the current standard is still taking the process and also providing the consideration to obtain platforms that may find helpful for the military's mandate which is to defend and secure the country and its citizens as well as to provide that minimum deterrence needed to get this done. 

So, if the Defense Department sees the Lockheed P-3 Orion as an essential platform and eventually pursues it later on, then it may be a nice thing to have where its capabilities are a plus on the aims of getting the nation more secure than ever.

Knowing the Philippine Navy AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopter

The Philippine Navy through the years has several air assets that complement its surface sea vessels where its role is primarily for surveillance purposes as well as to provide support on the capabilities that the sea vessels employed upon. Then, there is an air asset that will be the latest one to join the service branch where it may be considered as the "most sophisticated" military asset that has ever been employed within the organization.

The newest asset of the Philippine Navy, capable of targeting
submarine threats.
Image Source: Hywel Evans, via FighterControl - UK.
Just recently, the newest air assets of the Philippine Navy in the form of Leonardo AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopters were arrived in the country as part of the procurement process which later on will be accepted to the Naval Organization and to be put on its active service - at least onboard on two of the three Del Pilar-class Offshore Patrol Vessels available in the Navy fleet inventory in the meantime while the Jose Rizal-class Frigates are still under construction in South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries Shipyard.

Two antisubmarine helicopters, bearing the numbers 440 and 441, are the new assets that are designed to track and target submarine threats which is a new thing for the Philippine Navy where this is part of the Modernization process that goes across the Armed Forces of the Philippines in which this one is funded under the Horizon 1 and is one of the big-ticket projects within the service branch alongside the South Korean frigates in which the helicopters will be assigned once delivered by the year 2020 and 2021. 

This shows the significance of the whole Armed Forces' aims of enhancing and improving their capabilities through the purchase of newer tools, alongside the building of new facilities, re-organization, and new recruits wherein it aspires to have a minimum credible defense posture with the Philippine Navy focusing it under its Sail Plan.

This discussion will focus on these newly sophisticated assets in which its history of development, innovations, and its service in other Armed Forces will be provided as well as the knowledge of the project that provides these assets for the Philippine Navy to use, a newly-found capability that may get improved later on as more developing details and updates may take place.


Its development traces back to the successes of its predecessor which is the Lynx Antisubmarine Helicopter which is currently in service on several Naval Forces in the world, especially with the British Royal Army and the Royal Navy.

Apparently, the first launch of the earlier variant of the Lynx flew in 1971 and was only introduced seven (7) years later which currently embodies the capabilities within the British Armed Forces. Its capability and performance mean so much to its users where it is still in active service, doing its intended role within the operations of both the British Royal Navy and Army which serves as an inspiration for them to improve it further, resulting in what is to be the development that led to the current end product that is the Leonardo AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopter that the Philippine Navy bought.

The development of this enhancement of the Westland Lynx Helicopter which led to being the AW-159 started in 1995 when the British decided to replace the older Lynx helicopters they obtain in their inventory. From there, it took 7 years for them to start what was named the "Super Lynx 300" helicopters which are designed at that time to cover the replacement requirements as aforementioned. 

It is worth taking note that at that decade, Italy's Augusta and the United Kingdom's Westland which is the one developed the helicopters merged into what was became the AugustaWestland company (in which this was rebranded in 2016 into what is known now as the Leonardo Helicopters, under the Leonardo Company) who markets the AW-159 to the current date in countries like the Philippines. 

Knowing AgustaWestland, it was also the one who supplied both the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy the AW-109 Light Combat Helicopters where the former utilized their units on participation in conflicts such as the ones in Marawi City way back 2017 and the latter utilizing theirs by having their units assigned onboard the Del Pilar-class Offshore Patrol Vessels.

Later on, South Korea decided to procure at least eight units (ref1) of the renowned British-made Antisubmarine helicopter with several found its way to the South Korean Navy Incheon-class Frigates - the ships that the Jose Rizal-class Frigate design was derived upon. It is expected to be complemented by an additional order of 12 units of such type of helicopters, rendering the South Korean fleet of AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopters up to 20 units which in itself help ease the chain of spare part supplies in the near future for the Philippine Navy.

Now, the country became the latest customer for then AgustaWestland, now Leonardo Helicopters to obtain and soon will operate such type, at the same time being the first ASEAN nation to operate the AW-159 Wildcat Helicopters albeit the Malaysians obtain the earlier variant of Lynx helicopters in the inventory and is also looking for these assets as their future antisubmarine platform, which is also heavily advertised by Leonardo on that country.

One of the Helicopters, bearing the number 440. Image Source.
Courtesy to Paul Carreon who captured this image.
It is worth taking note that as mentioned in this article that the AW-159 Wildcat is a developed platform derived from its predecessor wherein it incorporates newer innovations that came along to the product especially the newer technology that it is fitted within a way that it rendered as a sophisticated antisubmarine helicopter of its own worth.

The helicopter obtains a twin-engined powerplant that makes the platform flying and conducting its operations where it is operated by two people and is capable of carrying 7 to 9 people in a flight. On its antisubmarine role, especially for the Philippine Navy use, the missiles it will be carried is the Rafael SPIKE-NLOS or the Non-Line Of Sight variant of the SPIKE ATGM that was originally designed to destroy tanks. 

This is another variant of the SPIKE where the Philippine Navy utilizes the SPIKE-ER missiles on its MPAC Mk. 3 small crafts that were successfully test-fired by the service branch against a sea target last year. It is worth to take note from there that the organization obtains the SPIKE NLOS missiles on the purpose of getting similar capabilities such as the MPACs on their SPIKE-ER missiles, only this time the angle of attack will be taken from the skies, onboard the AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopter.

Another weapon that may end up fitting the helicopters is the torpedo munitions where it will be provided the capability to shoot down submarine targets after detection which gives its designated name which is an antisubmarine helicopter. 

Aiding the ship in which it will be assigned, these AW-159 Wildcats will drop torpedoes on a detection area in which it will seek and approach the target, achieving the operation in the process by blasting it up and eliminate the likely threat on other vessels at sea especially in the times of war. 

The likely torpedo fitted on the helicopters will be similar to the ones fitted onboard its mother ships which are the Jose Rizal-class Frigates made by the South Korean shipbuilding company that is Hyundai Heavy Industries. 

It is worth taking note that the torpedo offer of the South Korean company to the Philippine Navy frigate project came in the form of K475 Blue Shark Antisubmarine Torpedoes in which recently, have the triple torpedo launchers intended for it fitted onboard the newly-launched BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150)

Hence, it is more likely that these torpedoes from South Korea will be the ones utilized on the AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopters in such a manner that the South Korean Navy also utilized it on their respective assets. 

To add more to its sophistication, it is the unit in the Philippine Navy that is fitted with Leonardo Seaspray 7400E AESA surface search radar, the advanced one in its arsenal of sensors along with the L3 Wescam MX-15Di electro-optical/FLIR camera targeting system. 

These components are, by nature, relatively new to the capabilities of the Philippine Navy in the same way as the helicopter's capabilities in its entirety.

Now on the dipping sonar that will serve as its eyes on the water alongside those of its mother ship. This feature is something that an antisubmarine helicopter such as the AW-159 Wildcat may have given that it may provide a more pinpointed position of the target prior to a decision of shooting it up by firing the torpedoes on board the platform. 

The dipping sonar that the Philippine Navy AW-159 will be using is the Thales Flash Dipping Sonar in the same way as the ones being employed to the South Korean Navy AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopters.

These sensors and weapons fit to provide the insight with regards to its every-sophisticated capability that is something for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to have where like its mother ships coming in the form of Korean-made Jose Rizal-class Frigates, are a significant step on the organization's effort to Modernize its tools for the betterment of the country and its fairly-important national security.

To check more about the specifications of this helicopter, kindly check the table image below.
Click on the image for clearer details. Take note that some of the components,
notably, the Missiles (SPIKE-NLOS) and Torpedoes (K-745 Blue Shark) are different in
the Philippine Navy version. 
Screengrab Source.
The Philippine Navy AW-159 bearing the tail no. 440 in a test run.
Image Courtesy to Allan Sacdalan Concepcion, for Scramble Magazine.
From the planning process down to the procurement processes as prescribed under the Republic Act. 9184 or the Philippine Procurement Law then eventually to its delivery, the Leonardo Helicopters here is shown as being the participating bidder under the Antisubmarine Helicopter Project alongside Indonesia's PT Digantara-Airbus which for two units, but that does not mean it will be a done deal for this company right away as they need to comply with the rules and regulations provided in the procurement process which will validate the transaction as legal and undertaken the procedures well.

These two bidders participated in the Antisubmarine Helicopter Project were competing along head-on in a bit similar way as both Lockheed Martin and SAAB compete to bag the Philippine Air Force Multirole Fighter Jet program. 

The PT Digantara-Airbus joint venture offered their AS-565B Panther Multirole Helicopter which is also capable of anti-submarine as well as its additional roles such as for anti-surface and search-and-rescue operations. Such helicopters are currently in service in countries such as France, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Israel in various military service branches they served upon. 

In 2016, the award for the contract of supplying the two AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopters was given to Leonardo Helicopters which was then called AugustaWestland at that time.

Three years later, and the helicopters (as provided in the image above) recently delivered to the country in which it may eventually enter the service as the most sophisticated platform that the Philippine Navy obtains where it is worth a symbol that, along with the Frigates that the helicopters will be assigned, later on, shows out the effects of the Modernization Program that the whole Armed Forces of the Philippines has embarked upon with newer capabilities getting introduced in the process.


The procurement process that involves a big-ticket project such as the Antisubmarine helicopter takes time where, in the end, provides the worth of such purchased equipment will be within a certain service branch such as these Leonardo AW-159 Antisubmarine helicopters within the Philippine Navy service.

Now, it has successfully delivered to the country where it is now ready to serve the country once commissioned wherein its role may definitely mean that much for the nation's desire of providing the minimum credible defense posture as an approach for better national security measures. 

From here, it is worthy to be seen with regards to what will come given that from the original setup of the AFP Modernization Program especially on the Navy's Sail Plan, plans call for at least six frigates with also at least six antisubmarine helicopters on board. 

By that sense, the number of units purchased follows the rule of thirds with regards to the role of the ships as either to be deployed on patrol, standby on the port, or in the drydock for preventive maintenance procedures. 

Nevertheless, having two units may provide that stepping stone for the service branch's desire of having an antisubmarine capability in which this area of expertise may get improve later on as the plans for additional resources and manpower may pour upon to help the country's territorial waters more secured, both on the surface and sub-surface levels.




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