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  • Introducing the Philippine Navy's Miguel Malvar Frigates

    Once recognized as the HDC-3100 corvette, the badges of the Offshore Combat Force unveils the vessel's name, classification, and hull number designation of the Philippine Navy's newest warship in the fleet.

  • Philippine Air Force's J/TPS-P14ME Mobile Radar Platform

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  • Indonesia's ASW Aircraft Offer to the Philippine Navy

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The BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701) of the Philippine Coast Guard

The Philippine Coast Guard recently experienced unprecedented growth in its fleet, so much so that it saw a significant increase in the number of ships that are being commissioned in its fleet, especially with these vessels produced and originated from these two countries, naming France and Japan.

Speaking of Japan, it is now currently building the largest ship that the Philippine Coast Guard will soon be operating, and it will surpass the current flagship that the agency has in its fleet.

The MRRV-9701 before launch. This is now named the
BRP Teresa Magbanua.
Image Source.

Just last July 26, 2021, the Philippine Coast Guard's newest and largest vessel that will be delivered to its fleet was just launched from Japan's Mitsubishi Shipbuilding facility in Shimonoseki Shipyard in the City of the same name, Yamaguchi Prefecture, situated in the country's Southwestern portion of its main island of Honshu.

This is one of the two 97-meter Multirole Response Vessels or MRRVs that the Philippine Coast Guard ordered from Japan, which was done through the help of aid from the Japan International Cooperation Agency or JICA, wherein these vessels, aside from the ten (10) units that comprise the Parola-class Multirole Response Vessels, will be transacted through a soft loan via Japan's Official Development Assistance or ODA.

Given its size, it is said that it will surpass the currently largest white-hulled ship on the Philippine Coast Guard, which is the French-made BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301), an 84-meter Offshore Patrol Vessel made by the shipbuilder OCEA and currently serves as one of the largest aluminum-hulled vessels in service and also a stepping stone for the agency that will allow them to operate larger vessels like the one we featured in this article.

As we discussed before on this website, the warship's design was based on the Kunigami-class ships that are currently in service with the Japan Coast Guard, with minor variations in the specifications and the dimensions provided that will be discussed in detail along in this article, as we give information on those variations that define these Multirole Response Vessels that are being built for the Philippine Coast Guard.

In this topic, we are providing additional information and updated details about this big-ticket project of the Philippine Coast Guard, as adding two more large ships to their fleet is considered a highly significant investment for the agency to have, especially now that additional patrols of the country's maritime coastline and enforcement of the country's Maritime Domain Awareness are needed.

A Kunigami-class Offshore Patrol Vessel of the Japan Coast Guard.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Before discussing the updates involving this new warship that the Philippine Coast Guard will be having, it is worth recalling and getting an overview from a previously written article about this acquisition project of the agency for the 94-meter Multirole Response Vessels, in which this was written in full in this article entitled "Knowing the Soon-to-Have Kunigami-class Multirole Response Vessels of the Phil. Coast Guard", written April 12, 2020.

In the stated article, it was discussed the history of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as a company, wherein it started back when Japan experienced its industrial transformation,  with the establishment of its own shipyard in 1857 and since then helped Mitsubishi improved its expertise in the local shipbuilding business, helping Japan built its military and civilian vessels, which include Coast Guard vessels like the Kunigami-class.

It was also discussed about the Kunigami-class Offshore Patrol Vessels served in the Japan Coast Guard, wherein this was commissioned into their fleet way back in 2012 with 18 ships were built by multiple Japanese shipbuilding companies, including Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd, the entity responsible for the modification and construction of an enhanced variant derived from the original Kunigami-class intended for the Philippine Coast Guard.

Completing the article, the procurement of the Parola-class Multirole Response Vessels was briefly discussed, given that both the 44-meter Parola-class and the 94-meter Multirole Response Vessels were all funded under the Japanese Official Development Assistance or ODA, wherein it is a soft loan that the Philippine government will be paying at a payable through a certain time period as discussed by both sides before the implementation of both acquisition projects for the Philippine Coast Guard.

This gesture made by the Japanese in providing both the Parola-class and the 94-meter Multirole Response Vessel, as well as their reputation in building capable ships for both civilian and military uses, makes the Philippine Coast Guard a more capable beneficiary that will have these badly-needed white-hulled vessels, especially at these dire times that China is flexing its large Coast Guard Vessels big time in the West Philippine Sea.

The project profile of the larger Japanese Multirole Response Vessels. From PCG/JICA.

The larger, 94-meter Multirole Response Vessels of the Philippine Coast Guard is considered part of the greater Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the Philippine Coast Guard, wherein the 10-unit, 44-meter long Parola-class Multirole Response Vessels were included and funded under this project, visualized in Phase 1 of the project as opposed to the Phase 2 of the project.

Comparing the project profile from the partial specifications provided in our previous article, there is not much of a change between the two, with the notable exception of its length that increased to 96.6 meters (rounded to 97 meters) from the original length of 94 meters, and a significant increase in the personnel complement, now with the combined number of officers and crew of around 67 people as opposed from the original's 57 people.

The rest of the specifications are retained from the original one, although additional information has been provided in the project profile that is not available from the original one, like the sea state survivability of the ship's hull that is capable of operating in the roughest waters that takes place in the high seas, notably the Sea States 6 and 7, the same ones that a capable ship like the Jose Rizal-class Frigates will take (although some reports indicate that it will take up to Sea State 5).

Other information provided in the project profile is the loan amount, contract cost for consulting services, and contract for shipbuilding purposes, amounting to Php 7,557,057,981.88; Php 170,086,389.41; and Php 6,682,175,243.78; respectively, all of which were converted from Japanese Yen to Philippine Peso as of August 20, 2021, with the exchange rate of Php 1.00 = JPY 2.18.

To wrap this up, Japan's Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. has provided some of the welcoming tweaks in the project, making it a bit longer than the initial design and even the original design that made Japan Coast Guard's Kunigami-class Offshore Patrol Vessels, as well as the capability of carrying more people on board, particularly on its added capacity of taking 36 survivors that is essential for it as a rescue vessel platform.


Since the entry of the BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301) in the Philippine Coast Guard's white-hulled fleet as an active vessel, the maritime enforcement organization practiced the use of female heroines in naming their large vessels, such as the lead ship of the Philippine Coast Guard seen above with a name engraved on her stern, determining that the ship is the BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701), the lead ship of the Magbauna-class Multirole Response Vessels.

The first Japanese-made 97-meter ship produced for the Philippine Coast Guard, to provide some glimpse of the history of its naming, was named after a revolutionary hailed in Iloilo province named Teresa Magbanua, born October 13, 1868, as a daughter of Don Juan Magbanua, a judge who sat on the Court Instance of Iloilo City, and Doña Alejandro Ferraris, the daughter of Captain Benito Ferraris.

She was known as the "Visayan Joan of Arc" when she rallied her troops on horseback against the Spanish forces at the Battle of Barrio Yoting, situated in Pilar, Capiz, resulting in her force's victorious fight as part of her contributions to the revolution that took place in Iloilo province under her uncle, Major General Perfecto Poblador, and the Katipunan revolutionary army of Iloilo during those times.

Her contribution to the revolutionary is also clearly shown in the Philippine-American war and eventually against the Japanese occupation in the Philippines, wherein she joined her brothers that were ranking officers at that time in defending Iloilo province against the Americans at that time, while indirectly fighting the Japanese in her later life through her support to local guerillas by selling her personal belongings for their food and supplies.

With her act of gallantry against all three foreign occupiers of the Philippines during her time, putting her name in a Philippine Coast Guard ship is one of the ways to give her credit and respect in support for the country's independence,  alongside other heroines like Gabriela Silang and Melchora "Tandang Sora" Aquino, a name that will be engraved and given to the second Japanese-made 97-meter ship.

The name of the ship, engraved in its stern. Image Source.

The Philippine Coast Guard is now in its full-throttle in modernizing its white-hulled fleet, as the country sees the demand in having more vessels of its type increasing with the ever-increasing importance of the country's maritime enforcement on its territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone waters, emphasizing the need of improving the country's Maritime Domain Awareness.

In the case of BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701), its recent launch shows a recent example of the great transformation that the Philippine Coast Guard is currently undertaking, a renaissance of sorts that the maritime organization under the Department of Transportation or DOTr is getting that its fleet is becoming more capable than ever, in terms of obtaining such large vessels that can patrol high seas at a longer time allowed.

Take note that the Philippine Coast Guard will have two units of Magbanua-class Multirole Response Vessels coming from Japan, going alongside ten (10) 44-meter Parola-class Multirole Response Vessels, forming the complete assistance package that the Japanese government, through JICA, have provided for these acquisition projects to be materialized, which will be paid through a soft loan as agreed under the terms of the Japanese Overseas Development Assistance loan or ODA.

The possibility of having more of such white-hulled vessels in the future will not be far, as the Philippine Coast Guard is still working on its process for modernization, with projects such as the installation of Coastal Radar Stations across the waters of Visayas and Mindanao are also on their way its completion that will cover significant coastal areas that improve Maritime Domain Awareness in the process.

With these developments coming on their way and is on full implementation, things are very hopeful for the Philippine Coast Guard as it grows larger as an organization in terms of manpower, facilities, and the number of vessels that it acquired and integrate into its fleet, as more developments about it will be expected to be discussed across defense circles along with its resolve of showing its presence in highly-contested waters.

(c) 2021 PDA.

The Philippine Navy's Corvette Offer from Turkey

The Philippine Navy is materializing its Modernization program at a full-throttle, in a sense that multiple participants are willing to bet their product designs and offers in a bid that they can secure a deal and make out the best in penetrating the country's military and defense arms market.

This is the story of how a country in the Eastern Mediterranean provided its bet for the Philippine Navy's Corvette Acquisition Project as it competes with the design that has already been proven, and a shipbuilder that already has the experience dealing with the maritime branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Turkish Navy's TCG Burgazada (F-513), an Ada-class
Corvette of the fleet.
Obtained from Wikimedia Commons.

Four months ago from the time that this article was published, Turkey's news outlet Daily Sabah, citing a report made by the Philippine News Agency also from that same date, reported the visit of key Philippine Navy contingent led by then-Flag Officer in Command (FOIC) Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo in Turkey's state-owned defense contractor ASFAT or Askeri Fabrika ve Tersane İşletme (Military Factory, and Shipyard Management) under an invitation.

During the visit of the Philippine Navy contingent to the said Turkish defense contractor, it provided an opportunity for ASFAT to showcase its capabilities as part of the greater Turkish defense industrial complex that fully provides the military and defense needs of the Turkish government through its military units from the production of ordnance rounds to the production of warships for its navy.

This move was shown as an attempt of both sides to further strengthen the ties between the Philippines in Turkey, especially with regards to defense-related matters of both countries, as this was first exhibited when the Philippine Air Force, along with the Department of National Defense, decided to award the contract for the Attack Helicopter Acquisition Project to the Turkish Aerospace Industries, the supplier for the T-129 "ATAK" Helicopters.

With this strengthening of ties that both sides wanted to improve, it presented an opportunity for the Turkish state-owned defense company to get its hands on the Philippines' ever-growing military and defense market, as this presents the way for them to grow beyond its borders and for the aspiration of exporting more ships that will cement its customer share in the process.

Take note that ASFAT currently supplies its warships to Pakistan, with the design showing similarities to an Ada-class Corvette design shown in the image above, and is also possibly a design that will be provided for their product offer in the Philippine Navy's Corvette Acquisition Project, in which we will be discussing in detail, along with the story of the Turkish Defense Company and the specification of their current warships.

Screenshot of the company's website.

Based on its corporate information written on its website, ASFAT or Military Factory, and Shipyard Management in English, was just a recent creation of Turkey's Ministry of Defense from three years ago with the aims of exporting its products through a Government-to-Government approach, in the same manner how PITC or the Philippine International Trade Corporation makes a deal in behalf of the Department of National Defense, or how Rosoboronexport does trade in behalf of the Russian Government.

Given this arrangement, ASFAT serves as a middleman in the deals that it has on behalf of the Turkish defense industry to export countries, wherein they have sealed the deal with Pakistan for its own corvette acquisition project months after AFSAT as a company was founded, gaining a customer in its deal that pushes Turkish-made defense products outside the country.

While ASFAT does the deal in securing a contract for Pakistan during those times, the Turkish shipbuilder that overlooks the construction of the project points to the Istanbul Naval Shipyard, with the help of a Defense Engineering Firm Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret or STM (English for Defense Technologies Engineering and Trade), a firm that was incorporated in 1991, two-decades-long before ASFAT became the Turkish state-owned defense contractor of today.

One of the achievements that STM has made throughout its operation since its inception is the development and eventually, the production of the MILGEM design warships that define vessels that are in service like the Ada-class Corvettes, and the succeeding ones that came with it like the export variant of the MILGEM design produced for the Pakistani Naval Forces.

Securing the contract for the acquisition of Corvettes for the Philippine Navy will be considered an achievement for STM as a planner/systems integrator, Istanbul Naval Shipyard as a shipbuilder, and for ASFAT as a Turkish Defense Contractor, in a sense that they increase their reputation as a reputable arms exporter that showcases the capabilities of the Turkish Military-Industrial Complex in delivering its goods to any country that sees interest in obtaining their locally-produced defense technology.

The outline of Turkey's MiLGEM design, the basis for its Ada-class Corvettes.
Image Source.

The MiLGEM warship design, at a glance, is an important project pursued by the Turkish Armed Forces as it enforced its own version of a Self-Reliant Defense Posture, in a sense that it promotes the design of construction of these warships by the Turkish, in the Turkish shipyards like the Instanbul Naval Shipyard or ones owned by STM, to improve its military defense industries that provide jobs for citizens while catering the needs of the Turkish Armed Forces at the same time.

A concept that will define the MiLGEM warship design started way back in 2006 when the parties involved, particularly the Turkish Government and STM, signed the Agreement on Design Services for Prototype Vessel, Construction of the Platform, and Procurement of Equipment, Materials, and Services, which it gave obligation for the STM to start providing package designs and prototype for what would be the future Turkish-concept warship at that time.

A prototype ship was built in 2007, wherein it was commissioned to the Turkish Navy four years later in 2011, wherein it bears the name TCG Heybeliada (F-511), the first of what will be known as the Ada-class Corvettes of the Turkish Navy, of which four were built in the fleet, naming the TCG Büyükada (F-512)TCG Burgazada (F-513), and the TCG Kınalıada (F-514), along with the TCG Heybeliada as mentioned, forming the warships that symbolize the resurgence of the Turkish naval shipbuilding industry.

Aside from the Ada-class Corvettes, another design that was derived from the MiLGEM warship design is the STM's Istanbul-class Frigates (or I-class Frigates as written on its website), which are basically an enlarged variant of the Ada-class that may also possibly be offered as the candidate for the Philippine Navy's Corvette Acquisition Project other than the Ada-class Corvette.

The development of design, construction of warships, and integration of its systems are a breakthrough for Turkey as it pursues its military and defense industries, in a sense that they are aspiring to export it to countries like the Philippines and establish as one of the reputable sources of military hardware that any other country can aspire to transact, at a push of improving the country's economy under this industrial sector.

The full specifications of a MiLGEM Block 1 - Ada-class Corvettes of the Turkish Navy.
(c) Naval Analyses.

Referencing the infographic image provided by a warship-oriented website Naval Analyses, the Ada-class Corvettes of the Turkish Navy came with their locally-made subcomponents, preferably those produced by ASELSAN, which is an Ankara-based Turkish defense corporation that also provided some of the subcomponents for the Philippine Navy's Jose Rizal-class Frigates such as its SMASH 30mm gun system.

Take note also that their design came with an Oto Melara Super Rapid Gun mount, which is also a common sight on board the ships in service within the Philippine Navy from the older Del Pilar-class and Jacinto-class Offshore Patrol Vessels to the recently-procured ones like the BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39), a Pohang-class Corvette acquired from South Korea and the fully-discussed Jose Rizal-class Frigates.

Speaking of the Jose Rizal-class Frigates, or the improved variant that the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) offered to the Philippine Navy as a competition for the Corvette Acquisition Project, both came with a Vertical Launch System or VLS installed onboard the vessel between the main cannon and the bridge superstructure, which is something that is not seen in the MiLGEM Block 1 Ada-class Corvettes of the Turkish Navy (while this is available on the modified Ada-class variant that ASFAT offered to the Pakistani Navy, which is also the one that they offer to the Philippine Navy).

In the Philippine Navy's case, they will be offered a modified variant of the Ada-class Corvette similar to the one offered to the Pakistani Navy with a Vertical Launch System (VLS) subcomponent installed onboard the ship, alongside other weaponry fitted onboard such as its anti-ship missile batteries and the other mentioned cannon and gun systems that came along with the warship unit, plus the Istanbul-class Frigates are presented as an optional candidate for the project.

To complete this up, let it be noted that the Istanbul-class Frigates came with 113.2 meters in length while keeping the same meters in the beam as the Ada-class Corvettes while having a displacement of 3,000 tons, almost as similar as the HDC-3100 offered by Hyundai Heavy Industries, only that both of the vessels mentioned came with a maximum speed of 29+knots, faster than what the South Korean shipbuilder has provided with its ships for the Philippine Navy.

The Ada-class Corvette variant (image above) was offered to the Pakistani Navy. Image Source.

The Philippine Navy is still materializing its Corvette Acquisition Project, with the preferences more likely to stick with the South Koreans and their HDC-3100 warship design, which in itself is an improved variant of the HDF-2600 that in itself served as a basis for the Hyundai Heavy Industries to produce the Jose Rizal-class Frigates that the Philippine Navy currently has in its inventory.

That, however, is not yet certain and final at the time this article was published as there may still be changed in the preferences of the decision-makers, in a sense that ASFAT is still betting on the chances that they secure this acquisition project from the Philippine Navy, adding the roster of Turkish-made weaponry provided to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, along with the T-129 ATAK Helicopters of the Turkish Aerospace Industries or TAI.

As the Philippine Navy contingent managed to visit Turkey, especially the main Headquarters of ASFAT in the capital city of Ankara, the Turkish defense contractor has provided an opportunity to showcase their offers before the contingent in the hopes that their bid will be chosen for the Corvette Acquisition Project, in a sense that this will enable them to deal with the Philippine Armed Forces in the long term, especially that they have provisions of producing the ships in the country.

Also, ASFAT's MiLGEM warship offer presents an opportunity of improving defense-related ties between Turkey and the Philippines, as this posture strengthens the bond of both the supplier and the buyer, promoting confidence that a successful deal may happen and with it came the trust that the supplier will provide the needs of the buyer, basing the latter's requirements.

With ASFAT's aspirations came clear, it will be at the discretion of the Philippine Navy in choosing the best candidate design presented for its Corvette Acquisition Project, as this came at a price tag far more expensive than the ones allotted for the first Frigate Acquisition Project, which is pegged at Php 28 Billion, now with the buyer's aim that the chosen proponent of the project will provide the goods that are worth the price.

(c) 2021 PDA.

Knowing South Korea's "Improved" Chang Bogo-class Submarine Offer to the Philippine Navy In Detail

Procuring submarines is one of the aspirations that a navy has in its long list of multiple acquisition projects, as having such assets enable the maritime branch of an Armed Force to deploy these underwater assets that are difficult to detect by other navies, and effectively having a deterrence that may disrupt maritime incursions of other country's warships at the time of war.

In this manner, let us discuss one of the candidates of the Philippine Navy's Submarine Acquisition Project, which was already tackled in multiple instances here on our blog website, only that this time around, it is from the country that has produced Missile-Guided Frigates for the Philippine Fleet's Offshore Patrol Force.

An image of a Chang Bogo-class submarine that is currently serving
in the South Korean Navy.
Image Source.

The discussion on submarine acquisition traced back to when the Armed Forces of the Philippines was still on the Horizon 1 phase, at least, here on Pitz Defense Analysis wherein we made a 2017 article that provides an overview to the Philippine Navy's Submarine Acquisition Project while showing multiple candidates from France's Scorpene-class submarines to Russia's submarine offers.

Just recently, a contingent belonging to the Department of National Defense, led by Assistant Defense Secretary for logistics and acquisition Jesus Rey Avila, visited the facility of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) in South Korea, as both countries aim to improve relations in areas that involve cooperation, such as in defense sector given the fact that the Philippines bought Korean-made military equipment in the past.

Aside from the visit, it was also reported that DSME has offered its 1,400-ton submarine to the Philippine Navy under the Submarine Acquisition Program, even though France offered its Scorpene submarines earlier this year, with the French Navy has committed to help the Philippine Navy in the creation of its submarine force as discussed during the high-level talks between two navies in Paris when a Philippine Navy contingent led by then VAdm Giovanni Carlo Bacordo visited the country and inspect naval facilities there.

Moreover, let us take note that the Naval Group has set up a Representative Office in Manila last 2019, committing further as it wanted to secure the deal for the Submarine Acquisition Project through its Scorpene offer, now seeing a challenge from a competitor like South Korea's DSME wherein it offers its submarine candidate, which will be the main topic of this article discussion.

With this development regarding the Department of National Defense's increasing interest in Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering's submarine product, let us discuss the submarine in detail, from the shipbuilder down to the product itself, which it came to understand the product offer better, and to describe on how will it fare with the competition like the Scorpene-class Submarine of the French shipbuilder Naval Group.

This is a screenshot of DSME's website, showing its shipbuilding facility. Check the website here.

Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering or DSME are just one of the largest shipbuilding companies in South Korea, going alongside Hyundai Heavy Industries (which is the shipbuilder that helps produced the Jose Rizal-class Frigates for the Philippine Navy), and Samsung Heavy Industries, which formed South Korea's three largest shipbuilding companies that feed a portion of its economy.

Like any other South Korean shipbuilding mentioned, DSME catered for both civilian and military customers that seek its products across the world, like constructing large container vessels such as this one for the German logistics conglomerate Hapag Lloyd, several crude carriers for other prospective clients, and a portion of South Korean Navy's surface and subsurface assets currently in service in its fleet.

The company was said to be established in 1973 at Okpo Bay, Geoje Island, which is situated in the southernmost tip of the Korean peninsula, and currently obtains a shipyard in the area aside from the ones operated by Samsung Heavy Industries that helped provide jobs and livelihood for the locals that have lived in the island, with the continuous cash inflows due to the number of orders these shipyards received from clients across the globe.

DSME achieved one of its milestones by producing South Korea's first locally-produced submarine, which was the ROKS Chang Bogo (SS-061), way back in the 1990s, which was followed suit by Hyundai Heavy Industries when it first built its own submarines for the South Korean Navy, coming in the form of a licensed Type 214 submarine, which was designed by Germany's Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp).

With regards to its submarines, its successful export came when Indonesia and DSME agreed on a deal of procuring such assets, which were soon named by the Indonesian Navy as the Nagapasa-class submarines, wherein these boats were assembled in Indonesia by no other than PT PAL Persero, the primary shipbuilder that produced the Tarlac-class landing platform docks to the Philippine Navy.

An Egyptian Navy HDW Type 209/1400 submarine in service. Obtained via Wikimedia Commons.

While Chang Bogo-class submarines are considered a product made in South Korea, it is undeniable that their design directly originated from Germany, in which a company like Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Marine) produces a vessel known as the Type 209 submarines, with the Chang Bogo being a variant under this class of submarines.

The design of Type 209 was inspired by the earlier variants of submarines that have produced by HDW, originally intended for the German Volksmarine in the 1960s as they were seeking a new submarine during that time that will satisfy their specifications seen as the improvement on the earlier variants such as the Type 206, Type 205, and the Type 201 which is the first postwar submarine of Germany.

With regards to the Chang Bogo-class submarines, its design was derived from the earlier variant of the German-made HDW Type 209/1200 type, as opposed to the later variants such as the Egyptian Navy's HDW Type 209/1400 (although this design was the one provided for the Nagapasa-class), as seen on the image above, with the modifications and upgrades were made by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) to suit South Korean Specifications later on (more unto that later).

The first boat under this class of submarines was first laid in 1989, launched in 1992, and entered service in the South Korean Navy a year later in 1993, and is currently in service within the South Korean fleet ever since, with now having additional orders for these submarines intended for Indonesia's Naval Fleet, known locally as the TNI-AL or Tentara Nasional Indonesia - Angkatan Laut.

Apparently, the one offered for the Indonesian Navy is an improved Chang Bogo-class variant known as the DSME-1400, in which the design and specifications are more enhanced than the original Type 209/1200 Chang Bogo-class that the South Korean Navy has in service, and it goes reminiscent to the one shown in the image above.

The improved variant may also be the one that Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering will be providing for the Philippine Navy's submarine acquisition project, as this came with four (4) MTU 12V 493 diesel generators that can help the vessel travel at 21 knots underwater while having a speed of 11 knots when sailing at the surface.

Qualifying pre-requisites of at least having two users using such type of submarines and also being used by the country of origin, the Chang Bogo-class submarine is eligible in presentation as a product candidate of DSME for the Philippine Navy's Submarine Acquisition Project, wherein it is heavily competing against the like of France's Scorpene-class submarines, with it having more navies using such type of vessel across the world.

The specifications of the Chang Bogo-class Submarines.
Image Source.

Upon checking the specifications, particularly in its dimensions and displacement, it goes reminiscent of Type 209/1200 submarine from Germany, or some would call it the U-209/1200 submarine since the Chang Bogo-class' design was derived from the 1967-developed design that is a proven one from ThyssenKrupp Marine, itself used by several navies across the world.

Meanwhile, the Scorpene-class submarines from Naval Group, and Daewoo's main competitor for its Chang Bogo submarines for the Philippine Navy Submarine Acquisition Project, is a recent design that has a deeper operational diving depth of 350 meters,  a longer hull of 63.5 meters, and a heavier displacement for both surfaced and submerged levels.

For reference, DCNS/Naval Group's Scorpene-class submarines came with a surfaced displacement of 1,450 tons and a submerged displacement of 1,590 tons, as opposed to those for Chang Bogo-class submarines described in a table above (1,400 tons apparently for the improved variant), with both surfaced displacement and submerged displacement difference being at 350 tons and 305 tons, respectively.

Other armaments include mines, of which the Chang Bogo-class possess 28 mines while the Scorpene-class came with 30 mines. The Scorpene submarines possess an additional capability of launching Exocet anti-ship missiles on its torpedo tubes. The Type 209/1200, in which the original Chang Bogo-class submarines were derived, does not have any of these added armaments.

These variations in armaments, specifications, and capabilities, may help define a candidate vessel's edge over the other, especially with the stiff competition between the South Koreans and the French in securing this deal that will define the capabilities of the Philippine Navy may soon have, especially the ones that go with the Armed Forces of the Philippines' desire of having a minimum credible defense posture.

Chang Bogo submarine's main competitor to the Philippine Navy Submarine Acquisition Project.
Image Source.

The Philippine Navy's submarine acquisition project is just one of multiple projects that the Armed Forces of the Philippines, along with the Department of National Defense, is pushing to obtain its requirements of having an effective deterrence, especially in terms of external defense with the threat coming from China getting hotter as time passes by.

This offer made by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering or DSME is just one of the candidates that are being pushed for this procurement program, with its main competitor Naval Group from France also offered their own submarine product at the aims of securing the contract for the deal and eventually, gaining a new customer in the region that increases the chances of being chosen for future purchases once again.

In the Southeast Asian Region, let it be noted that the Philippines' southernly neighbor Indonesia possess these improved Chang Bogo-class submarines from South Korea, locally known as the 1,400-ton Nagapasa-class submarines, wherein it is expected to boost their naval capabilities in the long run, given that it provides a useful reference for the Philippines since both share similarities in the archipelagic form of geographical setup.

With the highly competitive environment that the two main suppliers for the submarine acquisition project promote, it came with the benefit that the Philippine Navy will join the submarine club that is brewing in the region as the country lags behind at this form of capability that will give enemy navies a hard time in detecting these underwater assets.

So, it will be interesting with regards to the outcome of the Philippine Navy's submarine acquisition program, especially that both of the competing classes of submarines being offered will give the boost for the naval branch's capabilities at one way over the other, bringing the aim of fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of the organization in delivering its mandate of defending the nation and its citizenry.

Update 8-15-2021: Some portions in the article are added or edited for more accurate details, particularly on the improved Chang Bogo-class variant "DSME-1400" build of the Nagapasa-class submarines, which is also the ones offered for the Philippine Navy.

(c) 2021 PDA.

Hyundai Heavy Industries' Corvette Offer to the Philippine Navy?

Since the start of the law calling for further Modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, or the R.A. 10349 way back in 2013, the Philippine Navy laid out its plans in pursuing a formidable fleet that is qualified to be considered as a Minimum Credible Defense Posture. It calls for additional naval assets, alongside other projects by other military branches, that will attain this objective.

The Hyundai Heavy Industries' HDC-3100 design, as inspired by the HDF-2600 design used
for the Jose Rizal-class Frigates.
From Hyundai Heavy Industries Product Brochure.

Just recently, South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries released its newest product brochure, showing its lineup of warship and law enforcement (Coast Guard) products that the shipbuilder has developed, designed, and produced throughout their operations, with the majority of those products being naval assets primarily in service with the South Korean Navy, Hyundai Heavy Industries' home country.

One of those ships presented is the HDF-2600 design, which is of no surprise since it served as the basis for the South Korean shipbuilder for the Philippine Navy's Jose Rizal-class Frigates, now currently in service under the Offshore Patrol Force and is considered the most sophisticated class of warships that is currently available in the fleet.

The success of the HDF-2600 design, which was visualized and became the known design for the Philippine Navy's newest warships available in its fleet, helped Hyundai Heavy Industries to visualize more and create the design that is said to be more sophisticated than the Jose Rizal-class Frigates, with itself apparently being said to be offered to the Philippine Navy for its Corvette Acquisition Project.

Known as the HDC-3100 design, the Hyundai Heavy Industries is betting that this design and their offer will be accepted by the Philippine Navy and the Department of National Defense as they have the experience in delivering the frigates to the end-user, including the issues that surround its subcomponents such as the Link-16 compatibility of its Combat Management System.

In this article, we will discuss in-depth the design of this concept warship presented, its difference from the Jose Rizal-class Frigates (HDF-2600), the Philippine Navy's Corvette Acquisition Project, and the benefits that the fleet will be having in obtaining such warship shall they chose this design in terms of naval capabilities and in fulfilling its mission objectives once it entered active service.

The scale model of the Jose Rizal-class Frigates, also known as the HDF-2600 design warship
of the Hyundai Heavy Industries.
Image Source.

This procurement program that aims to provide these sophisticated vessels for the Philippine Navy was first initiated from the service branch's Desired Force Mix proposal in 2012, at the time when the Panatag Shoal or the Scarborough Shoal standoff was the topic of the day, wherein the country lost control of the feature after China failed to comply in the U.S.-led mediation for both the Philippine and Chinese maritime forces to leave the area.

During this time, other acquisition projects that the Philippine Navy aspires to are also being materialized, such as the Jose Rizal-class Frigates (see image), Submarine Acquisition Project (currently between South Korea and France), Offshore Patrol Vessel Acquisition Project (currently led by Austal's offer), Tarlac-class LPDs, and other acquisition projects are either in service already or still in the process of procurement, just like the Corvettes.

Based on several iterations of the Philippine Navy Desired Force Mix throughout the Modernization efforts from its inception up to the time this article is written, they called for the procurement of at least 12 Corvettes, which came alongside six (6) Frigates which, as of this time, no new Corvettes are being bought aside from this project (with the BRP Conrado Yap PS-39 Corvette Excluded), and there are only two brand new Frigates delivered so far out of the original six proposed.

That being said, the Philippine Navy has a long way to go in implementing its plan in procuring naval assets, with its fulfillment depending on how things will go with the economic performance of the country (which influences taxation and equates to annual budget allocations), political will, and the urgency or the need of obtaining these assets in the name of national security (which is now justified because of Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea).

Nevertheless, the inception of this project is a step further for the Philippine Navy in improving its capabilities needed in securing the nation's interest at sea, in which its sophistication is said to be more complex than what the South Korean shipbuilder provided to the Jose Rizal-class Frigates, in a sense that the improvements made will be discussed next in this article.

One of the factors that differentiate between the HDF-2600 and HDC-3100 is the ship's length.
From Hyundai Heavy Industries Product Brochure.

With the Allotted Budget for the Contract or ABC pegged at Php28,000,000,000.00, it is, without a doubt, that Hyundai Heavy Industries' offer for this acquisition project will be an improved variant of the Jose Rizal-class Frigates, so much so that shall this product was chosen by the Philippine Navy's Bids and Awards Committee, it may be called as the Jose Rizal-class Frigate Flight 2.

The first improvement that the HDC-3100 design has to offer over the HDF-2600 design is the ship's overall length, with the former comes with 114 meters long while the latter only came with 107 meters (see image above). The length of the HDC-3100 comes reminiscent to the Incheon-class Frigates (HDF-3000) that also has a similar length, only that the HDC-3100 has the space for Vertical Launch System or VLS.

Speaking of the VLS or the Vertical Launch System, it is considered an improvement over the HDF-2600, as the HDC-3100 design came with a 16-cell VLS with the space of 16 more, as opposed to the 8-cell VLS that the HDF-2600 design or the Jose Rizal-class Frigates currently have, as this is also counted as an FFBNW or "Fitted For, But Not With" Feature, as these ships do not come with the VLS installed when it was delivered to the Philippine Navy.

Another improvement that the HDC-3100 design has over the HDC-2600 design is the hull itself is more enclosed in the midship, covering the portions where the RHIBS or Rigid-Hull Inflatable Boats, torpedo tubes, and anti-ship missile launcher mounts are situated, as opposed to the exposed arrangement that can be found on the Jose Rizal-class Frigates.

To complete it up, there is also an improvement on the installation of anti-ship missile launchers on the ship as the HDC-3100 design came with a 16-tube launcher arrangement as opposed to the original 8-tube  launcher installation that can be found on the HDF-2600/Jose Rizal-class design, basically making these warships more formidable than the ones in service within the Philippine Navy.

The subcomponents onboard Jose Rizal-class Frigates will also find their way onboard
the HDC-3100 warship concept, although it will be more South Korean in origin.
From Hyundai Heavy Industries Product Brochure.

The subcomponents onboard the prospective corvette design may almost go similar to the Jose Rizal-class Frigates, with a greater chance that it came as a package complete with all subcomponents required for a warship installed onboard, along with the push that those subcomponent installations being originated or produced by a defense company from South Korea.

Just like the HDF-2600 design, HDC-3100 may come with a 76mm gun (with the chance being between Hyundai WIA 76mm gun and the Philippine Navy-standard Oto Melara Super Rapid 76mm gun), Vertical Launch System (seen in the CGI design as the MBDA VL-Mica Launcher System), Anti-ship missiles (definitely SSM-700K C-Star), Torpedo (K-745 Blue Shark Torpedoes), with all of these references coming from the experience of Hyundai Heavy Industries in formulating the design for the Jose Rizal-class.

Also, this warship may come with the same Combat Management System or CMS as the Jose Rizal-class, as this may be fitted with Hanwha Systems' Naval Shield ICMS, a South Korean-made integration network that serves as a nerve that helps interact between weapons and sensor subcomponents that are installed on-board the ship, in which there may go a chance that the enhanced Baseline 3 variant of the Naval Shield ICMS will be preferable over the Baseline 2 variant that the Jose Rizal-class Frigate currently has, depending on the negotiations between both sides.

On its sensor installation, meanwhile, the HDC-3100, basing on the CGI provided in the brochure, is seen fitted with Hensoldt TRS-4D AESA radar, in which its surveillance and tracking capabilities are far more sophisticated and improved than the TRS-3D radar fitted onboard the Jose Rizal-class Frigates.

As for its engines, the maximum speed of 25 knots indicate that the HDC-3100 will be powered by the same diesel engine configuration seen on the HDF-2600 design, whilst the hull became a bit heavy with an extra 5,000 tons and indicate that it is a Corvette (HDC) intended as a design for the Philippine Navy Corvette Acquisition Project as opposed to the usual Frigate (HDF) designation Hyundai has in its design at this tonnage.

Talks between the Philippine Navy and Hyundai Heavy Industries, with the former thanking the latter
for its contribution to the Navy's Modernization Efforts.
Image Source.

Currently, at the time of this article posting, the talks between Hyundai Heavy Industries and the Philippine Navy is still ongoing (with the recent one seen in the image above), with the latter thanking the former for its contribution to the Navy's Modernization efforts, especially to the materialization, production, and delivery of the Jose Rizal-class Frigates which is the most sophisticated Philippine Naval Asset, to date.

While the HDC-3100 has the higher chance to be chosen as the preferred candidate for the Corvette Acquisition Project, let us take note that it also came with competition from other prospective candidates that are being pushed for the project, especially from Turkey with its offer regarding its Ada-class Corvettes, which is proudly made by its shipyards like ASFAT or the Military Factory and Shipyard Management Corporation.

It will be not surprising for the Philippine Navy to choose the HDC-3100 of the Hyundai Heavy Industries for its Corvette Acquisition Project as both parties have the experience of negotiations and transacting with another, as the South Korean shipbuilder successfully satisfy the delivery of two sophisticated Frigates to the Philippine Navy, which it provided significant development in terms of the fleet's firepower capabilities.

With the pace of the talks between the Philippine Navy and Hyundai Heavy Industries, there is the chance that the bid will be awarded and the contract will be signed before the year 2021 ends, as the implementation of Horizon 3 will be started from next year until the year 2028.

This being said, we are not far from the complete fruition of the Corvette Acquisition Project as the Philippine Navy is probably awarded it to Hyundai Heavy Industries and, once this pushes through, will add an array of sophisticated warships more to the existing fleet of vessels that the naval organization obtains, as it aims to fulfill its mandate in defending the seas better with better tools at its disposal.

(c) 2021 PDA.




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