Philippines threatens to destroy (China) submarines

Manila, Philippines - As territorial worries, and actual incursions, fester around the Philippines' sea-bounded borders, the Philippine Navy this week announced that it is developing its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities to complement existing defense capacities.

The BRP Gregorio Del Pilar, a refitted Coast Guard cutter from the US, is the Philippines most modern naval ship right now.

Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic, Navy spokesperson, said the long-term goal is to develop the navy's capability to detect, locate and if necessary, destroy submarines found intruding in the country's territorial waters.

"We have plans for (developing) an ASW capability but it is still in the long-term plans. This is part of the PN's 'Active Archipelagic Defense Strategy'. We are looking at ship mounted and helo (helicopter) ASW capability," Fabic said.

The PN said it had achieved a "significant milestone" in this regard with the signing of the contract with AgustaWestland, for the delivery of three AW-109 "Power" helicopters by 2014. "The PN finds it to be a significant development in line with the (ongoing) modernization program and capability upgrade."

The AW-109 "Power" helicopters will enhance the PN's capability in various naval operations such as maritime security patrols and search-and-rescue among others. "These helicopters are just a few among the list of future acquisition for the PN in order to attain its vision of becoming a strong and credible Navy that our maritime nation can be proud of," Fabic said.

The Philippines acknowledges that it has very limited capacity to patrol and guard its borders. It only recently acquired a refitted Coast Guard ship from the US for the Philippine Navy, while the Philippine Air Force has only begun to refleet an obsolete and out-of-commission squadron. In the face of all of these, the porous Philippine borders, particularly along the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) has seen a rise of incursions from Chinese vessels. The Philippines, China, and other countries within Southeast Asia stake overlapping claims over certain portions of the South China Sea.



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