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No secondhand frigates–DND

THE Philippines will only settle for brand-new frigates for the Philippine Navy (PN), Defense Undersecretary for Finance,  Munitions, Installation and Materiel Fernando Manalo said.

Manalo told reporters that the department has dropped the option to acquire secondhand frigates in boosting the numbers and capabilities of the Navy.

“The PN found out that it will be more expensive to maintain second-hand vessel[s] than buying a new one,” Manalo said.

He explained that this move was based on evaluation and studies made by the Department of National Defense (DND) and PN.

This option would prompt the government to drop the “Maestrale”  frigates from Italy from its targeted acquisition.

“It’s [an option] no longer being evaluated,” said Manalo. The DND earlier said they are looking at buying the Maestrale frigates, noting its missile and  anti-submarine capabilities.

According to the Naval Technology web site, the Fincantieri-Cantieri Navali SpA built the Maestrale class frigates for the Italian Navy (Marina Militare).

“The first ship in the class, Maestrale [F570], was launched in February 1981 and commissioned in March 1982. Four frigates were commissioned in 1983 and the rest of the fleet was commissioned by May 1985.”

Last year Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin was reported as saying that the Philippines is negotiating with the Italian government for the purchase of two Maestrale class anti-submarine frigates worth P11.7 billion ($292.5 million at $1=P40).

But last week, Manalo said the Philippines is now looking for newly built naval ships with the same configuration.

The DND earlier said it is shopping around for two naval ships with “frigate capabilities” and that several countries have sent offers.

Vessels being offered by the United States, Israel, Croatia, South Korea and Australia are brand new.

An Armed Forces of the Philippines  official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said South Korea is a strong contender among the countries.






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