TWO submarines and three ships from the Russian navy docked in Manila on Tuesday, two days after two Japanese destroyers departed from Subic.
The submarines, whose types the Philippine Navy did not identify but were believed to be Kilo class, berthed along with a corvette, a tanker ship and a support vessel.
The subs, corvette Gremyashchiy, tanker Pechenga and support vessel Alatau were from the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet.
Russia has been among the list of countries interested to supply the Philippine Navy’s submarine program by offering its diesel-powered Kilo class submarines.
The presence of the two Russian submarines in Manila could have been part of Moscow’s marketing effort, although the military said that the subs and the three accompanying vessels were here to replenish their supplies and for the rest and recreation of their crews.
The Kilo class is competing for the Philippine Navy’s attention against the French-made Scorpene class submarine, which Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said was the standing choice of the military.
Last week, France Ambassador Michele Boccoz visited the Philippine Navy headquarters in Manila, and discussed bilateral security cooperation and training and even maritime issues with navy officials.
As France has offered its Scorpene-class submarine, its navy has also offered to help the Philippine Navy form its submarine force, especially in its design and project management program.
On Friday, Japanese destroyers Kaga and Murasame also berthed at Subic for a two-day port call.
Their docking followed the ongoing disaster response training exercises between Japanese and Filipino forces at the Army headquarters at Fort Bonifacio.