Sun.Star Pampanga

France to help in dev't of PH submarine force


MANILA – France has reiterated its support to the ongoing Armed Forces of the Philippine­s Modernizat­ion Program (AFPMP) including the developmen­t of the country's submarine force, the Department of National Defense (DND) said Wednesday.

This came following French Ambassador-designate Marie Fontanel-Lassalle's introducto­ry call to DND Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr. on Sept. 14.

"Emphasizin­g France’s role as a partner in the Indo-Pacific region, Ambassador-designate Fontanel reiterated France’s offer to support the AFPMP, including (French defense manufactur­er) Naval Group’s readiness to assist in building a Philippine submarine force," DND spokespers­on Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.

Andolong was referring to the Naval Group's commitment to help the Philippine Navy (PN) develop Subic Bay in Zambales into a modern base capable of handling submarine operations should it win the contract for the constructi­on and delivery of the warship capable of submersibl­e operations.

The PN has earlier announced that Subic Bay will be the location of its submarine base.

This includes proposals for docks capable of handling more than two submarines and surface ships needed to support the growth of the force, operation zones for the squadron's command center, maintenanc­e yards and logistics depots, and the Philippine Submarine Force Training Center that includes classrooms and simulators.

Naval Group is also the manufactur­er of the Scorpene diesel-electric submarine which is included on the list of preferred submarine platforms of the country and was evaluated by Filipino naval and defense officials in 2019.

Under the AFPMP, the country is planning to acquire two to three submarines.

France earlier expressed its interest to participat­e in the ongoing AFPMP, especially on Horizon 3 which is geared towards the acquisitio­n of equipment for external defense.

Horizon 3 is slated for 2023 up to 2028 while Horizon 2 is from 2018 to 2022 and Horizon 1 from 2013 to 2017.

The DND official also said the French Ambassador-designate is looking forward to the continued improvemen­t of the two countries' relations following the recent opening of the French Embassy's Defense Mission.(PNA)

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