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DND execs visit SKorean submarine manufacturer

A DELEGATION from the Department of National Defense (DND) visited two major South Korean defense equipment manufacturers amid growing calls from various sectors to expedite the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (AFPMP) in response to tensions in the West Philippine Sea.

The DND said the delegation, headed by Senior Undersecretary Irineo Espino, toured Hanwha Ocean and HD Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) on the sidelines of the 12th Seoul Defense Dialogue (SDD) and Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibit (ADEX) from October 17 to 22.

Hanwha Ocean is offering their Jangbogo IIPN submarine for the proposed submarine project of the AFPMP for Horizon 3, which is scheduled from 2023 to 2028.

The project has a budget of P110 billion for the acquisition of two modern diesel-electric submarines.

Espino and the delegates were briefed on the submarine's capabilities. They toured Hanwha Ocean's maintenance and shipbuilding facilities in Geoje City, South Korea.

The DND team also visited the HHI facilities in Ulsan and was briefed on the progress of the construction of two missile corvettes, the first of which is expected to be delivered in 2025 and the second in 2026.

The DND signed on Dec. 27, 2021, a P28-billion contract with HHI for the acquisition of two brand-new corvettes for the Philippine Navy.

The corvettes are capable of anti-ship, anti-submarine, and anti-air warfare missions and will be more heavily armed than the Jose Rizal-class frigates.

These ships will backstop the Navy's two Jose Rizal-class frigates, also constructed by HHI.

The SDD is a high-level multilateral consultative platform that facilitates discussions on current and emerging security issues among more than 50 participating countries.

With the theme «Cooperation and Solidarity for Freedom, Peace, and Prosperity,» this year's event facilitated discussions on key challenges to the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region, the security situation in the Korean Peninsula and its broader impact on international security, and the development of regional and global cooperation regimes within a changing security environment.

The ADEX, meanwhile, is one of the most comprehensive