The Philippines will receive several weapon systems and military equipment from South Korea, according to a report by Inquirer.net, citing security officials familiar with the matter.
A group of Philippine military and defense officials went to South Korea earlier this month to inspect rocket systems and an anti-submarine warship used by the South Korean armed forces.
Representatives of the Philippine Navy also visited the Jinhae naval base to examine the decommissioned Pohang-class corvette ROKS Andong (PCC-771). If the transfer pushes through, the corvette will be the second ship donated to the Philippines by South Korea.
In addition to rocket systems and military vessels, Manila will likely receive additional equipment and ammunition, reportedly in the next few months.
Defense and security ties between the two Asian countries have continued to prosper after the Philippines sent 7,400 soldiers to help defend South Korea during the Korean War in 1950.
Retiring Aging Vessels
Acquiring additional vessels and weapon systems is expected to boost the Philippine military’s arsenal, especially as it faces maritime security challenges such as the West Philippine Sea dispute and the intrusion of Chinese ships into its territorial waters.
The gift will allow the country to deploy vessels to patrol its maritime territory since the navy is decommissioning at least seven ships due to the cost of maintenance.
The service will reportedly retire some of its most decorated vessels next month, including the BRP Miguel Malvar (PS-19), BRP Magat Salamat (PS-20), and BRP Mangyan (AS-71).
According to Philippine Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Loumer Bernabe, these aging vessels are down for maintenance most of the time and proving very costly. He said the excess maintenance funds could be used to acquire new and more efficient platforms.
“We need to phase out these vintage and WWII vessels whose average age ranges from 40-50 years old. The vessels’ spare and repair parts are obsolete and not economical to maintain,” he explained in February.