Filipino Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has reported a Russian offer to provide the Philippine navy with advanced Kilo Class diesel-electric attack submarines.
Among the most advanced warships of their kind in the world, dubbed ‘Black Hole’ by NATO for their near complete silence and resulting high survivability.
The Improved Kilo Class are reportedly being offered with a soft loan, under which Russia would provide partial financing for the Filipino acquisition either interest free or at below market interest rates.
Iran and China have both acquired the vessels to counter the threat posed by the vastly larger surface fleets of the Western Bloc and their allies in the Middle East and East Asia.
Russia for its part has similarly invested heavily in the relatively inexpensive warship as a means of undermining the naval supremacy of the NATO alliance, which combined fields a surface fleet several times that of the Russia’s own.
Vietnam too has invested in acquiring half a dozen of the Improved Kilo, an asset aimed largely at countering the far larger Chinese Navy which the small Southeast Asian state could not hope to threaten with purely symmetric assets.
With the Philippines’ defense budget paling in comparison to those of major powers such as the USA and China, the enhancement to its combat capabilities form a viable deterrent against both these larger powers.
Armed with the latest Kalibr cruise missiles, torpedoes, mines and on some variants even surface to air munitions, the Black Hole submarines will if acquired likely become the country’s most formidable deterrence asset.
The USA for its part has strongly opposed the sale as part of its campaign to undermine Russia’s defense industry and stop the proliferation of Russian arms.
Threatening the Philippines with a downgrading of its defence partnership with the USA, assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver warned Manilla. If they would have to proceed purchasing major Russian equipment, I don’t think that is a helpful thing to the so-called alliance.
Ultimately by politicizing the issue of an arms sale, the US regime may well succeed in undermining the sale and defence cooperation between its former colony and its major adversary, despite the U.S. itself being poorly placed either to ensure Filipino security against Chinese forces or to provide a comparable platform to the Kilo Class.
Russia Insider / ABC Flash Point Military News 2018.