Concerning the submarine topic, Pierre-Eric Pommellet spoke about both ongoing programs and export prospect. Amongst the well advanced programs in Brazil, India and Australia, he talked about the selection process in the Netherlands. But according to Naval Group’s CEO, it seems that the French company is also very active lately in the Philippines.
“Another country were we’ve been very active during the [Covid] crisis is the Philippines. The Philippines is looking for submarines to increase their naval capacities and create a new submarine force. We’ve kept in close touch with the Philippines authorities during the crisis. We’ll see in the next weeks if this project moves forward. But of course, here again, Naval Group can demonstrate –we’ve done it in Brazil, in India, we’re doing it in Australia– the capacity to transfer production”Pierre-Eric Pommellet, Naval Group CEO, October 19th 2020
There have been rumours of a Philippine interest for the French Scorpène submarine for about a year now. Manila is indeed interested in developing its own submarine forces. A small force of conventional submarines could then be a very efficient deterrence force against the other navies in the area.
For a few years now, the Philippine Navy has to deal with historical submarine forces that are increasing their submarine fleet (Indonesia, China, Japan, Singapore…) as well as new submarine operators in South East Asia (Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand…). In order to protect its interests in South China Sea, the Philippine Navy is actively looking for two new generation submarines.
In this respect, the French designed Scorpène submarine appears to be the most serious contender, and the preferred solution for the Philippine Navy. The type is already operational in Malaysia and in India, where six Scorpène were locally built. But rumours had it that Russian and South Korean offers were also presented to the Philippine authorities. South Korean defense companies are already strategic suppliers of the Philippine Navy.
During the press conference, Naval News asked if Naval Group is considering either local construction or local assembly if the Philippine Navy selected the Scorpène design:
” We are at the early phase of this project, with intense discussions with the Philippines’ government. We’re exploring scenarios. We are not yet at defining what will be the final scenario out there. They want to create a submarine force, they are very interested by what we’re doing and our capacities. We are then exploring different outlooks today, and I will not comment more than that. “Pierre-Eric Pommellet, Naval Group CEO, October 19th 2020