Cherbourg.  Naval group: Philippines interested in two Scorpene submarines

Cherbourg. Naval group: Philippines interested in two Scorpene submarines

Scorpene submarine at sea After Malaysia, which has had two operational units since 2009, two Asian countries, Indonesia and the Philippines, are interested, where discussions seem to be gaining new momentum. (©Naval Group)

L’French Ambassador to the Philippines Michèle Boccoz, confirmed to mid-September 2022after meeting the president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. the france Naval Group in this case, it responded to a call for tenders announced by the government of the Czech Republic Manila who wishes to acquire submarine forces.

The procedure was started two years ago but was disrupted by the health crisis. “We are at the beginning of this project, with intensive negotiations with the government from the Philippines”, the CEO of Naval Group confided in October 2020, Pierre-Eric Pommelletindicating that these discussions involved several scenarios.

“Negotiations in Progress”

“There are discussions, there was a proposal. This is an ongoing discussion between our two countries,” the French ambassador said on the sidelines and Symposium on Defense in the Indo-Pacific Zone. For many years, the Philippines struggled to gain conventionally powered diesel-electric submarines. Territorial conflicts confront the archipelago China especially in a geostrategic context that pushes many countries in the region to strengthen their defense capabilities.

And France intends to be present. There is obviously an Australian file on the table. India has also just launched its sixth Scorpene, built on technology transfer. The Malaysia acquired two Scorpènes, which have been in service since 2009. Indonesia was also tendered in the spring for two Scorpènes, as part of a collaboration between the Naval Group and Indonesia’s PT PAL Group to renew the aging fleet of German-built submarines.

In the case of the Philippines, where the Naval Group opened an office in November 2020, France wants to help the government strengthen its maritime sovereignty. The proposal would concern two submarines built at Cherbourg (Channel), but also the training and maintenance of seafarers in the Philippines. It could evolve according to ongoing discussions, for which no timetable has yet been presented.

A few irons in the fire

He is not the only one to respond to the call for bids: India, South Korea and Turkey have also responded. From the 2,000 ton class Scorpène is 72 m long with 6 torpedo tubes and a load capacity of 18 guns. Operated by a limited crew 31 sailorsgiven for a dive greater than 300 m, availability 240 days a year and 70-day patrol autonomy, the Naval Group recalled in a tweet on September 6, on the occasion of the entry into service of the first Brazilian Scorpene. In Latin America, Argentina is also a potential customer.

In early July, Minister of Defense Jorge Taiana visited Cherbourg. A letter of intent has also been signed between France and Romania, with Bucharest mentioning the acquisition of at least one Scorpene submarine.

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And the company is still undergoing a selection process Holland. As of late 2019, three shipyards have been selected for a program of four ocean-going submarines worth 2.5 billion euros to replace the Walrus types in service since the nineties. In conjunction with the Dutch group Royal IHC, Naval Group offers a derivative of the Barracuda. Both partners are against the Damen-Saab tandem and Germany’s TKMS.

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