Manila moves toward major arms purchase from Russia
25 August 2018
Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is currently on an extended official visit to Moscow at the invitation of his Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoygu, where he will discuss “possible areas to further expand or enhance our current defense cooperation and to deepen that relationship,” according to Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong.
Lorenzana declared that he was looking into the acquisition of two Kilo-class diesel electric submarines from Moscow, and Philippine military sources stated that the Russian government had offered a “soft-loan,” with below market interest rates, to enable the purchase. Philippine Navy Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad told the press on Wednesday that Manila had asked the Vietnamese Navy, which has six Russian Kilo-class subs, to assist in training Filipino sailors should the purchase go through.
In addition to submarines, Lorenzana is weighing other large military purchases. Along with Defense Undersecretary for Finance and Materiel Raymundo Elefante, he visited the Moscow-hosted International Military-Technical Forum “Army-2018,” where they were reported to be “window shopping” for “big-ticket military platforms.”
Lorenzana’s visit is a further development in the military ties between Moscow and Manila, which formally commenced when Lorenzana and Shoygu signed a Military-Technical Cooperation Agreement in October 2017. The agreement set terms for military cooperation in areas of research, production support, the exchange of experts and the joint training of personnel. The opening of military ties was marked by Moscow’s donation of five thousand assault rifles, a million rounds of ammunition, and 20 army trucks.
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