French Naval Group says investment in PH depends on supply contracts – Manila Bulletin
France’s Naval Group (NG), which has been seeking to supply military ships to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, has clearly identified the Philippines as a strong investment prospect for the future, but said it will depend on the type of contracts that ‘he can get from the government.
“We have already started to work to identify local partners and design projects that would lead to investments in the country, however, it will all depend on the decision of the Philippine authorities regarding the type of vessels, the scope of the contract, the timetable, etc. . ”Said Alain Guillou, senior executive vice president of Naval Group, in an email interview with Business Bulletin.
NG is a French-based defense company that offered to bring its expertise and technological superiority to the Philippines to meet the specific requirements of the armed forces modernization program. He specializes in military ships, but said his know-how and technologies that his local partners would gain by working with them could be applied to military and civilian ships.
When asked if he would be interested in the Hanjin Shipbuilding Plant in Subic, Guillou replied that the Naval Group would support the Philippine Navy to re-equip and adapt to whatever naval base the country chooses.
“Naval Group wishes to work with the Philippines to create the submarine force as well as strengthen the surface fleet and we will seek to develop strong local partnerships and build on local facilities and know-how,” added Guillou, responsible for all international perspectives and the development of the company’s international footprint.
According to Guillou, the French authorities have offered the Philippines a strategic government-to-government agreement, including enhanced navy-to-navy cooperation and support from the French DGA for procurement management to ensure the success of the program. .
The French offer also includes an ambitious financing plan developed to allow the country to benefit from advantageous French rates and a long-term payment plan to finance 100% of the project. “This would allow the country to finance this long-term investment without weighing down national finances, especially during this crucial phase of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Guillou.
Guillou said NG was drawn to the Philippine government’s decision to increase its naval capacity over the next few years. The Philippines has a strong development potential and has many naval defense needs due to its particular geostrategic location. This prompted NG to announce the opening of a representative office in the country in December 2020.
“We want to ‘defend the Philippines’ in developing their naval capabilities,” he said.
He noted that the creation of the submarine force is part of AFP’s modernization program which envisions strengthening the defense posture to protect the nation’s sovereignty and maritime interests against growing external threats to the waters. national.
“Naval Group has unique expertise and can help the Philippines build its submarine force. Creating a submarine force is very different from simply buying submarines, since the training, logistics and support aspects of the fleet must also be considered. We have a proven track record of developing a submarine squadron with Malaysia when we helped them create their own submarine force in the 2000s, ”he said.
But more than ships, Guillou said what Naval Group is offering to the Philippines is a strategic partnership to achieve the military and industrial autonomy the Philippines needs. It will help strengthen their maritime sovereignty and strengthen their defense posture.
Naval Group offered the Philippine Navy the Scorpene® class submarine proven at sea equipped with systems also used on board the latest French generation of SSN Barracuda. The Scorpene will also benefit from Naval Group’s widely recognized acoustic superiority. The French Navy is committed to supporting the Philippines in the development of its submarine force.
“We want to be long term partners of the Philippines and we can help even beyond the submarine project. Naval Group has an extensive portfolio of vessels, from patrol boats to frigates, and we look forward to working with the Philippine Navy to develop solutions to meet their needs, ”he added.
“We see our presence in the Philippines in the long term for the submarine project but also to help the Philippines develop their naval capabilities. Naval Group has extensive experience and a broad portfolio and we look forward to meeting the different needs of the Philippine Navy for submarines but also for surface ships. “
“Naval Group wants to become a long-term strategic partner of the Philippines and that opening the representative office in Manila is a first step. “
As such, the French military shipbuilder is already looking for local partners to transfer its know-how and technology in order to support the Philippine Navy and industry in the maintenance and life cycle of submarines. If the Philippines chooses the Naval Group for surface ships, Guillou said those ships could also be produced domestically, creating thousands of jobs.
In addition, Guillou said their submarines are well suited to the Western Philippine Sea. The Scorpene® is a reliable mid-size conventional submarine, proven at sea in operations with four navies and equipped to face the threats of today and tomorrow, ensuring its technological superiority over any other vessel in the sea. from the western Philippines. “It is the perfect tool for safeguarding the maritime sovereignty of the Philippines and carrying out a wide range of missions. It offers the exceptional performance expected of an oceanic submarine (deep diving, tactical speed, range and indiscretion rate) as well as fantastic maneuverability in shallow water, ”he added.
The Indo-Pacific region is one of the world’s most strategic areas for global economy and trade, with a huge maritime area to protect and growing tensions in the region with increasing pressure on waters and national borders. countries, said the head of NG.
“The reaffirmation of the French posture with the development in 2018 of the French defense strategy in the Indo-Pacific gave new impetus to our bilateral relations in this region where France has nearly 2 million nationals and 9 million km2 of ZEE. French Defense Minister Florence Parly recently declared that the region would be a priority for the French Presidency of the European Union, ”said Guillou.
By 2030, he said, 50 percent of the world’s submarines will operate in the Indo-Pacific. In a tense geostrategic context, many countries in the region wish to strengthen their capacities and look to France to acquire sovereignty.
France is committed to ensuring that the freedom of navigation is respected everywhere in the world. French Navy ships often navigate the region, including the western Philippine Sea.
Naval Group, which is present in over 18 countries, also has a strong presence and track record in the region, having been present in South East Asia for over 30 years.
It has partnered with Singapore-based ST Marine to design and build Formidable-class frigates since the 2000s and operates an R&D center in the country.
In 2005, NG also signed a contract with Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), based in Mumbai, India, to locally produce 6 Scorpene submarines.
He also helped the Royal Malaysian Navy develop its strength, train crews, create support infrastructure and operate 2 Scorpene submarines. The group was also selected in 2016 by Australia to deliver 12 senior regional submarines and develop an Australian sovereign submarine capability.
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