Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin announced that the country entered negotiations with the Italian government for the purchase of two Maestrale class Anti-Submarine frigates in a deal estimated at 11.7 billion Philippine pesos (280 Millions USD).
Eight vessels of this class are currently in service with the Italian Navy. The two Frigates to be transfered to the Philippine Navy are expected to be refurbished first, and likely see some of their systems and weapons upgrade or modernized.
The Maestrale class frigates primary task is Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), however their weapons and systems provides them with a high degree of flexibility which makes them capable warships in Anti-Surface (ASuW) and Anti-Air (AAW) warfare roles.
If the deal goes through, the two Frigates will be purchased as the solution to the Philippine Navy Deep Water Patrol Vessel and will significantly boost the Philippine Navy capabilities, especially in terms of Anti-Submarine Warfare.
The Philippines and China have been embroiled in a growing dispute over territorial claims in the South China Sea. The Philippines has launch an extensive modernization program for its Armed Forces as a consequence.
Asian Defence News