The Philippines wants proven technology for its frigate!
The head of PH-Navy of the Philippines wants proven technology for its frigate!
MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Mercado did not mince words in his letter to Defense Secretary Lorenzana to protest the fine print that shipbuilder Heavy Hyundai Industries (HHI) added in its contract to build two frigates or warships.
“The remarks, if permitted, are akin to a buyer (the Navy and the defense department) with his or her own money being told by the seller (Hyundai) what to buy,” Mercado wrote in a letter dated January 4, 2017.
For P15.5 billion, Hyundai will build two warships and install in them critical systems (identified by the Navy in the contract), which the South Korean company will buy itself from other suppliers.
Hyundai claimed “sole right” to choose the maker of these systems and said it may “consider” the preferences of the Navy only if they are “commercially competitive.”
This is the crux of the problem in the frigate deal that caused the unceremonious relief of Mercado before the end of 2017, and triggered another new year controversy involving Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go. Aside from Go, Malacañang, Lorenzana, and Mercado denied any intervention.
At the center of the controversy is the Combat Management System (CMS), which is considered the heart of warships. It is a computer system that integrates real-time data from the ship’s sensors and data from other parties or other navies necessary to provide situational awareness at sea.
Hyundai decided to buy the CMS from fellow South Korean company Hanwha Systems. The Navy rejected the choice on the ground that its CMS does not comply with the technical specifications agreed upon in the contract. The project stalled.
On January 12, 2017, or a week after he received Mercado’s letter, Lorenzana was handed in Malacañang a white paper that debunked the Navy’s reasons for opposing Hanwha and trashed the supplier the Navy preferred, Tacticos Thales of The Netherlands.
Lorenzana sent the white paper to Mercado with a marginal note saying it came from Go, and that he should prepare a rebuttal for President Rodrigo Duterte.
Source : rappler/newsbreak/investigative/193931-navy-chief-relief-frigates-deal