The French government is open to continue talks with the Philippines when it is ready to discuss its submarine acquisition program. Although no contractor had been named yet, the Philippine Navy last year said a submarine deal would have been finalized sometime in 2021 or the first semester of 2022 if not for the coronavirus pandemic. French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz confirmed that France was among the countries that submitted a proposal and discussions had been “ongoing” with the Philippine Navy. French defense company Naval Group in India and Asia-Pacific Vice President Nicolas de la Villemarque pitched the firm’s Scorpene diesel-electric submarines as “sea-proven” in different regional navies, including Chile, Malaysia, India, and Brazil.
“France is obviously committed to working more closely with the Philippines and have a more strategic relationship with the Philippines so we are ready should the Philippines make a decision. We are ready to work on that perspective with them. We think it’s really important to be ready. We can provide this collaboration in this very important domain. Our stance is also protecting sovereignty, to defend sovereignty and sovereign rights, which are very important,” Michèle Boccoz said during the Stratbase-organized Revolutionizing the Philippines Defense Posture with France in the Indo-Pacific symposium in Mandaluyong City.
The Scorpène-class submarines are a class of diesel-electric attack submarines jointly developed by the French Naval Group (formerly the DCNS) and the Spanish company Navantia. It features diesel propulsion and an additional air-independent propulsion (AIP). It is now marketed as the Scorpène 2000. The Scorpène class of submarines has three subtypes: the CM-2000 conventional diesel-electric version, the AM-2000 air-independent propulsion (AIP) derivative, the downsized CA-2000 coastal submarine, and the enlarged S-BR for the Brazilian Navy, without AIP.
The Chilean and Malaysian boats are fitted with the TSM 2233 Mk 2 sonar. The class can also be fitted with a ‘S-Cube’ sonar suite from Thales.
In December 2019, Secretary of National Defense of Philippines Delfin Lorenzana announced that the Scorpène-class submarine of France fits the requirements of the Philippine Navy. Lorenzana visited a Scorpène-class submarine when he visited France. On 18 December 2019, Lorenzana said that the Philippines is one step closer to acquiring the French submarine after signing an agreement with France sought to enhance both country’s maritime defense. In January 2020, Philippine and French Navy conducted an expert exchange on a submarine to enhance members in the submarine’s information about the submarine proper. The Scorpene-class submarine features a diesel and additional air-independent propulsion. It can be armed with a variety of mines, torpedoes, and missiles for a variety of missions.