Hanwha Ocean, a South Korean shipbuilding and offshore company, plans to participate in the Philippine Navy’s modernization efforts, focusing on submarines, high-speed crafts, and large landing ships.

The company proposed an advanced underwater solution, the Jangbogo-III PN Submarine, as part of its Submarine Acquisition Project for the Philippine Navy

The submarine is built upon the success of the Korean Navy’s Jangbogo-III submarines and offers unparalleled operational capability with the latest propulsion system, Sound Navigation and Ranging and Combat Management System, and Lithium-ion Battery Technology.

Admiral (ret) Steve SK Jeong, Head of International Business of Hanhwa Ocean, former ROKN Submarine Force Commander, said the proposal will not only enhance the Philippines’ defense capability but also provide
lifetime support for the Submarine Force of the Philippine Navy.

He said this signifies a significant step towards enhancing the Philippines’ maritime defense capabilities and strengthening its position in the region.

Admiral Jeong expressed confidence in the Philippines’ acquisition of their products, stating that they offer a more capable solution.

Hanwha has also proposed an integrated logistics support element into the package, which would allow the Philippine Navy to tap into resources that will be provided to what it calls the future ‘Global
Jangbogo Club’.

Hanwha officials acknowledge financing remains the primary obstacle to acquiring submarines, proposing a government-to-government transaction for the project.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. stated in May 2023 that the country is still developing its anti-submarine capabilities, with the hope of acquiring submarines when conditions are favorable.

He emphasized the significant commitment required for acquiring a submarine, including significant training, equipment, and operational requirements, making it a significant part of the country’s plan.

The Department of National Defense is prioritizing the modernization of the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard in response to China’s “egregious” violations of maritime safety and a rules-based order in the West Philippine Sea.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro stated that the Philippine government needs to build a credible deterrent posture and only through honest-to-goodness modernization can achieve this.

Building alliances with other countries is crucial, and the Philippines has an “ironclad” commitment from the US that the Mutual Defense Treaty signed back in 1951 would come into effect should tensions in the South China Sea escalate.

The Philippines is also enhancing military drills and security cooperation with the United States, Australia, and Japan to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

However, the Philippines must modernize its own military to deal with any external threat and build up its naval capability to defend maritime rights in the West Philippine Sea.