The Russian Government has offered to help the Philippines in its pursuit of building a submarine force.

Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported that Russia’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Igor Khovaev, backed the Philippine Navy’s plans for a submarine fleet to ensure maritime protection.

Khovaev said: “We are ready to help your country to become a submarine (power). We are willing to help you like (what we did in) Vietnam.”

Russia provided six Kilo-class diesel-electric attack submarines to Vietnam.

The Philippine Navy inspected the Komsomolsk-Na-Amure Kilo-class submarine during its first-ever port visit to Vladivostok, Russia in October last year.

The submarines of the Kilo-class have a range of 6,000nm to 7,500nm.

The 73.8m-long ships have a displacement of 2,350t and can cruise at speeds of up to 20k.

They can be equipped with weapons such as torpedoes, missiles, and naval mines.

It was earlier reported that Russia is interested in providing the Philippine Navy with advanced versions of Kilo-class submarines through a soft loan arrangement.

Earlier this month, Philippine Navy flag-officer-in-command vice-admiral Robert Empedrad said that the Scorpène meets the navy’s submarine requirement.

The navy is favouring the French-made Scorpène for its “stealthy design, and good weapon and sonar capabilities”.

The Russian platform is also said to be larger and more expensive.

However, the Philippine Navy has not yet finalised its preferred platform for the submarine programme. The service plans to initially procure two submarines.