The Bee Fleet

missileboatI scrapped a blog by the same title. Sometimes warmongering gets a little old, a little tired. So let’s look at this as an economic initiative instead, eh?

Why should the Philippines spend hundreds of millions of United States dollars buying a few huge ships that can, after all, only patrol a few places among the expansive Philippine seas and islands? Correct me if I am wrong, but a ship is easily sunk, is it not? A missile, a mine, a torpedo, a cannon, a bomb.

So why put all our sitting ducks in one pond, so to speak?

  • Why not seed a major industry, boat building, by manufacturing a lot of smaller, simpler craft?
  • Why not provide jobs in the Philippines instead of America?
  • Why not have a large fleet of small, mobile, missile-toting ships?

The bee fleet.

Enough bees can kill a horse.

And a manufacturing base can make a nation.



UPDATE 03/08/2014: Philippine Navy to develop ‘swarm tactics’ for multi-purpose assault crafts

UPDATE 10/05/2014: U.S. Navy develops unmanned robotic boats with swarm capability

29 Responses to “The Bee Fleet”
  1. begalon says:

    Your Bee Fleet philosophy is a wise strategy to protect the entire nation of over 7,100 island. I remember the gunboats of WWII era which should also work in the Philippines.

    Yes, you are right, build them in the Philippines and at the some time contributes to the local economy especially in the job market.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, begalon. I like the new cutters, and it probably makes sense to have a couple of big showpieces. But there is a lot to be said for small and mobile: harder to hit, easier to build, more flexible to deploy, and covering more area. And, when the Philippines is sooooo poor, why spend the millions in America? Or France? Or Japan? I am guessing that airplanes and missiles are not outside the scope of Philippine manufacturing know-how.

  2. edgar lores says:

    1. Can we say that the Angry Bee Strategy is working against corruption? With so many BEE netizens planting stingers in cyber media, corrupt people are learning to BEEhave and soon many will BEE has-BEEns.

    2. I BEElieve that is already happening.

    3. Forget the skotch, I’ll have a BEE-r!

  3. is that in Athenian, ancient Greece or britain at the height of its naval supremacy where they won with small ships over big ones? hahah can’t remember my western history classes.

    yes i believe the Philippines have the engineering prowess and manual labor force to create that Bee Fleet. the question is political will. What will the trapos do– put up a state-company for this project or subsidize rent-seeking, businesspeople peers? What if they just build yachts for themselves? hahahha

    • Joe America says:

      Ahahahahaha, I think maybe it was “Pirates of the Caribbean”.

      Gadzooks, it should cut the trapos out of it. I’m personally sick of those guys. It should be techies in charge, young and mechanical and paid well. Hired by the government and funded as a major start-up with government money. Private interests can eventually take over, rather like the U.S. bail-out of GM and Chrysler. We need a new breed of owner in the Philippines. (Sounds a lot like a blog topic to me.)

  4. cha says:

    I remember reading about this Australian shipbuilding company, moving its facilities to the Philippines sometime last year. A bit of googling to refresh the memory and here’s what I found:

    Philippines Now the Fourth Largest Shipbuilding Country in the World

    With the opening of the shipyard operations of a global defense prime contractor in the country, Filipino workers are now gaining a reputation as world-class shipbuilders. President Benigno S. Aquino III, who graced the grand opening of Austal Philippines’ shipyard facility at the West Cebu Industrial Park in Barangay Arpili, Balamban, Cebu, said the Philippines is now the fourth largest shipbuilding country in the world.

    Austal’s shipyard operations in Balamban recently completed its first ship, a highly advanced world-class trimaran design for the European wind farm market. Its next ship, which is well underway, is a car and passenger ferry which will be the largest ferry ever built in the Philippines. Another three wind farm vessels will follow.

    Austal is a world leader in the design and construction of customized aluminum defense and commercial vessels. Its product range includes platforms for the United States Navy, patrol boats, multi-role vessels, passenger and vehicle-passenger ferries, theater support vessels, luxury private live-aboards, and sophisticated communications, radar, and command and control systems. Austal has delivered more than 220 vessels to customers around the world. Its primary facilities are in Henderson, Western Australia; Mobile, Alamaba, U.S.A.; and now in Balamban, Cebu, Philippines. It currently employs 250 Filipino workers along with a staff of some 50 Australians in Cebu.

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you, Cha. What great information. I was not aware of this activity, and it makes the idea of warships “made in the Philippines” less pie in the sky. More doable. Boat-building just makes so much sense to an island nation.

  5. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    – I so love Philippine Media. They are attacking Janet Napoles the recipient of pork but not attacking the giver of pork and the chief allocator of pork. The Philippine Media is promoting corruption! I guess Rappler is also involved in deflecting the crime from the senators and congress and focusing it on Janet Napoles! Doncha love Rappler and the Philippine Media and that trying-to-be-funny guy Alan?

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      So it was Janet after all who stole the pork …
      So, they proposed abolishing the pork instead of investigating the pork giver …
      and they blame the pork for making the “honorable” congressmen and “honorable” senators for becoming corrupt.
      SO IN THE END, congressmen and senators and honest IT WS THE PORK THAT MADE ‘EM THAT IS WHY THE BRILLIANT U.P. RUN PHILIPPINE MEDIA WANTED PORK ABOLISHED. The media must be up to something, THEY WANT US TO SWITCH FROM CATHOLICISM TO ISLAM. I think I am gonna do that because I’m beginning to hate pork.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      It is a known fact that Janet Napoles is a friend of Benigno Aquino. Janet Napoles surrendered to Benigno Aquino personally. Benigno Aquino in turn personally escorted Janet Napoles with all the glittering blinkers and arias of wang-wang in armored presidential car to NBI which according to news sources Benigno escorted her “so nothing will happen to her”. That is heavy! Very heavy! It is like telling the Filipinos and to Janet that nothing will ever happen to her and the whole brouhaha is just for show for lesser Filipinos consumption.

    • Joe America says:

      I’ve noticed that Rappler likes drawing people in unflattering lights. They pick the most godawful photos to present, showing Secretary De Lima as if she were at her stressed-out wits end, and Ms. Napoles as if she were a porker herself. And they always give Bayan a quote, as if they were mainstream rather than extremist. I’ve taken to crabbing mightily about their journalistic transgressions. I’ll probably get thrown out one of these days.

  6. Haki says:

    hmmm … now you see me speechless

    question, would you allow your son – the one schooling here – to play with loaded guns ?

  7. manuel buencamino says:

    Here’s the thing. One shot escalates to more and bigger shots. We can start with bees but have to be aware that it won’t end with bees. In that context, North Korea;s nuclear policy makes the best sense. Have a nuke in your holster and tell the world, I will not go down alone if you mess with me. Mutually Assured Destruction policy is sane depending on where one sits I guess

    • Joe America says:

      Interesting. But the Philippines is committed to “non nuke”, so I think getting there is a stretch. The idea is that the U.S. would represent the nuke power; essentially the Philippines outsources its nuclear muscle. I think from where we are now to where China wants to go is what determines what the Philippines ought to do. Where are Philippine red lines? If there is some altercation in the West Philippine Sea and China decides she needs Palawan to secure “her” territory from those irritating Filipinos, what happens?

      Between now and the nukes is a series of steps. China will escalate to the point that the pain offsets the gain. The Philippines needs to clearly understand how much pain the U.S. is willing to deliver. And figure out how to deliver pain herself, if China oversteps the red line. One of the pains is to throw out Chinese companies and citizens, and demand that Robinson’s stop selling Chinese goods.

      The bees may indeed be a mistake if they provoke some kind of premature Chinese hostility before the economic pain is delivered. I had not thought of that.

      Or they might allow the Philippines to actually enforce a UNCLOS ruling, assuming a favorable one is forthcoming.

      I keep coming back to the Philippines needing to know EXACTLY what the U.S. would do in given tactical situations. China poaches. Philippine Coast Guard tries to arrest the crew. Chinese military boats move in. WHAT, exactly WHAT, will the U.S. do? Red lines are built on commitments to action. Not guesses and hopes. The U.S. and Philippines have to be in total lock-step agreement.

      • manuel buencamino says:


        No one knows what exactly the US government will do in given tactical situations. Not even US citizens can know for sure. We both know that.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, I suppose that is true. Because captains have to ask admirals and admirals ask fleet commanders and fleet commanders ask the navy head who asks the armed forces chief who runs it up the flag pole with Barak, and meanwhile the Chinese are laughing in their tea and figuring Filipinos for idiots. So I’m thinking nukes it is.

  8. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Philippines has 7,100 islands since 1521 when Magellan discovered it unless some crooks stole a hundred we are still left with 7,000 islands to navigate. To this day we are still buying 50-year-old second-hand floating-coffins from the U.S. and Japan. Busses are assembled from chopped-up engines from, of course, where else, Japan and I thought we have vanquished them. It is bewildering to know with 7,000 islands left the best we can do is manufacture canoes and they still sink !

    I checked Wikipedia it says we have 15 shipyards!!! And they are all owned, managed and run by foreigners! They do not build ships. They chop-up ships and melt and recycle the carcass into steel ingets and export them and very low percentage is to patch some leaking hull or turned into GI sheets for my roof.

    So, let me tell you about the birds and the bees and the Filipinos are not geared towards manufacturing most especially seacrafts. It is wishful thinking. 500 years! 7,000 islands! No shipyards that make trains and boats and plains they mean a trip to Manila and Davao we had a
    star to wish upon,wish,and dreams come true but not for Filipinos.

    • Joe America says:

      I suppose it all comes down to money and a customer base that is poverty-wracked, and when no shipping company can’t charge enough to buy a nice boat, they buy a jalopy. But now that OFW’s are sending millions home, maybe there is a little extra laying around for the State to seed an industry with the State being a major customer.

  9. J says:

    Wow, this is another impressive idea, Joe. Indeed, why the hell not?

    • Joe America says:

      Dunkin’ donuts. They are good food for the imagination. I hate seeing all that big money going to the United States when it could go to building an industry here. Those ‘Mericans have enough money already.

  10. Jo says:

    Short and powerful. Wow.

    This actually brought tears to my eyes. The Bee Fleet, it applies to many aspects of life as well.

    This, this is wisdom.

    You’re amazing, Joe. You really are. If only there are more like you–and in the government too.

    I’m really glad I found this blog.

  11. karl garcia says:

    Thank you Joe for telling me about this blog.You already know that I agree.

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  1. […] the basic gear that can be made in quantity and put into the domestic battlefield: drones, rockets, small missile boats, bullets, grenades, protective clothing, boots, you name it. “Made in the […]

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