The Philippine Navy will be having its first brand-new Strategic Sealift Vessel (SSV) that will arrive from Indonesia on Monday to the Manila harbor, Flag-Officer-in-Command Vice Admiral Caesar Taccad said Saturday.
Taccad said the ship will be christened Barko Republika ng Pilipinas Tarlac. The vessel will be manned by 17 officers and 98 enlisted personnel during its voyage from Indonesia.
The vessel is first of the two ordered by the Navy from Indonesian shipbuilder PT PAL (Persero) declared as lone eligible bidder in August 2013 by the Bids and Awards Committee of the Department of National Defense.
Another bidder, Daewoo/Daesun Shipbuilding of South Korea, was declared ineligible.
The government allotted P4 billion for the two vessels but PT PAL (Persero) got it only for P3,863,999,529. The first completed vessel was launched at the shipyard in Surabaya, Indonesia in January 2016.
Defense and military insiders said the project was almost shelved then by some defense officials allegedly in favor of other equipment such as helmets, rifles and individual force protection.
“The SSVs are programmed to be the PN’s floating Command and Control especially in the conduct of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response [HADR] and serving other purposes as military sealift and transport vessels. These vessels are also critical assets for civil-military operations due to their capability of transporting large number of soldiers, logistics, and supplies. Moreover, each SSV has the capacity to house three helicopters,” Taccad said.
The vessels are a derivative of Indonesian Navy’s Banjamasin-LPD (Landing Flatform Dock), which is reportedly was derivative from the Makassar-class LPD built by Daewoo/Daesun.
The vessel has a displacement of approximately 7,300 tons full load and having a length of 120 meters minimum. Its beam is 21 meters minimum and propulsion of at least 2 diesel engines coupled to 2 controllable pitch propellers. Its speed is at least 13 knots cruising, at least 16 knots maximum (Range: 7,500nmi @ 13 knots).
The vessel can carry 2 Landing Craft Mechanized/Utility at floodable well decks, 2 RHIB or LCVP on Boat Davits, 500 troops, tanks, trucks and with a total payload of 2,800 tons minimum.
It is also equipped with navigation, surface search radar, air search radar, EW suite, electro-optical fire control system and combat management system. It has weapons such as 1 x gun (possibly between 40mm to 127mm) as primary and secondary weapon of 2 x 30mm automated cannons port and starboard sides (EO FCS controlled), and machine guns.