The Philippine Navy, considered one of the weakest in Asia, will acquire at least 19 brand-new ships and likely three used vessels, reported Inquirer.
The new vessels are expected in three to five years as replacements for the World War II-era ships that the Navy has been retiring since 2020, and will be used for amphibious landing missions and transport tasks.
In the meantime, the Navy is looking to procure secondhand vessels from the United States and South Korea.
With 11 new ships already scheduled for delivery, the Department of National Defense (DND) will spend an estimated P35 billion on contracts for two landing docks and six offshore patrol vessels.
According to a June 5 notice of award from the DND to PT Pal Persero, an Indonesian shipbuilder will supply the two landing docks, or landing platforms, for the Navy for P5.56 billion.
The new vessels, also built by PT Pal Persero, are expected to be improved versions of the Navy’s two Tarlac-class strategic sealift vessels - the BRP Tarlac (LD-601) and BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602).
In addition, Flag Officer in Command Vice Adm. Adeluis Bordado said the Navy expects to receive the first two of nine Shaldag Mk. V missile-capable fast patrol boats from Israel in September.
Israel Shipyards Ltd. is supplying the boats under an approved contract of P10 billion. This includes weapons to be purchased separately from another Israeli company, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Co. Ltd.
Three attack boats are due for delivery next year. The 32-meter vessels, to be used for patrols and deterrence against terrorist groups, will be part of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Force.
A Navy inspection team was recently in Bahrain to look at the US Navy’s offer of two used Cyclone-class patrol boats for transfer, or donation, to the Philippines.
It is also expecting the transfer of a decommissioned Pohang-class corvette from South Korea in September, at the earliest. The donated ships will be refurbished by the Philippines.
Furthermore, the Navy will receive the first of two new corvettes – at a cost of P25 billion – from South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries in 2024.
The same shipbuilder was chosen to build six offshore patrol vessels for the Navy for P30 billion.