The Philippine Navy (PN) said that sea trials are now being conducted for the country’s first strategic sealift vessel (SSV) which was built by Indonesian builder PT PAL (Persero) in its Surabaya shipyard.
“This week, our SSV is undergoing sea trials and hopefully, [once she completes these] she will be scheduled for an endurance run,” PN spokesperson Capt. Lued Lincuna said in Filipino.
Lincuna said these testing phases aim to check the performance of all machineries and equipment of the SSV.
“It is also conducted to check and measure the ship’s general performance and seaworthiness,” he added.
The first SSV is expected to arrive in the Philippines by the third week of May or well in time for the PN’s 118th founding anniversary on May 20.
The Philippines has a two-SSV order with PT PAL (Persero) for Php3,870,000,000 which is sourced from the AFP Modernization Fund.
The SSV acquisition project for the PN was initiated upon the approval of Acquisition Decision Memorandum Number 2012-060 by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin last Oct. 30, 2013.
The Department of National Defense declared Persero as the Single Calculated Responsive Bidder with a bidding price of PHP3.87 billion on Nov. 18, 2014.
The SSVs are programmed to be the PN’s floating command center carrying out their main purpose as military sealift and transport vessels and also for humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
The ships are estimated to weigh around 7,300 gross register tons.
Further, these vessels are 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. The Navy’s Augusta Westland-109s are programmed to be on-board components of these vessels.
These forthcoming landing platform dock strategic sealift vessels will improve the transport capability of the PN and boost the defense capabilities of the country.