From Business Mirror (Jan 1): Navy may have Indon-made ship delivered by June 2016
THE Philippine Navy is confident it can have its first strategic sea lift vessel (SSV) from Indonesia at least before President Aquino leaves office next year as the construction of the ship is more than 70-percent complete.
A navy official said the construction of the vessel is moving at full speed as the contractor, Indonesian state-owned ship building company PT PAL, is moving to meet its May 2016 deadline for the delivery of the first ship.
“We are confident we can have our first SSV before our Commander in Chief will pass the baton to his successor. We will remember him as the President who spearheaded the capability upgrade of not only the Navy, but the whole Armed Forces of the Philippines [AFP],” he said.
The Department of National Defense (DND) has ordered two SSVs from PT PAL through a contract worth P3.8 billion signed last year, after the state-owned Indonesian company bagged bidding held on November 18, 2014.
The two SSVs would be the second, if not the most, important ship acquisition by the Navy under the Aquino administration, following the purchase of two former US Coast Guard Cutters, one which is now the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, currently the Navy’s flagship.
Aquino said the Navy intends to get frigates as his administration, will give a total of at least P83 billion in modernization money to the AFP which will extend up to 2017 or beyond his term.
As of this year, the administration has already given the military nearly P60 billion worth of assets and equipment, including those whose contracts have been signed, foremost of which was a squadron of South Korean-made brand new FA-50 lead in fighter jets, two of which had been delivered.
However, Aquino will no longer be around when the frigates, which are also being looked upon to be sourced out from South Korea, are delivered. No less than Navy Chief Vice Admiral Caesar Taccad attended the keel laying of the second SSV in Indonesia in June when he was still the vice commander of the Navy.
The second SSV is contracted to be delivered in May 2017.
The keel laying of the first SSV was made several weeks earlier.
The SSVs will serve as the Navy’s floating command center, while carrying out their main purpose as military sealift and transport vessels.
PT PAL said the two SSVS will be armed with 76 mm and 25 mm guns, whose supplier the Philippine Navy will decide.