Sunday, January 24, 2016

(Update) SSV expected to be in PHL before 118th PN anniversary

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 24): (Update) SSV expected to be in PHL before 118th PN anniversary

The country's first strategic sealift vessel (SSV), which is now conducting initial sea trials, is expected to be in the country before the Philippine Navy (PN)'s celebrates its 118th founding anniversary on May 20.

This was disclosed by PN spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo in an interview on Sunday.

"Hopefully, she will arrive before May 20," he added.

The PN spokesperson said that initial sea trials or checking of the SSV's interior and bulkheads are now ongoing as the ship has now left its dry-dock.

The country's first SSV, which was given the designation of "LD-601" and prospective name of BRP Tarlac, was launched at the PT PAL (Persero) shipyard in Surabaya, Indonesia last Jan. 17.

Arevalo said full-fledged sea trials of the ship will start when the sailing crew arrives.

This is to determine whether all the ship's systems are operational for the voyage to the Philippines.

"It's akin to a car doing road test. The facilities and other navigational instruments are being tested to ensure seaworthiness, especially before its embarks on its voyage to the Philippines," Arevalo said.

The SSV will have a crew of 17 officers and 98 enlisted personnel or a total of 115.

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 on Oct. 30, 2013.

The Department of National Defense declared Persero as the Single Calculated Responsive Bidder with a bidding price of Php3,870,000,000 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.

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