While the country's first-ever strategic sealift vessels (SSVs) are primarily for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, a ranking military official said these ships will be equipped with defensive armaments.
This was confirmed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla in an interview.
"Every Navy ship acquires a defensive weapons system to protect it from any hostile forces, we only acquire defensive weapons so it can protect itself," he added.
The first SSV was launched at PT PAL (Persero)'s shipyard in
Sunday. Surabaya, Indonesia
"The SSV's weapons system will be solely on the discretion of our Navy, and I think they are preparing for that, at the moment I am not at liberty to divulge any of those arrangements, and as soon as the Navy has any information that is prepared to announce then we will," Padilla said.
The first SSV will arrive in May while the second one will be delivered in May 2017.
has a two-SSV order with PT PAL (Persero) for PHP3,870,000,000 which is sourced
from the AFP Modernization Fund. Philippines
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 October 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 November 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.
Furthermore, 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.