Philippines to build strategic sea vessels

8:07:00 PM
MANILA, -- On a buying binge for big-ticket items to modernize the military, the Department of National Defense (DND) struck a deal for the transfer of technology fitted on two brand-new Strategic Sealift Vessels (SSVs) it has purchased from Indonesia.

Defense Assistant Secretary for personnel Efren Fernandez said the technology transfer by Indonesia’s PT PAL (Persero) Surabaya is highly significant, as this would allow a local shipbuilder based in Cebu to manufacture the same type of vessel.

Fernandez, former head of the Bids and Awards Committee of the defense department, recently visited PT PAL Surabaya shipyard in Indonesia, bringing along with him the shipbuilder from Cebu as an observer.

“During our inspection of the PT PAL Surabaya shipyard, the Indonesian shipbuilder agreed for technology transfer and hopefully we can locally build our own Navy ships in the near future,” Fernandez said.

Persero has bagged the contract for the delivery of two brand-new SSVs worth more than P3 billion for the Philippine Navy under the Armed Forces modernization program.

The Indonesian firm has cut the steel for the second SSV at its plant in Surabaya, thus formally setting off the assembly of the ship, which the contractor has until May next year to deliver to the Philippine Navy.

The first SSV, which is expected to be delivered either late this year or early next year, is 80 percent complete following the steel cutting in January this year.

The Philippines, despite being the fourth biggest shipbuilder around the globe – next only to China, South Korea and Japan – was only able to locally build the BRP Tagbanua, a Navy cargo ship. This was because of the lack of military technology in building modern warships.

Other than the two SSVs, the Philippine Navy is also getting two Landing Craft Heavy (LCH) that the Australian government has decommissioned and donated to the Philippines.

The newly commissioned ships are on their way from Cairns, Australia and are expected to arrive in the country next week to join the Navy’s five utility ships.

 The Indonesian Navy KRI Banjarmasin (592) Landing Platform Docks ship by PT. PAL Indonesia, Surabaya.

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