, -- The first of the two strategic sealift vessels that the Philippine Navy acquired from Indonesia will be launched on Sunday.
“We just got word from the Navy that the strategic vessel, one of two we have ordered from Indonesia, will be launched January 17 at the PT PAL shipyard in Indonesia.
Key officials will be in attendance to see the launching of that ship,” Armed Forces spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla told reporters on Friday.
The term “launching” means a ship is put into the water for the first time from the dry dock. It will undergo a series of tests before it is delivered to the buyer.
Padilla said the acquisition of this ship, aimed at advancing the country’s naval capabilities, is an “important milestone” for the Philippine Navy.
“It will increase our capacity for humanitarian assistance and disaster response,” he said.
The first strategic vessel is scheduled to be delivered in May while the second one, still under construction, will be delivered in 2017. The two ships are worth P3.8 billion and were sourced from the AFP modernization program.
The ship may also be used as a supply vessel in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and other areas, Padilla said.
When delivered, this will not only be the Navy’s first strategic sealift vessel but also their biggest ship in the inventory.
The ship can hold about 500 soldiers and logistics, and at the same time bring supply in areas that may be hit by disasters. It can also house two helicopters.
“It can stand alone as a command and control ship that can coordinate, rescue, recover and retrieve during disasters…It can also be used as a floating hospital in case our health center and hospital in provinces that were affected by disasters become unavailable,” Padilla said.
The Philippine Navy Strategic sealift vessel (SSV 1) pennant number now revealed. (Internet Photo)