MANILA, -- The sailing crew of the country's first strategic sealift vessel (SSV) has already been formed and will be deployed to Indonesia to pick up the ship this coming March.
The SSV's sailing crew is composed of 98 enlisted personnel and 17 officers, including the ship's captain.
This was disclosed by Philippine Navy (PN) spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo Sunday.
He added that the commanding officer of the first SSV, also known by the designation of "LD-601," has already been selected by a PN committee.
Arevalo did not name disclose the name of this pioneering commanding officer as this is still subject for confirmation.
The SSV's trials are scheduled to start in March.
This is to determine on 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 added.
The first SSV was launched at the PT PAL (Persero) shipyard in Surabaya, Indonesia last Jan. 17.
The Philippines has a two-SSV order with PT PAL (Persero) for PHP3.87 million 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 last October 30, 2013.
The Department of National Defense declared Persero as the Single Calculated Responsive Bidder with a bidding price of PHP3.87 million 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.
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.
The Philippine Navy SSV / LPD BRP Tarlac-601 at PT PAL in Surabaya, Indonesia.