MANILA, -- The country's Strategic Sealift Vessels (SSVs) have provisions for the installation of defensive weaponry.
This was disclosed by Defense undersecretary for finance, munition and material Fernando Manalo in reply to queries on whether the first SSV, which is scheduled for delivery this May, are fitting with defensive armaments.
"No but it will have provisions for the installation of defensive weapons," he said.
This means that some parts of the SSV, especially the bow and stern, are already capable of being fitted with weapons.
Weapons eyed for the Philippines' first SSVs are 76mm Oto Melara main guns and 25mm automatic cannons.
The first SSV was launched at PT PAL (Persero)'s shipyard in Surabaya, Indonesia Sunday.
"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," Armed Forces of the Philippines' spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla earlier said.
The first SSV will arrived by May while the second will be delivered on May 2017.
The Philippines has a two-SSV order with PT PAL (Persero) for PhP3,870,000,000 which will be 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 Oct. 30, 2013.
The Department of National Defense (DND) 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.
The Philippine Navy first Strategic Sealift Vessels (SSV) BRP Tarlac (LD-601) was launched at PT PAL (Persero)'s shipyard in Surabaya, Indonesia Sunday.