MANILA, -- The Philippine Navy needs three more strategic sealift vessels (SSVs) in its inventory to be a really world class naval force, says Philippine Fleet commander Rear Ronald Joseph Mercado.
He said that five SSVs are part of the Navy's desired force-mix.
"I'm confident that the next set of defense officials, national leadership, will continue with the modernization," Mercado said in an interview shortly after the welcoming ceremonies for BRP Tarlac, the country's first SSV, Monday afternoon.
The country's second SSV, which was also ordered from PT PAL (Persero), is expected to arrive by May 2017.
Mercado said the Filipino SSV was patterned after the Indonesian Makassar-class landing platform dock.
Its sister ship is expected to be delivered by May 2017.
The ship has a complement of 121 officers and enlisted personnel. It can carry 500 troops, two rigid-hull inflatable boats, two landing craft units and three helicopters.
BRP Tarlac has a tonnage of 7,300 tons, overall length of 120 meters, breadth of 21 meters, draft of five meters and carry a payload of 2,800 tons.
It has a cruising speed of 13 knots and maximum speed of 16 knots. The ship has minimum operating range of 7,500 nautical miles.
The Navy's desired force-mix also include six frigates for anti-air warfare, 12 corvettes for anti-submarine warfare, 18 offshore patrol vessels, three submarines, three anti-mine vessels, 18 landing craft utility vessels, three logistics ships, 12 coastal interdiction patrol boats, 30 patrol gunboats, and 42 multi-purpose assault crafts that can be equipped with torpedoes and missiles.
Also included in the envisioned force mix are eight amphibious maritime patrol aircraft, 18 naval helicopters, and eight multi-purpose helicopters.
To make this a reality, the Navy needs an estimated PHP497-billion.
The Philippine Navy’s (PN’s) first Landing Dock Vessel (LDV) Tarlac (LD-601), was finally welcomed in a simple ceremony at Pier 13, South Harbor, Manila on May 16, 2016.