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DND to acquire P30 billion Korean-made offshore patrol vessels

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star
DND to acquire P30 billion Korean-made offshore patrol vessels
Defense Secretary Defin Lorenzana sealed the deal with HHI vice chairman and president Sam Hyun Ka at Camp Aguinaldo on Monday.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of National Defense (DND) has signed a P30-billion contract with Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) to acquire six new offshore patrol vehicles (OPVs) for the Philippine Navy.

Boasting of modern capabilities, the vessels to be acquired measure 94.4 meters long and 14.3 meters wide, with a displacement of 2,400 tons, maximum speed of 22 knots, cruising speed of 15 knots and a range of 5,500 nautical miles.

Defense Secretary Defin Lorenzana sealed the deal with HHI vice chairman and president Sam Hyun Ka at Camp Aguinaldo on Monday.

DND spokesman director Arsenio Andolong said the signing was witnessed by South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Kim In-cheol, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Andres Centino and Acting Philippine Navy chief Rear Admiral Caesar Bernard Valencia, among others.

“The project aims to further enhance the maritime patrol capabilities of the Philippine Navy and includes technology transfer, particularly human engineering operators and maintenance training of equipment, operations training and a design ownership, granting the Philippine Navy a license to manufacture/build using the OPV’s design for the exclusive use of the Philippine government,” he announced yesterday.

Andolong said a lifetime service support contract was also signed for the sustainment of the Jose Rizal-class frigates of the Philippine Navy.

The OPV project was prioritized under the Second Horizon of the Revised AFP Modernization Program, as approved by President Duterte in May 2018.

AFP assets on parade

The Armed Forces of the Philippines is preparing to present a grand parade that will showcase the military’s renewed strength and modernized assets at president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s inauguration in Manila tomorrow.

Such show of force and pride is expected to include a fly-by of FA50 fighter jets and Blackhawk helicopters of the Philippine Air Force.

Joint Task Force-National Capital Region commander Brig. Gen. Marceliano Teofilo said Thursday’s military parade would be the same as those of previous presidential inaugurations, with the participation of the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Coast Guard.

Teofilo said 2,213 troops would join the military along with a band and units from the Philippine Military Academy and Philippine National Police Academy cadets, followed by special troops.

“Our vehicles will be there. This includes our artillery equipment and armored vehicles. That is included in the parade and we will also have a fly-by. We will see the helicopters as well as our planes. So this is something that the people will appreciate, the new equipment and assets bought under the modernization of our AFP,” Teofilo said.

During the last six years, Lorenzana said the DND was relentless in modernizing the defense department through the acquisition of new assets, which include two new warships or multi-role guided missile frigates for the Philippine Navy – the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) and BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), commissioned in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

The military also bought six units of Embraer A-29B Super Tucano close air support aircraft, 16 new S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters, as well as air surveillance radars, drones, missile systems and various force protection and weapons systems.

“These new assets will further strengthen our humanitarian assistance and disaster response, air, maritime and land defense as well as joint command and control capabilities,” Lorenzana said.

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