SHAH ALAM: Keeping up with the Joneses. The Philippines has ordered two new corvettes from South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), it was announced on Dec. 28 in Manila. Under the deal worth US$556 million (RM2.3 billion), the HHI is expected to deliver both ships by 2026.
Although described as corvettes, the new warships for the Philippine Navy is bigger than the two Jose Rizal frigates also built by HHI which are 107-meter long and weigh around 2,600 tons. The new corvettes will have a 3,200-ton displacement and 116-meter long.
With a maximum speed of 25 knots, the corvettes will have a 16-cell vertical launching system (VLS), eight SSMs, a 35mm close-in weapon system (CIWS), a 76mm main gun, two three-tube torpedo launchers and an AESA radar. The above are almost the same for the Jose Rizal frigates apart from the the CIWS and an extra eight launchers for the SAM, which are not fitted on the latter. It is unclear whether the new corvettes will have the SAMs.
Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was quoted by the Philippines News Agency as saying that they were happy to sign the contract this year despite delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are finally signing the contract, the last phase of the procurement process. For a total approved budget of PHP28 billion, this project will give the PN two modern corvettes that are capable of anti-ship, anti-submarine, and anti-air warfare missions,” he added.
Lorenzana said acquiring the two corvettes from HHI, where the two Jose Rizal-class guided-missile frigates, will ensure commonality and interoperability.
The two ships will also serve as backstops for the two frigates now in commission with the PN.
“With a common shipbuilder for all our naval platforms, we expect ease of maintenance and repairs,” the DND chief added.
Lorenzana also said he is commending HHI for being an active and reliable partner in the modernization program of the PN.
“Like the two frigates which were built in record time, we expect this acquisition project will likewise run smoothly,” he added.
The Philippines will pay 15 per cent of the contract price as payment following the contract signing with the rest of the funds to be paid in stages.
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