MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) has signed a 30 billion peso contract with Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) to acquire six new Offshore Patrol Vehicles (OPVs) for the Philippine Navy.
Equipped with modern capabilities, the vessels to be acquired are 94.4 meters long and 14.3 meters wide, with a displacement of 2,400 tonnes, a maximum speed of 22 knots, a cruising speed of 15 knots and a range of 5,500 nautical miles.
On Monday, Defense Secretary Defin Lorenzana sealed the deal with HHI Vice President and President Sam Hyun Ka at Camp Aguinaldo.
DND Spokesperson Director Arsenio Andolong said the signing was assisted by South Korea’s Ambassador to the Philippines Kim In-cheol, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Andres Centino and the acting head of the Philippine Navy, Rear Admiral Caesar Bernard Valencia, among others.
“The project aims to further improve the Philippine Navy’s maritime patrol capabilities and includes technology transfer, especially human engineering operators and equipment maintenance training, operations training and ownership of the design, granting the Philippine Navy a license to manufacture/build using the OPV design for the exclusive use of the Philippine government,” he announced yesterday.
Andolong said a lifetime service contract was also signed for the sustainment of the Philippine Navy’s Jose Rizal-class frigates.
The OPV project was prioritized under the second horizon of AFP’s revised modernization program, as approved by President Duterte in May 2018.
AFP resources on parade
The Armed Forces of the Philippines are preparing to stage a grand parade that will showcase the army’s renewed strength and modernized assets during the inauguration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Manila tomorrow.
Such a show of strength and pride is expected to include a flyover of Philippine Air Force FA50 fighter jets and Blackhawk helicopters.
Commander Joint Task Force National Capital Region Brig. General Marceliano Teofilo said Thursday’s military parade would be the same as those for previous presidential inaugurations, with the participation of the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Coast Guard.
Teofilo said 2,213 soldiers would join the army with a marching band and units from the Philippine Military Academy and cadets from the Philippine National Police Academy, followed by special troops.
“Our vehicles will be there. This includes our artillery equipment and our armored vehicles. This is included in the parade and we will also have a flyover. We will see the helicopters as well as our planes. So it is something that people will appreciate, the new equipment and assets purchased as part of the modernization of our AFP,” Teofilo said.
Over the past six years, Lorenzana said DND has been relentless in modernizing the Department of Defense 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 army also purchased 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 weapon systems.
“These new assets will further strengthen our humanitarian assistance and disaster response, our air, sea and land defense as well as our joint command and control capabilities,” Lorenzana said.