South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has signed a contract to build six offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the Philippine Navy (PN).

The contract has an estimated value of $540.40m (PHP30bn) and awarded by the Department of National Defence (DND).

As per the Philippine News Agency’s (PNA) report, the deal was signed on 27 June at the DND building in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

In a statement, Defence spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said: “The OPV project aims to enhance maritime patrol capabilities of PN and includes technology transfer, particularly human engineering operators and maintenance training of equipment, operations training, technical publications and manuals.

“In addition to this is a design ownership, granting the PN licence to manufacture/build using the OPV’s design for the exclusive use of the Philippine government.”

The 94.4m-long and 14.3m-wide vessels will have a displacement of 2,400t and can cruise at a speed of up to 22 knots.

Once constructed, the OPV fleet will replace the PN’s World War II surface vessels.

The OPVs are being acquired under the second horizon of revised the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernisation programme, which was approved in 2018.

In June 2021, the Department of Budget (DBM) released around $54.84m (PHP3bn) as initial funds for the OPV project.

According to Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, HHI will not escalate the contract value based on the PHP-USD exchange rate, which was PHP52 at the time of signing.

Meanwhile, DND and HHI have also signed a lifetime service support contract for the sustainment of the PN’s two Jose Rizal guided-missile frigates.