South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has secured a $547m (PHP28bn) contract from the Philippine’s Department of National Defense (DND).

The contract will see HHI construct and deliver two new corvettes for the Philippines Navy.

Under the Philippine Navy (PN) Corvette Lot 1 Acquisition Project contract, the navy will receive two warships that can undertake anti-ship, anti-submarine, and anti-air warfare (AAW) missions.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was quoted by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) as saying: “We are finally signing the contract, the last phase of the procurement process. For a total approved budget of $547m (PHP28bn), this project will give the PN two modern corvettes that are capable of anti-ship, anti-submarine, and anti-air warfare missions.”

This acquisition from HHI, which involves two Jose Rizal-class guided-missile frigates, is expected to bring interoperability as well as commonality.

Furthermore, both the vessels will act as backstops for the two vessels now operational with the PN.

Lorenzana added: “Like the two frigates which were built in record time, we expect this acquisition project will likewise run smoothly.”

In December last year, the Department of Budget and Management launched the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) for the 15% advance payment for the Philippine Navy’s Corvette Acquisition Program (CAP).

The SARO, which is valued at around $73m (PHP3.75bn), is expected to “cover the funding requirements for the 15% advance payment for the CAP of the PN under the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernisation Program”.

Compared with the two Jose Rizal-class frigates, the new warships are smaller but armed sufficiently.

The two 107m-long Jose Rizal-class multi-mission capable frigates weigh approximately 2,600t.

Earlier this month, the Philippine Fleet, via Sealift Amphibious Force (SAF), christened and commissioned BRP Mamanwa Landing Craft Utility (LCU).