Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL has started construction on the first of two strategic sealift vessels (SSVs) for the Philippine Navy (PN).
The vessel is being built as part of a $92m contract for two landing platform dock (LPD)-like vessels, in a bid to comply with the requirements of the navy's sea-based transport and logistics.
Based on the Indonesian Navy's Makassar-class LPDs, the new 123m-long and 21.8m-wide vessel will have a cruise speed of 16k, maximum range of 9,360m and an endurance of 30 days.
It will accommodate 121 crew members, with space to transport 500 troops.
Both vessels will have a capacity of 10,300t with a draft of 6m, and carry four tanks, four trucks, a mobile hospital, two jeeps and two helicopters.
Delivery of the first SSV is expected to be completed by 2016, followed by the second a year later.
The PN recently confirmed plans to install missile systems on its BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz frigates.
In addition, the Philippine Defence Department intends to purchase two more frigates worth $344m and ammunition worth $55.6m. It is currently awaiting delivery of tactical sealift vessels and additional naval helicopters and small amphibious vehicles.
Image: Officials during the start of construction on the Philippine Navy's strategic sealift vessel. Photo: courtesy of PAL Indonesia.