Philippine Navy to receive two decommissioned LCH vessels from Australia

15 March 2015 (Last Updated March 15th, 2015 18:30)

The Philippine Navy is to receive two decommissioned Balikpapan-class heavy landing craft (LCH) vessels from Australia, strengthening its capacity to combat natural disasters.

HMAS

The Philippine Navy is to receive two decommissioned Balikpapan-class heavy landing craft (LCH) vessels from Australia, strengthening its capacity to combat natural disasters.

The Royal Australian Navy will provide its former HMA Ships Brunei and Tarakan to the Philippines in order to deliver additional intra-theatre sealift capability.

The landing crafts will be handed over after being refurbished with new safety and navigation equipment.

Brunei last executive officer Lieutenant Brenton-James Glover said: "They were certainly the work horses of the Royal Australian Navy and I am sure they will provide just as much service to the Philippine Navy.

"The Balikpapan class is an excellent capability for amphibious operations, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief."

In 2013, Philippine Navy faced difficulties in relief efforts during Typhoon Haiyan due to the lack of sealift ability. This will be addressed with the supply of the two vessels, the Australian navy said.

"The Balikpapan class is an excellent capability for amphibious operations as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief."

The LCHs will be capable of delivering personnel and equipment to areas that are considered to be unreachable disaster relief missions.

The 44.5m LCHs cruise at a maximum speed of 10k to 13k, carrying 180t of cargo.

The Philippine Government is also considering purchase of the remaining three Australian landing crafts, the former Wewak, Betano and Balikpapan.
The Royal Australian Navy decommissioned these vessels in 2012.

Earlier this year, Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PAL started construction of the first of two strategic sealift vessels (SSVs) for the Philippine Navy.


Image: HMAS Tarakan is seen beached at the island of Lifou, New Caledonia during the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief phase of Exercise Croix du Sud. Photo: courtesy of Royal Australian Navy.