BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602) is the second and last ship of Tarlac-class of the Philippine Navy’s landing platform docks. The Tarlac class is a ship class of landing platform docks, based on the Indonesian Navy’s Makassar class, that is commissioned under the Philippine Navy. Two ships were ordered and constructed by the Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL (Persero). The lead ship was launched on 17 January 2016 as BRP Tarlac.The class was initially called the “Strategic Sealift Vessel” before the class was formally named. She is the second ship to be named after the Philippine province of Davao del Sur, one of the main provinces in Mindanao in Southern Philippines. She was launched on 29 September 2016 and she was commissioned into Philippine Navy service on 31 May 2017.
The design is closely based on the Makassar class of Landing Platform Dock used by the Indonesian Navy, which in turn were actually based on a low-cost LPD design from Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering / Daesun Shipyard. The communication equipment is supplied by the Portuguese company EID Naval Communications, specifically the ICCS5 communications control system, and Harris RF Communications VLF-HF and V/UHF radios. The ships have a Combined Diesel and Diesel (CODAD) layout and will be using similar engines as those used by their Indonesian counterparts, the MAN 9L28/32A medium speed engines. Combined power from the two engines will produce 7,830 brake horsepower (5,840 kW) transferred to two controllable pitch propellers.
PT PAL confirmed that the SSVs will be designed to support one 76 mm (3 in) gun on the foredeck as the main armament. Two stern-facing 25 mm (0.98 in) guns will also be fitted, one each on the port and starboard sides. The weapons systems were installed separately by the Philippine Navy after delivery. Originally the ships were designed with a hangar and helicopter landing deck for two medium-sized helicopter, with the specifications emphasizing the US-made Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopter as basis. But changes in the Philippine Navy’s requirement later on changed the design to have a hangar for two medium helicopters.
During the second week of May 2018, the BRP Davao del Sur participated in the Balikatan Exercise with US Forces together with the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF-16). BRP Davao Del Sur was deployed with BRP Andrés Bonifacio (FF-17) to RIMPAC 2018, starting their voyage on June 11, 2018 and rendezvousing with ships from several regional navies and arriving at Pearl Harbor on June 27, 2018. In June 2019, the ship transported the Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT)-3 from Zamboanga City to its new assignment in Palawan. Along the way, the BRP Davao del Sur conducted a Meeting Procedure and Photo Exercise with the Escort Flotilla One of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force off the coast of Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi in the Sulu Sea. The BRP Davao del Sur was the 1st Philippine Navy vessel to participate in Russia’s Navy Day festivities that occurred 28 July 2019.