The Philippine Department of National Defense has restarted the bidding for the acquisition of two landing platform docks for the Philippine Navy. The vessels for acquisition were expected to be improvements of the two Tarlac-class strategic sealift vessels currently in the Navy’s inventory—the BRP Tarlac (LD-601) and BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602)—both built by Indonesian shipbuilder PT Pal Persero. The Philippine Department of National Defense is allocating P5.56 billion ($110.1 million) for two strategic sealift vessels, with four landing craft utility and four units of rigid hull inflatable boats.
Similar to before, two LPDs with a minimum gross tonnage of 5,000 tonnes each. The Tarlac class are landing platform docks of the Philippine Navy meant for amphibious operations and transport duties in support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. 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.
Construction of the first unit already started in January 2015 and was delivered in July 2016, while the second unit started a few months after and delivered by 2017 after going through sea trials. The lead ship was launched on 17 January 2016 as BRP Tarlac. The second ship was delivered on 10 May 2017 and named as BRP Davao del Sur. The class was initially called the “Strategic Sealift Vessel” before being formally named. The ships will also double as a support platform for Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) and Search & Rescue (SAR) operations.
Tarlac class is a multi-role vessels are comparable to landing platform docks operated by foreign navies like the Singaporean Endurance class or the Spanish Galicia class. It packaged with four units Samsung Techwin KAAV-7 amphibious assault vehicles (AAV), two units 23-meter (75 ft) landing craft utility LCU-23, four units of 9.8-meter (32 ft) rigid-hulled inflatable boats, one unit truck-based mobile hospital, two units Kia KM-250 21?2-ton troop trucks, two units Kia KM-450 11?4-ton troop trucks, two units Kia KM-450 ambulances, two units Kia Retona utility vehicles, and one unit forklift/cargo handling equipment.