The Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday inked a P28-billion deal for the Navy’s acquisition of two brand-new corvettes capable of antiship, antisubmarine, and antiaircraft warfare. Lorenzana virtually signed the contract with representatives of South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), the same company that built the Philippines Navy’s most modern ships: the frigates BRP Jose Rizal and BRP Antonio Luna. The upcoming P25 billion deal (close to $500M), was reported in local media earlier this week and could be signed before the year’s end.
In particular, the Corvette is a multi-purpose surface combatant with its displacement of 3,200 tons, length of 116m, and breadth of 14.8m. The maximum speed is 25 knots and the cruising speed is 15 knots with a range of 4,500nm. The Corvette has sixteen cells of vertical launching system, eight anti-ship missile launchers, a 35mm close-in weapon system, a 76mm main gun, Two three-tube torpedo launchers, an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. the new corvettes are likely to be fitted with VL Mica surface-to-air missiles by MBDA and C Star anti-ship missiles by LIG Nex1.
Although classified as corvettes, the new ships will be based on the HDC-3100 design proposed by the shipbuilder, which is larger than the HDF-2600 design the Jose Rizal-class ships are based on. Perhaps the most significant difference between the two acquisition programs is the fact that, unlike the Jose Rizal-class, the new corvettes will not be bought under the “fitted for but not with” approach, which allows customers to buy ships first and specific capabilities later. All systems intended to be installed on the new corvettes already have their allocated funding.
Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (HHI, Hyeondae Junggongeop Jusik Hoesa) is the world’s largest shipbuilding company. Its headquarters are in Ulsan, South Korea. HHI’s Naval & Special Ship Business Unit, as a licensed national defense industrial shipbuilder and engineering consultant for the Republic of Korean Navy, has the technology to design and build modern and reliable surface and underwater combatants and auxiliary support vessels of various proven and advanced hull forms. Naval & Special Ship Business Unit (NSSBU) is an independent organization within HHI dedicated to naval ship design and construction. NSSBU is located in a separate restricted area within the shipyard for security purposes and has specialized, skilled manpower and streamlined facilities. All the work necessary for the design and construction of naval & special ships is conducted within NSSBU.