Various trials are now ongoing to ensure that the country’s first strategic sealift vessel (SSV), the prospective BRP Tarlac (LD-601), will be ready for its journey to the Philippines and mission-ready upon arrival.Trials include testing of its propulsion and engine systems in various speed setting, said Philippine Navy (PN) public affairs office chief Capt. Lued Lincuna.
These tests are being conducted by personnel of PT PAL (Persero), the Surabaya-based Indonesian shipbuilder which won the the Php3.87-billion contract for the two SSV project.
Another round of tests will be conducted by PN personnel, tasked to man the ship, once the latter arrived in Indonesia by March, he added.
The SSV acquisition project for the PN was initiated upon the approval of Acquisition Decision Memorandum Number 2012-060 by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Oct. 30, 2013.
The Department of National Defense declared Persero as the Single Calculated Responsive Bidder with a bidding price of Php3.87 billion on Nov. 18, 2014.
The SSVs are programmed to be the PN’s floating command center carrying out their main purpose as military sealift and transport vessels and also for humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
The ships are estimated to weigh about 7,300 gross register tons.
Furthermore, these vessels are critical assets for civil-military operations due to their capability of transporting large number of soldiers, logistics, and supplies.
Moreover, each SSV has the capacity to house three helicopters. The Navy’s Augusta Westland-109s are programmed to be on-board components of these vessels.
These forthcoming landing platform dock strategic sealift vessels will improve the transport capability of the PN and boost the defense capabilities of the country.
by: Priam F. Nepomuceno