Philippines buy 6 new Korean-built ships in one go, spend $573 million

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The South Korean Hyundai Heavy Industries has got a contract to supply the Philippine Navy with six new 2,400-tonne offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).

In recent years, southeast Asian navies have also expanded their armies. Compared with Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and other countries, the Philippines, which has limited economic strength, started a little later, but in recent years, they have bought 10 new ships three times, and the six HDP-1500 Neo new offshore patrol ships (OPV) contracts were just awarded two days ago, all of which are made in South Korea.

According to the “Naval News” website reported on the 27th, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) signed a contract with the Philippine Department of Defense on the same day to build 6 new 2400-ton maritime patrol ships (OPVs), worth 573 million US dollars, compared with the 2 batches of 4 “Jose Rizal” class guided missile frigates previously ordered from Hyundai Heavy Industries, these patrol ships will be used for low-intensity combat tasks such as daily patrols, fishing protection and inspection, and may face PLA Navy warships near future.

Philippine Navy OPV
Artist impression of the future Philippine Navy OPV to be constructed by HHI.

The new patrol ship has a displacement of 2400 tons, a length of 94.4 meters, a width of 14.3 meters, a maximum speed of 22 knots, a cruising speed of 15 knots, a range of 5500 nautical miles, diesel engine power, the main weapons are a bow 1 76mm main gun, two 30mm secondary guns, a helicopter deck capable of operating helicopters and drones, these warships will be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries Ulsan Shipyard, the last one delivered in 2028, the unit price is less than 100 million US dollars, which is the “market price” of similar tonnage patrol ships.

In 2016 and 2019, the Philippines ordered the country’s strongest warship ever built, the José Rizal class guided-missile frigate, from Hyundai Heavy Industries on two separate occasions. With a displacement of 3,200 tons, the frigate is in a sense a “monkey version” of the Incheon class (FFX Batch 2) used by the Rok Navy, and the power is changed from diesel-fired power dominated by rolls-royce MT30 gas turbines to cheap all-wood power, with a maximum speed of 25 knots and a range of 4500 nautical miles.

Offshore Patrol Vessel Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy -  Philippine Defense Resource

n terms of weapons and ship electricity, the “José Rizal” class is more concise. Its main mast has a German-made TRS-3D multifunctional rotary AESA radar, a 76mm main gun on the bow, a 16-unit vertical firing system reserved in the rear but not actually installed, and 8 South Korean-made SSM-700K “Starfish” anti-ship missiles (similar to “Harpoons”) for sea strikes, the existing anti-aircraft weapons are the “Northwest Wind-Sinbad RC” short-range ship-to-air missile launcher above the helicopter hangar, and the stern can carry 1 AW159 “Wildcat” carrier-based helicopter. There are also two groups of 3-pack Korean K745 “Black Shark” light torpedoes as anti-submarine weapons, the “Jose Rizal” class is worth less than $200 million per unit, and the two ships have been delivered in 2020 and 2021.

It is worth mentioning that for customers like the Philippines, South Korea adopts a “half sell, half give” strategy. While peddling new ships to the country, they gave away a second-hand Pohang-class corvette to the Philippine Navy for free in 2019, which has also been donated to potential users such as Peru in recent years, in addition, the Philippines is also a customer of the South Korean-made FA-50 “Golden Eagle” light fighter, which shows that South Korea is very concerned.

It is worth noting that in the international market, South Korean warships are now becoming more and more popular, relatively low cost, almost unlimited access to European and American radar, weapons, even poor countries such as the Philippines can afford to buy, have touched the hearts of many Asian, African and Latin American countries.

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