MANILA, – To further bolster the Navy’s capability to transport personnel, equipment and aid during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations, the Philippine government is acquiring Three more Landing Craft Heavy (LCH) ships from Australia at a minimal price.
Late this week the Philippine Navy commissioned into service two LCHs it christened as BRP Ivatan and BRP Batac, which the Australian government has donated to the Philippines.
The acquisition was part of the deal where the Philippines gets for free two LCHs but would have to pay at very minimal price for the other three vessels decommissioned by the Royal Australian Navy on Nov. 19, 2014. A senior Navy officer said.
Recently retired Rear Admiral Jaime Bernardino, former commander of the Philippine Fleet, confirmed that the Navy is buying three more LCHs from Australia at a token price.
The Navy is waiting for the delivery of two brand-new frigates that the Philippines is acquiring from South Korea. Bernardino also added .
Two former US Coast Guard cutters, the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz, are currently patrolling the country’s maritime waters in the West Philippine Sea.
Aside from the locally made BRP Tagbanua, the Navy is still heavily dependent on ageing transport and logistics vessels in launching seaborne relief and disaster operations around the country.
These vintage navy ships are still being utilized to transport military equipment and personnel for forward deployment in troubled spots around the nation.
These vessels are additionally being used for troops rotation and resupply operations in the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea.
Once obtained, the three LCHs are are expected to replace some of the ageing navy logistic and landing tank ships that are expensive to maintain.
“The two LCHs that we brought home from Cairns are in top shape and fuel efficient,” said one of the Navy officers sent to Australia to accompany one of the ships to the Philippines.
Featured image credit to navaltoday
By: Carl E.