The two largest warships in Philippine Navy history are currently under construction at the PT PAL shipyard in Indonesia. The first vessel, tentatively named “Strategic Sealift Vessel (SSV) No.1”, is due for delivery in May 2016. Progress of construction for that vessel is chronicled in the following article: Strategic Sealift Vessel No. 1 taking shape. This article, on the other hand, chronicles the progress of SSV No.2, whose construction lags behind SSV No.1 by six months.
Both vessels are based on the Indonesian Navy’s Makassar class Landing Ship Dock (LPD), particularly the last two members of the class referred to as the “improved Makassar”, which were both built at PT PAL, based on a design by Daesun Shipbuilding & Engineering of South Korea. The resulting vessel should appear similar to the KRI Banda Aceh shown below.
|KRI Banda Aceh c/o Wikimedia|
The data assembled below largely comes from open-sources and is thanks in no small part to Indonesian members of the Timawa.net forum who monitor Indonesian news reports and share them with the Timawa community. Supplemental data was gleaned from the international press.
|Event / Date photo was shared||Imagery|
|January 8, 2016. TR4 block of SSV-2 being moved into position.|
|December 22, 2015. Blocks prepared for keel laying|
|October 25, 2015. Hull block completed. Shared on the Timawa FB extension|
|October 5, 2015. Various photographs of keel construction. Shared with the Timawa community’s FB extension on this date. See here||
|June 5, 2015. Steel cutting ceremony for SSV-2 held at PT PAL Indonesia. Photo c/o Tribunnews.com||
The Strategic Sealift Vessel project is the Aquino administration’s implementation of two older Arroyo administration projects:
Strategic Sealift Vessel – this was reportedly crafted by the Center for Naval Leadership and Excellence (CNLE) and originally envisioned to acquire a 2nd-hand civilian Roll-On Roll-Off (RORO) vessel from Japan. Delays in the execution of the project resulted in an aborted attempt as the Japanese vendor choose to sell the prospective vessel to another buyer.
Multi-Role Vessel (MRV) – this project sought to acquire a brand-new Makasaar class Landing Ship Dock directly from South Korea complete with an amphibious assault package and a sophisticated mobile hospital. The following image of a Philippine Navy poster displayed on Navy Day shows what this project sought to acquire as a single project.
|The original project that was broken up onto different components|
The current administration opted to break up the MRV project into multiple components, award the contract to South Korea’s partner in Indonesia — which had the license rights to the Makassar class LPD — and then renamed the project to the current SSV title. The latter decision initially created confusion among long-time defense enthusiasts who had been aware of both projects, but were not privy to project decisions.
Discussions about the two SSVs are available on the Timawa.net forum at the following locations: