The Philippine Navy’s two Strategic Sealift Vessels are now both under construction, with the steel cutting ceremony for the second SSV taking place on the 5th of June. The first vessel had its equivalent ceremony in January and is expected to be launched in November 2015 with full completion by May the following year.
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 incidentally had the license rights to the Makasaar class LPD — and then rename 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.
|SSV-1 steel cutting ceremony||SSV-2 steel cutting ceremony|
As shared by an Indonesian Timawan with ties to PT PAL, the shipbuilder responsible for the construction of the two vessels, construction of the keel for SSV-1 is well underway. Credit for the following photographs of the SSV-1 keel, and translation of the Indonesian news article, go to the member who goes by the username “Gombaljaya” (or Alberth Minas on the Timawa FB extension)
As the ships themselves are progressing, so too are other components of the original Multi-Role Vessel package. The contract to supply Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV), which comprise part of the SSVs offensive punch, are slated to be awarded to Samsung Techwin, which will provide the South Korean version of the American AAV7 amtrack.
Discussions about the two SSVs are available on the Timawa.net forum at the following locations: