The Philippine government has selected the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) to supply it with two new frigates for Philippine’s Navy (PN).
The contract to build the two ships, valued at $331 millions, was announced in early September and formally signed on 24 October between HHI and the Philippines’ defence secretary Delfin Lorenzana. The Philippine Department of National Defence initially had launched the frigate acquisition programme in October 2013, in an effort to meet the PN’s long-range maritime patrol, surveillance, and interdiction capabilities.
HHI originally pitched a design based upon the Republic of Korea Navy’s (RoKN) ‘Incheon’ class frigates. As noted in a press release published by HHI in late October, the PN’s new platforms will be slightly smaller than anticipated, a lighter version of the ‘Incheon’ class, more adapted to the PN’s specifications. Capable of reaching a top speed of 25 knots (46 kilometres-per-hour) and a range 4500 nautical miles (8334 kilometres), the PN’s frigates will have an overall length of 107 metres/m (351 feet/ft), and a displacement of about 2600 tonnes. In comparison, the ROKN’s ‘Incheon’ class frigates measure 114m (374ft), with a displacement of 3000 tonnes.
Although the frigate’s specific weapon configuration remains unknown, HHI announced that the frigates will be: “heavily armed with missiles, torpedo, guns and sensors.” The company also confirmed the PN’s new frigates will be configured for anti-ship, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare capabilities, and will be equipped with “the latest combat management system,” as well as an electronic warfare suite.
The PN’s $331 millions contract appears to include the hulls and the onboard electronics and munitions suite. If that is the case, and the price does include the sensor and weapons suite, HHI has offered the Philippines quite a competitive package, with each individual complete ship costing $169 million. In comparison, in 2014, Egypt ordered four DCNS ‘Gowind’ class corvettes, in many ways comparable to HHI’s design for the Philippines Navy, agreeing to a $1.4 billion overall deal, or about $345 million per ship. For more information regarding the PN’s acquisition of new frigates, please see Dr. Alix Valenti’s Frigates or Destroyers? article in this issue.