The Department of National Defense (DND) has signed a PHP 28 billion (USD 545.7 million) contract with South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) for the acquisition of two brand-new corvettes for the Philippine Navy (PN), which are capable of conducting anti-ship, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare missions.
The deal with the South Korean shipbuilding giant comes five years after the firm also won a contract to build two new frigates for the PN. Corvettes and frigates are small, fast warships mainly used to protect other vessels from attack.
The DND secretary said that acquiring the two corvettes from HHI will ensure commonality and interoperability. With a common shipbuilder for all its naval platforms, the DND expects ease of maintenance and repairs.
It has been reported that the Philippine Navy is in urgent need of modernization, still featuring US craft from World War II. An ambitious modernization program started in 2010. Disputes on the South China Sea with China have renewed the urgency of the program, with the Philippines recently acquiring two former US Coast Guard cutters and three landing craft from Australia, as well as coast guard patrol vessels from Japan.
(Sources: Philippine News Agency; The Philippine Star)