Cooperation between Philippines and South Korea is growing day by day. As we shared before, South Korea donated a corvette to Philippines and PH navy welcomed the ship named BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39) a few days ago. During the welcome ceremony for the Navy’s newly-acquired ship Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana made the announcement that the Philippines is planning to purchase two brand new corvettes from South Korea, as it seeks to boost the Philippine Navy’s capabilities in the face of China’s creeping expansion in the South China Sea. BRP Conrado Yap will be a transition platform until new ships enter service.
“We are again ordering two corvettes, also to be made by Hyundai,” he said in his speech at the event held at Manila South Harbor early this week. Lorenzana was pointing to South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), one of the world’s largest shipbuilders. It is currently constructing the Navy’s two missile-capable frigates set to be delivered by 2020 and 2021.
“The Navy has recommended that HHI also builds its two corvettes for compatibility of systems and weapons inasmuch as it’s already building our two frigates,” Lorenzana told Inquirer.net in a separate message.
The Philippine government signed a contract with HHI in 2016 to buy two brand new frigates worth P16 billion.
The upcoming frigates attracted public interest in late 2017 after a conflict in the selection of the combat management systems (CMS), considered as the “brain” of the warships.
This plan of purchase was also announced by Flag Officer in Command Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad at last June. He described the upcoming ships as “more powerful” than currenet ships with its “more sophisticated and more modern weapons system.”
At a proposed budget of P14 billion each, the corvettes would be more expensive than the anticipated missile-capable warships.
The scheme of procurement to acquire the corvettes would likely be government-to-government (G2G).
The BRP Conrado Yap, currently the Navy’s most capable warship, will serve as a transition platform until the new assets would be delivered.
Empedrad said they are looking forward to receiving two more ships of the same type from the Korean government.
“They have an initial commitment to add two more Pohangs because they know we usually operate three ships of any type to form a squadron. I requested if they can add more, and there was a positive response,” he said.