Saturday, May 14, 2016

Philippine Navy's First Landing Platform Dock

This is the story of what is to be the biggest ship in the making in the navy whose fleet badly needs a refit...


INTRODUCTION
Philippine Navy's BRP Tarlac LPD. Source: Timawa Forums
For many, many years, boats, ships, and other water-based vessels are used as a medium of transportation to travel from one civilization up to the other. It was also a mere fact that the world's first navies such as those in ancient Greece that troops are to be transport through ships together with supplies that is necessary to a successful invasion.

Such practice takes on for many years until it was sought practice in modernity throughout World War 2 where Landing Ship Tanks (LSTs), Landing Craft Units (LCUs), and other amphibious crafts play a role in invading Japanese-occupied islands to the east and conducting a D-Day scale invasion smacking through Hitler's Atlantic wall in France to the west. Such tactics are deemed useful for military strategist that occupying an island do require additional logistical measures that amphibious crafts do play a role, so that it an occupation will be on effect and will definitely put the invasion process into momentum that will surely make missions successful as it is.

In today's asymmetrical conflict, where technology is used to assure victory, it was known that Landing Helicopter Docks (LHDs) like the USA's Wasp Class LHDs and Landing Platform Docks (LPDs) such as USA's San Antonio Class, Indonesia's Makassar and Philippine's BRP Tarlac, is helpful when it comes to disaster preparedness, marine deployment, logistics and most of all, supply support to the navy's combatant ships like corvettes and frigates.

WHAT IS AN LPD AND ITS FUNCTION?

A landing platform dock (LPD) is a ship which has a military and nonmilitary uses. For military uses, it serves as a logistics vessel full of amphibious craft, armored personnel carriers, military trucks, and of course, marine personnel. It housed a hanger for a helicopter or two of medium size which purpose is to supply other ships with resources or supplying the troops in the field with also, necessary resources for battle. It has a well deck where an amphibious vessel like hover crafts, smaller LCUs or smaller combat vessels like patrol gunboats to house in such a deck. Such deck also serves as a launch points for LCVPs or Amphibious Armored Personnel Carriers that can deployed on a beach carrying marine personnel ready for battle. Not to mention also that such ships in event of war will serve as a command ship for the key leaders of the country and its military are planning for the next move.

For nonmilitary purposes, it serves as an instrument for HADR purposes where such ships are deployed on the areas affected by a recent disaster or calamity where the help is badly needed the most. Such function serves as supply ship as well as a hospital ship where civilians are served with best care possible and as well having problems in basic necessities will be temporarily mitigated until a permanent solutions will be laid up in place. LPDs are indeed helpful to easily distribute goods and other humanitarian assistance that a country's own citizens or other nations do partake.

STRATEGIC SEALIFT VESSEL PROJECT

It is the project of the present Aquino administration wherein it was a continuation of the project in distinction made out from the previous administration's Strategic Sealift Vessel and Multi-role vessel Project.

The original strategic sealift vessel calls for having a second  hand roll-on, roll-off vessel which is used for transportation purposes. It was then considered back then as an "interim" vessel where it will be used in a while until a multi-role vessel takes over it position.

While the multi-role vessel pertains for the Philippine Navy to have a brand-new LPD which is preferably based on Korean-designed Makassar-class LPD which it comes up with packages which pertains on this photo...


Source: adroth.ph
The present SSV project, meanwhile, is the combination of these projects of the previous administration. It calls to have two brand-new Landing Platform Docks and as for the results shown in the biddings, these project was bagged by PT Pal Persero which is based on Surabaya, Indonesia.

Specifications

Based on the Supplemental Bid Bulletin #4 (article here), where it was based on this file document from this link, the specifications are as follows:

Type: Landing Platform Dock (LPD)
Displacement: approximately 7,300 tons full load, subject to shipbuilder's design

Length: 120 meters minimum, subject to shipbuilder's design
Beam: 21 meters minimum, subject to shipbuilder's design
Propulsion: at least 2 Diesel engines coupled to 2 controllable pitch propellers, subject to shipbuilder's proposal
Speed: at least 13 knots cruising, at least 16 knots maximum
Range: 7,500nmi @ 13 knots

Crew: between 100 to 130 officers and men

Boats Carried: 2 Landing Craft Mechanized/Utility at floodable well decks, 2 RHIB or LCVP on Boat Davits
Passengers: at least 500 troops
Decks: Tank (? sqm minimum) and Truck Deck (800 sqm minimum)
Payload: 2,800 tons minimum

Sensors: Navigation, Surface Search Radar, Air Search Radar, EW Suite, Electro-Optical Fire Control System (all separate items to be supplied by PN), Combat Management System

Weapons: Primary: 1 x gun (possibly between 40mm to 127mm), Secondary: 2 x 30mm automated cannons port and starboard sides (EO FCS controlled), ? x machine guns (all separate items to be supplied by PN)

Aircraft Accommodation  Helideck capacity for 2 x 10-ton helicopters (based on Sikorsky Black Hawk), Enclosed Hangar for 1 x 10-ton helicopter (also based on Black Hawk)

And here is the specification PT Pal shown based on the bids given.

Source: MaxDefense blog site
BUILDING PROCESS

The construction of the ship commenced right after the steel cutting commenced last January 22, 2015 at PT Pal's Surabaya shipyard.

Upon the process, this ship is taking shape until it was launched, tested, and soon to be commissioned in the fleet which it will play a vital role in the navy.

Here are some of the photos that obtained through Timawa Forums and its FB Honeypot.








In these photos, it clearly seen that this ship has its potential and soon it will be the pride of the Philippine Navy that will play the role when it comes to amphibious capabilities as well as aiding the affected citizens in the times of distress. Judging its size, once commissioned, it will soon be the largest ship of the navy that it will surpass the Gregorio Del Pilar class Frigates that the navy obtains right now. In such a case, this project was produced straight out of taxpayer's money and it deserves commendation. Well done, Philippine Government!

SUMMARY

This ship serves as a support platform and will affect the operations the navy obtain in the near future. Not to mention that it will produce additional navy personnel that the organization one day will recruit navy aspirants and it mean job opportunities and motivations for those who want to join the fleet and experience the adventure and the capabilities this ship has to offer.

Furthermore, the fleet will not stand with combatants alone. Ships with firepower like frigates and corvettes still need replenishment vessels like LPDs that can lengthen the combatant's stay at sea. With that, more patrols will be made and the coastlines will stay safe. And with that the operations within the fleet, from logistics to maintenance, from combatants to support services, do play the role to improve deterrence and defend the fatherland where thy beloved families and memories of yesterday, today and tomorrow lives on. 

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UPDATES
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BRP Tarlac arrived at the Manila Bay on the evening of May 13, 2016.


BRP Tarlac in Manila Bay
It is as expected that it will be commissioned during the PN anniversary before the end of the month of May...

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