Saturday, June 22, 2013

Developments on Strategic Sealift Vessel Purchase for the Philippine Navy - Invitation to Bid Released

The Philippine Navy (PN), through the Department of National Defense (DND) has released the Invitation to Bid for the Strategic Sealift Vessel (SSV) acquisition project. The requirement is for two (2) units with an Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC) worth Php 4 billion pesos.

The cost includes the vessels and an Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) package for the PN. Delivery requirements is for the first vessel to be delivered within 730 calendar days (exactly 2 years) from opening the Letter of Credit, and the second vessel to be delivered within 365 days (exactly 1 year) from delivery of the first vessel.

A Pre-Bid Conference will be held on July 2, 2013, and submission and opening of bids is "tentatively" scheduled on July 16, 2013. "Tentative" since most bids done by the DND have pushed the submission and opening date further due to bidder's requests or other issues, so MaxDefense expects it to move, although still hoping that it won't to avoid delays in the project schedule.

Below is an excerpt from the Invitation to Bid released by the DND this June:

Excerpt from the Invitation to Bid released by the DND this month.
Photo taken from Timawa.net c/o 40niner_com.
So far no specifications were released to the public by the DND or PN. We can only speculate on the SSV's possible specification through the previous announcements from the DND or PN, offers made by some of the potential bidders, and comparison to similar vessels in service with other navies. The only given in the documents shown above is the price: it cost less to buy 2 SSVs than a single MRV, which was previously budgeted at Php 5 billion each bundled with landing crafts, armored vehicles, support vehicles and a mobile hospital (as in the case of South Korea's offer for a Doosan-made LPD similar to Indonesia's Makassar-class).

The Makassar-class was offered in the MRV project by South Korea, although a smaller  derivative design  is reportedly offered.
Photo taken from Timawa.net forums c/o Adroth.
It is presumed that the SSV will be smaller in size than the Multi-Role Vessel (MRV), thus reducing its cargo and passenger capacity, helicopter carrying capacity and number of landing deck spaces, and well deck size. It might also mean that the on-board medical facility and medical bed space capacity might be less than the MRV as well, although this is still speculation. 

Singapore's ST Marine offered the Endurance 120 design.
Photo taken from ST Marine's website.
MaxDefense previously discussed in short detail regarding the SSV program, where it was discussed that previous news reports that the SSV has drawn attention from several naval suppliers from different countries like Japan, Singapore, South Korea, France and Italy. Previous details also include it's capability to perform as a Search and Rescue (SAR) platform during disasters, is fitted with hospital facilities and a helicopter landing deck, and capability to transport a battalion of troops with their armored vehicles.


Indonesia's PT PAL previously displayed a scale model with basic specifications. It is so far the closest information on the SSV's possible specifications.

MaxDefense previously confirmed three of the said offers as Singapore ST Engineering's Endurance 120 series of multi-role vessel; Indonesia PT PAL's SSV-LPD which is a smaller derivative of the Makassar-class; and a special model from Spain's Navantia which is based on Athlas LPD 8000 but is much simpler and smaller. No confirmation until now on what other offers were made by other countries.

MaxDefense is waiting for further confirmation on details of the project, which will be discussed here later on. Emphasis will be on what included items are bundled with the program, if the requirement for on-board landing crafts, armored vehicles, support vehicles and mobile hospital will be pursued separately, the confirmed specifications of the ships including armaments requirements, helicopter facilities, capacity and sensors systems.



40 comments:

  1. how about the new frigates?

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    1. That's a separate program, please refer to other blogs on MaxDefense.

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  2. nauna ang project na yan bago yung sa frigate kaya kung titignan ang time frame mauuna talaga yan bago ang frigate at if ma deal ang dating 2016-2018 ng new frigate

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  3. hindi kasama yung sa spain?

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    1. Now I can answer you, nope, the Spanish firms did not bought the bid documents, but let's wait until the submission of bids.

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  4. Interesting Interesting
    Can't wait til we see all the SSVs we can choose from!
    GO PH!

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  5. I think PH may go with the Endurance class LPD more than the Galicia-class landing platform dock.

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    1. it would be nice though if PH can afford the galicia class...more speed, more range and more displacement.

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    2. The only problem I have with Galicia-class landing platform dock, is that dose the PH has the manpower to man the Galicia-class landing platform dock. If you look at how many people it takes to man the Galicia-class landing platform dock, vs the Endurance-class landing platform dock and Makassar-class landing platform dock. I would think either the Endurance-class landing platform dock or the Makassar-class landing platform dock would suit their needs.

      Here's the Break down on crewing the LPD
      Galicia-class landing platform dock
      Crew:185 + 600 troops

      Endurance-class landing platform dock
      Crew:65 + 300-500 troops

      Makassar-class landing platform dock
      Crew:126 + Up to 518 troops

      What's clear to me, the Endurance-class landing platform dock would be their best pick in the configuration that the Royal Thai Navy has in the HTMS Angthong. It would not be crew intensive and it would be easy for them to man.

      The one thing the PH Military needs to remember, do not do what the Royal New Zeland navy did with their HMNZS Canterbury (L421). The HMNZS Canterbury (L421) has RHIB & landing problems. The major is sea keeping problems in high sea states. Which is why New Zealand does not have a creditable amphibious capability and it's why PH should not end up the same way New Zealand is in.

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    3. Endurance Class price Tag was $134 million (nearly 5.85 billion PHP) :) for single unit only.

      Ref: In November 2008, ST Marine was awarded an S$200m (US$134m) contract by the Royal Thai Navy to deliver one Endurance Class LPD and associated landing craft.(http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/endurance-class-landing-ship-tank-lst/)

      Compare to 4 billion PHP (US$91.3 million) for 2 units.

      Spanih Galicia price around US$315 million, and Indonesian Makassar Class price around US$80 million each.

      Which one do you like?

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    4. If I was PH military, I would go with what I can afford and what is the best offer. The one I think is best for PH is the Endurance class LPD. It's because it comes with OTO Melara 76 mm Main deck gun and it even comes with Mistral Short range SAM.

      IF PH has the balls, they can ask the US Navy nicely to see if they can by some of the used Austin/Cleveland-class amphibious transport dock. They still have some life left and PH can use them to get their foot in the door with Amphibious Assault operations on a larger scale.

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    5. Yup, Endurance class is best LPD for PH,
      But have you thinking about price?
      Just like a child ask to buy delicious ice cream with only few cent on his pocket ( for buy candy only),..

      Even US give PH Cleveland class for free, PH would not be able to maintain and keep her on operational status.
      Cleveland Class need aroud US $40 million per year.

      Now what?

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    6. I simply think that PH should simply go with Endurance class LPD. The price can be brought down if they go with the version of the Royal Thai Navy. I would buy the Singapore version as it would be too costly, but the Royal Thai version would be perfect. I would say 4 of them would be good enough to form an Amphibious assault squadron.

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    7. Guys, we are discussing about the SSV here. The Galicia, Endurance and Makassar are all options for the MRV. As I discussed in the previous and present blogs,the SSV and MRV are not the same, with the SSV being cheaper, smaller, less capable, and anything less than the MRV. The Thais paid S$200 million for their cheaper derivative of the Endurance. This is way above the budget for even 2 SSVs.

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    8. The problem is, that if you getting a cheaper SSV/MRV (LPD)you even up getting a version of what the Royal New Zealand called the HMNZS Canterbury (L421). Which has so many problems including seaworthy issues.

      It's why if PH wants a REAL LPD, simply go with either the Endurance class LPD or the Makassar-class landing platform dock. Either one would suit their needs and fit will with the US Navy or any allies.

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    9. Nicky, the use of the term "MRV" does not make it a different ship from an LPD. The term MRV is more politically acceptable in Congress for approval so the DND and PN used that instead of LPD. Once the ship enters PN service, it would be classified as an LPD, not MRV ut the navy will call it an MRV for the sake of media mileage. The Canterbury has issues but not because of its being an MRV, but because of its quality and build issues. The Makassar itself is not a mil-spec ship, its design was based on a Doosan Ro-Ro design and was built to civilian specifications, so that makes it similar to the Canterbury, but so far no build issues.

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    10. So why buy a Makassar, when it's not mil-spec ship. Buying a Makassar is the equivalent of buying an HMNZS Canterbury (L421), without the sea keeping and performance problems. Which is why I believe the Endurance class LPD is Philippines best bet. Also in most navies around the world, no one uses the MRV word to describe the LPD.

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    11. Nicky, the Philippine Navy used the acronym MRV for political reasons. It would get congressional support more than being called an LPD. If you say the ship is "multi-role and can do disaster relief, mobile hospital, etc", it would be viewed as an important asset for civil defense and not just in a military point of view. Unfortunately, the Makassar, or even the new SSV are civilian spec'ed, that's why they are cheaper.

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    12. Do the SSV has a specific technical specifications on Weapons and Sensors to be acquired or another generic specifications?

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    13. The general specs will be in another project specifically for the weapons. But it is indicated that the PN wanted a main gun and secondary guns for the SSV as a minimum arms requirement.

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  6. Hi Max, about this SSV/LPD, is it really a must for the PN? I was just wondering how an LPD type ship become so important with out its complement of LCUs and LCACs. The Bacolod-class ship seems more sensible.
    The USN uses such ships to complement other types such as the LHA and LHD for its heavy load and the LCAC will carry those troops and tanks to the landing beaches. The USN uses helicopters and LCACs to land on the beach while the LHA,LHD,LPD.LSD sits over the horizon, safe from enemy counter-fire. It is the LCACs, LCUs and LSTs that drove to and land personnel and materiel directly to the beach.
    The Bacolod-class ships can do the same at an added bonus it has a RORO facility at its stern. Moreover as an LSV, the Bacolod-class can land its cargo on any island with a shoreline. It can load vehicles from its stern door and land it directly to the beach thru its bow doors in depths as much as 4 feet.
    Okay, the SSV can carry more and sail faster. So does a chartered RORO.
    Anyway, I'm not in the position to criticize anything. I just don't see the logic of spending so much money for such requirement without looking to a cheaper alternative.

    Panzer Rat

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    1. The PN has a long requirement for transport ships, since almost all of its 30+ units of LST and LSM from the past are gone, and only 2 Bacolod City-class ships replaced them. See more on my previous blog. LPD type ships are more flexible than the LST type, and can land troops from afar using AAVs, landing crafts and helicopters. Also since the PN needs to be capable of operating with its allies like the USN, the PN has to catch up with them in some way or another. A chartered RoRo has a lot of disadvantages since it is not a PN asset, you cannot force it to do PN duties. RoRo are only good for basic transport. But since ship operators are profit oriented, expect them to slap the profit against the PN. Many more reasons but too long to explain.

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    2. Hi Panzer rat, acquiring LPD's is what you call forward thinking.while some of the bacolod class LST's maybe new, the design is actually decades old. it is also cost effective in the long run since there will be fewer crafts to maintain and operate, though LPD's are like juicy targets for an enemy.and would you like to have your soldiers cramped in a little space while going to war?

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    3. I see your point -- think forward. And I am trying. I am not against acquiring an SSV as long as there is an operational requirement using this type of ship. I just want to clarify that we don't need the SSV designed for other navies.
      The US Navy's amphibious doctrine is to land transport and land the marines from over the horizon using the MV22 Osprey, helicopters, LCACs, AAAVs (or its successor) and other assets. We don't have such assets.
      We saw that even the Royal Navy has to requisition the QE2 and the Atlantic Conveyor in order to transport its troops to South Atlantic during the Falkland's War.
      What I am saying is that most of the PN"s role was more logistical in nature like transporting supplies to far flung outpost such as Pag-asa, Batanes, Sulu. They don't put the marines ashore for amphibious operations,
      PN should be able to draw up a requirement based on operational their experience, not on US-led amphibious exercise. We should have an SSV that is designed specifically for the PN's needs. Other nations have done such things.
      One good example is Denmark's Absalon-class support ship. It looks like a frigate or a destroyer for all its purpose but she have RORO ramps for landing troops and equipment to friendly ports. And on extreme case the Merkava MBT which is designed according to IDF's operational needs has its engines at the front to provide added protection plus rear door used for transporting a squad of four or the evacuate a wounded troop.

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  7. Hi max.whats the news about the frigates the DND wants to purchase? is the project still going or cancelled?

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    1. Ongoing. No updates or news does not mean it's out or cancelled. Not all information will be announced by the government.

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  8. Hi max what about getting some Whidbey island class ships being retired by usn would the Philippine navy be interested or is this out of the budget?

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    1. Even if they're given for free by the Americans, the huge operating cost and manning requirements will definitely make it a port queen.

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    2. If the PH can afford a used Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship, why not. They are still newer in class and still have some life left for PH.

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    3. The operating cost of a Whidbey Island class will definitely be more than several Makassars.

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  9. philippines must act now,the yellows didnt respect us as a country .they kept on grabbing our domain.we must protect our 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone.they chinese dont have the right to enter beyond the 200 n.m zone in any legal aspect.we must build our own ship just what the vietnamese did. they have the tt400tp and malniya.i think we can also our own which is less cheaper and help our own people of creating more jobs. try to seach the tt499 tp and the malniya which has more big missiles onboard.

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  10. at the same while shopping around for these assets, PHL should build some of these ships since they already build one like BRP Tabuana. why not build more of those with modern equipments and armaments.

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  11. Per your 3rd paragraph 'prediction', the 1st of the supplemental bulletin had been release -- moving the bid opening from Jul-16 to JULY 30.

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  12. The 1st supplemental bulletin was released by DND, moving the bid opening (1st part) to July 30. There is also a possibility that more participants are actually in the project than reported by the media (Navantia of Spain, Larsen & Toubro of India, Daewoo of Korea, and Austal of Australia). MaxDefense believes that another schedule change of the bid opening might happen.

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    1. Supplemental Bulletin #2 now moves it forward to AUGUST 15.

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    2. I thought so...now I'm expecting the other bidders to come in besides the earlier 4 companies announced.

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  13. A faster and cheaper alternative and at the same time have deterrent capability is to buy more Hamilton class ships.

    Though it will carry less and will require some modifications, these Hamilton class vessels can be excellent multi purpose support vessels. It can do this by

    1. leveraging the aft area helicopter deck and hangar by installing a ramp
    2. removal of the turbine power train for more weight and volume capacity
    3. provision for 2 LCVP's made of fiberglass near the 2 RHIB cranes
    4. identify passenger areas throughout the ship
    5. additional cranes in the aftmost area for cargo handling

    The Navy should concentrate on Capable Low-Cost Immediate solutions that will immediately increase its capabilities, not on expensive, new and medium/long term solutions. We have to stand up our own strong independent posture and not depend on foreign powers that degrades our independence and sovereignty.

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    1. Hi Rene. The problem with your proposals are these: there are not enough Hamilton-class WHECs being retired by the USCG, so the Philippines can't get more immediately. Also, the WHECs would be difficult for the PN to convert into fast transports because that will entail structural modifications on the ships. For a 45+ year old asset it would not be financial viable to do especially if the costs will be high. Although your opinion is not bad, but won't it be better to build low-cost transports instead?

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    2. Hi Max
      1. Based on open sources, 2 Hamiltons will become available shortly assuming the U.S. sequestration will not affect NSC commissionings. And more will become available as the Hamiltons will not meet U.S. requirements already. Hamilton availability will be very much faster than new SSV's even with the fervent hopes of the DND.
      2. Only minor modifications are needed as the aft section is already a cargo area when fitted with a ramp and a high capacity crane. You can fit 6 AIFV's in the helipad area. As to troops and supplies, you can accommodate them throughout the ships with minor modifications.
      3. PN can possibly have 3 Hamiltons as MultiPurpose Support Vessels for P2 billion already modified, based on the 2 PF's acquired. That leaves P2 billion for the uparming of the 2 PF's. The net result is having 2 Frigates supported by 3 MPSV's instead of just 2 new SSV's.

      This is a better path for the Navy to stand up a credible naval defense FASTER and at a LOWER COST. The Philippines has to be wiser and better given its very much lower financial resources.

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