Thursday, June 5, 2014

Philippine Navy to Receive Excess LCU from South Korea

The Philippines' Department of National Defense (DND) confirmed the transfer of a transport vessel, rubber boats, and computers to the Philippine government after the Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin's visit to South Korea. Reports have been sketchy so far, with the mainstream media reports commonly claiming the ship to be an LCU (Landing Craft-Utility), but some describing it as a ship that has a helicopter landing pad and space to carry more than 200 troops. The latter description does not fit an LCU but is more like a large landing ship like a Landing Ship Tank (LST) which is also present in South Korea's naval inventory.


The US-designed and made LCU-1610, which is the basis of the Korean LCU-70 and LCU-80 classes.
Photo taken from WW2LCT.org website.


MaxDefense sources confirmed that the navy is not getting an LST, and the reports are correct that the Philippine Navy (PN) is indeed getting an excess LCU from South Korea of the LCU-70 Mulgae-class, a Korean version of a US designed LCU-1610. It is expected to arrive before the end of the year if the deal runs smoothly.

These are made by Korea Tacoma using a design provided by Tacoma Boatbuilding Company of the US, thus the transfer to the Philippines may require US government approval, which was actually confirmed by DND officials in one report. This class are being replaced by newer Landing Craft Air Cushioned (LCAC) by the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) on amphibious operation use, and are currently relegated to minor transport roles. Some units were already decommissioned, while others are scheduled for decommissioning which may include the unit for transfer.




ROKN LCU-77, an example of the older Mulgae-class LCU. A similar craft is scheduled for transfer to the PN soon.


Being a small amphibious craft, its limited dimension does not allow carrying more than 200 troops as reported earlier, and the absence of a helicopter landing pad due to size constraints also cancels out helicopter operations. A report from another news organization taken from Philippine Navy spokesman Cmdr. Gregory Fabic confirms MaxDefense's information that the ship for transfer is indeed an LCU.

According to open sources, the LCU has the following specifications in its present state:
Dispacement: 415 tons
Dimensions (Length x Beam x Draft): 41.1m x 8.8m x 1.8m
Crew: 14
Range: 560 nautical miles
Speed (maximum): 13 knots

They are currently armed with Oerlikon 20mm guns similar to some of the Philippine Navy's older ships, although the newer versions are armed with 20mm Sea Vulcan turrets similar to those found in the Philippine Navy's Tomas Batillo-class and Conrado Yap-class patrol boats. It would still be possible that the landing crafts will be transferred without its armaments, depending on the negotiation between the Philippine and South Korean governments.


ROKN's LCU-76, transporting KM-250 trucks which the AFP also has.
Photo taken from baba1905 blog @ Daum.net.


MaxDefense is still awaiting further confirmation on the said transfer. Also, it would be noted that MaxDefense previously received confirmations from DND sources that the Philippine government was asking for more excess defense material transfers from the South Korean government as grants or for bargain sale, which includes combat and transport naval assets, and this LCU transfer may just be the beginning of the said request.


LCUs in Philippine Navy Service:
The Philippine Navy has been operating LCUs for many years, and currently it operates 5 LCUs from 3 distinct classes. It still operates 3 WW2-era LCUs of the American LCU-1466 class, the BRP Subanon (AT-291), BRP Bagobo (AT-293), and BRP Tausug (AT-295). 

It also operates 2 new large locally-made LCUs, the BRP Manobo (BU-297) and the BRP Tagbanua (AT-296), both units are the first of their own class. 

The BRP Tausug (AT-295) of the Philippine Navy, formerly a US LCU-1466 class used by the US military.
Photo taken from Wikimedia.




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UPDATES:
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July 1, 2015:
The Philippine Navy is now in possession of a Mulgae-class landing craft-utility (LCU) from South Korea. The ship, formerly LCU-78 of the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN), is now in Cavite and will be undergoing repair and refurbishing locally. According to our source, the ship looks battered from the outside, with rust, broken equipment, missing items, and needs repainting. But mechanically the ship needs minor repairs only and is in working condition. It appears that the Philippine Navy will shoulder the refurbishing works on the landing craft.

Also delivered were rubber boats as promised by the Korean government last year, although no word if the news on donated computers were also among those that arrived. 


Mulgae-class LCU from South Korea, formerly the ROKN LCU-78, is now in Cavite awaiting for refurbishing and repair works. 

The Philippine Navy has not yet floated a name for the ship once it gets commissioned, but following its naming practices, it would probably be named after a Filipino tribe. Guesses, anyone?


==========
June 22, 2016:

MaxDefense sources confirmed as early as 1st quarter of 2016, that the Mulgae-class LCU donated by South Korea, the former ROKS LCU-78, was found to be in very poor condition by contractors hired by the Philippine Navy to inspect the ship, as well as by its own ship maintenance teams. 

Although there is no reports surfacing to the media yet, MaxDefense found out that the navy's leadership has decided not to refurbish and repair the Korean LCU, and instead will be scrapped to at least return some salvage value after the PN spent more than Php 25 million for its transport from South Korea to Cavite. All previous announcements to procure parts as posted on PhilGEPS did not proceed, and were eventually cancelled.

As of April, 2016, PN sources confirmed that the ship was still in Cavite and no work was done until then. Photo of the ship can be seen in the Timawa Philippine Defense Forum.

While the ship was delivered to the Philippines as early as June 2015, the Landing Craft Heavy (LCH) from Australia came at a later date but all 5 are now fully commissioned and in already utilized by the Philippine Navy, which is an indication of the poor state of which this Korean LCU is in.

68 comments:

  1. sir max...
    please confirm this news
    http://www.interaksyon.com/article/88424/south-korean-donating-navy-corvette-to-ph-before-yearend


    is this real :o

    magbibigay din Sokor ng isang Pohang corvette.
    bukod sa bibigay nlng lcu,rubber boats at computer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Still verifying this report before commenting. But it's not surprising since the PH government has been asking for 1st priority on Korean EDAs for several years now. If you look at the blog entry, there's a portion and I quote:

      "MaxDefense is still awaiting further confirmation on the said transfer. Also, it would be noted that MaxDefense previously received confirmations from DND sources that the Philippine government was asking for more excess defense material transfers from the South Korean government as grants or for bargain sale, which includes combat and transport naval assets, and this LCU transfer may just be the beginning of the said request."

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    2. I'm smelling Incheon-class on frigate deal, hoping this corvette transfer is true!!! :)

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  2. Can those LCUs fit inside our upcoming SSVs? If so we need one more.

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    1. From what I see, it may not fit the SSV as it is.

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  3. sana kung totoo man toh i think na totoo naman gawa po kayo ng isang blog tungkol dito sa corvette na toh.

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    1. Hope first that the corvette transfer is true. There was a request for several ships, but need to confirm first before MaxDefense discuss this further.

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  4. http://www.angmalaya.net/nation/2014/06/05/841-sokor-donating-pohang-class-corvette-to-ph-navy

    Pohang for the PN? So they are lubricating the deal for our new Frigates.. Both France and South Korea. I heard in the news that France is giving away one of its Floréal-class frigate and one P 400 patrol boat. Now South Korea is giving away one Pohang class, one LCU, 16 rubber boats and computers.

    Whoever wins the Frigate deal, I hope that we could still acquire these second hand equipment. And we have a lot of Ship maker here in our country. Why not manufacture our own even if it's just patrol boars and LST.

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    1. Hi Allen, if you read my previous comment above yours, there was already a request for EDA from South Korea for some time now, even before the PN started bidding the frigates. But the timing of the release of a Pohang, if indeed true, is very catchy. Also, the French are not giving away a Floreal-class or even a P400-class. Those reports were baseless. The P400 deal for the PCG did not materialize as the PCG did not conclude the deal with the French Navy.

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    2. Personally I prefer PH get EDAs from Japan specially now that they relax their self imposed arms export and not relay too much on the Koreans.

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    3. This is part of counter trade transfer getting EDA. Why not develop the capability of our naval sea systems command, Philippine Navy the only industrial facility of the AFP since then. Why not bring this facility into its former capability and such development will create job. Is enough that we acquire platform always remember an EDA has a corresponding cost this is not free
      You are just making us filipino like we don't know anything. Shame on you leaders.

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  5. I will not be surprise if Korea will win the bidding for 2 bnew frigates..

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  6. Alam niyo its a pity na tagatangap na lang tayo ng pinaglumaan ng ibang bangsa.....shame to you mga GANID na politiko!!!!!

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    1. mas okay na yan alam ko dapat ma pride tayo pero mas okay na yang may nagbibigay satin kesa naman puro world war 2 gamit natin atleast yan mas bago.mas bago pa yan sa OHP mid 1980 yang mga barko na yan kaya pwede pa rin.

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  7. sir max
    http://www.dfa.gov.ph/index.php/2013-06-27-21-50-36/phl-embassies-and-consulates/3084-south-korea-to-donate-corvette-to-phl-navy-before-yearend

    i like to confirm the pohang class.i think this is real deal.

    hopefully the weapons and system will not be remove

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    Replies
    1. Confirmed that its a real deal. Still confirming the ship batch, since the Pohang-class is divided into 3 sub-classes. Initial info I got is that PN will be getting the older 1st batch ASuW version. Also still confirming if the old MM38 Exocet missiles & launcher comes with it, although confirmed that the sensors and gun systems will all be intact.

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    2. Sir, can you also confirm if we are only accepting one unit or we could have more of these decommissioned Pohang class.

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    3. Max, are these Corvettes going to be refurbish before its transfer to PN? and what is the estimated service life left on these Pohang Corvettes after its transfer?

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    4. sir max i like to know if this corvette will me upgrades? and of course change engine like they do in GDP CLASS THANKS

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    5. Allen, since this is a donation, they are currently confirming 1 unit. But there are pending requests from the PH government to acquire more either as grant/donation, or reduced price sale.

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    6. The ship would probably undergo refurbishing, being a major asset, the PN is expected to maximizes using it. Service life? The PN was able to extend the service life of several of itd assets to 70+ years. So we can't really say until when would its new acquisitions serve.

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    7. The engine change on PF-16 was required due to absence of one of its engines due to problems encountered before the ship was handed over to the PN. It was already accepted by the PN that they need to spend for an engine before the US agreed to hand it over.

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    8. sir max, SK will donate the pohang to PN with weapons intack, is it possible that the US will donate the 3rd WHEC weapons intack?

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    9. There is a chance that the next WHEC will have its AN/SPS-40 air search radar intact, but I don't expect the US to retain the Phalanx CIWS, unless the PH government pay for it.

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    10. SK donate warships to PH with weapons and sensors intack, can PH request to govt of US to donate the third WHEC with weapons and sensors intack?

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  8. this is already an old news as i remembered since last year. AFP is not a reliable source for this except if South Korean will announce

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    1. There was no news on excess LCU from Korea before. Or do you mean the Pohang? In this case, the DFA already made an official statement, as compared to the rumors in 2011. Rumors it may be that time, there was indeed requests from the Philippine government for excess ships, either as grant or to be sold for cheap. But it was too early then to announce such since the Korean government has not approved anything yet that time.

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  9. sorry if this off topic,sir max i like to know if we are negotiating about the 3rd hamilton cutter from us? because even if that's old we can use that. thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, the PH is in negotiaions for a 3rd WHEC for possible hand-over either this year or next year.

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  10. To add on that off topic Sir Max.. Do you have any information from your sources about the bidding process of the 2 b-new frigates? DND/AFP did not publish any information about the bidding..

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    1. The 2nd stage bidding has not started yet.

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  11. Why not buy more LCU like the BRP Tagbanua? Jobs will be generated at the same time.

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    1. There's a separate project for that. The BRP Tagbanua is undergoing a long term evaluation which will determine its strengths and weaknesses as a new design. Lessons learned can be put to use when building a new LCU.

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  12. Does this fit in the well deck of our soon-to-be-built SSVs?

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  13. Sorry sir max but im very confused now with a lot of new of the decomissioned corvette...when this corvette going to join the philippine fleet?end of the year,next year or 2 or more year

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    1. All we know right now is that the Philippines will receive a Pohang class corvette. We can't know for sure when because of possible delays, ie refurbishments and other factors.

      Remember what happened with BRP Ramon Alcaraz? Delivery was delayed over and over again during the refurbishment period.

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    2. Safe answer would probably be next year. No dates released by the government yet.

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  14. wow. the philippine government should reject this bribery. as it is, the PN is already a strong organization with modern equipment. the purchase of three helicopter carriers from indonesia is proof of this. what do we need this piece of junk LCU for? this is clearly SK bribing the govt so we will purchase their incheon destroyers. well i bet our missile firing frigates recently acquired from the US are better than their destroyers.

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    1. Hi, I do hope you get a better grasp of the state of the Philippine military. I noticed the info in your comment is wrong.

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    2. we don't have any helicopter carriers ordered nor do we have any guided missile frigates yet. the ships from indonesia are SSVs,not helicopter carriers. where the hell did you pull all that info out of? Hammerspace?

      christ.

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    3. maybe its his funny way of being sarcastic

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    4. hhhm sound suspicious sir max do you think 50 cents party already evade you blog ><..how scary

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    5. @Anonymous

      Fool. I'm glad nobody from South Korea (of any importance) is reading what you are typing. The vast majority of Filipinos agree that their donation is welcomed.

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    6. One of the reasons MaxDefense was established was to give information to people who are not familar with defense or military issues, aside from updating those who are well informed. It would be best to keep our readers informed of the AFP's current state to get more support in improving their capabiity.

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    7. To answer his post, we don't have any missile firing frigates, and this Pohang-class could probably be the first for the PN, should the Koreans decide to keep the ship intact as it is upon handover. The PN did not order helicopter carriers from Indonesia, they are actually landing platform docks that have limited helicopter assault capability.

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  15. If I am correctly informed the PHILIPPINE NAVY Plan is to acquire six frigates and twelve corvettes for a professional and credible naval force. If so, then the POHANG CORVETTE is the beginning of the CORVETTE phase of the PHILIPPINES NAVY Plan. The two WHECS at 3000 tons each could be FRIGATES if the PHILIPPINE DND would use the 40 MILLION DOLLARS Secretary of State John Kerry promised the PHILIPPINES to install HARPOON ANTI-SHIP MISSILES on the WHECS. If the DND awards SOUTH KOREA the contract for two new frigates (hopefully with one of them being built under license in the PHILIPPINES) then the PN would have 4 out its planned 6 frigates.

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  16. SOUTH KOREA has decided to build a "BLUE WATER" Navy (hopefully with a new Aircraft Carrier and a Nuclear Submarine) to project SEA POWER in the WEST PACIFIC OCEAN. The 21 POHANG CLASS CORVETTES were built in 1980's to provide a constant close inshore Naval Patrol around the coast line of South Korea. The PHILIPPINES needs a constant Naval Patrol in the WEST PHILIPPINE SEA along the 1000 miles of the West side of the PHILIPPINES. As the SOUTH KOREA NAVY replaces the POHANG CLASS CORVETTES with its new "BLUE WATER" FRIGATES, the PHILIPPINES needs to formally make a deal that the replaced POHANG CORVETTES will go the PHILIPPINES. This would enable the PN PLAN for a force of 12 CORVETTES to come to fruition.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Korea does not make an aircraft carrier.
      Dokdo(LHD) 18800 톤
      2018. Marado (LHD) 31000 톤
      Korea does not create a nuclear submarine
      U-209 -------> DSME 35OOton AIP (2020)

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    2. Young Oh, if needed, I expect Korean shipbuilders to be able to make a carrier.

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  17. The Phil Navy must take this seriously as it will be a big uplift for their capability in terms of handling antiship and anti submarine operations. They must acquire at least 12 refurbished pohang class corvette and 4 ulsan class frigate while waiting for the two brand new frigate to complete the 6 frigate requirement and 12 corvette for desired force mix. This acquisition of surplus naval assets will serve as a medium term acquisition to fill the gap of the philippine navy capability while waiting for newer and most capable platform but it still pack a punch to the PLAN's surface naval platform .

    Recommended platform that will serve as medium term acquisition for the philippine navy:

    12 Pohang class corvette
    4 Ulsan class frigate
    2 Hamilton class cutter that will serves as Offshore Patrol Vessel

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    Replies
    1. This will still depend on how much will SK provide (grant/sell) to the PH, and how much is the PH willing to accept (request/buy). Remember that the PN also needs to check its financial capability to pay for these ships' operation and maintenance upkeep which are expected to be higher than its current assets.

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  18. how can this vessel be a real "lcu" when gazmin was quoted to say that the new maritime helicopters can land on it? was this quote an imagination of interaksyon and manila standard?

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    1. If you reread the articles from the source itself, both news organizations rewrote their articles without the info saying helicopters can land or the ship can carry 200+ men. It means they realized that they were wrong. Also the PN spokesman already confirmed that they are getting LCU with the same description as the Mulgae-class.

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  19. both online articles still stands uncorrected

    both org should clarify this error if its an error and edit the written articles, w/c they are not doing. they should also clarify that secdef didnt say those words as they are making gazmin look like a fool by saying those. akalain mo, secretary of defense ka, tapos mali mali yung sinasabi mo. they should respect gazmin and his position and not make up any quotes just to provide a juicy article

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    1. Before I posted this blog entry, the 2 news orgs already revised their reports, removing the earlier info re. Helicopter landing capability and number of troops it can carry.

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    2. both articles still stands today (june 15, 2014). neither was removed

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  20. interaksyon and manila standard still carry the uncorrected report as of yesterday, june 14, 2014

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  21. What is needed is missiles both on attack craft, batteries in the hills, on the islands and on these rivine boats. Lastly underwater torpedoes from small submersible craft

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  22. The Philippine government needs to do is to have Philippine companies to enter into a joint venture with foreign firm(s) to locally produce warships, fighter jets, tapos mayroon pang transfer technology,etc. They have done this in other countries so why can't we do it here in our country.

    This is definitely favourable for Philippine companies, local economy, economical and more jobs for our millions of unemployed Filipinos.

    Go Philippines Rise up like an eagle for the Lord God is with you!

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  23. Let us produce locally made products like warships, fighter jets, radar, attack helicopters, and this is the best interest for all of us.

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  24. this has been suggested a million times and all the politicians and officials know this but they are just lame duck inutil more concerned on their personal agendas and pockets and not for the country. sad. and even if they do they are so slow in the process.

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  25. unless the politicians will change their old corrupt ways and be more pro active in national defense matters will this country have a credible external defense AFP. other than that the country will remain the weakest country in ASIA in terms of defense capabilities.

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  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  27. Hi Max! I am proud to say that I am also one of your avid fan of your patriotic blog. With all the excitement that has been popping up on the news today, I am also tempted to speculate that it might also be good for Australia's recently decommissioned HMA Ships Brunei, Labuan and Tarakan sail its way to Philippines as well. Just a wishful thinking but who knows, anything can happen now having known about the 2 C130 from US given to us plus 8 textron bell helis from Canada and not to mention a possible arms deal with Russia's great Missiles platforms.

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  28. any news regarding this donation ( and the pohang )? pn already announced that theyre sending sailors for the balikpapan already

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