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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Finally, PN's Pohang-class Corvette Coming Home Before Mid-Year, to be named BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39)

After all the self-inflicted delays, the transfer of a Pohang-class corvette to the Philippine Navy (PN) is indeed finally happening before the middle of 2019.

Aside from the press statement made by the Philippine Navy's Flag Officer in Command (FOIC) Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad confirming that the Pohang-class corvette donated by the South Korean government will be delivered by March or April 2019, MaxDefense was also able to obtain similar information from several defense and naval sources.

Based on the FOIC's statements alone, the assigned officers and crew members of the ship will be departing for South Korea before the end of January 2019. MaxDefense sources added that there are still possible delays, although the full deployment of all crewmembers to South Korea will definitely be completed before February 2019 ends.

The Pohang-class combat corvette ROKS Chungju (PCC-762), which was transferred to the Philippine Navy and will be named BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39).
Credits to original source of the photo.

The Ship: ROKS Chungju (PCC-762)

The ship involved, the former ROKN Pohang-class combat corvette ROKS Chungju (PCC-762), one of the four Flight III ships of the class. She was commissioned with the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) in 1987 and served the ROKN until 2016.

She is 88.3 meters long, with a beam of 10 meters and draft of 2.9 meters. Displacement is at 1,220 tons full load. The ship was rated for a crew of 118 personnel.

The ship is powered in a Combined Diesel or Gas (CODOG) configuration, with two (2) MTU 12V956 TB82 diesel engines and one (1) GE LM2500 PB gas turbine engine, all running 2 Kamewa controllable pitch propellers. She is rated to run a maximum speed of 30 knots using the gas turbine engine, and has an endurance of up to 20 days. It is also rated  with a maximum range of 4,000 nautical miles @ 15 knots cruising speed using diesel engines.

Prior to retirement, the ship was equipped with the following systems:
a. Weapon Systems:
- 2 x Mk. 72 Oto Melara 76mm/62 Compact main naval guns
- 2 x Otobreda twin 40mm/70 secondary naval guns
- 2 x Mk.32 triple 324mm torpedo tubes, compatible with Mk.44, Mk.46 and MU90 torpedoes
- 1 x Mistral firing station for MBDA Mistral or LIGNex1 Chiron VSHORAD missile
- 2 x Mk. 9 Depth Charge Racks (6 bombs each)
- 6 x 12.7/50 heavy machine guns

The Flight III ships were not equipped with anti-ship missiles, unlike the Flight II (MM38 Exocet) and Flights IV & V (Harpoon). The Flight III was configured more for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW).

b. Sensor Systems:
- Ferranti WSA 324 combat data system
- Raytheon AN/SPS-64(V)5B surface search radar
- Singaal (now Thales) LIOD optronic director
- Signaal (now Thales) WM28 fire control radar,
- Raytheon AN/SQS-58 hull mounted sonar
- ULQ-12(V)1K electronic support measures

After retirement, the ROKN removed several systems, mostly obsolete but others are because they are for use only by the ROKN. These include the following items:
- 1 x Mistral firing station for MBDA Mistral or LIGNex1 Chiron VSHORAD missile,
- 6 x 12.7/50 heavy machine guns
- ULQ-12(V)1K electronic support measures
- several others that we won't be mentioning anymore

It also appears that the Mk. 9 Depth Charge racks are no longer there.

The Philippine Navy recommended the replacement of removed systems especially on navigation and communication systems. And although they did not appropriate funds to acquire a new Electronic Support Measures (ESM) and Mistral firing station, the ship is now proven to be able to accommodate such subsystems. The current planned acquisition of Radar-ESM by the Philippine Navy for the Del Pilar-class Frigate Upgrade project, as well as the planned use of MBDA Mistral missiles on the upcoming new frigates could be a basis for future upgrade on the Pohang-class corvette.

Another item for installation by the Philippine Navy is a deck crane for a 7-meter Zodiac-type RHIB.

The Department of National Defense and the Philippine Navy are also in coordination with the South Korean Ministry of Defense on the acquisition of 76mm, 40mm, and 12.7mm ammunition, heavy machine guns, spare parts, supplies, and others. Should the DND and PN fail to secure the transfer of ROKS's existing stock of ammunition, it is expected that the DND and PN might shell out additional funds and purchase directly from Poongsan Corporation, which is the ROKN's supplier of naval gun ammunition.

The ROKN removed the Mistral firing station from the ROKS Chungju after its retirement from service. But the point that this was installed means the PN can also install a similar system once the ship is in their possession. The PN is an upcoming user of the MBDA mistral VSHORAD missile, as it is among those to be used on the new frigates being built in South Korea by Hyundai Heavy Industries.
Credits to original source of photo.

More details can be found on our older MaxDefense blog on the Pohang-class corvettes, which can be found below. Please note that prior to the ROKS Chungju, originally the South Korean government offered the older ROKS Mokpo (PCC-757) which is an older Flight II unit with some differences on design and subsystem as the Flight III units.

"Overview on ROKN's Pohang-class Corvettes, and Transfer of 1 ship to the PN" - dated 08 June 2014.

Another photo of ROKS Chungju (PCC-762).
Credits to original photo source.

Capt. Conrado Yap, and the new BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39)

As early as 2018, it was already floated by the Philippine Navy that the ship should be named after gallant Filipino military leaders or men that served in the Korean War as part of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK). Another option was to name it after famous Filipino generals, leaders, or chieftains.

In the end, the final choice as approved by the Philippine Navy was BRP CONRADO YAP (PS-39).

As early as 3rd quarter of 2018, MaxDefense already received information from our sources that the most likely name to be used on the former ROKS Chungju is BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39). This became the basis of the illustration we requested one of our contributors to make. Take note "addition to the Fleet in 2018" was written on top as it was anticipated before that the ship will be delivered before December 2018.
Thanks to one of our contributors and a MaxDefense community member for providing this illustration to us last year.

Capt. Conrado Yap O-1914 Philippine Army, is considered as the most decorated Filipino soldier during the Korean War. He posthumously received a Philippine Medal of Valor, the country's highest military honour, as well as a US Distinguished Service Cross, for gallantry in action as part of the Tank Company, 10th Battalion Combat Team (10th BCT), Philippine Army. They fought the China People's Volunteer Army's 44th Division  in the Battle of Yultong in South Korea during the Chinese First Spring Offensive in April 1951.

 Capt. Yap was born in Zambales, and is a member of Philippine Military Academy class 1943.

This isn't the first time that the name "Conrado Yap" was used in the Philippine Navy ship. Prior to the Pohang-class corvette, the Philippine Navy has the BRP Conrado Yap (PG-840) , the lead boat of the Conrado Yap-class fast patrol boats, which were also transferred by the South Korean government to the Philippines in 1993.

Capt. Conrado Yap was the commanding officer of the Tank Company, 10th Battalion Combat Team (10th BCT), Philippine Army. Considered as the most decorated Filipino soldier in the Korean War, he was killed in action during the Battle of Yultong against the China People's Volunteer Army's 44th Division.
Photo taken from Wikipedia.

A photo of Capt. Conrado Yap with an M4 Sherman medium tank of the Philippine Army. This appears to be taken in Manila before deplyoyment to Korea.
Photo taken from the AFP historical photo collection of Lt. Col. Francis Neri's Facebook page.

Retirement of BRP Rajah Humabon (PS-11)

In preparation for the expected delivery of the Pohang-class corvette ROKS Chungju, the Philippine Navy scheduled the retirement of its sole Cannon-class destroyer escort and former flagship BRP Rajah Humabon (PS-11).

While the crew of BRP Rajah Humabon are not automatically reassigned to the upcoming Pohang-class corvette, this would allow the Philippine Navy to allocate manpower and rotate assignments from different active navy ships. This is because the crew of the Pohang-class will come from different ships of the Philippine Fleet.

The delay of the arrival of the ROKS Chungju actually affected the operational capability of the Philippine Navy, as they initially expected the timing of BRP Rajah Humabon's retirement and its ROKS Chungju's arrival from South Korea to have only a small gap.

BRP Rajah Humabon (PS-11) during Passing Exercises with a Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer. She was retired in preparation of accepting her replacement, the Pohang-class corvette ROKS Chungju.
Photo taken from JMSDF's Facebook page.

Status as of January 2019:

Based on information MaxDefense gathered from public statements, as well as from our defense, naal and industry sources, the ROKS Chungju is already undergoing repair and rehabilitation works in STX's yard in South Korea.

Major works involved will include overhaul of the diesel engines and generators, replacement of navigation, communication equipment and other obsolete and non-working systems, rehabilitation of ship's guns, electrical, plumbing, sanitary and mechanical systems, repair of hull, superstructure and cabins, and repainting of the ship.

Separately, the Philippine Navy conducted bidding last August 2018 on different lots corresponding to different works involved in the corvette under the "Procurement of Relevant Requirements for the Transfer of Pohang-class Corvette from the Republic of Korea to the Philippine Navy" project, with the following details:

Lot 1: Logistical Requirements - awarded to Apo Philtrade and Trading Services Inc.

Lot 2: Weapons, Communications, Electronics, Information System (WCEIS) Requirements - awarded to STX Singapore (on behalf of STX South Korea)

Lot 3 - Machinery and Other Related Repair - awarded to Keumha Naval Technology Inc (KHNT)

The ship's assigned crew from the Philippine Navy will depart for South Korea in batches within January and February 2019, and will undergo training, familiarization, and work supervision while the ship is being prepared.

Expected delivery of the ship will be sometime between March and April 2019, although there is still a chance of delay but not as much as previous ones, considering project and deployment costs will go high if this happens.

Until then, MaxDefense hopes that everything would proceed as scheduled, and no further delays to hamper the project. Additional updates will be provided by MaxDefense as project continues until rehabilitation works completion, commissioning, and delivery to the Philippines.

Philippine Navy officers and men visiting STX's shipyard in South Korea, while the Pohang-class corvette ROKS Yeosu (PCC-765) undergoes rehabilitation works before its transfer to the Vietnam People's Navy (now the VPN's HQ-20).
Photo taken from Philippine Navy's Facebook page.

What's Next:
MaxDefense previously mentioned that the Philippine Navy is eyeing the acquisition of at least 2 more Pohang-class corvettes from South Korea, to complement the upcoming BRP Conrado Yap.

Based on the PN's assessment, it would be practical for them to have at least 3 ships of the class to support its relevance to the fleet's inventory. This makes support, training, maintenance, and logistics easier, while also improving the capability of the Philippine Navy.

MaxDefense also previously mentioned in its Facebook posts that the Department of National Defense and the Philippine Navy are currently negotiating with the South Korean defense ministry on the possibility of transfering 1 or 2 more Pohang-class corvettes. MaxDefense was informed by sources that the request for a 2nd ship was already sent last year to Korean authorities, awaiting for a final reply or approval.

Take note that submitting a request may also result to a disapproval, so a 2nd Pohang-class for the PN isn't final yet.

MaxDefense posted this illustration in June 2018, as provided by one of our contributor who made the scaled illustrations for sharing by our page. This shows how the Pohang-class (below) sums up compared to the Del Pilar-class frigate and AgustaWestland AW109 Power naval helicopter (top) and Jacinto-class patrol vessel (middle).
Photo shared to MaxDefense and allowed for posting.


Procurement of Relevant Requirements for the Transfer of Pohang-class Corvette from the Republic of Korea to the Philippine Navy

End User: Philippine Navy (Offshore Combat Force, Philippine Fleet)
Modernization Phase: Revised AFP Modernization Program Horizon 2 phase
ABC: Php250,000,000.00
SARO Release: SARO-BMB-D-18-0013408 dated 07 June 2018
Status as of this writing: all 3 lots with total ABC share of Php 169,689,831.23 awarded to 3 contractors. Works ongoing.
Selected Proponent: STX South Korea (shipyard), Apo Philtrade and Trading (Lot 1), STX Singapore (Lot 2), Keumha Naval Technologies (Lot 3), plus others.
Contract Price: Php250,000,000.00 total


  1. Here we go again. The Pohang we're receiving from South Korea will not have the missiles and the depth charge. Our Navy does not have even a budget for weapons replacement. It's like having a pitbull without fangs. Our Armed Forces are happy with equipment without weapons. Puro PORMA lang!!!

  2. What's the point in the Philippine Navy's acquisition of used and lightly armed warships? When a missile armed Chinese warship challenges them they will simply turn around and flee as usual.

    When their government says they'll arm them in the future, how far in the future would it be? We've seen the Del Pillar class ships continue to age for years while waiting to be upgraded.

  3. The Philippines should have made a deal for 4 Pohang class corvettes and 4 Ulsan class Frigates.

  4. Bulk of the budget of 4.8 million USD will go into logistics and repair ..the condition of the ship is not at the best since left sitting...more than a year..the rust etc will make it costly..let alone the engine

  5. OK Yan kahit papa ano mas msraming kanyon Yan wag ka ng umasang may missiles hintayin lang Yong dalwang bagong barko Kung aabot pA Yon npikutan n ng tsekwa Ang pagsara he he Galit Sila pag nglagay tayo ng beaching ramp st irepair Ang rancudo airfield


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