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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Discussing the Technical Requirements of the 2 new Landing Platform Docks for the Philippine Navy

The Department of National Defense (DND) has released the Invitation to Bid (ITB) for the Philippine Navy's planned procurement of two (2) brand new Landing Platform Docks (LPD) to boost its capabilities in sealift and amphibious operations.

MaxDefense already gave an overview on the project in our Database Resource Portal for the project, which can be accessed on the link below:

"Landing Docks Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy" - updates ongoing.

In this blog entry, we'll discuss on the ship's Technical Requirements as indicated in the project's Bid Documents.

We won't be discussing the technical requirements for the Landing Craft Utility and Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats, and will instead just focus on the Landing Platform Dock itself.

The PN's Tarlac-class LPD BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602) as it enters Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for RIMPAC 2018. The PN is tendering to acquire 2 more LPDs similar or even better and larger than the Tarlac-class. Photo taken from US Navy.

Technical Requirements:

The ships are required to meet the following requirements:

* Safely operate to up to Sea State 6
* Being able to launch at least 2 Landing Craft Utilities (LCU) from the well deck, at least 2 RHIBs or MPAC Mk. III to and from the cradle, and AAVs to and from the well deck and side ramps.
* Accommodate at least two 10-helicopters in the helideck
* Helicopter hangar for at least 1 10-ton helicopter

Dimensions and Characterisrics:
* At least 120 meters long
* At least 21 meters breadth
* Displacement at least 7,200 tons (payload compliant)
* Ship operation up to Sea State 6
* Helicopter operation up to Sea State 4
* LCU, RHIB and MPAC operations up to Sea State 4
* AAV operations up to Sea State 4
* Complement of 138 officers and men including 16 females
* Non organic complement for 1 VVIP, 8 VIPs, and 33 officers and men
* Allow accommodation for a marine battalion of 500 men

The LPDs will be used as platforms to launch the Amphibious Assault Vehicles similar to the ones above. Photo taken from US Navy.p

* Cruising speed of at least 13 knots
* Maximum speed of at least 16 knots
* Maximum Range of at least 8,000 nautical miles without refuelling
* Ship circling diameter of not more than 5 ship lengths
* Operate at temperatures between - 10° to 45°C Air Temperature, -2.2° to 32°C Sea Temperature, and 10% to 100% Humidity

Equipment Support:
* 2 Collapsible Cradles for 2 MPAC Mk.3
* Storage for up to 24 rounds of Spike-ER missiles
* Well deck provisions for 2 LCUs
* Flight deck for 2 10-ton medium helicopters specifically AW139 and including AW159
* Flight deck with deck locking grid or landing grid helicopter securing system
* Hangar for a 10-ton helicopter specifically the AW139
* Storage for up to 48 Spike-NLOS missile rounds and 48 2.75" aerial rockets
* 7-meter, 40-ton capacity tank turntable to turn vehicles on its own radius
* Space to fit at least 8 AAVs

Ship Design
* Future space and munition storage for a 76mm gun, 30mm guns, CIWS, decoy launching systems, 
* Fitted for but not with Hull Mounted Sonar, Air/Surface Search 3D Radar, Electronic Warfare System, Combat Management System, Electro-Optical Tracking System, and Gyro Compass
* Powered by 2 Main Propulsion diesel engines
* Bow thruster and controllable pitch propellers
* 4 Service generators, allowing 3 to be fully capable to power the entire ship including all Fitted for But Not With items
* 2 Reverse Osmosis Plants for freshwater production
* Replenishment at Sea Capability using STANAG 1065 standards

Sensors and Weapons:
* X and S-band solid state Navigation Radars
* Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) Camera
* 8 nos. of .50 caliber machine guns with mounts

A .50 cal gun mount on a Tarlac-class LPD. Eight similar guns and mounts are required for the new LPDs.

Technology Transfer:
* Require proponents to tie-up with local shipbuilder to build one of the ships in the Philippines
* Grant PN the ownership of design or allow license production of the design.


Aside from the usual safe operation of the ship up to Sea State 6, the emphasis now i given on the ability to stow and operate the Multi-Purpose Attack Craft Mk.3 (MPAC Mk.3) variant. This is an added capability that was not present in the previous requirements for SSV Acquisition Project.

The use of the Tarlac-class LPD as a mothership for MPACs came up in 2016 when planning for the MPAC Mk.3 included changes in the specs to allow the boat to fit inside the well deck, and the mast height reduced to not hit the well deck's opening.

The decision to fit it into a collapsible cradle brings the requirement further by allowing the new LPDs to carry its own complementary MPACs. 

The new LPDs will be able to carry two MPAC Mk.3s and have storage for their Spike-ER missiles, and room for their crew. Photo taken from Wikipedia.

The requirement for a flight deck for two 10-ton helicopters, plus a hangar for a 10-ton helicopter are similar to those in the Tarlac-class.


While the Philippine Navy provided a minimum dimensions and displacement, it is expected that the new LPDs would be similar or even larger/longer than the Tarlac-class LPDs.

The added spaces for additional operation rooms, MPAC stowage, FFBNW spaces, increased storages, and requirement for more electrical power means increasing certain parts of the ship's length, which in return may also increase the overall displacement of the new LPDs.

Accomodations for Marines remain the same at 500 troops, although emphasis was also given for spaces to allow female Navy officers and personnel. 

A space for a VVIP, which is actually the President/Commander in Chief is similar to those required in the Tarlac-class before. But additional spaces for MPAC crew was also required for the new LPDs, something missing in the Tarlac-class.

Infographic above is for the Tarlac-class, which aready exceeded the basic dimension and displacement requirements of the new LPDs. MaxDefense expects the new LPDs to be larger or longer and heavier than the Tarlac-class. Credits to original owner of photo.


Requested performance remains similar to what was asked in the Tarlac-class years ago, including maximum speed of at least 16 knots and cruising speed of at least 13 knots. MaxDefense was hoping for a higher maximum speed rating given the experience in operating with foreign fleets whose ships run faster than that.

But experience in deployment to Russia has now given the PN an idea on the operating environments that the LPDs will be operating at times. This includes operations in colder temperatures. But no mention was made on heating and cooling systems.

The PN should have learned by now to provide additional air conditioning and probably hearing provisions or ducting to many areas of the ship. There were several facepalm moments on the Tarlac-class wherein the deck structures were cut open to make way for window-type air conditioners. These may not be even considered in the ship's power requirements.

Equipment Support:

Flight deck, hangar, and well deck requirements appear to be similar to those in the Tarlac-class although additional requirements were added including a helicopter traversing system, downlink receivers for data transfer from helicopters, and other safety features that may not be available in the Tarlac-class.

The emphasis on use of AgustaWestland AW139 as basis for the 10-ton medium helicopter is a departure from the Tarlac-class wherein the Sikorsky Black Hawk was used as basis.

The AgustaWestland AW139M, which MaxDefense believes could be the next Presidential Helicopter of the PAF, or the selected utility helicopter of the PN. Photo taken from Wikipedia.

Back in 2012-2013, it was planned that the Philippine Air Force will be acquiring a small fleet of Black Hawk helicopters to be the PAF's latest Presidential VVIP helicopters. Now you have an idea what may be happening in the background.

The turntable capacity was increased, as the specs for the Tarlac-class only called for a 25-ton capacity. This could be in anticipation of the Philippine Army's upcoming fleet of Light Tanks which may have a maximum weight nearing 40 tons.

Capacity of vehicle turntable was increased from 25 tons on the Tarlac-class to 40 tons on the new LPDs. Photo taken from US Navy.

The storage for Spike NLOS, Spike-ER, and 2.75" aerial rockets only shows that the ships are planned to be used as bases also for the AgustaWestland AW109E Power armed helicopters (which use the 2.75" aerial rockets), the AW159 Wildcat (which uses the Spike NLOS) and the MPAC Mk.3 (which has the Spike-ER).

The PN's AW159 Wildcat naval helicopters are to be armed with the Spike NLOS missile. The new LPDs may act as temporary bases for these helicopters in the future as the LPDs are required to have safe storage for Spike NLOS missiles. Credits to original source of photo.

MaxDefense believes that the Tarlac-class do not have storages enough for several loads of missiles or rockets, and the new LPDs would correct that by having enough storage for several loads.

The collapsible cradle for the MPAC appears to be separate from the cradle for the RHIBs. So it would allow the LPD to carry RHIBs AND MPACs at the same time.

The Tarlac-class' cradble for RHIB, which is also steong enough to allow use to stow a small Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP). Photo from DRP forum.

Ship Design:

Like the Tarlac-class, the new LPDs will have two Main Propulsion diesel engines driving the ship, with two shafts with controllable pitch propellers, a bow thruster for easy docking, and 4 service diesel generators.

The diesel engines may need to be larger and have more output than those in the Tarlac-class due to the expected larger design of the ship and heavier weight. 

Due to the increased loading requirement for the ship, the generators are expected to be larger than those in the Tarlac-class, thus meaning the need for more space.

A lot of Fitted for but not with (FFBNW) items again in these new LPDs. Aside from the previous FFBNW allocations in the Tarlac-class like the space and power for a forward-installed 76mm Super Rapid naval gun, the new LPDs require power and space requirements for more than one 30mm secondary naval gun, a Close-in Weapon System (CIWS), and decoy launchers.

Unknown to many, the Tarlac-class LPDs were actually FFBNW 25/30mm RCWS gun mounts (above) as well as for a forward-mounted 76mm Super Rapid-type gun. The same is required on the new LPDs. Credits to owners of the photos.

More FFBNW items on the sensors and command systems. Among those specified were for a Combat Management System (CMS), a 3D Air/Surface Search Radar, a Hull Mounted Sonar, Electronic Warfare Systems, and Electro-Optical Fire Control Systems. These items would require the ship to have spaces for a larger Command and Control and Combat Information Center Rooms than those found in Tarlac-class.

The new LPDs are required to have space and power requirements for a 3D Air/Surface Search Radar which is a FFBNW item.

Sensors and Weapons:

As expected with a low budget, the ship will only be equipped with an X-band and S-band Navigation Radar as standard, and eight (8) .50 caliber 12.7mm heavy machine guns on manually operated mounts.a

The navigation radar allows the ship to navigate and have a standard capability to identify surface contacts. MaxDefense hopes that a military-type model will be used similar to those found in other new ships of the PN.

Solid-state X & S band navigation radars can be used as secondary surface search and helicopter approach radars too. It would be best if the PN can get a similar system already in service or are for introduction with ships under construction like the Kelvin Hughes Sharpeye (above) which is in service with two Del Pilar-class patrol vessel, and are to be used on the two Jose Rizal-class frigates. Photo taken from Kelvin Hughes website.

The machine guns will be distributed with 4 on port and 4 on starboard sides. It appears that there are no plans to upgrade them to remote-controlled weapon stations (RCWS).

8 manually-operated .50 caliber 12.7mm machine guns for defensive requirements could be ineffective and needs to be reinforced by larger caliber guns like 30mm RCWS. Photo from US Navy.

Many of the FFBNW sensors and weapons were discussed in the Ship Design part above. MaxDefense's concern is if the PN would have sufficient funding to fund the acquisition of these items in the near future. One could only see the bare-ness of the Tarlac-class, which up to now has not been given the FFBNW items it was designed with due to lack of funds.

Technology Transfer:

The tricky part, as proponents are asked to partner with a local shipbuilder to allow the construction of one of the LPDs in the Philippines.

As far as MaxDefense knows, some of the proponents with interest in the project has been doing this since last year. For example, Damen is in partnership with Filipino company Propmech Corp., while also looking for a larger shipbuilder to partner with.

The PN also requires the winning proponent to hand-over the ship's designs to then, or allow the PN to license produce the design on their own accord.

This requirement has become standard in the PN, as the Frigates being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries also have the same requirement.

With the Philippine Navy trying to get hold of the being a part owner of the Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction (HHIC) Shipyard in Subic, the PN may use its options to build similar ships, or redesign these ships according to their future requirements. Similar to how Indonesia's PT PAL got hold of the Makassar-class design from South Korea's Daesun Shipbuilding that became the PN's Tarlac-class and the Indonesian Navy's Banjarmasin-class and  Semarang-class.

PT PAL was able to secure the technology transfer for the Makassar-class LPD which allowed them to develop and build the Tarlac-class. A similar move is eyed by the PN. Photo taken from MaxDefense source from Indonesia.


Overall, it is obvious that the Philippine Navy has learned alot from experience in owning and operating the Tarlac-class Landing Platform Docks, and has improved the composition of the Technical Specs compared to the SSV acquisition project in 2013.

This will allow the PN to have a better LPD than the Tarlac-class, incorporating the PN's past experiences and ideas to make the ships even perform better.

The tender process is just beginning so MaxDefense expects more updates coning soon. It is also highly possible for the technical requirements will still change or revised depending on the feedback of proponents in the pre-bid conference that is expected to happen soon.

It would also be interesting to see who will be the interested proponents considering the PN now has credibility that this project will happen, unlike before when the tender for the SSV acquisition was not taken seriously by shipbuilders.

Project Summary:

Landing Docks Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 18 June 2019:

* End User: Philippine Navy (Sealift Amphibious Force)

* Quantity: 2 units

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 phase Priority Projects of RAFPMP

* Project ABC: Php5,560,000,000.00

* Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

* Source of Funding: GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund, to be paid via Multi-Year Obligation Authority (MYOA)

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: TBA

* Product for Delivery: 

    - 2 units Strategic Sealift Vessel (SSV)
    - 4 units Landing Craft Utility (LCU, 2 units for each LPD)
    - 4 units Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB, 2 units for each LPD)
    - Integrated Logistics Support Package

* Contract Price: TBA

* First post by MaxDefense: 25 September 2018

* Searching Hashtag: #PNSSVAcquisition, #PNLDAcquisition

* Status: Bidding process ongoing, Invitation to Bid released.


First edit and release: 18 June 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines


  1. Its still depressing to know that Philippine Navy one of the oldest in the region cant still stand on its feet by not having locally manufactured ship at its desposal. Lets hope that this is a start...again. We all know though max the basic need is HONEST political will and funding may it be PAF,PA,PN to move on or we will be back to zero. Mabuhay ang lahing Pilipino.

  2. Replies
    1. Not with two missile armed helicopters on deck and two missile armed fast attack craft in the well deck.

  3. The MPAC Mk3 carriage requirement is a breath of fresh air and shows the PN has at least envisioned the Tarlac types as motherships and expanded their capability over just being amphibious assault and transport ships.

  4. Wtf larger ship but only about 2.5b allocation per ship

  5. Is the requirement for a product to be exported or used by the country of origin in certain quantities still a prerequisite in bidding? I'm asking this because I can't find any users of Damen's LPD 1000 that they offer to PN.

  6. Why not make the maximum speed at least 20 knots? And make it capable of housing (hangar) 2 medium lift helicopter (perhaps AW-101 at 15 tons weight each)

    1. Indeed. The ability to accommodate larger helicopters will surely enhance interoperability with allied navies and expand the ship's flexibility.

  7. A Tarlac Class SSV with two SPIKE Missile armed helicopters on deck and two SPIKE Missile armed Fast Attack Craft in the well deck. Becomes a powerful Weapons Carrier surface warfare asset and force multiplier.

  8. It is necessary and even very important to discuss all technical requirements of this ship! Nevertheless, it is quite old and should be somehow developed or totally changed!

  9. I agreed to the one comment of anonymous blogger on the speed from 18 knots add 3 to 5 knots more for the need for the next 2 upcoming LPDs, I mean to propose here why not installing them with a least 2 heavyweight water jet propolsion system underneath the sides of landing platform ship in this way it will not interferes to the ship ingress/regress operations on the seas.

    1. Why not waterjet? Because they are more expensive to procure and maintain than conventional 4 to 6-bladed propellers. They aren't as efficient as conventional propellers at the speed regimes specified by the Navy.


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