Philippine Navy confirms acquisition of six new OPV Offshore Patrol Vessels

According to information published by the Philippine Ministry of Defense on May 2021, Philippine Navy confirms the acquisition of six OPVs (Offshore Patrol Vessels) in Horizon 2 of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of Austal OPV for Philippine Navy. (Picture source Austal)

Citing the Philippine News Agency, "Regarding (the) OPV project, while it has been already approved, the next issue is where to find the money. As far as the senior leaders at the DND (Department of National Defense) level, the project's inclusion has been approved for Horizon 2," PN chief, Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency on Monday.

The AFP Modernization Program has three horizons. Horizon 1 started in 2013 and ended in 2017 while Horizon 2 is from 2018 to 2022 while Horizon 3 is slated from 2023 to 2028.

Among those earlier included in Horizon 2 are the acquisition of fast-attack interdictor craft missile (FAIC-M), landing docks, air search radars, and other external defense equipment. The OPVs are expected to replace the World War II ships that were earlier retired by the PN.

Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Australian shipbuilder Austal, which has a shipyard in Balamban Cebu, remains at the forefront of the Navy's OPV procurement program. According to information published on the website of Austal, the OPV for the Philippine Navy is based on a proven platform that has demonstrated success operating in tropical environments and conducting border patrol and maritime operations. She features an aviation deck enabling helicopter and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) missions.

The vessel is arranged with a starboard boat deck and stern well for the safe and rapid launch and recovery of RHIBs. The Austal Philippine Navy OPV is fitted with a mission bay and a large aft storage area to facilitate the embarkation of containerized mission modules.

The Austal OPV for Philippine Navy will have a length of 83 m, a beam of 13.3 m and a draft of 4 m. She will reach a maximum top speed of 22 knots (41 km/h) with a maximum cruising range of 3,500 nautical miles (6,482 km) at  a maximum speed of 12 knots (22 km/h). 

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