South Korea to turn over Pohang-class corvette to PH this year
MANILA, Philippines—South Korea will turn over a Pohang-class corvette to the Philippines this year, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said, in a boost to the country’s capability to conduct maritime patrols around the vast archipelago.
“It was contingent to our ordering two corvettes from them,” Lorenzana told Inquirer.net, referring to the P28 billion contract signed with South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in December for the construction of two corvettes for the Philippine Navy.
“So now that we have pushed through with the corvettes, we expect the Pohang to be transferred to us soon,” he said.
Lorenzana said he hoped that the ship would be delivered “before June 30,” the date President Rodrigo Duterte’s single six-year term ends.
“There are things to be done by the Koreans such as making repairs, removing equipment that are not included, making the ship seaworthy, training the crew. Then the papers,” he said.
Inquirer.net earlier reported that a Philippine Navy delegation conducted a joint visual inspection in South Korea in November last year for the potential transfer of decommissioned Pohang-class corvette ROKS Andong (PCC-771), which served the Republic of Korea Navy for 32 years.
This would be the second Pohang-class corvette from Seoul. In 2019, South Korea donated ROKS Chungju (PCC-762), now called BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39).
The upcoming two brand new 3,100-ton corvettes, meanwhile, are based on HHI’s HDC-3100 design, measuring 116m long and 14.8m wide. Their top speed is 25 knots with a 4,500 nautical mile range.
HHI said the ships will be equipped with active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar that can enhance anti-aircraft detection capabilities, anti-ship missiles, and vertical launching systems. These will be delivered by 2025.
HHI also built the two Rizal-class multi-role frigates that the Philippine Navy is now using in a P16 billion deal in 2016.
The Philippines, an archipelagic state with one of the world’s longest coastlines and most islands, faces an array of maritime security challenges, including incursions of Chinese ships in the West Philippine Sea.
South Korea, currently the world’s ninth largest arms exporter, has been a major source of military hardware for the Philippines— from military trucks to light fighters.
Manila and Seoul’s security ties have flourished through the years after it was cemented by the Philippine deployment of troops during the Korean war in the 1950s.
On Thursday, the Philippine Army and Republic of Korea Army inked terms of reference (TOR) tied to a memorandum of understanding signed between the defense establishments of the two countries in 2018.
Philippine Army, Republic of Korea Army strengthen partnershipThe Philippine Army (PA) and the Republic of Korea Army…
Army chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. and his Korean counterpart Gen. Nam Yeongshin signed the TOR at an online meeting.
In a news release, Brawner said he hoped that through the TOR, the Philippines and South Korea will have an “ironclad alliance that is ready to face security and defense challenges not only in our respective countries but as well as in the IndoPacific region.”
There were no details disclosed about the TOR but the Army said it covers various areas of cooperation including reciprocal visits, mutual exchange of Army related insights and information, education and training, logistics and maintenance, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, and subject matter exchanges.