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Corvette Acquisition Project (Lots 1 and 2) of the Philippine Navy

The Philippine Navy (PN) is in the process of increasing its naval surface combat capability by acquiring new surface warships as part of the Horizon 2 phase. This includes the introduction of a new class of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capable guided missile corvettes for the Offshore Combat Force (OCF) under the Corvette Acquisition Project.

This is in line with the PN's Desired Force Mix and Capability Upgrade Program, which actually calls for 12 Corvettes to be acquired between 2013 to 2028.

An improved variant of the Jose Rizal-class frigate (HDF-2600 design) was offered by HHI to the DND and PN. It is most likely to be chosen for the Corvette Acquisition Project. Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense by one of our contributor.

Project Summary:

Corvette Acquisition Project (Lot 1: Platform and Launchers)

Note: Edited as of 17 August 2019.

* End User: Philippine Navy (Offshore Combat Force)

* Quantity: 2 ships and assorted ammunition

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects of RAFPMP

* Project ABC: Php28,000,000,000.00 (both lots)

* Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government (G2G) Procurement

* Source of Funding: From other sources, to be paid via Multi-Year Obligatory Allocations (MYOA).

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: TBA

* Product for Delivery: TBA

* Contract Price: TBA

* First post by MaxDefense: 25 June 2013

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PNCorvetteAcquisition #PNCAP

* Status: Pre-Procurement phase ongoing. Final negotiations ongoing with Hyundai Heavy Industries.


The acquisition of Corvettes is among the most important programs of the Philippine Navy in beefing up its surface combat capabilities. Several versions of the PN's procurement plans from 2013 to 2028 included the corvettes, although total quantity and number of ships to be procured on which phase varies.

Based on the Philippine Navy's Desired Force Mix introduced in 2014 as a guideline for their Horizons 1 to 3 asset acquisition plan, the service hopes to get 12 corvettes capable of anti-submarine warfare (ASW). No specific timeline was provided on when these corvettes will be funded for acquisition.

In 2015, another Philippine Navy infographic was released on their official website, wherein 4 corvettes are planned for Horizon 2 phase (between 2019 to 2023), and another 4 as part of the Horizon 3 phase for a total of 8 corvettes.

The Philippine Navy's official publications released another list of plans on April 2016, wherein it included the plan to have 6 corvettes for Horizon 2 phase, and another 6 for Horizon 3 phase, totalling 12 corvettes.

Based on the submitted procurement plans of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on December 2016, it again included corvettes for the Philippine Navy, wherein 8 are planned for Horizon 2, and another 4 for Horizon 3 for a total of 12 corvettes.

Finally, based on the submitted plan by the Philippine Navy for approval under the Horizon 2 phase in 2017, only 2 Corvettes were requested for funding. And based on the approval released by Pres. Duterte last June 2018, this was approved with a proposed budget of Php28 billion.

Updated Technical Requirements (as of June 2019):

General Platform (Hull) Requirements:
- Minimum length of 80 meters, no limit on maximum length;
- A draft of equal or greater than 4 meters,
- A maximum of speed of at least 25 knots at 80% Maximum Continuous Rating,
- Endurance of at least 20 days, and operating range of at least 4,000 nautical miles,
- Displacement of between 2,000 to 2,500 tons
- Helicopter Landing Deck capacity of at least 10 tons capacity,
- A hangar for at least one 10-ton helicopter,
- A minimum complement of 80 officers and sailors,
- Having unrestricted ship and subsystem operability at Sea State 6
- Includes two 7-meter Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat for Ship-boarding
- Low Radar Cross-Section, Low Infra-red design,
- Low Underwater Radiated Noise and Low Magnetic design
- Includes a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare citadel
- Tier 3 diesel engine rating

Sensors Fit:
- Two Navigational (X & S-band) Radars
- 3D Air/Surface AESA Radar with Identification Friend or Foe (IFF),
- A Fire Control Radar,
- An Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS),
- Hull Mounted Sonar (HMS), 
- Towed Array Sonar System (TASS),
- Incorporating Tactical Data Link 16 and 22 (which are PN-supplied) ,
- Naval Communications-Electronic Support Measures (C-ESM),
- Naval Radar-Electronics Support Measures (R-ESM),
- Tactical Air Navigation (TACAN), Satellite Communications (SATCOM)
- Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD)

Combat Systems:
- Combat Management System with Tactical Data Link
- Integrated Platform Management System,
- Integrated Bridge Control System,
- Integrated Communications System,
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle component
- Chaffs & Decoys

Weapon Systems:
- 1 x 76mm Super Rapid gun,
- 2 x quadruple anti-ship missile launchers,
- 1 x Close-In Weapon System (CIWS),
- At least 1 x 30mm secondary gun,
- 2 x triple torpedo launchers
- At least 1 x 8-cell Vertical Launching System (VLS)


U P D A T E S:

30 September 2019:
MaxDefense released a blog entry discussing recent updates on the Corvette Acquisition Project, including what MaxDefense believes would be the direction of the project, which is for it to be designed and built by South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) based on an improved variant of the Jose Rizal-class frigates (HHI's HDF-2600 design) being constructed now for the Philippine Navy.

We conveniently called this the Jose Rizal-class Flight II, based on how the South Koreans name the improved variant of their warship classes as the design progress.
The blog entry can be accessed from the link provided below:

"Philippine Navy's Corvette Acquisition Program - Jose Rizal-class Flight II?" - first posted on 30 
September 2019.

Among those MaxDefense sees as most likely competitors to HHI's offer are Dutch shipbuilder Damen with their SIGMA 9814 corvette design (top) and a simplified version of the Gowind-class from French shipbuilder Naval Group (above). Photos credited to original sources.


09 November 2019:

As part of their report on the launching of the second Jose Rizal-class frigate Antonio Luna (FF-151) on 08 November 2019, News1 Korea reported that Defense Sec. Delfin Lorezana and top officials of Hyundai Heavy Industries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on HHI's exclusive participation in the design and construction of a "new patrol ship" that the Philippine Navy will acquire next year.

There are only two new patrol / combat warship projects ongoing with the Philippine Navy, the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) acquisition project and the Corvette acquisition project. 

It was already reported before by MaxDefense that the Department of National Defense (DND) has already made the direction to acquire the OPVs from Australian shipbuilder Austal, while MaxDefense previously reported that Pres. Duterte has already approved the Corvette Acquisition Project last May 2019 with HHI's proposal being the one to be used as basis for the project.

Obviously the report was talking about the Corvette Acquisition Project, which means this firmly seals up HHI's selection as the shipbuilder and designer of choice for the Philippine Navy's next generation corvettes.

This proves that our earlier blog posted on 30 September 2019 was indeed correct, wherein we did mention that the DND and the Philippine Navy has set the direction to acquire the future new corvettes based on an unsolicited proposal submitted by HHI rather than with other shipbuilders.

The blog entry can be accessed from the link provided below:

"Philippine Navy's Corvette Acquisition Program - Jose Rizal-class Flight II?" - first posted on 30 
September 2019.

Looks like the plan to have the new corvettes based on an improved version of the Jose Rizal-class frigate is becoming a reality. Photo taken from News1 Korea.


18 June 2021:

There are mixed reports and statements coming from both the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Philippine Navy (PN) regarding this project.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic expenditures of the government, the Corvette Acquisition Project was said to be delayed due to lack of funding. Despite proposals for the financing to be through soft loans from foreign governments, the Philippine Government still needs to raise an initial payment of around 10 to 15% of the total value of the project.

With this, it was mentioned by the DND in reports that the Corvette project will be pushed back to either 2022, or to the Horizon 3 phase of the RAFPMP which starts in 2023 and will be implemented by a different administration.

But other reports suggest that the project was merely delayed, but will still push through within the Horizon 2 phase. The Philippine Navy has also confirmed that the project is still ongoing.

MaxDefense Philippines also confirmed that the project is still alive, as the PN and DND are still discussing with foreign shipbuilders, specifically Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), ASFAT of Turkey, and some European shipbuilders.

The procurement still remains to be through soft-loan financing by the country of origin's government of the winning shipbuilder.


22 July 2021:

MaxDefense Philippines confirmed that South Korea shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries' new corvette design dubbed the HDC-3100, also known as the HDF-3100 frigate, is the model offered by the shipbuilder to the Philippine Navy's Corvette Acquisition Project. 

Hyundai Heavy Industries updated its Naval and Special Ship Business Unit product brochure, and it interesting that they added a new ship design called HDC-3100.

Brochure says the length is 114m, width is 14.8m, and draft is 3.8m, with maximum speed of 25 knots. This makes it longer and wider than Jose Rizal-class frigates, but with the same speed which could mean the use of diesel engine propulsion only, no gas turbines.

HDC-3100 is an indication that it is a Corvette design (C in HDC), with a displacement of around 3,100 tons.

Based on CGI, the design is almost very similar to the HDF-2600, which is the baseline design of the Jose Rizal-class frigate of the Philippine Navy. 

Differences noted on the HDC-3100 compared to HDF-2600 include:
* longer forward section
* larger space for more VLS launchers
* additional superstructure cover wall on mid-section for improved radar cross section reduction
* bigger space behind the funnel for more anti-ship missile launchers

The VLS on CGI shows 16 cells of what appears to be MBDA VL-MICA launchers, while space appears to be available for more VLS launchers.

The wall covering in the superstructure mid-section was what MaxDefense PH previously mentioned as something HHI can improve on the Jose Rizal-class design, although there is still an open gap forward of the funnel.

Access for davit-mounted RHIBs will be using a retractable access gate similar to most modern warship designs.

Also noted were increased number of countermeasure launchers, looks like Terma C-Guard similar to what PN uses on Jose Rizal-class frigates.

Another is the use of Hensoldt TRS-4D AESA radar which is a more advanced version of the TRS-3D used in the Jose Rizal-class frigates.

It remains to be seen if PN and DND will accept HHi and South Koran Govt's offer for the Corvette project, which is competing with other designs including from Turkey, Netherlands, and other countries.

First edit and release: 17 August 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource

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