Defense chief favors Austal’s proposal to build Navy ships in PHL

National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said during an interview with GMA News Digital on May 28 that he likes Australian shipbuilder Austal’s offshore patrol vessel (OPV) proposal for the Philippine Navy.

“As far as I’m concerned, I like it because it [will] be built in the Philippines using Filipino laborers,” Secretary Lorenzana said. Austal has a shipyard in Balamban, Cebu.

“It’s good to develop relationship with our neighbors. The Australians are willing to help us,” he noted.

According to Austal’s proposal, the OPVs will be built in the Philippines by Filipinos.

It can be recalled that Austal unveiled in September 2018 its OPV proposal. The overall length of the OPV will be 81.7 meters, beam (moulded) will be 13.3 meters, and hull draft (maximum) will be 4 meters.

“The OPV is arranged with a starboard boat deck and stern well for the safe and rapid launch and recovery of RHIBs. The vessel is fitted with a mission bay and aft storage area to facilitate the embarkation of containerised mission modules,” Austal said at that time.

“The proposed design incorporates 20 years of product improvement and evolution beginning with the ‘Bay Class’ first delivered in 1999,” Austal added. “The Philippine Navy OPV is a steel hulled vessel featuring an aviation deck enabling helicopter and unmanned aeronautical systems missions.”

Austal said among the capabilities of the OPV are: Execute ISR operations; Conduct Search and Rescue operations; Execute anti-piracy, anti-terrorism, anti-smuggling, anti-human trafficking and anti-drug operations; Provide critical infrastructure protection; Support special forces operations; and Provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.