Navy commissions newest, largest ship

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  • The Philippine Navy's newest and largest ship, BRP Tarlac, arrived at the Port of Manila on May 16. Authorities said it will be used for military purposes, disaster response, and humanitarian assistance.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Philippine Navy commissioned its brand new and largest ship, the BRP Tarlac, on Wednesday (June 1).

Coinciding with celebrations for its 118th founding anniversary at the Manila South Harbor, the Navy also launched three newly-acquired landing craft heavy vessels from Australia.

These were named the BRP Waray, BRP Iwak, and BRP Agta, after indigenous groups in the country.

The 123-meter long BRP Tarlac is the first of two strategic sealift vessels (SSVs) built by PT PAL in Indonesia that cost P3.87 billion, under the military modernization program.

President Aquino, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and other Navy officials inspected the BRP Tarlac.

In his speech the same day, Aquino said that BRP Tarlac will serve as a "multi-role vessel" with capabilities beyond military operations such as:

  • Humanitarian assistance
  • Disaster Response
  • Sea-lift and logistics
  • Mobile government administration
  • Search and rescue
  • Mass evacuation

Each SSV vessel can carry up to three helicopters, in particular the Navy’s Augusta Westland-109, and up to 500 troops.

According to the government-run Philippine News Agency, the landing craft heavy vessels were former ships of the Royal Australian Navy.

The Office of the President said the next SSV is scheduled for delivery on May 2017.

CNN Philippines' Ivy Saunar contributed to this report.