Category Archives: Frigates

The Navy’s New Frigates – On the Brink, and their ISO/HADR Capabilities

The Incheon class Frigate like this ROKS Jeonbuk (FFG-813) was HHI's entry into the Philippine Navy's Frigate Acquisition Program. Photo courtesy of the Republic of Korea Ministry of Defense account on Flickr.
The Incheon class Frigate like this ROKS Jeonbuk (FFG-813) was HHI’s entry into the Philippine Navy’s Frigate Acquisition Program. Photo courtesy of the Republic of Korea Ministry of Defense account on Flickr.

Officially this is my first blog under the Administration of the new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and guess what? It talks about the Philippine Navy’s (PN) Frigate Acquisition Program on the brink of being either approved … or cancelled outright. First, an update on the whole Frigate program so far.

‘Frigate Program Progress’
The Indian company Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd was found to be the lowest bidder in the PN’s Frigate program, submitting a bid of P 15.047 Billion (USD 326 million), or P 953 million (USD 20.7 million) lower than the P16 billion (USD 347 million) budget for the project. The next lowest bidder was Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) who submitted a bid worth P15.744 billion (USD 341 million), higher by P 697 million (USD 15.1 million) than that of GRSE. Two other bidders, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) Co. Ltd and Navantia SA submitted bids but failed to meet some documentary requirements.[1]
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Philippine Navy Frigate Acquisition Project Revised Technical Requirements – February 2016

Top view illustration of the AW159 Wildcat. Illustration taken from the Department of National Defense (DND) document DND/PN-FAP-16-01.
Top view illustration of the AW159 Wildcat. Illustration taken from the Department of National Defense (DND) document DND/PN-FAP-16-01.

The bidding for the Philippine Navy’s new Frigate Acquisition Project officially resumed when the Department of National Defense (DND) posted recently on the official Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) website the schedule of the Bid Submission and Opening of the Second or Final Stage of the bidding. It was initially set for February 16, 2016,[1] but was later reset to March 3, 2016,[2] then reset again to March 10, 2016.[3] Along with the initial announcement, they also published a REVISION to the specifications of the Frigates, and it is quite long at over 71 pages.[4]

The revisions resulted in a more detailed and comprehensive technical specifications compared to it was before,[5] thanks probably in no small part to help from the P 25 million Consultant/s that they hired[6] and also from the Technical Working Group (TWG) that helped review the bids.[7] The revisions are quite numerous, so I am just summarizing on what I think are the most important and interesting ones. If you want to read the old and new specifications yourself, just refer to the End Notes.[4][5]
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New Frigate Bidding Candidate: New Generation Floreal Frigate

Side view of the New Generation Floreal Frigate (NG2F). Photo courtesy of the STX brochure.
Side view of the New Generation Floreal Frigate (NG2F). Photo courtesy of the STX brochure.

I already made a couple of blogs about the candidates for the Philippine Navy’s New Frigate Acquisition Project, and I actually didn’t want to write another one. I figured that by this time the winner of the bidding would have been announced already and thus I would be writing about that instead. However, that has not happened, so here I am again writing about a “prospect” for our new Frigates.

In 2014, a Frigate of the French Navy, the Prarial, visited the country and its Commander Frederic Daumas confirmed that STX’s candidate for the bidding was an updated version of the Floreal Frigate.[1] I subsequently blogged about it,[2] but at that time I did not have clear information on the exact details of the upgraded ship that was being offered. However, in May of 2015 STX finally released an official brochure for the upgraded Floreal,[3] so using that as main reference it is now time to make a “reboot” of my previous blog.
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The Sigma 10514 Almost Fits the Navy’s Frigate Requirements

KRI Diponegoro, a Sigma 9113 class Corvette of the Indonesian Navy. Photo courtesy of Wim Kosten thru Wikimedia Commons.
KRI Diponegoro, a Sigma 9113 class Corvette of the Indonesian Navy. Photo courtesy of Wim Kosten thru Wikimedia Commons.

Today, October 2, 2015, marks the SECOND YEAR ANNIVERSARY of the bidding for the Philippine Navy (PhN)’s two brand new Frigates. Yessir, the whole project is now TWO YEARS OLD and can be called a “Saga” already, with still no end in sight. The project is still a “Go”, with PNoy finally signing off the approval for the release of their budget last September 8, 2015.[1]

However, no definite date has been officially announced to the public on WHEN the next stages of the bidding will be made, although a representative of one of the bidders, India’s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) said in an interview that the Financial Bids are going to be opened “soon”, but that the announcement of the winner will likely be done only by the end of the year probably after the Post-Bidding checks have been completed.[2]
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New Frigate Bidding Candidate: Kamorta-class Variant?

The INS Kamorta of the Indian Navy, photo courtesy of the Indian Navy thru Wikipedia Commons
The INS Kamorta of the Indian Navy, photo courtesy of the Indian Navy thru Wikipedia Commons

The Indian press recently announced that the Indian shipbuilding company “Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers (GRSE)” is bidding for the Philippine Navy’s (PhN) Frigate Acquisition Project. [1] UNFORNATELY, NONE of the reports indicated specifically WHICH ship GRSE in entering into the bidding.

The only clue in the reports is that the weight of the ship is at approximately 3,500 tons. Looking at GRSE’s official website, [2] the only Frigate sized ship they offering there is the “Brahmaputra class Frigate” which has an empty displacement of 3,650 tons, but this maybe a little bit too big for the PhN’s Frigate project.
Continue reading New Frigate Bidding Candidate: Kamorta-class Variant?

New Frigate Acquisition Bidding Delay – November 2014

Are our hopes of getting the new Frigates sailing and disappearing off into the sunset, like this Type 45 Daring-class Destoryer? Photo courtesy of Amanda Reynolds thru Wikipedia Commons
Are our hopes of getting the new Frigates sailing and disappearing off into the sunset, like this Type 45 Daring-class Destoryer? Photo courtesy of Amanda Reynolds thru Wikipedia Commons

Not many people realized it, but the bidding for the two new Frigates by the Philippine Navy (PN) celebrated its first year anniversary last month. Yessir, the bidding is now over a year old. It was October 2, 2013 when the Navy officially opened the bidding for the new Frigate Acquisition Program,1 and twelve months later where is it now? Sadly it is now in LIMBO, with no end in sight. Last April 2014, the Navy’s Technical Working Group (TWG) announced that they intended to award the bidding by July 2014,2 but that month came and went with no announcement of the winner.

The last official update released about the program was in August 2014 when the Department of National Defense (DND) announced that the program is still ongoing, but that it will instead be split into two acquisitions, one for the ship and another for its weapons.3 However, that official release did NOT indicate any timeline, they did not say anything about when the bidding will be completed. In other words, it is OPEN-ENDED, there is no clear schedule WHEN it will be done.
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New Frigate Bidding Candidate: Modified HDF-3000 class

(Revised July 31, 2014. See bottom of the page for the complete revision history)

Side view of an HDF-3000-class Frigate. Photo courtesy of the Republic of Korea Navy thru Flickr
Side view of an HDF-3000-class Frigate. Photo courtesy of the Republic of Korea Navy thru Flickr

After my discussion with the Navantia representative about the Avante 2200 Combatant Frigate, their entry into the new Frigate bidding of the Philippine Navy (PN), I proceeded to the Hyundai display area at the Asian Defense and Security (ADAS) 2014 exhibit at Pasay. Navantia’s area was already sizable, but Hyundai’s was even more so, approximately 50% bigger than Navantia’s, and they had more scale models on display, around half a dozen or. I really wasn’t sure which of the ships they entered into the bidding, so I looked for a Hyundai representative to ask about it.

There were three Hyundai reps wearing business suits in the booth, one of them was talking to another attendee while the other one was not so friendly looking, in fact he was kinda constantly scowling, so I turned to the third person who looked like a newbie and thus seemed more accommodating. I called his attention and asked him which of the models they entered the bidding, and he promptly took me to the model of the HDF-3000 Frigate.
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