Philippine Navy

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Philippine Navy
Hukbong Dagat ng Pilipinas
Seal of the Philippine Navy
Founded May 20, 1898[1]
Country  Philippines
Allegiance Constitution of the Philippines
Type Navy
Size 24,000 active duty personnel[2]

104 ships
3 frigates
11 corvettes
11 amphibious landing ships
80+ patrol vessels

15,000 reserve duty personnel
Part of Department of National Defense
Armed Forces of the Philippines
Headquarters Manila, Philippines
Engagements Philippine Revolution
Spanish–American War
Philippine–American War
World War II
Communist Insurgencies
Islamic Insurgencies
Scarborough Shoal standoff
Zamboanga City crisis
Flag Officer in-Command Vice Admiral Caesar C. Taccad AFP
Pennant and Naval Jack 150px

Naval Jack of the Philippines.svg
Aircraft flown
Helicopter AgustaWestland AW109 Power
Patrol BN-2 Islander

The Philippine Navy (PN) (Filipino: Hukbong Dagat ng Pilipinas; Spanish: Armada Filipina) is the naval warfare service branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and one of the three uniformed services of the Republic of the Philippines. It has an estimated of 24,000 active personnel and operates 103 ships in active service.[2]


File:J MILLAN.jpg
VADM Jesus C Millan AFP, former Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy.

"To organize, train, equip, maintain, develop and deploy forces for prompt and sustained naval and maritime operations in support of the Unified Commands in the accomplishment of the AFP mission".

— Based on the 2007 Integrity Development Review of the AFP–Philippine Navy by the ECOMB Corruption Prevention Project[3]

Its powers and functions are as follows:[4]

  • "To organize, train, equip, maintain and operate naval forces and naval aircraft including naval reserve units, necessary to provide water-borne support and assistance required by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the accomplishment of its mission"
  • "To assist the proper governmental agencies in the enforcement of laws and regulations pertaining to navigation, immigration, customs revenue, opium, quarantine, fishing and neutrality in the territorial and contiguous waters of the Philippine Archipelago"
  • "To develop, in coordination with the other major services and area commands the doctrines, procedures, and naval equipment for joint operations, and the doctrines and procedures for amphibious operations"


Pre-colonial period

Before the Spanish arrived in the Philippines the ancient peoples there were engaging in naval warfare, trade, piracy, travel and communication using balangay.[5] A flotilla of balangay was discovered in the late 1970s in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte.[6]

Creation of naval forces (on Spanish Era)

The Republic's need for a naval force was first provided for by Filipino revolutionaries when they included a provision in the Biák-na-Bató Constitution. This authorised the government to permit privateers to engage foreign enemy vessels.[7]

(w)hen the necessary army is organized … for the protection of the coasts of the Philippine archipelago and its seas; then a secretary of the navy shall be appointed and the duties of his office added to this Constitution.

— Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo on the Biák-na-Bató Constitution[7]

On May 1, 1898, the first ship handed by Admiral George Dewey to the Revolutionary Navy is a small pinnace from the Reina Cristina of Admiral Patricio Montojo, which was named Magdalo.[7]

The Philippine Navy was established during the second phase of the Philippine Revolution when General Emilio Aguinaldo formed the Revolutionary Navy which was initially composed of a small fleet of eight Spanish steam launches captured from the Spaniards. The ships were refitted with 9 centimeter guns. The rich, namely Leon Apacible, Manuel Lopez and Gliceria Marella de Villavicencio, later donated five other vessels of greater tonnage, the Taaleño, the Balayan, the Bulusan, the Taal and the Purísima Concepción. The 900-ton inter-island tobacco steamer further reinforced the fleet, Compania de Filipinas (renamed as the navy flagship Filipinas), steam launches purchased from China and other watercraft donated by wealthy patriots.[7][8]

Naval stations were later established to serve as ships' home bases in the following:[8]

  • Ports of Aparri
  • Ports of Legaspi
  • Ports of Balayan
  • Ports of Calapan
  • Ports of San Roque, Cavite

On September 26, 1898, Aguinaldo appointed Captain Pascual Ledesma (a merchant ship captain) as Director of the Bureau of the Navy, assisted by Captain Angel Pabie (another merchant ship captain). After passing of the Malolos Constitution the Navy was transferred from the Ministry of Foreign Relations to the Department of War (thereafter known as the Department of War and the Navy) headed by Gen. Mariano Trías.[7][8]

As the tensions between Filipinos and Americans erupted in 1899 and a continued blockade on naval forces by the Americans, the Philippine naval forces started to be decimated.[7]

American Colonial period (1901–1941)

File:Vought O2U Corsair over Cavite in 1930.jpg
A U.S. Navy Vought O2U Corsair floatplane flying over the Cavite Navy Yard, c. 1930.

The American colonial government in the Philippines created the Bureau of the Coast Guard and Transportation, which aimed to maintain peace and order, transport Philippine Constabulary troops throughout the archipelago, and guard against smuggling and piracy. The Americans employed many Filipino sailors in this bureau and in the Bureaus of Customs and Immigration, Island and Inter-Island Transportation, Coast and Geodetic Survey, and Lighthouses. They also reopened the former Spanish colonial Escuela Nautica de Manila, which was renamed the Philippine Nautical School, adopting the methods of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. The U.S. Naval Academy accepted its first Filipino midshipman in 1919, and Filipinos were able to enlist in the U.S. Navy, just as they were formerly able to do in the Spanish Navy.[7]

World War II (1941–1945)

File:Cavite Navy Yard burning 10 Dec 1941.jpg
Sangley Point Cavite Navy Yard burning after a Japanese air attack on 10 December 1941. Small-arms shells explode (left) and a torpedo-loaded barge (center) burns.

In 1935, the Commonwealth Government passed the National Defense Act, which aimed to ensure the security of the country. This was criticized because it placed the burden of the defense of the Philippines on ground forces, which in turn, was formed from reservists. It discounted the need for a Commonwealth air force and navy, and naval protection was provided by the United States Asiatic Fleet.[7]

"A relatively small fleet of such vessels, ...will have distinct effect in compelling any hostile force to approach cautiously and by small detachments."

— Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Military Advisor to the Philippines regarding the newest Offshore Patrol (OSP) PT boats[9]

When World War II began, the Philippines had no significant naval forces after the United States withdrew the Asiatic Fleet following the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Philippines had to rely on its OSP with headquarters located at Muelle Del Codo, Port Area, Manila, composed of five high-speed Thorneycroft Coast Motor Boat (CMB) 55-foot (17 m) and 65-foot (20 m) PT boats, also known as Q-boats, to repel Japanese attacks from the sea.[7][8]

During the course of the war, the OSP weren't undaunted by the enemy's superiority which they fought with zeal, courage and heroism. For its' intrepid and successful missions and raids on enemy ships, the unit was dubbed the "Mosquito Fleet" mainly because of its minuscule size, speed and surprise, it shown its capability to attack with a deadly sting. The unit was cited for gallantry in action when its Q-boats Squadron shot three of nine Japanese dive bombers as they were flying towards shore installations in Bataan.[10] The OSP participated in the evacuation of high Philippine and U.S. government officials from Manila to Corregidor when Manila was declared an open city.[11] Surviving personnel of the Offshore Patrol that didn't surrender after April 9, 1942 to the Japanese, conducted guerrilla hit-and-run attacks against the occupying Japanese forces until the return of U.S. Forces.[7] By the end of the war, 66 percent of its men were awarded the Silver Star Medal and other decorations for gallantry in action.

Post-World War II era

In 1945, after the liberation of the Philippines, the OSP was reactivated and led by Major Jose Andrada, to reorganize and rebuild from a core of surviving OSP veterans, plus additional recruits. The OSP was strengthened in 1947 after President of the Philippines Manuel Roxas issued Executive Order No. 94. This order elevated the Patrol to a major command that was equal with the Philippine Army, Constabulary, and Air Force. The OSP was renamed the Philippine Naval Patrol, later on changed its name again to the Philippine Navy on January 5, 1951. The first commanding officer of the Navy, Jose Andrada, became its first Commodore and Chief.[7][8] This was also the year when the naval aviation arm of the Navy was formed, now the Naval Air Group.

Subic Bay Naval Base c. 1981. Take note BRP Tarlac (LT-500) and BRP Rizal (PS-69 old hull no.) in the background
Subic Bay Naval Base during the military presence of the United States in the Philippines.

In 1950, Secretary of Defense Ramon Magsaysay created a marine battalion with which to carry out amphibious attacks against the Communist Hukbalahap movement. The next year, President Elpidio Quirino issued Executive Order No. 389, re-designating the Philippine Naval Patrol as the Philippine Navy. It was to be composed of all naval and marine forces, combat vessels, auxiliary craft, naval aircraft, shore installations, and supporting units that were necessary to carry out all functions of the service.[7]

In the succeeding decades, the Philippine Navy organized the following units (aside from the Marines):

  • Naval Shore Establishment
  • Naval Operating Forces
  • Philippine Coast Guard
  • Home Defense Command
  • Military Sealift and Terminal Command

1960s and beyond

During the 1960s, the Philippine Navy was one of the best-equipped navies in Southeast Asia. Many of the countries in the region gained independence between World War II and the 1960s. In 1967, the maritime law enforcement functions of the Navy were transferred to the Philippine Coast Guard. The duties stayed with the coast guard and in the 1990s it became an independent service under the Department of Transportation and Communications.[7]

After the 1960s, the government had to shift its attention towards the Communist insurgency and this led to the strengthening of the Philippine Army and the Philippine Air Force while naval operations were confined to troop transport, naval gunfire support, and blockade.[7]

Present situation

The 1992 withdrawal of the United States from its bases in the Philippines, such as Subic Naval Base, forced the Philippine Navy to rely on its own resources. The withdrawal is now largely seen as the inevitable and natural consequence of the end of the Cold War following the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. It also resulted in a security vacuum in the region where tensions owing to deep-seated historic animosities and geopolitical disputes persisted. The pull-out also drew renewed attention to potential flashpoints, such as the Korean Peninsula and the Spratly Islands, that could bring nations into open conflict in the future. These developments hastened the 1995 passage of the AFP Modernization Law by the Philippine Congress, whose goal is to strengthen defense capabilities.[7]


File:NavyPhljf0061 05.JPG
2013 facade, entrance
Philippine Navy headquarter building in Metro Manila.
Philippine Navy rigid hull inflatable boats perform a maritime interdiction operation exercise in Manila Bay.

The Philippine Navy is administered through the Department of National Defense (DND). Under the AFP structure, the Chief of Staff, AFP (CSAFP), a four-star general/admiral (if the officer is a member of the Philippine Navy), is the most senior military officer. The senior naval officer is the Flag Officer-in-Command (FOIC), usually with a rank of vice admiral. He, along with his or her air force and army counterparts, is junior only to the CSAFP. The FOIC is solely responsible for the administration and operational status of the Navy. The FOIC's counterpart in the U.S. Navy is the Chief of Naval Operations.[8][12]

Currently the navy establishment is actually composed of two type commands, the Philippine Fleet and Philippine Marine Corps (PMC). It is further organized into seven naval operational commands, five naval support commands, and seven naval support units.[12] Considering the vastness of the territorial waters that the Navy has to protect and defend, optimal deployment of naval resources is achieved through identification of suitable locations where the presence of these units are capable of delivering responsive services.[8][12]

The Philippine Fleet, or simply the "Fleet", is under the direct command of the Commander Philippine Fleet while the marine corps is answerable to the commandant, PMC (CPMC). Like the British Navy and her Royal Marines, as well as in the case of the Spanish Navy, the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) is a major command of the Philippine Navy. The FOIC has administrative and operational control over both commands.[8]

Type Commands

The two Type Commands of the Philippine Navy are the:

Philippine Fleet

The Philippine Navy has only one fleet, the Philippine Fleet. As a type command, the fleet has nine major units:[12]

  • Offshore Combat Force (formerly the Patrol Force)
  • Littoral Combat Force (formerly the Assault Craft Force)
  • Sealift and Amphibious Force (formerly the Service Force)
  • Naval Air Group (NAG)
  • Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG, formerly the Naval Special Warfare Group)
  • Fleet Support Force (formerly the Fleet Support Group)
  • Fleet Training and Doctrines Center (FTDC)
  • Naval Metrological and Oceanographic Center (NAVMETOC)
  • Sub-Marine Group
Female crew

The first female officers who served as officers-in-charge of a diesel fast craft (DF-343) were 1LT's Dahlia Ong Nograles and Ester Santos Bautista WAC (PN) with twelve female enlisted sailors from April 1995 to 1996. They were tagged as the first "All Female Crew" of the Philippine Navy during the leadership of then Vice Admiral Pio Carranza AFP, Flag Officer-In-Command, PN.[13]

Philippine Marine Corps

The Philippine Marine Corps evolved from a company of volunteers to three Marines Brigades, eleven Marine Battalion Landing Teams, a Combat and Service Support Brigade, one Reconnaissance Battalion, Training Center, Headquarters Battalion, Marine Security Escort Group and Marine Reserve Brigades, and various support and independent units.[14]

Naval Operational Commands

The seven Naval Operation Commands are as follows:[12]

NAVFORWEM and NAVFOREM were formed in August 2006 when Southern Command was split to allow more effective operations against Islamist and Communist rebels within the region.[15]

Naval Support Commands

The five Naval Support Commands are as follows:[12]

  • Naval Sea Systems Command (NSSC)
  • Naval Education and Training Command (NETC)
  • Naval Reserve Command (NAVRESCOM)
  • Naval Combat Engineering Brigade (NCEBde)
  • Naval Installation Command (NIC)

Naval Sea Systems Command

The Naval Sea Systems Command (NSSC), formerly known as Naval Support Command (NASCOM), is the biggest industrial complex of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It operates the country's military shipyards, develops new technologies for the Navy, and conducts maintenance on all the Navy's ships. NSSC's principal facilities are at the offshore operating base at Muelle de Codo and at Fort San Felipe in Cavite City.[15]

Naval Education and Training Command

The Naval Education & Training Command (NETC) is the Philippine Navy's institution of learning. Its mission is to provide education and training to naval personnel so that they may be able to pursue progressive naval careers. NETC is located in Naval Station San Miguel, San Antonio, Zambales.[15][16]

Naval Reserve Command

The Naval Reserve Command (NAVRESCOM) organizes, trains, and keeps tabs on all naval reservists (which includes the Naval Reserve Corps Training Units midshipmen and midshipwomen). It is responsible for recalling reservists to meet sudden spikes in military manpower demand, as for war, rebellion or natural disaster. The NAVRESCOM is presently based at Fort Santiago, Manila. It was formerly known as the Home Defense Command.[15]

Naval Combat Engineering Brigade

The Naval Combat Engineering Brigade (NCEBde), more popularly known as the Seabees, is tasked with combat engineering and amphibious construction in support of Fleet-Marine operations. It performs under combat conditions the construction of roads, bridges and other vital infrastructures; the rehabilitation of piers, harbors and beach facilities; and harbor clearing and salvage works. Along with the Philippine Marine Corps, the NCEBde is also charged with the manning of naval garrisons in shoals and islands located in the West Philippine Sea. The motto of the Seabees is "We build, We fight!"[17]

Naval Installation Command

The Naval Installation Command (NIC), formerly Naval Base Cavite, provides support services to the Philippine Navy and other AFP tenant units in the base complex, such as refueling, re-watering, shore power connections, berthing, ferry services, tugboat assistance, sludge disposal services and housing.[15]

Naval support units

A Philippine Navy SWAG climbs a caving ladder aboard the logistics support vessel during a maritime interdiction operation exercise.
A Philippine Naval SWAG participates in a battlefield exercise during a combat medic at Naval Base Cavite.

The eight Naval Support Units are as follows:[12]

  • Naval Intelligence and Security Force
  • Philippine Navy Finance Center
  • Naval Logistics Center
  • Manila Naval Hospital
  • Cavite Naval Hospital
  • Bonifacio Naval Station
  • Headquarters Philippine Navy & Headquarters Support Group
  • Civil Military Operations Group-Philippine Navy

Future of the Philippine Navy

The Philippine Navy, together with the entire armed forces as a whole, is embarking on a modernization and upgrade program under the Capability Upgrade Program (CUP). This is in line with the Philippine Navy Strategic Sail Plan 2020.[18]

Ocean-going escort vessel (Hamilton class)

File:BRP Goyo Hawaii Out 2.jpg
BRP Gregorio del Pilar transits out of Hawaii, 29 July 2011

Early in 2011, the Philippine Navy announced the acquisition of an ex-US Coast Guard Hamilton-class high-endurance cutter and expected it to be ready for active deployment by the middle of the same year.[19][20] The ship acquired was the former USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715),[21] renamed BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) which was officially turned over to the Philippine Navy on 13 May 2011 at Alameda Point in California. It was retrofitted and modified in the US, replacing systems removed by the USCG. The ship's arrival ceremonies were on 23 August 2011 in Manila,[22] and it was commissioned on 14 December 2011.[23]

A second Hamilton-class cutter, the USCGC Dallas (WHEC-716), was turned over to the Philippine Navy on 22 May 2012[24] (23 May 2012 Philippine standard time),[25] with ceremonies held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center Pier Papa in North Charleston, South Carolina.[26] The ship was named BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) in Philippine Navy service. Like its sister ship, it was retrofitted and modified in the US, replacing systems removed by the USCG.[27] It was expected to arrive in the Philippines by February 2013.[28][29][30] However, further training and unspecified upgrades on the ship pushed the arrival of the BRP Ramon Alcaraz to August 2013.[31] The ship's arrival ceremony was held at Subic Harbor on August 6, 2013, led by President Aquino.[32] It was commissioned on Nov. 22, 2013.[33]

A third Hamilton-class cutter will be turned over to the Philippine Navy after US President Barack Obama announced that another high endurance cutter will be transferred to the Philippines during his visit to the BRP Gregorio del Pilar on November 17, 2015.[34] The White House subsequently confirmed that the USCGC Boutwell (WHEC-719) will be the ship that will be transferred to the Philippines.[35]

Multi-purpose attack craft (MPAC)

The Philippine Navy received the first batch of three Taiwanese-built[36] Multi-purpose Attack Craft (MPAC), which are similar to the Swedish Combat Boat 90. These were presented during the 111th anniversary of the Philippine Navy in May 2009.[37]

These MPACs are around 15 meters long and are equipped with a water jet system. They have a maximum speed of 40 knots (74 km/h) and could reach around 300 nautical miles (560 km) while traveling on a transit speed of 30 knots (56 km/h). They are made of welded aluminum and can carry 16 fully equipped soldiers and four crew members or a payload of two tons. The ships are armed with one 50-caliber machine gun and two 7.62mm machine guns.[38]

Another MPAC, with modifications as compared to the first three units, was built by local company Propmech Corporation. It was received during the 114th anniversary celebrations of the Philippine Navy on 22 May 2012,[28] with two more delivered on 6 August 2012.[39][40][41] Up to 42 units are expected to enter service in the near future.[42][43]

In 2013, the PN announced that another batch of three MPACs will be procured between 2013 and 2017[44][45] An invitation to bid was released in 2014,[46] and it was also announced by the PN that the MPACs will be modernized, including the installation of better sensors and longer-ranged weapons like missiles.[47]

On February 2016, the DND awarded the contract to build 3 new MPACs, which are larger than the current ones in service, to a joint venture of Philippine company Propmech Corporation and Taiwanese shipyard Lung Teh Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.[48] A separate lot to acquire weapons systems was awarded to Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. of Israel, to supply Mini Typhoon 12.7mm RCWS with Spike-ER surface-to-surface missiles, plus ammunition and ILS.[49]

Small unit riverine craft

On August 15, 2013, six US-made small unit riverine crafts (SURC) arrived at the Philippine Marine Headquarters. These were manufactured by aluminum vessel manufacturer Silver Ships.[50]

The brand new 40-foot vessels were transferred to the country under the Foreign Military Sales program, through which the US government facilitated the procurement of the items for the Navy.[50]

The boats were ordered through FMS in 2011 and manufacturing was completed in 2012. Transport and freight problems, however, delayed the boats' delivery from May to August 2013.[50]

The Philippine Navy officially received the SURCs from US during the handover ceremony conducted on September 25 at the PN headquarters in Manila. These vessels will provide platform for command and control, reconnaissance, logistic/resupply, medical evacuation, counter-drug operations, humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping and non-combatant evacuation operations. They will be deployed to augment sea-based forces to address terrorism and lawlessness. The combined amount for the purchase of the six units is $12M.[51] The boats were reportedly be used in shallow water operations but are also capable of traversing open waters.[50]

Landing craft

Landing craft utility

The construction of a landing craft utility (LCU) was awarded on March 2010[52] to a joint venture of local shipbuilders Philippine Iron Construction and Marine Works (PICMW) Inc. and PROPMECH Corporation.[53][54] It was commissioned with the Philippine Navy on 14 December 2011 as BRP Tagbanua (AT-296).[23]

On June 3, 2014, it was reported that South Korea would give the Philippine Navy a landing craft utility.[55]

Landing craft heavy

File:BRP Ivatan.jpg
Landing craft heavy BRP Ivatan in 2015

In January 2015, the Australian government stated that it was donating two of its retired Balikpapan class landing craft heavy (LCH) to the Philippine Navy. These are the former HMAS Brunei and HMAS Tarakan. They would be fully refurbished and equipped with new safety and navigation equipment before being handed over to the PN by May 2015. The Philippine Navy also acquired the three remaining Balikpapan-class ships from Australia, the former HMAS Wewak, HMAS Betano, and HMAS Balikpapan.[56] All three landing craft were sent to the Philippines via a heavy lift ship[57] and were set to arrive on March 25, 2016.

Offshore patrol vessel

Media reports of the Philippine Navy's plan to purchase three offshore patrol vessels were made, although there were initially no details available regarding their specifications.[54] However, only two units were listed as part of the priority items in the list for purchase between 2012 and 2016 presented by the armed forces to the House of Representatives’ committee on national defense and security last 26 January 2011.[58][59]

On 6 May 2011, a solicitation notice was posted on the United States Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines for "a general purpose Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV)".[60]

Navantia submitted to Philippines the sophisticated patrol Avante 1800 to qualify for a bidding contest in 2013.[61]

Strategic sealift vessel (SSV) and multi-role vessel (MRV – amphibious transport dock)

The original strategic sealift vessel project was based on a proposal to acquire a converted Ro-Ro (Roll On - Roll Off) vessel from Japan as recommended by the Center of Naval Leadership & Excellence in 2009. Purchase and technical assistance was to be provided by the DBP Maritime Leasing Corporation Inc. (DMLC).[62] It was one of the priority items in the wish list for purchase between 2012 and 2016 presented by the armed forces to the House of Representatives' committee on national defense and security on 26 January 2011.[58][59] But this project did not push through due to delays in budget allocation and with the ship being offered and sold to another buyer.

Initially a separate project from the Strategic Sealift Vessel, the Department of National Defense (DND) was rushing the acquisition of one or two multi-role vessels (MRV) for the Philippine Navy through government-to-government contract at a cost of 5 to 10 billion pesos. Initially the reported source of the said ships is either South Korea or Singapore.[63] Previous statements and news reports indicate that the multi-role vessels are comparable to landing platform docks operated by foreign navies like the Singaporean Endurance class or the Spanish Galicia class.[64] It was later confirmed that the ship would be from South Korea[65] and is a variant of the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) Makassar class LPD, and is packaged with four units Samsung Techwin KAAV-7 amphibious assault vehicles (AAV), two units Daesun 23-meter landing craft utility LCU-23, four units 9.8-meter rigid-hulled inflatable boats, one unit truck-based mobile hospital, two units Kia KM-250 212-ton troop trucks, two units Kia KM-450 114-ton troop trucks, two units Kia KM-450 ambulances, two units Kia Retona 1/4-ton utility vehicles, and one unit forklift/cargo handling equipment.[66]

In May 2011, reports surfaced on the possible acquisition of three landing platform docks from Indonesian shipbuilder PT PAL. This would be of indigenous design and will have no resemblance to the previously constructed model for the Indonesian Navy, the Makassar class, which was of South Korean origin.[67] This would represent another option as South Korea has been reportedly pushing for the sale of at least one platform based on the Indonesian Navy Makassar class. As of December 2011, the Philippine Navy was cleared to start negotiations for the ship/s from any friendly nations with a budget of Php 5 billion.[68]

With the cancellation of the original SSV project, the two projects were combined as the strategic sealift vessel, based on the original multi-role vessel parameters and requirements. Based on the "Philippine Fleet Desired Force Mix" strategy concept publicly released in May 2012, the Philippine Navy requires at least four strategic sealift vessels to be available by 2020.[43]

On May 24, 2013, the DND announced the proposed acquisition of two service support vessels (SSVs) worth P2 billion each, describing the ships as vessels smaller than the original MRV requirement but still capable of moving a battalion of troops with their armored vehicle complement, and equipped with helipad and a platform for search and rescue operations which could be fitted with hospital facilities.[69][70] On August 29, 2013, the DND declared PT PAL of Indonesia as the winner of the two SSVs and considered as the "lone eligible bidder" with a bid price of Php 3,963,999,520.00. Other firms bought bid documents but never pursued their interest in the actual bidding procedures.[71] On January 22, 2015 a steel cutting ceremony was held in Indonesia for the Philippines' first (SSV) Makassar class, temporarily named SSV-1.[72] The first LPD, named BRP Tarlac (LD-601), was launched in February 2016 and is being prepared for sea trials. The Philippine Navy welcomed the BRP Tarlac on May 16, 2016 in a ceremony at Pier 13 at Manila South Harbor.[73]


Reports as of May 2011 indicated that the Philippine Navy was eyeing the purchase of its first submarine not later than 2020, although no further details were provided.[74][75] The "Philippine Fleet Desired Force Mix" strategy concept publicly released in May 2012 indicates the requirement of at least three submarines for deterrence and undersea warfare to be available by 2020. Navy officials are said to be looking to acquire Diesel Electric powered submarines from 2018 to 2023.[43]

Naval helicopters

Multi-purpose helicopters

In September 2011, a plan to purchase two multi-purpose shipboard helicopters to be assigned to the BRP Gregorio del Pilar and another upcoming ex-USCG cutter was announced.[76] There were no specific models specified, although consideration for the ship's telescopic hangar may dictate the helicopter's size. As of 14 December 2011 it was announced that the navy will purchase five shipboard helicopters, in contrast to the earlier announcement referencing only two.[23]

It was announced that the Department of National Defense was negotiating for five AgustaWestland AW109 naval helicopters worth Php 2.2 billion, funded jointly by the AFP Modernization Program and Department of Energy. These will be used for maritime security, internal security operations and disaster response, and are also expected to accompany navy vessels when conducting patrols.[77] A contract was signed on 20 December 2012 for an initial three AgustaWestland AW109 Power naval helicopters worth Php 1,337,176,584.00 (around $32.6 million).[78][79] The Dept. of National Defense expected the aircraft to be delivered and commissioned by December 2013.[80][81][82]

On 18 June 2013, it was reported that there were already PN personnel who were undergoing training for the new AgustaWestland AW109 Power naval helicopters.[83] 3 units out of 5 ordered were delivered to the Navy last December 8, 2013, and were assembled at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.[84] The choppers are to be commissioned in January 2014.[84] Another two units with the capability to carry armaments on a stub wing were delivered in December 2014.[85]

The navy requires at least eight multi-purpose helicopters embarked on the strategic sealift vessels for utility lift, ASW and SAR missions.[43]

Anti-submarine helicopters

A separate requirement for two anti-submarine helicopters worth Php 5.0 billion was also announced and would be funded by the AFP Modernization Program under the Medium Term Capability Development Program (MTCDP 2013–2017).[86][87]

On March 31, 2014, it was reported that the bidding for two anti-submarine helicopters worth Php5.4 billion would start on April 24, 2014.[88] AgustaWestland, which was considered the sole responsive bidder after a joint venture between Airbus Helicopters and PT Dirgantara Indonesia failed to meet the requirements during the 1st stage bidding. AgustaWestland went on to pass the 2nd stage bidding and post qualification stage,[89] and was awarded the project by the DND by 1st quarter of 2016. AgustaWestland offered their AW-159 Wildcat naval helicopter.[90]

The "Philippine Fleet Desired Force Mix" strategy concept publicly released in May 2012 indicated the requirement of at least 18 naval helicopters embarked on frigates and corvettes for anti-submarine warfare (ASW), over-the-horizon targeting (OTHT) for anti-ship missiles, and search & rescue (SAR).[43]

Deep water patrol vessel (frigate)

This requirement came out during the recent visit to Italy of a Philippine delegation led by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. The Philippine DND delegation signed an agreement with their Italian counterparts for possible purchase of Italian weapons systems. This visit included inspections of combat ready ships of the Maestrale and Soldati classes of the Italian Navy, which are scheduled for retirement, with the earliest possibly by 2013. No indication of sales were made yet.[91]

During the 2012 State of the Nation Address on 23 July 2012, the president announced that the Philippine Navy was canvassing for a frigate which would be delivered within 2013.[92]

At a DND press conference held on 2 August 2012, it was announced that negotiations were currently ongoing for the acquisition of 2 Maestrale-class frigates.[92][93] As of December 2012, the Italian defense minister Giampaolo di Paola confirmed that discussions were in the advanced stages.[94] The negotiations for the Maestrale-class ships did not materialize any sale, with the Philippine government opting to buy new frigates instead.[95]

On March 3, 2013, it was reported by the Philippine News Agency that a South Korean defense manufacturer had talked with the Department of National Defense regarding its requirements for two brand new frigates. The company offered the Philippine Navy varieties of the Incheon class frigates.[96] Other countries reported to have offered new frigates were the United States, Israel, Croatia and Australia.[97]

In early October, DND announced the invitation to bid for the 2 brand-new frigates with an approved budget of Php18B. The package included a complete weapons system and must be delivered within 1,460 calendar days from the opening of the letter of credit. Pre-bidding was scheduled on October 11 and the first stage of bidding would be on October 25.[98]

On Dec. 7, 2013, it was reported that four firms had qualified for the next stage of the bidding: Navantia Sepi (RTR Ventures) of Spain and South Korean firms STX Offshore & Shipbuilding, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and Hyundai Heavy Industries, Inc.[99] It was also reported that Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers of India and STX France, SA of Europe qualified for the next stage of the bidding after the DND accepted the motions for reconsideration of the firms.[100]

In addition to the new ships on bid, the navy is seeking to acquire two more frigates, probably used ones from the United States.[101]


It was reported that the Philippine Navy is in the market for four anti-submarine corvettes, each weighing at around 2,000 tonnes.[102] IHS Jane's reported on 8 August 2012 that the Philippine and Italian governments were in discussion for the possible purchase at least two Minerva class corvettes.[103]

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of National Defense separately provided statements on an impending transfer of a Pohang-class corvette to the Philippine Navy before the end of 2014. No specifics on the ship for transfer was released, although it was said to still be in active service as of June 2014.[104][105][106]

Based on the "Philippine Fleet Desired Force Mix" strategy concept publicly released in May 2012, the Philippine Navy requires at least 12 corvettes for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and with an embarked naval helicopter to be available by 2020.[43]

Amphibious assault vehicles

In September 2013, the DND invited bidders for the Amphibious Assault Vehicles Acquisition Project of eight brand-new units of amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) with Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) for the Philippine Navy, amounting to Php2.5B. Delivery is required for 850 days from the opening of the letter of credit. This acquisition is part of the PN's MRV/SSV or "Mother Ship" Project, which will serve as a platform for insertion of troops in beaches in an event of military siege.[107][108] By May 24, 2014, the DND announced that the South Korean firm of Samsung Techwin is the sole bidder for the DND-AFP's eight brand new amphibious assault vehicles.[109]

Auxiliary vessels

On February 7, 2014, the Philippine Navy announced its acquisition of three medium-sized refueling tankers that will boost the Navy's "RAS" or "replenishment at sea" capability.[110] The ships were donated by the Philippine National Oil Corporation and arrived in 2015 during the Navy's 116th founding anniversary celebration.[110] The first tanker, BRP Lake Caliraya (AF-81), measures 100 meters in length. All three are undergoing drydock repairs.

Research vessel

The White House confirmed on November 17, 2015 that R/V Melville will be transferred to the Philippine Navy as Excess Defense Articles (EDA)s. The 85-meter research ship will be used for oceanographic research in the waters inside and around the Philippines. As of March 2016, Philippine Navy personnel have been sent to train on the ship.


The Philippine Navy operates around 134 ships and several aircraft.


The names of commissioned ships of the Philippine Navy are prefixed with the letters "BRP", designating "Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas" (Ship of the Republic of the Philippines). The names of ships are often selected to honor important people and places.

The Philippine Navy is currently operating 3 frigates. There are 11 active corvettes and 36 patrol boats, 14 amphibious landing ships and 9 auxiliary ships.

Naval Air Group

The Naval Air Group comprises naval air assets. It prepares and provides these forces for naval operations with assets mainly for maritime reconnaissance and support missions. The group's headquarters is at Danilo Atienza Air Base, Cavite City.


File:Phl Navy T-41.JPG
One of the Cessna 172 aircraft of the Naval Air Group, Philippine Navy



In line with HPN General Order No. 229 dated 7 July 2009, the Philippine Navy has adopted new names for its bases and stations to pay homage to distinguished naval leaders. The new names, followed by the old names, are as follows:[114]

Naval bases

Naval stations

Marine bases


BRP Gregorio del Pilar steam in formation together with BRP Edsa during the sea phase of CARAT Philippines 2013 
File:BRP Rajah Humabon (PF 11).jpg
BRP Rajah Humabon; picture taken at Subic Bay Freeport Zone two days before the arrival of BRP Ramon Alcaraz in August 2013 

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