Philippines Navy has acquired the last three additional Aussie Landing Craft Heavy(LCH) after Australia pledged to foster their sealift ability.
The LCHs arrived in Liloan, Cebu City at 10:30 am last March 26. They were transported by a cargo vessel of the NGT Shipping. Two of them were picked up in Darwin and one in Cairns, Australia.
Update.ph reports that the LCHs were formerly used by the Royal Australian Navy. They were recognised as the HMAS Balikpapan (L-126), HMAS Wewak (L-130) and HMAS Betano (L-133).
Navy spokesman Capt. Lued Lincuna said the LCHs will be shifted from Cebu to the PN shipyard in Sangley Point in Cavite in preparation for the 118th anniversary of the Philippine Navy in May.
The LCHs are the subsidiary ships of BRP Ivatan (formerly HMAS Tarakan) and BRP Batak (ex-HMAS Brunei) which were brought into the Philippine Navy last year on August 10.
Now the Philippines will have the total of five crafts formerly used by Australia.
Philstar reports that in November last year, Australia donated two LCHs to the Philippines while the other three were set with a friendly deal of PHP270 million.
“With their capability of moving large amounts of cargo, personnel and equipment, these vessels will bolster the PN’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations (HADR). They will also be useful in transporting troops from one operational area to another especially during amphibious operations,” Lincuna stressed.
Lincuna said that the newly delivered craft will be used for defence purpose. They will have a .50 caliber machine gun attached to them and each will be lead by 30 PN sailors.
“The acquisition of additional capabilities of our Navy further translates into offering better service to our maritime nation as we continue to protect our country, step up a commitment for HADR and our continuing pledge to provide assistance to our Filipino people in all corners of the archipelago. These new assets are manifestations of our Navy’s optimum readiness to perform its tasks and the ability to adapt vis-a-vis the emergent operating environment,” said Lincuna.