Austal, which specializes in aluminum ships is proposing a design which features a steel hull (which makes the design affordable) and aluminum superstructure (which helps to reduce the overall radar cross section of the design). The ship has a length of 83.4 meters, a beam of 13.3 meters and a draft of 4 meters. Its speed is 22 knots at 85% MCR and the range is 3,500 nautical miles at 12 knots.
In terms of weapon systems, the main gun is a 76mm by Leonardo. The scale model on display at PACIFIC 2019 showed two 25mm remote weapon systems as secondary guns as well as decoy launchers.
The design can accommodate up to 52 sailors. It features a stern ramp for the launch and recovery or an 11 meters RHIB, and two 7 meters RHIB amidship (port and starboard). The flight deck can accommodate a 10 ton helicopter (AW159 or Wildcat of the Philippine Navy would be able to deploy from the OPV) and has the capacity to launch and recover UAS. There is no helicopter hangar however. Below the flight deck is a mission bay where containerized mission modules may be placed (for cargo, disaster relief, humanitarian assistance…)
“Austal has come up with this design, we think it is great for the Philippines, great for their patrol capability and great for their deterrent for their exercises and missions around the South China Sea”
Brett Reed, General Manager of Defense Sales, Austal
The procurement of 6 OPV (with follow-ons potentially) has become a priority for the Philippine Navy as part of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program.
Negotiations are still ongoing and are taking place as part of a government-to-government scheme, Austal told Naval News.