This story was updated 3 May 2022 to reflect the fact that the Philippine Navy is still considering three different designs for its OPV project
According to ASFAT’s social media posts, high-ranking Philippine Navy officials visited the ASFAT booth at the fair and showed interest in Turkish naval products.
While the signatories have not issued a statement on the contents of the signed MOU, according to information from publicly available sources, the contract for the delivery of 6 offshore patrol vessels by ASFAT to the Philippine Department of National Defense is expected to be signed soon.
In the meantime, ASFAT released a video showing its brand-new OPV design during the exhibition. According to the video, the 2,000-ton OPV will be 86.2 meters long and 14 meters wide. It will be powered by two diesel engines allowing the vessel to reach a top speed of 23 knots. It will have a range of 6,000 nautical miles and will have an endurance of 23 days at sea.
The new OPV will be equipped with an advanced combat management system, electronic support system (ESM), sonar, air-to-surface search radar, and tactical data link. The new ship will not only be capable of conducting maritime security operations and border patrols in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but also ISR missions, air and ground defence, naval fire support, and protection of critical facilities.
The OPVs will be armed with a 76-mm main gun, two 30-mm, and two 12.7-mm guns. The video also shows that the new OPVs will be equipped with a helipad for 10-tonne helicopters, but will not have a hangar to house the helicopter. The ships will be able to conduct helicopter operations up to sea state 5 and will be capable of in-flight refueling (HIFR).
ASFAT has been building four MILGEM-class corvettes for the Pakistan Navy, in what has been dubbed the single-largest export of the flourishing Turkish defense industry. The first two corvettes are expected to be delivered in 2023 by the Pakistan Navy, and in 2024 for the other two.
Update 3 May 2022
The Philippine government has not yet selected a winning bidder for its OPV project. The end user is reviewing proposals from three shipyards, which include ASFAT of Turkey, HHI of South Korea and Israel Shipyards. It is likely that the final decision and contract award will be made by the next government, following the elections. The 2022 Philippine presidential and vice presidential elections are scheduled to be held on Monday, May 9, 2022, as part of the 2022 general election.