MANILA -- Newly-acquired ships and helicopters of the Philippine Navy (PN) were continuously deployed during the five-month battle to retake Marawi City from the clutches of the Maute Group terrorists.
Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado, PN flag-officer-in-command, identified the ships as the newly-acquired BRP Tarlac (LD-601) and BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602).
"The PN vessels (which were deployed during the Marawi Siege) include LD-601 and LD-602, her sister ship, these are the products of our PN Modernization Program (that we) were able to complete," he added.
BRP Tarlac was delivered and commissioned in May 2016 while BRP Davao Del Sur was also activated May this year.
Both ships have an overall length of 120 meters,breadth of 21 meters, draft of five meters and can carry a payload of 2,800 tons and a cruising speed of 13 knots and maximum speed of 16 knots and a minimum operating range of 7,500 nautical miles.
Both vessels are capable of transporting 500 troops, two rigid-hull inflatable boats, two landing craft units and three helicopters.
Mercado said the ships were utilized to transport much needed equipment combat vehicles artillery, ammunitions, various logistics requirements and military personnel critical to the successful conclusion of the Marawi City operation.
Also deployed for recon and air strikes missions were the Agusta Westland AW-109 combat utility and attack helicopters of the PN.
These aircraft were acquired during 2014 and 2015 period.
"On the other hand, our pilots aboard of our Agusta helicopters (AgustaWestland AW-109s) provided the aerial intelligence surveillance and (recon) operations and the air strikes day and night to support the operating ground troops," the PN chief added.
Around 920 Maute Group terrorists were killed in the five-month campaign that started last May 23 when government troops tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and his cohorts.
In the fierce fighting that followed, around 165 government troops were killed and this includes 35 marines. (PNA)