MANILA – The steel cutting for the two brand-new corvettes which is expected to augment the Philippine Navy's (PN) two Jose Rizal-class missile frigates now in service is expected to take place in May and November this year.
"Steel cutting for the first corvette is set in May 2023, while the second corvette will happen on November 2023," Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Arsenio Andolong told the Philippine News Agency on Wednesday when sought for updates on the Corvette Acquisition Program.
The steel cutting officially marks the start of the construction of any ship.
Andolong said the steel cutting is expected to proceed in these months as South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) is now in the process of finalizing the critical design review (CDR) for the two corvettes.
Last year, the HHI completed its preliminary design review which was first subjected to a Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee (TIAC) before it proceeded with the CDR.
The same will be done with the CDR once it is completed.
Andolong said the steel cutting will begin once the CDR is reviewed and approved by the TIAC.
The CDR is considered the "shipbuilder's bible" while the ships are being built.
The DND signed a PHP28-billion contract with HHI for the acquisition of two brand-new corvettes for the PN, which are capable of anti-ship, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare missions on Dec. 27, 2021, and will be more heavily armed than the Jose Rizal-class frigates.
Former defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier announced that the agency was able to meet its target of having the PN Corvette Lot 1 Acquisition Project contract signed before the end of 2021 despite the delays caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Lorenzana said acquiring the two corvettes from HHI, where the two Jose Rizal-class guided-missile frigates were also built, will ensure commonality and interoperability.
The two Jose Rizal class frigates were delivered and commissioned from 2020 to 2021.
The Special Allotment Release Order for the 15 percent advance payment for the PN's CAP worth PHP3.75 billion was released by the Department of Budget and Management on Dec. 10, 2021. (PNA)