The Philippine Navy has acquired two newly refurbished heavy landing craft donated by the Australian Navy, renamed Barkong Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Ivatan (AT-298) and BRP Batak (AT-299).
These ships have been in service with the Australian Navy for decades, since 1974, but were refurbished fully and work as practically new. They were withdrawn from active service only a year ago.
These, vessels, called “landing Craft Heavy (LCH)” in the nomenclature, are principally used to transport heavy cargo, such as equipment, supplies and troops.
According to the Philippine Navy, they are eminently suitable for transport roles, especially in humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions.
President Aquino has confirmed that three more such ships are scheduled to be donated by Australia.
The acquisition of these two “new” ships coincide with the change of command in the Navy, with Rear Admiral Caesar Taccad taking command from the outgoing Vice Adm. Jesus Millan, who has reached retirement age.
Also coinciding with the change-of-command rites, the Navy also took the occasion to highlight its two new helicopters, both Agusta AW109s that can be used primarily for extending the surveillance reach of the Navy as well as carry out other operational support roles.