Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) signed a contract with the Philippine Department of National Defense on June 27th to construct six units of new build 2,400 ton Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) worth USD 573 million.
They provide this description,
The Philippine Navy OPV has a displacement of 2,400 tons, a length of 94.4 meters, a width of 14.3 meters, a maximum speed of 22 knots, a cruising speed of 15 knots, a range of 5,500 nautical miles and will be built at HHI’s Ulsan shipyard until 2028. The vessel is to be equipped with a 76mm main gun, two 30mm secondary guns, a helideck capable of operating a helicopter and unmanned aerial vehicles.
That is 310 ft in length, 47 ft beam. In terms of displacement they will be a third larger than the Bear class 270 foot WMECs.
Looking at the artist concept, I see only one 30mm, but I also see fire monitors on the corners fo the hangar roof and decoy launchers between the bridge and funnels. There seems to be considerable open space under the flight deck. There may be provision for a stern launch ramp.
Also, the illustration shows the ships equipped with a pair of Simbad-RC for short range Mistral fire-and-forget, IR homing Missiles, mounted on either side of the hangar roof between the funnels and the 30mm. Inclusion on this class appears likely and logical because the system was also included on the BRPJose Rizal class frigates built for the Philippine Navy by HHI. This system is also reported to be effective against small high speed surface craft.
The helicopter depicted in the illustration is a Westland Wildcat AW159. The Philippine Navy recently aquired two of these and will presumably add more to their fleet as more flight decks join the Navy. With a max take off weight of 13,228 lb it is larger than an MH-65 but considerably smaller than an MH-60. This aircraft can have both an Anti-Submarine and an Anti-Surface capability. It appears unlikely the ships themselves will have either a ASW mission or capability as built. The Wildcat can launch light weight torpedoes and reportedly the S. Korean and Philippine aircraft can launch Spike NLOS. This is a 70 kg (150 lb) anti-surface missile with man-in-the-loop guidance and a claimed maximum range of 25 km (16 mi). The range may actually be considerably greater. From Wikipedia,
“In 2020 the US Army announced its intention to procure Spike NLOS missiles to be mounted on Apache helicopters. A test was conducted in March 2021 where an AH-64E fired a Spike NLOS at a target 32 km (20 mi) away and scored a direct hit.
“In June 2022, Rafael unveiled the Spike NLOS 6th generation with range increased to 50 km (31 mi), a salvo feature which can launch up to four missiles at a time, and the ability to hand over control after firing to another platform. It also has a Target Image Acquisition capability that can prioritize important targets for strike…”
These ships could considerally strengthen the Philippines’ hand in dealing with Chinese gray zone operations, if the Philippines could get over their apparenent reticence in using their Navy to police their EEZ. Maybe they could just paint them white and add law enforcement stripes while still labeling them Philippine Navy and let embarked Philippine Coast Guard ride-alongs do actual law enforcement.