The BRP Davao del Sur is the Philippine Navy’s second amphibious landing dock vessel with the ability to serve as one-stop operations center at sea, crucial in sending quick deployments.

For a long time, the Philippine Navy is known to be the most outdated force in Southeast Asia with an ancient fleet, many of which have a lifespan up to 70 years. In particular, the navy does not have a modern frigate, most of which are old-style artillery ships. Until the last few years, due to the complicated situation at sea, Manila has promoted the modernization of the navy.

In 2018, Southeast Asia witnessed a good transition of the Philippine Navy in terms of equipment on the water and in the air, although still quite limited but that is a good signal. The Filipinos are very proud of their spanking new Indonesian-built landing platform dock, BRP Tarlac, which was put into operation in 2016 with much fanfare. Indeed, the ship was the first brand-new Philippine Navy warship.

By the end of 2018, the entire region began to witness more frequently the operation of another ship of the same class as BRP Tarlac, BRP Davao del Sur, due to Indonesia’s order from Manila. These two ships are considered the most modern amphibious ships of the Philippine Navy.

Today we will discuss one of the two new Philippine amphibious ships, the BRP Davao del Sur, LD-602. The Philippine Navy in recent years has undergone a renaissance under President Rodrigo Duterte. Hopefully Manila can continue to maintain the momentum in naval modernization efforts. This is not only good for the Philippines but also for the whole region in the face of China’s expansion in the South China Sea. Maintaining the current road is definitely directed towards a stronger Philippine Navy.

On November 26, 2018, a four-day naval exercise in the province of Albay witnessed the service of the BRP Davao del Sur, one of the most modern ships of the Philippine Navy.

The BRP Davao del Sur is the Philippine Navy’s second amphibious landing dock vessel with the ability to serve as one-stop operations center at sea, crucial in sending quick deployments. The vessel can transport heavy equipment, supplies, and troops anywhere in the archipelago. Together with its twin ship BRP Tarlac, they are currently the biggest ships in the inventory of the navy.

The BRP Davao del Sur of Tarlac-Class, is the second ship to be named after the Philippine province of Davao del Sur, one of the main provinces in Mindanao in Southern Philippines. The ship based on the Indonesian Navy’s Makassar class, was ordered and constructed by the Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder. She was launched on 29 September 2016 and she was commissioned into Philippine Navy service on 31 May 2017. The class of the ship was initially called the “Strategic Sealift Vessel” before the class was formally named.

The two Tarlac class ships are the result of a $ 92 million contract signed by the Philippine government with PT PAL in June 2014. These are also the first naval vessels exported by Indonesia.

The design of Davao del Sur closely based on the Makassar class of Landing Platform Dock used by the Indonesian Navy, which itself is based on a low-cost LPD design from Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering. The vessel has a total length of 123m, width of 21.8m and a draught of 5m. The length between perpendiculars will be 107.5m. The standard and full load displacements of the vessel will be 7,000t and 11,538t, respectively.

BRP Davao del Sur has a Combined Diesel and Diesel layout and will be using similar engines as those used by their Indonesian counterparts, the MAN 9L28/32A medium speed engines.

The use of Combined diesel and diesel engines gives the engine a better specific fuel consumption at maximum output and has the advantage of weight and size compared to using a single diesel engine. Combined power from the two engines will produce 7,830 brake horsepower transferred to two controllable pitch propellers. The ship will have a maximum range of 9,360 nautical miles, an endurance of 30 days and a top speed of 16 knots.

The ship was designed with a helicopter flight deck at the rear of the stern, allowing two medium helicopters at the same time. There is also a hangar facility for a single helicopter.

The vehicle deck of the ship can house four tanks and four trucks, and two light armoured vehicles, while the well deck can accommodate two landing craft utility or landing craft vehicle personnel. The vessel can also carry two rigid-hulled inflatable boats on davits.

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The BRP Davao del Sur has a crew of 120 sailors headed by its first commanding officer, Captain Richard Gonzaga. She has a capacity up to 500 marines and their equipment.

The main armament equipped is a 76mm cannon on the foredeck. The vessel will also be installed with two stern-facing 25mm secondary naval guns, one each on the port and starboard sides. In addition, this ship is also capable of being armed with unlimited numbers of 12.7mm machine guns.

The vessel is integrated a navigation radar, a surface and air search radar, and an electro-optical fire control system for main gun system. The communications suites will include integrated communications control system and Harris radio systems, this system is in service with more than 130 warships worldwide. The communications suites will be interfaced with other communications subsystems aboard the vessel.With the BRP Davao del Sur in service with the Philippine Navy, it is clear that the strength and mobility of the naval force will increase significantly.


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