The BRP Tarlac’ design is closely based on the Makassar class of Landing Platform Dock used by the Indonesian Navy.
BRP Tarlac is the lead ship of her class of Philippine Navy landing platform docks. It was formally welcomed in ceremonies on May 16, 2016, and was commissioned into service with the Philippine Navy on June 1, 2016. BRP Tarlac and BRP Davao Del Sur are the Philippine navy’s largest strategic amphibious ships, which are built by the Indonesian according to the orders of the Philippine Navy.
BRP Tarlac is the second ship to be named after the Philippine province of Tarlac, one of the provinces considered to have significant involvement in the Philippine Revolution of independence against Spain.
The presence of BRP Tarlac will significantly enhance shipping capacity, meeting a variety of sea-based transport and logistics needs, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions as well as a command and control ship in bigger operations. In addition, BRP Tarlac will officially become the largest Philippines Navy warship, “defeating” the pair of warships BRP Gregorio del Pillar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz.
Quite unfortunate for this new ship, on September 19, 2016 just a short time after being transferred to the Philippines, the vessel has suffered minor damage after a collision with a tanker. The BRP Tarlac was anchored at Naval Station Romula Espaldon off Mindanao, was rammed by a Liberian tanker. Philippine naval officials said that although none of the crew members were hurt, the vessel sustained minor damage in the right forward bulwark and the side ramp.
Philippine media said that repairs would take place as part of the ship’s usual cycle and that the ship could continue to perform its current tasks without trouble.
The BRP Tarlac’ design is closely based on the Makassar class of Landing Platform Dock used by the Indonesian Navy. 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 Tarlac has a total length of 123m, width of 21.8m and a draught of 6m. The length between perpendiculars will be 107.5m. The standard displacement of the vessel is 7,200 tons and the full load displacement is 11,583 tons, respectively.
BRP Tarlac 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 10-ton class helicopter, in line with the ship’s helideck designed capacity. It is very likely that the Philippine Navy will equip the BRP Tarlac with two AW109 Power naval helicopters that they have just put into use.
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.
The Tarlac has a crew of 120 sailors, she has a capacity up to 500 marines and their equipment.
Armament & Sensor
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.
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.
The Black Hawk has been the template of the Philippine Navy for several reasons. Aside from that, the Philippine Navy is reportedly eyeing to acquire larger helicopters to be used on the Tarlac-class and all other future amphibious assault ship classes.
For a ship of this size, the capacity is understandable and acceptable. But this also shows that the current Tarlac-class is still small compared to foreign landing platform docks, particularly the People’s Liberation Army Navy whose Type 071 which are almost double the size of the Philippine Navy’s pride.
It can be said that with BRP Tarlac and BRP Davao del Sur has completed the trial process and has been put into service with the Philippine Navy, it is clear that the naval power and mobility will be significantly increased.
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