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THE PHILIPPINE Navy welcomed its first landing dock vessel on Monday at Pier 13 in Manila.
The strategic sealift vessel Tarlac (LD- 601) can transport more than a battalion size of troops, two rigid-hill inflatable boats, landing craft units and three helicopters.
"With the evolving and increasing requirements for both maritime security and environmental challenges, what has been a mere plan and concept in paper has been pushed through to become a reality," said Rear Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado, the commander of the Philippine Navy Fleet.
SSV Tarlac is one of the two vessels acquired by the Philippines from PT PAL in Indonesia at P3.8 billion. Once it is commissioned to service, it will be called BRP (Barkong Republika ng Pilipinas) Tarlac.
The sister ship of SSV Tarlac will be delivered in May 2017.
A crew of 121 Philippine Navy officers and enlisted personnel arrived with the vessels, as some of their families waited for them.
SSV Tarlac was named after one of the eight provinces that fought against the Spaniards to assert the independence of the Philippines.
"The arrival of the SSV Tarlac gives the sailors and marines of our Navy the impetus to serve our countrymen more with the knowledge that we know have additional capability to serve our maritime nation," Mercado said.
SSV Tarlac has a tonnage of 7,300 tons, overall length of 120 meters, breadth of 21 meters, draft of five meters and carry a payload of 2,800 tons. It has a cruising speed of 13 knots and maximum speed of 16 knots, and a minimum operating range of 7,500 nautical miles.
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