Tag Archives: Philippine Navy

The Philippine Navy ship database is back

A major milestone in the forum rebuilding process (see Rebuilding a cyber-institution) has been reached. The Philippine Navy ship database, the single most comprehensive online collection of information about Philippine Navy ships — both past and present — is back.​

The return of the database also brings back one of the most, if not THE most, comprehensive photographic record of Philippine Navy vessels currently available on defense social media. Over the years, numerous community shipspotters have sent many photos specifically for use on the original index. These images have found a home in the DefensePH database.

Photos in this collection include this iconic photograph of BRP Andres Bonifacio crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.


The thread index currently brings together 145 discussions and is divided into the following sections:

  • Main
  • Decommissioned, strategic reserve, grounded
  • Scrapped, sunk, sold, etc.


Visitors to the index are brought to this section first. Threads here draw attention to everything from the largest combat vessels in Philippine Navy history — the Tarlac class Strategic Support Vessels — to lesser known vessels such as the ADFL-1 class Floating Drydock. From the historic Rajah Humabon which saw action in WWII, to the freshly minted Multi-Purpose Assault Crafts which are not only the youngest vessels in the fleet but also among the fastest.

Consistent with practices of other established public naval references, the operational condition of these vessels are not considered in section assignment. Given the average age the fleet, it is understandable that a number may actually not even be able to get underway, or at least get underway safely. Food for thought for avid followers of online databases that tout numbers of ships with no regard for the state of those ships.

Decommissioned, strategic reserve, grounded

These are vessels that remain in the vessel registry but are no longer in active status. Some are eventually destined to be scrapped. Others are kept as part of the strategic reserve and preserved awaiting reactivation at some future date.

Solely for purposes of this index, vessels that were grounded, and then left in place are placed here to acknowledge their unusual circumstances. One such vessel is BRP Lanao del Norte (LT-504) an ex-US LST-542 class Landing Ship Tank (LST) which ran aground off Pagasa. It’s thread shows the progression from what it looked like in US service to its current scrapped state.

BRP Sierra Madre, another LST-542 class vessel that ran aground at Ayungin shoal and currently serves as outpost monitoring Chinese activities in Mischief Reef, is also a prominent feature of this section. The forum discussion for this boat not only shows the most recent, Philippine Navy authorized, imagery of the vessel, but also shows what it looked like when it was still known as USS Harnett County. Given the vessel’s importance to national defense, this thread is updated as often as forum administrators are allowed.


Scrapped, sunk, sold, etc

This section dwells on ships that were once part of the Philippine Navy, but have since been completely taken off the registry. It a historical record of the fleet that was.

Among the ships in this category are several notable vessels that were lost in typhoons:

RPS Datu Kalantiaw (PS-76). An ex-US Cannon class Destroyer Escort which was lost during Typhoon Rubing (Int’l: Clara) while at anchor off Calayan Island on September 22, 1981. A retired PN officer (aldebaran@timawa/defenseph) described it as one of the worst naval tragedies in Philippine Navy history.

RPS Rajah Soliman (D-66). An ex-US Buckley class Destroyer escort lost to Typhoon Dading while at anchor at the Bataan National Shipyard.

The rebuilding process and beyond

The rebuilding process for this thread actually began on September 25, 2016. Fifteen days after the original Timawa forum was unceremoniously shutdown by its owner. The DefensePH forum itself was established on September 22, but thread index rebuilding didn’t start till 3 days after. The ship database was the first such index created as it was one of the lynchpins of the original community.

Although additional ship discussions have been added to the current thread index since the original Timawa equivalent, a number of mysteries from the Timawa thread remain. Ex-US SC-497 Submarine Chaser class in PN service are an example. Research on those outstanding items continue.

While mindful of the Navy’s past, the index also looks to the future. The DND recently issued instructions for the implementation of the contract with Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) — a South Korean shipbuilder — for the construction of a pair of frigates which are meant to be the most capable vessels in the fleet. In acknowledgement of this development, threads for each of these ships, which HHI reportedly refers to as P159 and P160, are all new additions to the index. As the Navy charts its own course to the future, the forum too continues to grow in content and coverage.


BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602) – formerly SSV-2

The following article is an authorized reposting of the original adroth.ph article. It can also be found on the DRP forum here, where readers are encouraged to post their comments.

The two largest warships in Philippine Navy history are currently under construction at the PT PAL shipyard in Indonesia. The first vessel, tentatively named “Strategic Sealift Vessel (SSV) No.1”, is due for delivery in May 2016. Progress of construction for that vessel is chronicled in the following article: Strategic Sealift Vessel No. 1 taking shape. This article, on the other hand, chronicles the progress of SSV No.2, whose construction lags behind SSV No.1 by six months.

Both vessels are based on the Indonesian Navy’s Makassar class Landing Ship Dock (LPD), particularly the last two members of the class referred to as the “improved Makassar”, which were both built at PT PAL, based on a design by Daesun Shipbuilding & Engineering of South Korea. The resulting vessel should appear similar to the KRI Banda Aceh shown below.

 KRI Banda Aceh c/o Wikimedia

The data assembled below largely comes from open-sources and is thanks in no small part to Indonesian members of the Timawa.net forum who monitor Indonesian news reports and share them with the Timawa community. Supplemental data was gleaned from the international press.

Event / Date photo was shared   Imagery 
September 20, 2016. Various photographs shared by Gombaljaya on the FB extension
January 8, 2016. TR4 block of SSV-2 being moved into position.  tr4block
December 22, 2015. Blocks prepared for keel laying  12377770_227958797536054_4626429217158248112_o
October 25, 2015. Hull block completed. Shared on the Timawa FB extension  12189873_206785486320052_785769008714247769_n
October 5, 2015. Various photographs of keel construction. Shared with the Timawa community’s FB extension on this date. See here
June 5, 2015. Steel cutting ceremony for SSV-2 held at PT PAL Indonesia. Photo c/o Tribunnews.com




The Strategic Sealift Vessel project is the Aquino administration’s implementation of two older Arroyo administration projects:

Strategic Sealift Vessel – this was reportedly crafted by the Center for Naval Leadership and Excellence (CNLE) and originally envisioned to acquire a 2nd-hand civilian Roll-On Roll-Off (RORO) vessel from Japan. Delays in the execution of the project resulted in an aborted attempt as the Japanese vendor choose to sell the prospective vessel to another buyer.

Multi-Role Vessel (MRV) – this project sought to acquire a brand-new Makasaar class Landing Ship Dock directly from South Korea complete with an amphibious assault package and a sophisticated mobile hospital. The following image of a Philippine Navy poster displayed on Navy Day shows what this project sought to acquire as a single project.

 The original project that was broken up onto different components

The current administration opted to break up the MRV project into multiple components, award the contract to South Korea’s partner in Indonesia — which had the license rights to the Makassar class LPD — and then renamed the project to the current SSV title. The latter decision initially created confusion among long-time defense enthusiasts who had been aware of both projects, but were not privy to project decisions.

Discussions about this SSV is also available on the DRP forum.