PH Navy approves critical design review for controversial frigate deal
The Philippine Navy said Thursday its technical inspection and inspection committee (TIAC) has finally approved the critical design review of the controversial frigate acquisition project.
This means that the ship-building work can finally begin.
Commo. Alberto Carlos of the TIAC has signed the approval for the two warships last March 23. It is the Navy’s biggest modernization project at P18-billion.
The critical design review was earlier stalled after the Navy could not reconcile the combat management systems (CMS) to be used for the warships. The CMS is said to be the brain of the warships as it integrates the communications, weapons, sensors and navigation systems.
Former Navy chief Vice Adm. Ronald Joseph Mercado was sacked by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana from his post last December for supposedly insisting Tacticos Thales for the CMS of the warships. But shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries wanted to install Hanwha Systems.
Lorenzana alleged that Mercado’s insistence was delaying the project for a few months.
“Indeed, the completion of the CDR phase and the start of the steel cutting show that FAP is now moving forward without delays in accordance with the stipulations of the contract,” the Navy said in a statement.
The approval marks a significant step forward and a major milestone for the said project which consists of the approval of 71 critical detailed design drawings’ as submitted by Hyundai.
The design will be used as a basis for the project to proceed. The next ‘significant milestone’ would likely be April 30 at HHI Complex, Ulsan, South Korea to be attended by a delegation from Department of National Defense and Philippine Navy. /je
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