SEOUL — The Philippine Defence Department has awarded a contract to Hyundai Heavy Industries to build six 2400-ton offshore patrol vessels, the South Korean company announced June 27, as well as a deal for the maintenance, repair and overhaul of two frigates that the shipbuilder previously delivered.

Under the 744.9 billion won (U.S. $573.8 million) contract, HHI’s Ulsan shipyard in South Korea is charged with delivering six Wonhae vessels to the Philippine Navy by 2028.

They will measure 94.4 meters long and 14.3 meters wide, and have a maximum speed of 22 knots (25 mph) and a cruising speed of 15 knots (58 mph). Their cruising range reaches to 5,500 nautical miles (6329 miles). Each OPV will be armed with one 76mm gun and two 30mm guns. They also feature a deck from which helicopters or UAVs can operate.

Earlier this month, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and his Philippine counterpart Delfin Lorenzana talked on the phone to discuss the direction of bilateral defense cooperation and South Korean-made offshore patrol vessels.

In addition to Lorenzana, those attending the recent signing ceremony included Sam-hyeon Ga, vice chairman of HHI subsidiary Korea Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering; Sang-Hoon Nam, who leads an HHI shipbuilding division; In-cheol Kim, ambassador to the Philippines; and Philippine Navy Adm. Bernard Valencia.

In 2016, HHI delivered two frigates to the Philippines, and last year it signed a contract to build two corvettes for the country.

Daehan Lee was a South Korea correspondent for Defense News. He had previously worked at the U.S. and Belgian embassies in Seoul, for the People Power Party, and for election camps. He also served as a translator for the South Korean Navy. His interests include Asia-Pacific security, defense acquisition, South Korean politics and foreign policy.

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