The Philippines will receive four new patrol vessels from a U.S. company in November 2015, the firm announced September 3.
According to Willard Marine Inc., the U.S. State Department had awarded it a contract to provide the Philippine National Police Maritime Group with patrol vessels equipped for search and rescue operations along the country’s maritime borders.
The move is consistent with efforts by the United States to build the capacity of its allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific such as the Philippines to tackle maritime security challenges. In addition to such assistance, Washington and Manila also inked an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement in 2014 that, if approved by the Philippine legislature, would grant access to U.S. troops, planes and ships in the country on a rotational basis.
A press release by the firm noted that it would provide it with two aluminum, 30 foot patrol boats with twin 480-hp engines and dual water jets, as well as two 34-foot patrol boats with 600-hp engines and dual water jets. The vessels will be equipped with gun posts forward and aft, and cabins will include features such as shock-mitigating seats to enhance crew comfort and safety. The customized patrol craft for the Philippines is derived from a SeaArk Marine boat design that the company acquired the licensing rights to last year.
This is the third time that Willard Marine has been awarded a contract to provide military vessels to the Philippines. In 2013, the company supplied a number of 7 m Sea Force 730 rigid-hull inflatable boats to the Philippine Navy under a U.S. Navy Foreign Military Sales program. Ulrich Gottschling, the company’s president, said the relationship is one that it hopes will continue in the coming years.
“We are confident that the Philippine National Police will get tremendous use of their new Willard patrol boats for many years, and we hope to provide them with additional vessels as their mission requirements grow and evolve over time,” he said.