By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine Navy (PN) will welcome on Tuesday the BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39), an ex-Pohang class corvette (small warship) which was recently acquired from South Korea, as it dropped anchor in Port of Manila over the weekend.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is expected to grace the arrival ceremony for the maiden crew of the BRP
Conrado Yap, led by Captain Marco Buena, and BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602) at Pier 15 in South Harbor, Manila. The BRP Davao del Sur escorted the corvette while it was sailing to the Philippines from South Korea.
Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, commander of the Philippine Fleet, said the BRP Conrado Yap arrived on Sunday morning.
He said the corvette’s addition to the current fleet will have a big impact on the capabilities of the Philippine Navy.
“Right now, she is the most powerful surface combatant of the Navy,” Bacordo noted.
According to Bacordo, BRP Conrado Yap is equipped with two 76mm Oto Melara main guns, two 40mm Otobreda guns, anti-aircraft guns, anti-surface, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare capabilities.
BRP Conrado Yap is also powered by two gas turbines, enabling it to move at a maximum speed of 25 knots to a distance of 4,000 nautical miles. The small warship measures 88.3 meters long with a beam of 10 meters and draft of
2.9 meters while its displacement is at 1,216 tons full load.
It is rated for a crew of 118 personnel and can sustain operational presence for 20 days.
“Importante siya kasi ‘di ba (This is important because) last time we welcomed two Agusta Westland 159s, our anti-submarine warfare helicopters, and now we have BRP Conrado Yap which has an anti-submarine warfare capability. Ibig sabihin, madadagdagan ang ating (This means that we have increased our) anti-submarine warfare capabilities,” Bacordo explained while referring to the arrival of the newly-acquired choppers last May 7.
“And then of course we also have strengthened firepower for anti-surface and air warfare,” he added.
The crew manning BRP Conrado Yap had undergone 13 weeks of necessary operational and warfare trainings facilitated by the Reserve Ship Maintenance Squadron (RSMS) of the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) at the Jinhae Naval Base, but Bacordo said they will still be subjected to a few more trainings in the Philippines.
The ship’s system will also be subjected to several adjustments so that it will be able to “talk” or communicate with the other Philippine ship, Bacordo revealed.
BRP Conrado Yap is the former ROKN corvette Chungju (PCC-762) which was commissioned in 1987 and served until 2016.
Last August 6, South Korean Navy officials handed over the corvette to Philippine Navy officials in a ceremony held at the Jinhae Naval Base in South Korea.
The corvette was then commissioned into service, and named after Army Captain Conrado Yap, a gallant Filipino military leader who served in the Korean war as part of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea. He was considered as the most decorated Filipino soldier in the Korean war.