Finally, the Philippine Navy (and Vietnam) are Set to Receive a Pohang-class Flight III Corvette from South Korea

MaxDefense Philippines finally received a confirmation from its sources that after more than 2 years of waiting, the Philippine Navy will be receiving a Pohang-class corvette from South Korea. This is NOT the same ship that was reported since 2014, which is a totally different project.

After conducting of the Joint Visual Inspection by the Philippine Navy in Jinhae Naval Base in South Korea, spearheaded by the Offshore Combat Force's commanding officer himself, the Philippine Navy decided to finally accept the offer made by the South Korean government to transfer the Pohang-class Flight III anti-submarine corvette. It appears that only 1 ship was offered by the South Korean government, while the other decommissioned Flight III ships will be going to 2 other countries. The ship is expected to be in service with the Philippine Navy by 4th quarter of 2017.

While the deal appears that the ship is free, the Philippine Navy will have to spend around Php 200 million for the entire transfer process, including reactivation, repair, minor refurbishing works, replacement of obsolete systems required for safe use of the ship, crew billeting and training, and other expenses.

The ship is expected to be assigned with the Offshore Combat Force (OCF) of the Philippine Fleet, and will be the primary anti-submarne warfare (ASW) platform of the service until the introduction of other ASW-capable units.

Pohang-class corvette ROKS Chungju (PCC-762), the unit reportedly assigned for transfer to the Philippine Navy.
Credits to owner of photo.

The Ship in Brief:

The ship, reported to be the former ROKS Chungju (PCC-762), was built by Korea Tacoma Shipyard, was commissioned with the Republic of Korea Navy in 1987, and served until it was decommissioned in December 2016. Based on these dates, the ship is around 30 years old, or at least 20 years younger than the Hamilton-class cutters acquired by the Philippine Navy from the US Coast Guard.

It is considered a Flight III sub-class of the Pohang-class combat corvette, which is configured for anti-submarine warfare. It is equipped with two Oto Melara 76mm Compact naval guns, two Breda twin 40mm/70 naval guns, two Mk. 32 triple torpedo tubes, and two Mk.9 depth charge racks. It was previously fitted with Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers, and while they are not included in the transfer, the ship won't need major alterations and adjustments for launchers to be re-installed again.

The ship's sensors suite include Raytheon AN/SPS-64 radar, Signaal WM-28 Fire Control system, and a Raytheon AN/SQS-58 hull mounted sonar which replaced an older model.

The ROKS Chungju is equipped with two Mk.32 triple torpedo launchers, similar to the photo above.
Photo taken from Wikipedia.

As an Anti Submarine Warfare Training Ship:

The ship's Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) gear is the primary reason of the Philippine Navy's interest in the Pohang-class. With no warship in its fleet with ASW capability, the PN has almost zero capability in detecting and hunting submarines, as well as providing practical and actual ASW training to its personnel.

The ASW training is very important since the Philippine Navy is expecting the delivery of two new ASW-capable frigates in the next few years, and the training of potential crew members should start as early as possible. According to our sources, the Republic of Korea Navy will primarily assist in training PN personnel in ASW, while the PN will also be getting assistance from other friendly navies in growing the knowledge and experience base.

What Happened to the Earlier Offer:

In 2014, it was reported that the Philippine Navy will be receiving the Pohang-class Flight II ASuW corvette ROKS Mokpo (PCC-759) as a donation by the South Korean government. While the ship itself is free, the ship will need to undergo rehabilitation and refurbishing before it can set sail for the Philippines. And expenses for this would be paid for by the Philippine government.

A Joint Visual Inspection (JVI) team from the Philippine Navy found in 2014 that the ROKS Mokpo was in very poor condition, and will need a huge investment in time and money to be brought to tip top shape. Also, it is not an ASW-configured warship, and this is what the PN is actually putting priority in what they are looking for. Thus, the Philippine Navy rejected the offer, and instead requested the Korean government to provide an alternative offer. 

The latest proposal made by the Korean government has reached the Philippine Navy late last year, resulting to this latest arrangement for the transfer of ROKS Chungju.

While we were all hoping that the Koreans may have offered more than just 1 ship, MaxDefense received confirmation that the other available Flight III corvettes were earmarked for Vietnam, and another one for a South American country.

Until now there are reportedly no takers yet of the former ROKS Mokpo, suggesting that the inspection results from the PN may hold weight.

So let's stop looking for the Mokpo, shall we?

Future Plans:

The Philippine Navy has requested funding for a combat system upgrade for a single Pohang-class corvette as part of the AFP Modernization Program's Horizon 2 phase, as submitted by the AFP and DND to Malacanang. This will enable the PN to install a heavier weapons system like anti-ship missiles, while also upgrading its weapons and sensor suite.

Aside from that, the Philippine Navy is also hoping that the South Korean government will again offer more Pohang-class corvettes, as the PN wanted to have at least 3 units in its fleet. This is logical, considering that operating a single Pohang-class ship does not make sense, and would be a logistical problem for the PN since it uses parts and systems that are currently not in their logistics and maintenance chain. More ships of the class in PN service makes its continued use more reasonable in both operations and logistics point of view.

These ships are also expected to replace some of the World War 2-era assets of the Philippine Navy, which they wanted to retire from service by year 2020. 

The Pohang-class are actually configured to carry and fire Harpoon anti-ship missiles, as seen on the photo above. The combat system upgrade requested by the PN for the Pohang-class under the Horizon 2 phase of the Navy's modernization programme may include the acquisition and installation of such systems, enabling the ship to have the capability to engage enemy ships in longer distances.
Credits to the owner of the photo.

MaxDefense will update this blog entry as more information comes in the near future. Meanwhile, MaxDefense readers are adviced to also read our old blog entry regarding the Pohang-class acquisition by the Philippine Navy, which I believe is still relevant up to now:



  1. Great news! Sir, how much will it cost? Any idea when will it be delivered to Ph navy? Hopefully within this year.

    1. I'm not sure, but if I still remember correctly, PN needs at least P200M for this ship...

      Can someone else confirm this...Thanks

    2. Everything is written in the blog

    3. All info is written in the blog

  2. finally, a big help and a boost to the Philippine Navy's capability...

    ..but sir max, isnt it that this ASW-corvette possesses too much fire power having torpedoes, missile firing capacity and FOUR compacts guns installed in it? does the PN have the plans of at least removing the two 76mm guns to be installed to the two SSV's and making the 40mm's as the mainstay guns for the ASW-corvette? i think thats a bit practical. in that way the PN wont have to source 76mm guns for the defenseless SSV's. besides removing the 76mm.'s wont affect the pohang but rather provide it with enough space for future installations of some upgrades like installing a crane that will allow the ship to carry a RHIB and some radars or so in place of the removed guns.

    can you say something about this sir max? i find this suggestion a bit practical a very big win-win solution for the PNavy..

    1. Much better to release a bid for brand new weps for the SSV's doing so will not compromise the weps of the Pohan. We simply can't canibalize something that works just so we can arm up the SSV's.

  3. Might as well consider unmounting 1 76mm oto melara gun from the upcoming corvette to provide for the need of a tarlac class lpd of such system, then do the same thing for the others. That makes things cheaper for the navy i guess.

    1. That would be impractical as it will affect the structural integrity of the upcoming corvette (ROKS Chungju), and there's a reason why later batches of Pohang-class had two 76mm naval guns as opposed to one on earlier batch due to it's intended role.

      The best approach was to start a procurement process for the naval guns of Tarlac-class LPD, specifically the Super Rapid variant of 76mm naval gun w/ stealth cupola to blend the streamlined design of PN's LPDs.



  5. Hello sir Max, I thought you mention from an earlier post in fb that PN was offered at least 2 Flight III pohangs. What happen to the 2nd one? Is there an option to get more in the future? Thanks

  6. I agree with you sir that a single ship would be senseless and logistically impractical. If the other flight III Pohangs we're already earmarked, are there other versions of the ship that the PN can hope to acquire? Perhaps a flight II that's not as old as Mokpo or flight IVs?

  7. Good news indeed. Anti submarine warfare skill will be restored. But it has a short endurance compare to rizal and malvar class corvette according to wikipedia. So we need to 2 more of this pohang class to be able to effectively monitor large territorial area. Renbios

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Love those otobredas. I think those torpedoes, ashms, depth charges will still be a long way to go. But having an oto melara and an otobreda all in one ship is fantastic. At last a ship that has 3 weapons that are not yet obsolete and still useful all at the same time. After 30 years...

  10. Wow!!! This is great news sir max! By the way,What happened to the Coutinhos?? Will the PN still pursue the purchase for the Portuguese ships??

  11. Philippine's navy should really follow Malaysian Navy 15-5 program. For more information

  12. Sir does this mean Joao Coutinho will be off because of the budget needed for the transfer process of Pohang?

  13. My God waste of money. How much will the gov't pay for refurbishing that ship? Millions right? Yung POHANG corvette class yan ung pinataub ng may kalawang na submarine ng North Korea and then philippine would settle foe less ? The point is , if we really want a reliable ship then perhaps we could invest a newer a stronger ship that could really compensate the expectations of us' Taxpayers!

    1. >will help the PN train in ASW
      >probably gonna be the only ship with ASW when it finally enters service
      >not realizing that we need all the usable hulls we can get, considering the vast expanse of ocean we have to have presence in

    2. training on very old systems.. lol its like we have windows 10 now and you want me to train on MSDOS.. ngek,,, waste of money.. add to that old ships waste too much resources on maintenance.. pretey soon give it 10 years and you will crying the "no available parts anymore" the companies the electronics chips used are no longer made obsolete\discontinued... so your ships dont last anymore than 10 years... versus brand new that last like 50years.. it doesnt take a genius to realize that if you buy old you wont grow your fleet... why coz your old ships keeps being decomissioned faster than you buy new ships because they have a very low lifespan left...

  14. P200,000 for a decommissioned ship that is to old to be in service anymore. Sounds like a hole in the water for dumping money into that will never be able to defend against any modern warship.

    Philippines is always scrounging around for everyone else's free junk. It's about time we design and build our own navy instead of always wanting un wanted hand me downs from others.

    Would be better to build smaller high tech attack craft loaded with modern anti-ship anti-sub weapons systems that is ready to go for the same price.

  15. We still need the Mokpo Sir Max for parts. Maybe the SK Gov would still give it to us for atleast some Very minor refurbishement​s.

  16. 16 more Pohang class soon to be decommissioned by the Koreans....can the PN inspect and make a reservation among those left?

  17. When is the next batch of the Pohang class to be retired ? Can the DND offer a better deal to acquire more from the SOKOR Navy .

  18. Poor condition? No offence but i do believe that the poor condition the ship is is much better than the poorer conditions the ships operated by the phillippine navy.


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