Military


LT Zamboanga del Sur Class

Between 1975 and 1978s the Philippine Navy acquired a number of Landing Ship Tank-2 class (LST-2) vessels from various sources. As a result the ships of the Zamboanga del Sur Class were in a variety of configurations. The first 2 ships were acquired in 1975 when 2 ships of the defunct South Vietnamese Navy fled to the Philippines. These ships were commissioned as the RPS Agusan del Sur and RPS Dumaguet. They were originally classed as transports (using the AL prefix no longer used by the Philippine Navy), being designated AL-54 and AL-57. In 1976 another LST-2 type ship, purchased from the United States, was commissioned as the RPS Zamboanga del Sur. This ship was classified as a Landing Ship Tank in the Philippine Navy hull numbering system using the LT prefix, the ship being designated LT-86. As the first ship of this class in this role, the class takes this name, despite the fact that the Agusan del Sur and Dumaguet (renamed BRP Sierra Madre) were reclassified in 1989.

A total of 20 additional vessels were acquired between 1975 and 1978, all being purchased from the United States or Japan. Some of the additional vessels were formerly of the South Vietnamese Navy, but had reverted to US ownership and were subsequently purchased. The last ship to be purchased was the RPS Samar del Norte (LT-510), acquired from Japan. The RPS Kalinga Apayo (LT-516) had been purchased earlier in 1977, another ship that had escaped from South Vietnam, but was commissioned around the same time as the Samar del Norte. At some point during the late 1980s the formal Republic of Philippines Ship (RPS) was replaced by the Tagalog "Bapor Ng Republika Ng Philipinas Or" (BRP), with roughly the same meaning.

The Kalinga Apayo was originally classified as a Tender (All Types) using the AE prefix, but was at some point redesignated (likely during 1989 when the AL classified ships were also redesignated). The Kalinga Apayo had been reconfigured to serve in this role during the 1960s during its service in South Vietnam, as had the Damaguet/Sierra Madre. These ships had most of their cargo space reconfigured to house repair shops and storage for parts and other equipment and were both fitted with a helicopter pad on the main deck. They did retain their bow cargo doors allowing them to continue being used later as landing ships. The Cotabato del Sur (LT-87) had 4 Welin davits for LCVP landing craft, while other vessels also fitted with these davits had only 2. Ships originally configured purely as amphibious transports (T-LSTs) had no davits at all. Many of the vessels of this class were later fitted with helicopter pads on their main decks like those on the Agusan del Sur and Kalinga Apayo.

At some point between 1976 and 1989 the Zamboanga del Sur was decommissioned before being ractivated in 1990. By the end of the 1980s the Agusan del Sur, Mindoro Occidental (LT-93), Suragao del Norte (LT-94), Suragao del Sur (LT-95), Maquindanao (LT-96), Cagayan (LT-97), Tarlac (LT-500), Lanao del Sur (LT-503), Leyte del Sur (LT-505), Davao Oriental (LT-506), Aurora (LT-508), and Cotabato del Norte (LT-511) were all stricken from inventory. They were sold for scrap or cannabalized for parts. In 1992 the Ilocos Norte (LT-98), Samar Oriental (LT-502), and Tawi-Tawi (LT-512) were also stricken. In 1991 the Beneguet (LT-507) had undergone a major refit and the Laguna (LT-501) and Lanao Del Norte (LT-504) underwent similar rehabilitation between 1992 and 1993. By 1994, these vessels were in the best condition of all of the remaining ships. Other survivors included the Sierra Madre, Zamboanga del Sur, Cotabato del Sur, Samar del Norte, and Kalinga Apayo.

The Cotabato del Sur was finally decommissioned on 7 June 2001. The Lanao del Sur ran aground off of Pag-asa island in the Spratly Islands in December 2004, while delivering supplies. The ship was abandoned and was still at that location in badly deteriorated condition as of 2009. The remaining Zamboanga del Sur class vessels reamined as of 2009 important elements of the Philippine Navy transfering personnel and equipment between the various islands in support of the countries various counter-insurgency campaigns.




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