Asia

Philippine navy commissions its first landing dock vessel

  • Outgoing Philippine President Benigno Aquino III reviews the troops during the commissioning ceremony for the new Philippine Navy Strategic Sealift Vessel BRP Tarlac (LD601) and three other vessels to coincide with the Philippine Navy's 118th anniversary Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at the South Harbor in Manila, Philippines. The 7,200 ton ship is the country's largest to date and is capable of transporting personnel, equipment and aid during humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    Outgoing Philippine President Benigno Aquino III reviews the troops during the commissioning ceremony for the new Philippine Navy Strategic Sealift Vessel BRP Tarlac (LD601) and three other vessels to coincide with the Philippine Navy's 118th anniversary Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at the South Harbor in Manila, Philippines. The 7,200 ton ship is the country's largest to date and is capable of transporting personnel, equipment and aid during humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Crew of the new Philippine Navy Strategic Sealift Vessel BRP Tarlac (LD601) rush to board their vessel during the commissioning ceremony with three other vessels to coincide with the Philippine Navy's 118th anniversary Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at South Harbor in Manila, Philippines. The 7,200 ton ship is the country's largest to date and is capable of transporting personnel, equipment and aid during humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    Crew of the new Philippine Navy Strategic Sealift Vessel BRP Tarlac (LD601) rush to board their vessel during the commissioning ceremony with three other vessels to coincide with the Philippine Navy's 118th anniversary Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at South Harbor in Manila, Philippines. The 7,200 ton ship is the country's largest to date and is capable of transporting personnel, equipment and aid during humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Philippine Marine salutes during the commissioning ceremony for the new Philippine Navy Strategic Sealift Vessel BRP Tarlac (LD601) and three other vessels to coincide with the Philippine Navy's 118th anniversary Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at Manila's South Harbor in Manila, Philippines. The 7,200 ton ship is the country's largest to date and is capable of transporting personnel, equipment and aid during humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    A Philippine Marine salutes during the commissioning ceremony for the new Philippine Navy Strategic Sealift Vessel BRP Tarlac (LD601) and three other vessels to coincide with the Philippine Navy's 118th anniversary Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at Manila's South Harbor in Manila, Philippines. The 7,200 ton ship is the country's largest to date and is capable of transporting personnel, equipment and aid during humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)  (The Associated Press)

The Philippine navy has commissioned its first amphibious landing dock vessel and three smaller landing craft heavy vessels as it continues to modernize amid a territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea.

President Benigno Aquino III says the BRP Tarlac, commissioned Wednesday, is the country's first strategic sealift vessel and the navy's biggest ship. He says it will serve in military, humanitarian and disaster operations and was acquired under the 60 billion peso ($1.3 billion) military modernization program that began in 2010.

The 123-meter-long (400-foot-long) ship, with a 2,800-ton payload capacity, is the first of two such vessels for the navy. The second one, also built in Indonesia, is expected to be delivered next year.

The smaller landing craft heavy vessels were bought from Australia.