Shipbuilder Korean Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has formally started the construction of the Philippine Navy (PN)’s first of two missile-capable frigates with the steel-cutting ceremony held in Ulsan, South Korea on April 30, a defense department official said Wednesday. This was confirmed by Defense Spokesperson Arsenio Andolong in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
“I can confirm that the steel cutting has commenced on April 30,” he added. The ceremonial steel-cutting is considered the official start of any vessel’s construction.
HHI is set to launch the first frigate by May 2019 with delivery by the second half of 2020. Meanwhile, steel-cutting for the second frigate under HHI contract will commence this September with delivery on the first half of 2021.
Present during the steel-cutting ceremony were HHI president Gang-Hwan Kang, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Defense Undersecretary for Finance and Materiel Raymundo Elefante and Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad.
Contract for the PHP18-billion frigate project was signed on Oct. 24, 2016.
The ships will be equipped with missiles and other weapons capable of neutralizing air, surface, and sub-surface threats. The two frigates are capable of speeds of 25 knots or around 46 kilometers per hour and have range of 4,500 nautical miles.