The first of two newly acquired frigates of the Philippine Navy (PN) took to the water for the first time on May 23, 2019, in a ceremony held at Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea.
“From the time I signed the contract for the Frigate Acquisition Project with HHI in 2018, I have earnestly looked forward to this significant milestone in the acquisition timeline of the Philippine Navy’s very first frigate,” Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana said in his speech which was read by Undersecretary Raymundo DV Elefante.
The 351 by 46-foot frigate will be delivered to the Philippines in the latter part of 2020 and will be christened BRP Jose Rizal once it enters service with the PN. A Keel Laying Ceremony was also held during the same event to formally signal the start of construction for the second vessel. This frigate is expected to see service in the first quarter of 2021 and shall be named BRP Antonio Luna.
The decision memorandum for the procurement of two missile-capable frigates under the Frigate Acquisition Project was issued in October 2015. Hyundai Heavy Industries was selected as the lowest bidder with a bid price of PHP15.75 billion in June 2016.
In October 2016, the contract agreement for the FAP was signed by Secretary Lorenzana as Head of Procuring Entity (HOPE), and Mr. Kisun Chung, Vice President/Owner of HHI.
“The frigates we are acquiring will serve as a shining symbol of our people who come from a proud race of seafarers, and boost our ability to defend our seas and territories. They will also manifest our country’s march toward real independence and self-determination,” Secretary Lorenzana added.
The two frigates will be the first ever PN warships that are capable of conducting Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Electronic Warfare (EW) Operations. These ships will be fully equipped with Surface to Air and Surface to Surface Missiles, torpedoes, launchers and weapon systems for four-dimensional warfare.
The defense chief concluded his message by saying, “As this project is currently the biggest ongoing cooperation program between the Philippines and the Republic of Korea, I know that both the Filipino and Korean people are excitedly looking forward to the successful completion and delivery of our two frigates, in full anticipation of more fruitful partnerships in the future.”
Each frigate has a complement of more than a hundred officers and crew. It has a flight deck towards the stern with the ability to handle one maritime helicopter weighing up to 12t. A hangar will also be fitted to accommodate the helicopter. Two rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIB) will be carried to conduct military and emergency operations at sea. DND