MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ first multi-mission capable frigate, the BRP Jose Rizal, will undergo sea trials starting Saturday, November 23, in South Korea – as it nears its expected delivery in April or May 2020.
The technical crew of the builders Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) will take the brand new warship out for a 5-day spin in the open waters off Ulsan, Busan, and Mokpo in South Korea to measure its performance and general seaworthiness, the Philippine Navy said in a statement.
Representatives from the UK-based Lloyd’s Register of Shipping will observe the sea tests to check whether the vessel’s construction has met global standards.
The BRP Jose Rizal’s crewmembers and maintenance personnel are in South Korea for training.
The 351-by-46-foot frigate worth P8 billion will be capable of conducting anti-air, anti-surface, anti-submarine, and electronic warfare operations. It will be fitted with surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles, torpedoes, launchers, and other weapon systems.
“The ship provides leverage to the Navy’s bid of becoming a stronger and more credible force that the Philippines, as a maritime nation, can be proud of,” the Navy said.
Photo from the Philippine Navy
When it is commissioned, the BRP Jose Rizal will be the most powerful warship in the Philippine Fleet, a distinction currently held by the second-hand Pohang Class corvette, the BRP Conrado Yap.
A second frigate of the Jose Rizal class, the BRP Antonio Luna, was launched to sea earlier this month, and is expected to be delivered to the Philippines in September or October 2020.
The Navy plans to strike another deal with HHI for two brand new corvettes, which would be even more powerful than the Jose Rizal Class frigates – if the plan pushes through.
A preliminary “memorandum of understanding” on the corvettes was signed between the Department of National Defense and HHI on November 8, on the sidelines of the BRP Antonio Luna’s sea launch.
Beefing up the Philippine Navy is currently the focus of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program, as the country faces maritime security threats from an expansive China, and terrorists sneaking in through the loosely guarded waters around Sulu in Mindanao. – Rappler.com
JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.