By Priam Nepomuceno
MANILA — The launching ceremony for the country’s second missile-frigate, the BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), will take place at the shipyard of South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in Ulsan on November 8.
This was disclosed by Philippine Navy (PN) public affairs office chief, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, when sought for updates on the vessel, the sister ship of BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) launched last May 23 in the same facility.
“As per schedule, November 8 is launching of (BRP Antonio Luna) in Ulsan,” she said in a message to the Philippine News Agency Monday.
Expected in the event are PN flag-officer-in-command, Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad, and other ranking naval officers.
BRP Antonio Luna is named after the Filipino revolutionary general known for his stiff resistance to the then invading American forces.
The Philippines and HHI signed a PHP16- billion contract for two missile-armed frigates with another PHP2 billion set aside for its weapon systems and munition in October 2016.
BRP Jose Rizal is expected to be delivered to the PN by April 2020 while the BRP Antonio Luna is scheduled for September of the same year.
The steel-cutting for BRP Jose Rizal took place on April 1, 2018, while the same ceremony for BRP Antonio Luna transpired in November the same year. These events officially signified the start of the actual construction of the frigates.
Meanwhile, the keel-laying ceremony for BRP Jose Rizal took place in October 2018 as the formal recognition of the start of the ship’s construction.
Keel-laying refers to the official start of the construction of any ship and is considered among the four highlights of any surface vessel with the other three being steel-cutting, commissioning, and decommissioning.
Both ships are armed with Oto Melara 76-mm Super Rapid main gun, and Aselsan SMASH 30-mm remote-controlled secondary cannon, anti-submarine torpedoes, anti-air and ship missiles.
The Jose Rizal-class frigates of the PN are also equipped with a Hanwha Systems’ Naval Shield combat management system (CMS), which integrates all shipboard sensors and weapons and decides on which is ideal to deal with any incoming threats.
The system can also detect and track air, surface and sub-surface targets and is used in various configurations by the Republic of Korea Navy, Royal Malaysian Navy, and the Indonesian Navy. (PNA)