Test-firing of the 76-mm main gun of the country’s first purposedly designed missile frigate, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), was successfully concluded off South Korean waters on Wednesday. Hyundai Heavy Industries conducted a structural test firing of our main gun (76mm Oto Melara Super Rapid SR main gun) with 12 rounds of ammunition. This is to check the effect of the main gun in the structure of the ship. Philippine Navy (PN) public affairs office chief, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, said the test-firing of BRP Jose Rizal’s Oto Melara Super Rapid main gun successfully went off during sea trials as per reports from PN representatives who witnessed the test.
The sixth sea trials involving the ship’s combat systems (weapons and sensors), integrated platform management system and endurance test of the frigate will commence on February 17. The third and fourth sea trials took place in the third week of January that involves testing the communications and navigational equipment of the BRP Jose Rizal and also went successfully. The ship’s first and second sea trials took place in November and December last year, respectively, which involves the vessel’s general seaworthiness and propulsion and associated systems, including its radars. The sea trials are the last phase of construction prior to the frigate’s delivery to the Philippines scheduled tentatively in April or May this year.
BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) is the lead ship of her class, ordered for the Philippine Navy. It is also the first purpose-built frigate of the service, as its major warships were mostly transferred from other navies and reclassified as frigates. The frigates are expected to be delivered to the Philippine Navy by 2020, and will become the service’s primary warships until the introduction of new and more powerful warships. BRP Jose Rizal was launched at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan May 23, 2019. The contract for the BRP Jose Rizal and its sister ship, the BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), is placed at PHP16 billion with another PHP2 billion for weapon systems and munitions. These ships are capable of conducting anti-air warfare (AAW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and electronic warfare (EW) operations.
These ships are brand new frigates made by South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries, acquired under the Horizon 1 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program. The first ship BRP Jose Rizal is delayed for delivery earlier announced as April 2020 while the BRP Antonio Luna should arrive by late 2020. The two ships of the class will become the most modern surface combatants of the Philippine Navy while still quite subpar compared to their contemporaries. The class has numerous “fitted for but not with” (FFBNW) subsystems, including a Close-in Weapon System (CIWS), a Vertical Launching System (VLS), and a Towed Array Sonar System (TASS) as well as several electronic subsystems. No estimate has been given on when the FFBNW systems will be supplied.