The chief of the Philippine Navy (PN) Rear Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said Sunday that the delivery of the country’s first-ever missile guided frigate, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), might be delayed due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. Bacordo said the members of the Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee (TIAC), who will check and certify as fit for service the various systems and components of the ship, need to comply with South Korea’s mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival for all incoming travelers. While the ruling is reasonable due to the Covid-19 crisis, this will make it difficult for TIAC members to proceed with their business.
Another problem caused by Covid-19 is that Philippine Navy personnel who are supposed to undergo training on the various systems of the ship, including its weapons, can’t go to South Korea due to the ongoing pandemic. Part of the contract states that the original equipment manufacturers are supposed to train Philippine Navy personnel but due to Covid-19 situation, so what will (probably) happen is that training will start once the ship is delivered to Philippine Navy.
The Jose Rizal-class frigate is a class of two multi-role semi-stealth frigates built for the Philippine Navy, the ships are the derivatives of HDF-3000 frigate design (officially known as HDF-2600 Frigate Design) from Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) with design specifically accommodated to fit the requirements of the Philippine Navy. South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries has earlier vowed to deliver the BRP Jose Rizal by the third week of April or five months earlier than its planned September delivery schedule.
BRP Jose Rizal has a maximum designed speed of 25 knots and a cruising speed of 15 knots and a range of 4,500 nautical miles. 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.