The Philippine Navy (Hukbong Dagat ng Pilipinas) officially welcomed its newest and first missile-capable frigate from South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) on June 15, 2020. The frigate docked at the Alava Wharf in Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Zambales, the warship that will soon be named the BRP Jose Rizal (FF150) will join the Philippine fleet headed by Rear Adm. Loumer Bernabe. The frigate was given a traditional arrival ceremony on Monday. Naval Public Affairs Office chief Lt. Cmdr. Maria Christina Roxas said a separate handover, christening and commissioning ceremony, originally scheduled on Thursday, was reset due to unavoidable circumstances.
The frigate was sent off in a ceremony last month at the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea. Delegates from the Philippine Navy, HHI’s Special and Naval Shipbuilding Division, and Hanwha Systems graced the simple sail-off ceremony for the frigate. The two South Korean companies also donated COVID-19 relief supplies to the Philippine Navy. The crew completed the mandatory quarantine period as part of health protocols to curb the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 after they arrived in the country two weeks ago (14-day mandatory quarantine period).
The Jose Rizal-class frigate is a class of two guided missile frigates, designed as multi-role semi-stealth ships for the Philippine Navy. The ships are heavily modified derivative 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. The frigates will improve the capability of Philippine Navy’s Offshore Combat Force which is mostly composed of aging fleet of retired ships transferred from other countries like Gregorio del Pilar-class offshore patrol vessel.
The second warship, to be named BRP Antonio Luna upon commissioning, is expected to be delivered to the country by year-end. 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. The frigate possesses a maximum designed speed of 25 knots and a cruising speed of 15 knots and a range of 4,500 nautical miles.