The Philippine Navy (PN) commissioned its second and final José Rizal-class guided-missile frigate in a ceremony held on 19 March at Pier 13 in South Harbor, Manila. President Rodrigo Duterte expressed hope that the Philippine Navy would be more inspired to demonstrate bravery and patriotism now that it has its second guided-missile frigate named BRP Antonio Luna (pennant number FF 151). Duterte gave his message during the christening and commissioning of BRP Antonio Luna at Pier 13 in South Harbor, Manila. The vessel, which was launched in November 2019 and completed sea acceptance trials off Ulsan on 18 December 2020, will now join first-of-class BRP José Rizal (FF 150), which entered service in July 2020. BRP Antonio Luna finished its quarantine at Subic Bay in Zambales after arriving from Ulsan, South Korea on February 9.
The BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) is the second ship of the Jose Rizal-class of guided missile frigates in service with the Philippine Navy. She is able to conduct multi-role operations such anti-surface warfare (ASUW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), and limited anti-air warfare (AAW). She is one of the service’s primary warship until the introduction of new and more powerful contemporaries. The BRP Antonio Luna was designed and built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) of South Korea and is a derivative of the Incheon-class frigates of the Republic of Korea Navy. Changes were made on the base design by making use of features found on newer frigates of the R.O.K. Navy, considering reduced radar cross-section by having cleaner lines, smooth surface design, reduced overhangs and a low free-board.
The BRP Antonio Luna was named after Antonio Luna, a Filipino army general who fought during the Philippine-American war. The contract for the BRP Jose Rizal and the BRP Antonio Luna, which is part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) modernization program, was placed at PHP16 billion, with another PHP2 billion for weapon systems and munitions. Giving more significance to the event was the attendance of the living descendants of Gen. Antonio Luna headed by Constancio Ongpin. The christening rites of the frigate followed after the commissioning with Editha Aguilar-Lorenzana, the defense chief’s wife, serving as the lady sponsor. The commissioning of BRP Antonio Luna officially completed the two-ship PN frigate acquisition project.
The country’s second missile frigate, the BRP Antonio Luna, has a maiden crew of 101 officers and sailors and is commanded by Capt. Charles Merric Villanueva. The Jose Rizal class of multi-role guided missile frigates, currently in service with the Philippine Navy, are heavily modified variant of the ROK Navy’s Incheon-class frigates. The two modern frigates were manufactured by South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries. The contract for the BRP Jose Rizal and the BRP Antonio Luna was placed at PHP16 billion, with another PHP2 billion for weapon systems and munitions. The first frigate, BRP Jose Rizal, was delivered and subsequently commissioned last July 10. BRP Antonio Luna’s keel-laying on May 23, 2019, coincided with the launch of BRP Jose Rizal.