Janes reported that the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) disclosed that it has selected suppliers for the torpedo meant for use by the Philippine Navy’s (PN’s) two José Rizal-class guided-missile frigate. The move is meant to provide the multirole frigates with an additional anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability alongside that provided by the Leonardo AW159 Lynx Wildcat helicopters set to operate from the vessels. The Department of National Defens issued a ‘Notice of Award’ (NoA) to South Korean company LIG Nex1 for the planned procurement of an undisclosed number of torpedoes for $15.9 million (PHP766.3 million).
Some analysts speculate that the proposed deal is for K745 Cheong Sangeo (Blue Shark) lightweight, anti?submarine torpedoes. Each of the two Philippine Navy Jose Rizal-class Frigates is equipped with two triple 324 mm torpedo launchers. This is the same torpedo type that is set to be deployed with the Philippine Navy Lynx Wildcat helicopters. The Blue Shark torpedo can be deployed from surface ships, ASW helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft. Production cost for each torpedo is at about ? 1,000,000,000 ($ 855.147). Blue Shark torpedoes are fitted to the Republic of Korea Navy Incheon class frigate (FFX).
The AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat (previously called the Future Lynx and Lynx Wildcat) is a British military helicopter. It is an improved version of the Westland Super Lynx designed to serve in the battlefield utility, search and rescue and anti-surface warfare roles. For anti-submarine duties, the helicopter can operate for over three hours when equipped with the Thales FLASH dipping sonar, two hours with the sonar and one Blue Shark torpedo, and an hour or more with the sonar and two torpedoes; it can also drop sonobuoys. The AW159 has also been offered to several export customers, and has been ordered by the Republic of Korea Navy and the Philippine Navy.
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 ships, which were built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), are 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 ships that were retired from other countries and subsequently transferred to the Philippines. She is also one of the navy’s primary warships able to conduct multi-role operations such as anti-submarine warfare.