Philippine Navy BRP Antonio (FF-151) Luna Showcases Anti-ship Missile Capabilities
Philippine Navy BRP Antonio (FF-151) Luna Showcases Anti-ship Missile Capabilities

Philippine Navy BRP Antonio (FF-151) Luna Showcases Anti-ship Missile Capabilities

The Philippine Navy’s missile frigate BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) on May 19 demonstrated its capability to protect itself against hostile missile attack by firing its newly acquired “Bullfighter” chaff anti-missile decoys off the coast of San Antonio, Zambales. Chaff works by distracting radar-guided missiles from their targets by spreading or dispensing a small cloud of aluminum, metalized glass fiber, or plastic, which appears as clusters of targets in radar screens. This defensive weaponry was fitted aboard the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) and BRP Antonio Luna early this year and was first tested and fired last March. The ‘Bullfighter’ is a new generation of 130mm decoys for Super Rapid Bloom Offboard Chaff (SRBOC) and other 130mm launcher systems to protect naval vessels up to the size of frigates against anti-ship missiles.

The PN’s AgustaWestland (now Leonardo) AW-159 “Wildcat” anti-submarine warfare helicopter also launched a dummy Blue Shark torpedo simulating an attack against a hostile submarine. The South Korean-made LIG Nex1 “Blue Shark” lightweight torpedoes served as the “Wildcat” helicopters’ anti-submarine weapon and are capable of shallow and deep-water operations and can run off to a speed of 45 knots. Initially, the PN was supposed to fire its Mistral 3 surface-to-air missile (SAM) and demonstrate to the Chief Executive its capability to destroy hostile aerial targets. However, this did not materialize as the target drone contracted for the purpose failed to take off due to still unidentified reasons. The missile was supposed to be launched in the scenario where the BRP Antonio Luna detected an “unmanned aerial hostile” target.

These activities were witnessed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief Gen. Andres Centino, Philippine Navy (PN) chief Vice Adm. Toribio Adaci Jr., and a host of other ranking defense and military officials aboard the landing dock BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602). The live capability demonstration was among the PN’s major events, in line with the commemoration of its 125th founding anniversary on May 20. Carrying an anniversary theme “Guardians of the Seas: Ensuring National Sovereignty, Security, and Stability,” the landmark activity represents the PN’s resolve to protect the country and ensure the security of the Filipino people. In his speech, Marcos urged the PN to continue fulfilling its mandate of serving and protecting the country.

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 warships 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.