BRP Jose Rizal. (Photo courtesyof Naval Public Affairs Office)

By Priam Nepomuceno  November 22, 2019, 10:13 am

MANILA — The BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), the Philippine Navy (PN)’s first-ever guided-missile frigate, will be undergoing various sea trials from November 23 to 27.

Navy public affairs office chief, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, in a statement Thursday night, said the sea trials will be conducted by the technical crew of South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).

The 107.5-meter long frigate will sail towards the open waters off Ulsan, Busan, and Mokpo in South Korea to measure its performance and general seaworthiness.

Representatives from international provider of classification, compliance and consultancy services to the marine industry, Lloyd’s Register of Shipping will witness the activity to ensure that the ship’s construction has met the required standards.

Roxas said the sea trials are the last phase of construction prior to the frigate’s delivery to the Philippines scheduled tentatively in April or May 2020.

This will take place six months after the vessel was launched at the HHI shipyard for the first time at HHI shipyard in Ulsan last May 23.

“The PHP8-billion warship is a big-ticket acquisition of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that is poised to be the benchmark of PN’s transformation journey,” she said.

Incidentally, BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), the sistership of BRP Jose Rizal, was launched in the same facility last November 8.

The contract for the two ships is placed at PHP16 billion with another PHP2 billion for weapon systems and munitions.

These ships are capable of conducting Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Electronic Warfare (EW) Operations. It is fully equipped with Surface-to-Air and Surface-to-Surface Missiles, torpedoes, launchers, and weapon systems.

The activity signifies that the PN is inching closer to its dream of acquiring highly capable warships.

Its crew and maintenance personnel are currently undergoing training in the Republic of Korea.

Roxas said the BRP Jose Rizal provides leverage for the Navy’s bid of becoming a stronger and more credible force that the Philippines as a maritime nation can be proud of. (PNA)