On May 18, 2020, the BRP Jose Rizal frigate left the Korean Ulsan port to move to the Philippines.
BRP Jose Rizal frigate was handed over to the Philippines
The Philippines, the only country in Southeast Asia to have an alliance with the United States, has finally entered the period of possession of missile frigates and catches up with other regional navies.
“This will be our biggest and first brand new fighting ship.” “This is the first time that we will have this kind of vessel in our Philippine Navy,” said Philippine naval commander Giovanni Carlo Bacordo.
The Philippine Navy, which is running an aging fleet, mostly warships from the Second World War. They are proud of the BRP Jose Rizal and BRP Antonio Luna. These are the two multi-role semi-stealth frigates that the Philippines ordered South Korea in October 2016.
The BRP Jose Rizal, one of the Philippines’ most modern ships, was transferred to the water by Hyundai Heavy Industries in May 2019 in Ulsan, South Korea.
According to Philippine media, many Filipino officials were present at this important ceremony. Accompanied by the launch ceremony of the ship, Jose Rizal, was the ceremony of setting up the second ship of the same type, BRP Antonio Luna.
Philippine naval commander, chief Vice admiral Robert Empedrad said at the launching ceremony that it would be the navy’s most powerful warship when armed with sensors and weapons capable of detecting and disabling threats from air, sea and underwater surfaces as well as electronic combat capabilities.
Two brand new frigates of the Philippine Navy
Jose Rizal and Antonio Luna are the two ships ordered by the Philippines under the contract signed in 2016. Accordingly, Korea will build these two ships with a total cost of 16 billion pesos, equivalent to $355 million. Along with that is a contract to supply weapons for this two ships worth 2 billion pesos, equivalent to 46 million dollars. After handing over to the Philippine Navy, BRP Jose Rizal will be assessed, and if it passes the tests it will soon be operational.
The 107 meter long vessel represents the first brand new Philippine Navy ship that is said to be capable of anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and electronic warfare operations.
The BRP Jose Rizal belongs to South Korea’s Incheon class but is smaller in length and displacement. Its superstructure is designed to further minimise the radar cross section.
The vessel has an overall length of 107m, an overall beam of 14m, depth moulded of 7.4m, and draught of 4m. The standard load displacements is 2,600 tons. She can accommodate up to 120 personnel and are controlled from the wheelhouse located amidships.
Jose Rizal has an enclosed helicopter hangar with accommodation and a helicopter deck on the stern to support the operation one Leonardo AW-159 Wildcat Helicopter. The AW-159 will extend the range of the ship in detecting and neutralizing surface and sub-surface threats. This is possible because of the helicopter heavy missile and torpedo weaponry and its various surveillance detections including sonar for submarine location and hunting. The AW-159 can also be armed with rockets, machine guns, missiles, torpedoes and depth charges.
Four 650 kilowatts diesel engines in Combined Diesel and Diesel configuration, provides the Jose Rizal frigate with quiet operation and increased fuel efficiency. This propulsion system provides a maximum speed of approximately 25 knots and can travel up to 4,500 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 15 knots and can sustain operational presence for 30 days. It is also capable to withstand rough sea conditions up to Sea State 7 or waves of six to nine meters high.
Sensor and Armament
The BRP Jose Rizal frigate employ fixed phased-array radar antennas mounted on top of the wheelhouse for communications. Other onboard sensor systems include an Electro-Optical Tracking System, Selex ES NA-25X fire control radar, Tactical Data Link and Thales CAPTAS-2 Towed Array Sonar.
Weaponry of the BRP Jose Rizal include one Oto Melara 76 mm Super Rapid Gun, 1 ASELSAN SMASH 30mm Secondary Gun, 4 S&T Motiv 12.7mm K6 Heavy Machine Guns.
The aft section is armed with a Close-in weapon system, to defeat anti-ship missiles, as well as air and surface threats. The frigate is also equipped with 2 Twin MBDA Simbad RC with Mistral missiles, a single 8-cell Vertical Launching System. Anti-ship missiles include 2 Twin SSM-700K C-Star Anti Ship Missile. In addition, the ship is also equipped with 2 SEA Triple Trainable Torpedo Launchers.
The pillar of the Philippine navy
It can be seen that the firepower of BRP Jose Rizal is quite strong. Along with the BRP Antonio Luna being built, this is undoubtedly the pillar of the Philippine navy in the near future.
In addition to investing warships for the navy, the Philippines also aggressively spent money on coast guard. In April 2020, the force received the BRP Gabriela Silang offshore patrol vessel built by France. This is the largest and most modern ship of the Philippine Coast Guard.
According to local media, Manila is planning to send BRP Gabriela Silang to patrol the South China Sea. It can be seen that the Philippine navy is accelerating modernization to counter China’s ambitions in the South China Sea, pirates and armed rebel groups in the southern Philippines.
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