The Philippine Navy, which is running an aging fleet, is mostly a warship 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.

BRP Jose Rizal FF-150 review

Philippine naval commander, chief Vice admiral Robert Empedrad said at the launching ceremony that it would be the navy’s most powerful battleship when armed with sensors and weapons capable of detecting and disabling threats from air, sea and underwater surfaces as well as electronic combat capabilities.

BRP Jose Rizal, the first ever missile-capable warship to be built for the Philippine Navy was transferred to the water for the first time, seven months after her keel was laid. 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. The BRP Jose Rizal is expected to be delivered in 2020, while the Antonio Luna is in 2021.

The 107 meter long vessel represents the first brand new Philippine Navy ship that is said to be capable of anti-warfare, 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.

A front view of the HDF-2500 Frigate made by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) for the Philippine Navy. Photo taken during the 2018 Asian Defence and Security (ADAS) Trade Show at the World Trade Center in Pasay, Metro Manila

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 ships 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.

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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.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.

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