Certification of missile-capable PH Navy frigate’s ‘brains’ awaited
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Navy’s first missile-capable frigate, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), is a few steps away from delivery next month.
Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, Navy chief, told reporters on Tuesday (March 10) that so far the warship has “all systems okay.”
“We are just waiting for a certification on the combat management system,” he said, referring to the ship’s CMS, or its brains.
BRP Jose Rizal had undergone sea trials recently which showed “generally satisfactory” results.
The CMS became a source of contention of the frigate acquisition project, which triggered a controversy two years ago.
The Philippine government signed a deal with Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) for the construction of two frigates for P16 billion in 2016.
The Philippine Navy’s Technical Working Group and Project Management Team had selected Tacticos Thales for the CMS, which met their requirement of Tactical Data Link 16 (TDL 16) compatibility, a military network used by NATO and allied forces to exchange data in real time.
HHI recommended two brands of CMS for the Philippine warships — Tacticos Thales and Hanwha Systems. It first offered Tacticos Thales to the Navy, but later suggested Naval Shield of Hanwha Systems, which was not yet compatible with TDL 16.
Hanwha Systems had said in 2018 that TDL 16 compatibility with the CMS for the frigates would be in place by 2019. But in May that year, Hanwha said compatibility won’t happen until 2020 because of issues between the Korean armed forces and US requirements.
It remains to be seen whether the CMS certification, which would come from the United States, would be obtained.
The ship is expected to be delivered by third or fourth week of April.
The second vessel, the BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), is expected to be delivered by September or October this year.
The Navy chief said the coronavirus outbreak, which is threatening South Korea, would not hamper the scheduled delivery of the first frigate.
He also allayed concerns that Filipino sailors and crew of the ship training in South Korea could be infected by the virus.
“They are exercising maximum caution and even at the HHI facility, they are also doing that,” Bacordo said.
Edited by TSB
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