PH Navy’s 2 brand new warships sail together for the first time
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Navy’s two brand new warships have sailed together for the first time in Philippine waters with the arrival of the second vessel, the future BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151).
After a five-day voyage from South Korea, Luna was welcomed by her sister-ship BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), near Capones Island, Zambales on Tuesday (Feb. 9), the Philippine Navy said in a statement.
BRP Jose Rizal and future BRP Antonio Luna sail together for the first time in Philippine waters. The 2 ships were built by Hyundai Heavy Industries for P16B. 📸 PH Navy pic.twitter.com/dSFVFEEESn
— Frances Mangosing (@FMangosingINQ) February 9, 2021
While at sea, the ships conducted passing exercise, followed by their first maneuver exercises as an AgustaWestland AW109 naval helicopter hovered above to film the action. A fly-by of three FA-50 jets also welcomed the new warship.
The Philippine Navy’s future BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) is on its way home to the Philippines. The ship left Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea this morning and is expected to arrive in Subic in a few days. Photos shared to @inquirerdotnet pic.twitter.com/NMuUgXqqAD
— Frances Mangosing (@FMangosingINQ) February 5, 2021
The two ships will sail in formation through Manila Bay before Luna drops anchor in Subic, Zambales, where the crew and employees of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), which built the ships, would go on quarantine, the Navy said.
An arrival ceremony for Luna would be held later this month after the quarantine period.
Luna’s delivery marked a step nearer the conclusion of the Navy’s program to acquire its first purpose-built multi-role frigates.
Before Rizal and Luna’s arrival, the Navy’s most capable warships were hand-me-downs. These were former Pohang-class corvette BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39), and former US Coast Guard cutters Del Pilar-class ships BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PS-15), BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16) and BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17).
The Philippine government had signed a deal with South Korean shipbuilder HHI in October 2016 for two multi-role frigates worth P16 billion, the Navy’s biggest implemented project so far.
The frigate acquisition project, however, had been fraught with controversies. One of the contentious issues had been the selection of the frigates’ combat management systems. But everything was eventually swept under the rug, and the South Korean government intervened in the end to settle the issue.
The Navy said Luna’s delivery will complete its frigate acquisition project that will “propel the whole organization into becoming a multi-capable naval force responsive to our maritime nation’s defense and development.”