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Pioneering crew of Philippine's second missile frigate begin ship familiarisation

The pioneering crew of the second Jose Rizal-class guided-missile frigate on order for the Philippine Navy has begun at-sea familiarisation activities on board the vessel.

The programme milestone was confirmed by the service’s public affairs office chief, Lieutenant Commander Maria Christina Roxas, in a statement carried by state-affiliated Philippine News Agency (PNA) on 14 January. Besides nautical manoeuvres, crew members are also being familiarised with various systems on board the vessel, including weapons, sensors, and machinery, she added.

Antonio Luna is the second of two frigates signed for between the Philippine government and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) under a USD337 million contract in 2016. The warship completed its sea acceptance trials in waters off Ulsan, South Korea, on 18 December. The programme’s first-of-class, Jose Rizal (FF 150), was commissioned in July 2020.

The frigate derives its design from HHI’s HDF-3000 concept, which is in turn a variant of the Republic of Korea Navy’s (RoKN’s) Incheon (FFX-I) class. The 2,600-tonne vessel has an overall length of 107.5 m, an overall beam of 13.8 m, and a draught of 3.65 m.

Weapons that have been integrated onto the warship include a 76 mm naval gun in the primary position, a 30 mm ‘SMASH’ remote-controlled stabilised gun system from Turkey’s Aselsan in the aft section, and two SIMBAD-RC launcher turrets, one each on the port and starboard sides.

Both frigates have also been designed to accommodate a vertical launching system (VLS) in the forward section. However, a provision for this weapon is currently on a fitted-for-but-not-with (FFBNW) basis.

Given that crew familiarisation has now commenced, Antonio Luna is on track to be delivered to the Philippine Navy by February 2021 as originally scheduled.

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