MANILA --- The arrival of the prospective BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) last May 23, the Philippine Navy's (PN) first missile-capable frigate, signals the start of the PN's modernization.
PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo made this remark when asked by the Philippine News Agency on the ship's arrival.
"This is the start of more modern platforms, weapons, and systems for the PN. The PN can now better perform its mandate of protecting our seas and our territory," he said in a message late Monday.
The BRP Jose Rizal, and its sister ship BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) which is slated for delivery late this year, is capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and electronic warfare operations.
Bacordo said the Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee (TIAC), which is under the Defense Acquisition Office of the Department of National Defense, is scheduled to inspect the various ship's systems this week.
"The TIAC is expected to conduct their inspections this coming week," he added.
Meanwhile, PN public affairs office chief, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, said all of the weapons systems of the ship, including the missiles and torpedo launchers, are already installed aboard.
She added that the PN is now waiting for the delivery of these munitions which is scheduled sometime in 2021.
BRP Jose Rizal was launched at the HHI shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea on May 23, 2019 while its sister-ship BRP Antonio Luna, was launched on November 8 of the same year.
The contract for the two ships is placed at PHP16 billion with another PHP2 billion for weapon systems and munitions.
A simple arrival and commissioning ceremony is poised to be conducted on June 19 coinciding with the birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal, the ship’s namesake.
BRP Jose Rizal has a maximum designed speed of 25 knots and a cruising speed of 15 knots and a range of 4,500 nautical miles.
It was supposed to be delivered in the last week of April but was delayed due to travel restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. (PNA)