May 22, 2019 – The warships designed and constructed by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) are in no way inferior to their other naval counterparts.
This was emphasized by HHI president and chief executive officer Sam H. Ka when asked by reporters on how the frigates, designed and constructed by the company for the Philippine Navy, can compare to similar ships being operated by more modern navies.
HHI is the South Korean shipbuilder contracted to build the Philippines’ first two missile-armed frigates, one of which is the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) set to be launched in the southeastern city of Ulsan on Thursday.
While its sister ship, the BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) will formally start its keel-laying or construction phase by this week.
Ka also said the company’s benchmark in designing and constructing naval vessels is the US Navy, which is considered the world’s most advanced and sophisticated in the world.
“I saw the modernization program of our (Republic of Korea) Navy for long, even including the Aegis destroyer building process, we already built two Aegis destroyers for our Navy and we are trying to build more units of a more updated Aegis destroyer and we have been building some submarines, frigates, corvettes, many other different type of Navy ships for more than twenty years,” Ka said.
He was referring to the guided-missile destroyers equipped with the Aegis combat system, which uses powerful computers and radars to track and guide weapons to destroy targets.
“Of course in the beginning our product could not be said same as the US Navy but today I can already say (we are) very close to the US Navy product,” the HHI president said.
He attributes this progress to their research initiatives and the fact that South Korea is one of the best shipbuilding countries in the world.
The Philippines and HHI signed a PHP16-billion contract for two missile-armed frigates with another PHP2 billion set aside for its weapon systems and munition.
BRP Jose Rizal is expected to be delivered by 2020 while her sister ship, the BRP Antonio Luna, will follow by 2021.
Once the two ships are commissioned into PN service, Navy spokesperson Captain Jonathan Zata said these vessels will help secure the country’s maritime chokepoints or primary sea routes used for trade, logistics, and naval operations from the above-mentioned threats.
Ka also reiterated that due process was properly observed in the selection of Hanhwa Systems as the supplier of the combat management systems (CMS) of the two Philippine frigates being constructed by HHI.
“As far as I understand that there were two vendors in the masters’ list in (for) CMS system and then we also understand there were some cases in the Korean Navy the system was supplied and proved to be very good system and good quality, So according to the contract, which have dual vendor (clause). We just recommended Hanwha to the clients in the Philippine side and then finally, of course some discussions, Hanwha was (selected) by the Philippine side,” Ka added.
He also denied reports that HHI made an appeal to the Philippine government to select Hanwha Systems as the CMS supplier for the two frigates, adding that they complied with the official process.
“If the client, even your government or the Department of (National) Defense or your Navy, said to us that you like to (get) this, that we could consider (this) more positively, but as I told you by the contract, we have a dual vendorship, we (try) to get approval from (the) buyer, that is normal process and I was told that it was done in that way,” the HHI president stressed.