August 25, 2020 – Sea trials for the Philippine Navy (PN)’s second missile-frigate, BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), are tentatively scheduled by mid-September.
“The tentative schedule for (sea trials is on) mid-September. However, it is still not yet finalized,” said Navy public affairs office chief, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, in a message to the Philippine News Agency on Monday.
Sea trials are the last phase of construction prior to the frigate’s delivery to the Philippines scheduled tentatively for January or February of 2021.
BRP Antonio Luna is the sister-ship of BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), the PN’s first missile-frigate, which is now participating in the ongoing Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercises off Hawaii.
Also, Roxas said BRP Antonio Luna has earlier conducted her builder’s sea trials which are normally “conducted to do an initial test at sea and do minor adjustments”.
Earlier, the PN said the delivery for the country’s second missile-frigate is projected for October 2020 but this was pushed back to early next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“If not for this Covid-19 pandemic, the second frigate (FF-151) should have been delivered by October this year but because of this pandemic, it will be moved to the first quarter of Calendar Year 2021,” PN chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo earlier said in an online forum.
BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) was launched on Nov. 8, 2019 at the Ulsan facility of South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries.
Its keel-laying on May 23, 2019 coincided with the launch of BRP Jose Rizal. The contract for the BRP Jose Rizal and the BRP Antonio Luna was placed at PHP16 billion with another PHP2 billion for weapon systems and munitions.
These ships are capable of conducting anti-air warfare (AAW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), and electronic warfare (EW) operations.