December 14, 2020 – The Philippine Navy (PN) on Monday said the country’s second missile frigate, BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), has departed Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea for its sea acceptance trials (SAT) involving the various shipboard weapons and sensors scheduled for this week.
“Focus of this week’s SAT will be on the various weapons and sensors with the objective of showcasing the full combat capability of FF-151,” the PN Frigate Owner Representative Navy Capt. Sergio Bartolome said in a statement sent to reporters.
Also, the Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee (TIAC) for the project is joining the sea trials to check vessel performance against the agreed technical specification and warfare capabilities. The TIAC is headed by Rear Admiral Alberto B. Carlos, who is also the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Logistics (J-4).
“(Some) 90.1 percent of the agreed acceptance tests (have) already been performed with satisfactory results. Upon completion of this week’s SAT, the completion rating is expected to go up to almost 100 percent, which will pave the way for FF-151’s re-docking and final outfitting prior delivery in February next year,” he added.
Last week, the ship and her crew conducted a SAT of the ship’s communications system. BRP Antonio Luna was launched on Nov. 8, 2019 at the Ulsan facility of South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries.
Keel-laying on May 23, 2019, coincided with the launch of BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150).
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.
Earlier, PN chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said the BRP Antonio Luna could have been delivered this October if not for the coronavirus disease 2019 (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,” he said in an online forum.