Country’s new modern warship arrives in NL

>> Monday, February 22, 2021

By Freddie G. Lazaro

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union -- A newly – acquired modern warship by the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte was successfully arrived in the waters of the Northern Luzon from South Korea to boost the capability of the naval forces in protecting the Philippine archipelago.
    Lieutenant Jaypee Abuan, the spokesperson of the Naval Forces Northern Luzon (NFNL), said the Barko Republika Pilipinas (BRP) Jose Rizal FF150 welcomed the BRP Antonio Luna FF151 - the latest and newest addition to the Philippine Navy’s surface asset, in the vicinity of Capones Island, Zambales on February 9, 2021.
    Once commissioned, the BRP Antonio Luna is the second missile-guided frigate of the Philippine Navy and next to the BRP Jose Rizal.
    Both missile-guided frigates were acquired by President Duterte’s administration as part of the ongoing modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
    “The BRP Antonio Luna is set to be commissioned into service in the Philippine Navy after the mandatory quarantine of all its crews headed by Navy Captain Charles Merric A. Villanueva, a seasoned surface warfare officer,” said Abuan.
    The warship is presently anchor in the Subic Bay in Zambales for the quarantine of its crews.
    The BRP Antonio Luna left Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea on February 5 for its much-awaited maiden voyage to the Philippines.
    A simple send-off ceremony was conducted on its departure which was graced by the Philippine Defense and Armed Forces Attache (DAFA) to the Republic of Korea (ROK).
    After 2 days of the voyage, FF151 finally entered the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) after crossing the borders of the Philippines and Taiwan, near Mavulis Island, on February 7.
    As a time-honored maritime tradition, BRP Jose Rizal, the first missile-guided frigate of the Philippine Navy, and 3 FA50PH fighters of the Philippine Air Force conducted a meeting procedure to BRP Antonio Luna in the vicinity of Capones Island, Zambales on February 9 to formally welcome the newly acquired frigate into the maritime nation’s territory.
    The FF150 and 3 FA50PH fighters rendered passing exercise (PASSEX) or passing honors, a navy’s custom and tradition to honor transiting vessels, and fly-by simultaneously to commemorate the FF151’s arrival in the Philippine waters.
    After the meeting procedure, the two frigates executed their first maneuvering exercises (MANNEX) together.
    Likewise, to capture this important milestone in the PN and AFP’s history, the Augusta Westland (AW) 159 Wildcat Naval Helicopter conducted a photo exercise (PHOTOEX) while the two missile-guided frigates were conducting various maneuvers at sea.
    The steel cutting ceremony of the BRP Antonio Luna was held on September 17, 2018, in HHI's shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea while the keel-laying ceremony was held on May 23, 2019.
    The arrival of FF151 is one month ahead of the expected date of delivery on March 6, 2021.    
    The delivery was set earlier after the successful conduct of harbor and sea trial and actual inspection of the joint DND and PN inspection team at HHI shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea on January 25 to 29, 2021.
    On top of that, a series of harbor and sea trials were also conducted by Philippine Navy (PN)'s Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee (TIAC) from September to December last year which all showed satisfactory results.
    Meanwhile, the BRP Jose Rizal is under the operational control of the Naval Forces Northern Luzon (NFNL) under the command of Commodore Caesar Bernard N. Valencia during the meeting procedures of the frigates. (JCR/VHS/FGL, PIA 1 with reports from the NFNL)


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