(Photo courtesy of Philippine Navy)

MANILA – The country's second missile frigate, the prospective BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), was approved for delivery and acceptance by a joint Department of National Defense (DND) and Philippine Navy (PN) inspection team on Friday.

"A joint DND and PN inspection team has approved for delivery and acceptance the future BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), the country's second new-built missile frigate. The first frigate, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), was delivered and commissioned in July 2020," said Navy public affairs office chief, Commander Benjo Negranza, in a message.

He added that the joint DND-PN inspection team and the head of the DND defense procurement service director Leodegario dela Paz found shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) compliant with all "contractual deliverables and obligations" after the conduct of harbor/sea trials from January 25 to 29.

"For technical matters and ship performance, PN inspectors led by Rear Admiral Alberto Carlos, the Chairman of the Frigate Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee, has declared FF-151 built according to agreed technical specifications," Negranza said.

Carlos earlier said that BRP Antonio Luna performed remarkedly well in the series of harbor and sea trials conducted from Sept. 25 to Dec. 18, 2020.

He added that the BRP Antonio Luna has satisfactorily passed all vessel performance test protocols.

"Moreover, we are happy to report that the HHI has provided additional equipment and sustainment items, more training activities, and ship design improvements, which are over and above its contractual obligations. HHI's goodwill gesture has an estimated value of USD 7.4 million," Carlos said.

Meanwhile, dela Paz said that "since FF151 has passed all the performance tests and the contractor has delivered on its contractual obligations, we will recommend to the Secretary of National Defense the delivery and acceptance of FF-151."

HHI project manager Bokyung Kang said he is very "honored and happy to see the finale of this PN Frigate Project."

He added that HHI has fully demonstrated its world-class shipbuilding capability and is now looking forward to extending its capability to upgrade partnership with the Philippine Navy thru more ship construction projects such as corvettes and submarines.

Based on the agreed timeline, BRP Antonio Luna is scheduled to sail out of Ulsan, South Korea on February 5 and is expected to arrive in Subic, Philippines on February 10.

The delivery of the FF-151 is one month ahead of the contractual delivery date of March 6.

After the mandatory coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) RT-PCR tests and quarantine of the crew, the PN will conduct the formal commissioning ceremony of FF-151. (PNA)