Modern naval platforms to beef up Navy defense capabilities

By Priam Nepomuceno

February 25, 2021, 10:10 am

<p>BRP Antonio Luna. <em>(File photo courtesy of Naval Public Affairs Office)</em></p>

BRP Antonio Luna. (File photo courtesy of Naval Public Affairs Office)

MANILA – The arrival of modern platforms like the Jose Rizal-class missile frigates will greatly improve the capabilities of the Philippine Navy (PN) to protect the country's vast waters.

PN public affairs office chief, Commander Benjo Negranza, said this when asked late Wednesday regarding the arrival of more modern assets for the Navy.

"As a former CO (commanding officer), I feel elated that the Armed Forces will be better enabled and capacitated to fulfill our mandates with these modern platforms," he said to the Philippine News Agency.

Negranza's last command before taking over the Navy public affairs office was the research vessel BRP Gregorio Velasquez (AGR-702).

Meanwhile, Navy Capt. Jonathan Zata, the former skipper of the BRP Dagupan (LC-550), said he is proud to witness the PN's steady transformation into a more capable force.

"(I) am proud and deeply honored to be witnessing the Navy's steady transformation into a more capable force especially with the arrival of the second Jose Rizal-class frigate. Today's sailors and skippers are better-motivated seeing that we now have (these) new capabilities to better serve the country," he added in a message to the PNA.

Earlier, the PN said it will be holding the arrival ceremony for the second guided-missile frigate, the BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), at Pier 13, South Harbor, Manila Friday.

The BRP Antonio Luna entered Capones Island, Zambales last February 9 or four days after leaving Ulsan, South Korea last February 5.

The ship also sailed in formation with the Navy's first guided-missile frigate, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), through Manila Bay before proceeding to its anchorage area in Subic, Zambales where the crew and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) personnel observed a mandatory quarantine period due to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

The first frigate, BRP Jose Rizal, was delivered and subsequently commissioned last July 10. BRP Antonio Luna's 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.

Both ships are capable of surface, sub-surface, air, and electronic warfare using state-of-the-art electronic sensors, long-range missiles, acoustic guided torpedoes, and an embarked anti-submarine helicopter. (PNA)