PH Navy beefs up defense capabilities

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Philippine Navy (PN) officials have expressed pride and elation over the continuing build-up of their defense capabilities that will progressively and greatly enhance their ability to protect and defend the country’s vast territorial waters.

PN public affairs office chief, Commander Benjo Negranza, conveyed such joy when asked about the recent arrival of the newly delivered Jose Rizal-class missile frigate, one of the Navy’s newly acquired modern platforms.

“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.

Before taking over the Navy public affairs office,  Negranza was commanding officers (CO) of the Navy’s research vessel, the BRP Gregorio Velasquez (AGR-702)/

Navy Capt. Jonathan Zata, 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 new capabilities to better serve the country,” he said.

Earlier, the PN held arrival rites for the second guided-missile frigate, the BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), at Pier 13, South Harbor in Manila. The vessel arrived 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 Covid-19 pandemic.

The first frigate, BRP Jose Rizal, was delivered and subsequently commissioned last July 10, 2020. 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.

The two ships are both 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.