PH's first missile-capable frigate to undergo sea trials

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 22) — The country's first-ever missile-capable frigate, the BRP Jose Rizal, will undergo historic sea trials this month.

The Philippine Navy in a statement on Thursday announced that the frigate will sail towards Ulsan, Busan, and Mokpo in South Korea from November 23 to 27.

It has not been disclosed if President Rodrigo Duterte will witness any of these activities, since he will be in town that weekend for the commemorative summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations with the Republic of Korea (ROK), which marks 30 years of talks.

Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, acting director of the Naval Public Affairs Office, said the trials are aimed at measuring the performance and "general seaworthiness" of the 351 by 46-foot warship.

"The activity signifies that the PN (Philippine Navy) is inching closer to its dream of acquiring highly capable warships. Its crew and maintenance personnel is currently undergoing training in ROK," Roxas said.

The trials will be conducted by Hyundai Heavy Industries, the South Korea-based shipbuilding company that won the ₱15.75-billion project for supplying the Philippines with two missile-capable frigates.

The ₱8-billion BRP Jose Rizal is set to be delivered to the Philippines in 2020, while the second frigate, which will be named BRP Antonio Luna, is still under construction. When BRP Jose Rizal was launched in South Korea in May, Hyundai began the construction of BRP Antonio Luna, which is expected to be completed in 2021.

"The two frigates will be the first ever PN warships that are capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and electronic warfare operations. These ships will be fully equipped with surface to air and surface to surface missiles, torpedoes, launchers and weapon systems for four-dimensional warfare," the Defense department earlier said in a statement.