Jose Rizal-class frigate

The Jose Rizal-class frigate is a class of two multi-role semi-stealth frigates to be built for the Philippine Navy, the ships are the derivatives of HDF-3000 frigate design (officially known as HDF-2600 Frigate Design) from Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) with design specifically accommodated to fit the requirements of the Philippine Navy. The contract has been signed between the Philippine's Department of National Defense and Philippine Navy high command officials, Hyundai Heavy Industries executives, and the South Korean ambassador to the Philippines on October 24, 2016 at the Headquarters, Philippine Navy in Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

The lead ship of the class, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), towed by tugboats. Stern view shown.
Class overview
Name: Jose Rizal class
Builders: Hyundai Heavy Industries
Operators:  Philippine Navy
Preceded by:

Andrés Bonifacio-class frigate

Gregorio del Pilar-class offshore patrol vessel
Planned: 2
Building: 2
General characteristics
Type: Guided Missile Frigate
Displacement: 2,600 tonnes (2,560 long tons; 2,870 short tons)
Length: 107.5 m (352 ft 8 in)
Beam: 13.8 m (45 ft 3 in)
Propulsion: Four (4) MTU STX 650KW diesel engines in Combined Diesel and Diesel (CODAD) configuration
Speed:
  • Maximum: 25 knots (46.3 km/h; 28.8 mph)
  • Cruising: 15 kn (27.8 km/h; 17.3 mph)
Range: 4,500 nautical miles (8,330 km)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
2 × Rigid-hulled inflatable boat
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Combat System:
    Hanwha Group Hanwha Systems Naval Shield Baseline 2 ICMS [1]
  • Search radar:
    Hensoldt TRS-3D Baseline D multi-mode phased array C-band radar[2]
  • Navigation radar:
    Kelvin Hughes SharpEye I, E/F band radars [3]
  • Fire control radar:
    Selex ES NA-25X fire control radar [2]
  • Electro-Optical Tracking System:
    Safran PASEO NS (Naval System) [4]
  • Tactical Data Link:
    Hanwha Group Hanwha Systems Link P (Link K Derivative)[5][2]
    Air warfare Data Link 16 (planned)
    Maritime Data Link 22 (planned)
  • Sonar: Harris Corporation Model 997 medium frequency active/passive ASW hull mounted sonar,[2]
    Thales CAPTAS-2 Towed Array Sonar (planned)
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • ESM:Elbit Systems Elisra NS9300A[6]
  • Countermeasures :
    Terma C-Guard, 2 x DL-6T launcher group with 6 x 130mm tubes[7]
Armament:
Aircraft carried: 1 x Leonardo AW-159 Wildcat Anti-Submarine Helicopter
Aviation facilities: Flight deck and enclosed hangar

The ships will be 107.5 meters long with a displacement of 2,600 tonnes.[9]

Development

First stage bid

In May 2013, the Department of National Defense opened the "Frigate Acquisition Project", calling for the acquisition of two brand new frigates for the Philippine Navy with the contract price of Php 18 billion (around US$437 million as of May 2013). This is after rejecting the proposal to procure two Maestrale-class frigates from Italy due to preference to acquire new ships. The tender was a two-stage bidding system, with proponents needing to pass the initial bid stage by meeting the minimum requirements set by the program, before finalizing their offers and submit for the second and final bidding.[10]

Seven bidders participated in the first stage bid, namely Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) of India, STX France SA, Navantia SA of Spain, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) of South Korea, STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. of South Korea, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) of South Korea, and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) of Germany.[11] For the 1st stage bidding, only four shipbuilders were declared as qualified, with GRSE, STX France, and TKMS disqualified for failing to meet documentation requirements. A Motion for Reconsideration was provided by GRSE and STX France, which were accepted by the DND Bids and Awards Committee.[12]

Pre-second stage bid changes

With six proponents passing the first stage bidding phase, successive meetings were held with the Philippine Navy, wherein the DND found out restrictions in the export of munitions through third party shipbuilders. This paved the way for the split of the project into two lots by August 2014:

Lot 1, with an Approved Budget for Contract (ABC) worth Php 15.5 billion (around US$348 million as of August 2014), covering for the platform (ship hull and all working components, guns, and missile and torpedo launchers; and

Lot 2, with an ABC worth Php 2.5 billion (around US$56 million) for munitions, missiles, and torpedoes.[13]

Delays were encountered from 2014 to 2015 due to funding issues, with then Pres. Benigno Aquino III gave the DND the authority to enter into Multi-Year Contracts (MYC),[14] while also approving the remainder of the project list submitted in 2013 by the Armed Forces of the Philippines under its AFP Modernization Program Horizon 1 Phase (2013-2017), which includes the Frigate Acquisition Project.[15]

Second stage bidding

A new Supplemental Bid Bulletin for the project's Lot 1 second-stage bidding was released by the DND in February 2016, with an updated technical specifications provided for the proponents to follow and the schedule for the Submission of Bids and Opening of Envelopes (SOBE).[16] The updated specifications were understood to be more detailed, and included improved features over the initial technical specifications provided during the first stage bidding. The ABC was also increased to Php 16 billion (around US$355 million) to cover for the peso's declining value over the US dollar, and to allow the improvements of the ships' key features.

Of the six proponents that passed the first stage bidding phase on 17 March 2016, only four submitted their bids for the second stage bidding phase: South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), Spain's Navantia SA, and India's Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE). STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co.'s bid submission was rejected after submitting beyond the deadline, while STX France SA did not submit a bid.[17]

Of the four bids, only the bids of GRSE and HHI were deemed compliant, while DSME and Navantia's bids were disqualified for failing to meet documentation requirements. No Motion for Reconsideration were submitted by the two disqualified shipbuilders. Also, the DND Bids and Awards Committee confirmed GRSE, which offered a platform based on their Kamorta-class large ASW corvette design with a bid value of Php 15.047 billion, as the lowest bidder. HHI, which offered their HDF-3000-based frigate design with a bid value of Php 15.744 billion, was named as the second lowest bidder.[17]

Post-bid qualification and contract awarding

As part of the procurement process, the lowest bidder will undergo a post-qualification inspection wherein members of the bids and awards committee and the project management team will conduct inspections at the proponent's office and shipbuilders, and confirm the submissions provided including their account books.

The joint DND-PN team conducted the post-bid qualification inspection of GRSE in June 2016, wherein they found that it did not meet financial requirements, specifically the Net Financial Contracting Capacity (NFCC), which gave the DND-PN team a reason to conduct a post-bid qualification inspection with the second lowest bidder, HHI. This was done and completed in July 2016, wherein the team found that HHI was able to comply with the requirements and was considered the Lowest Post-Qualified Bidder while declaring GRSE as Post-Disqualified.[18]

A Notice of Award with the amount of Php 15,744,571,584.00 (around US$336.912 million) was released by the DND and awarded to HHI in August 2016, which initiated contract negotiations between the DND-PN and with HHI from September to October 2016.[18][19]

On 24 October 2016, the contract to supply two brand new general purpose stealth frigates was signed between the Department of National Defense, represented by Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, and Hyundai Heavy Industries, represented by its Senior Vice President Mr. Ki Sun Chung, under the presence of officials from the DND, AFP, PN, HHI, and the South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines. On the same day, HHI released a computer generated image of the frigate in their website, and released information about the dimensions of the ships.[20]

On 30 April 2018, the HHI will officially starting to steel cutting and begins the construction of the Two frigates according to Navy spokesperson, Capt. Lued Lincuna. Lincuna said TIAC’s acceptance of the CDR marks a significant step forward and a milestone for the project, which consists of the approval of 71 critical detailed design drawings as submitted by HHI,[21] On the 16 September 2018, HHI had started the construction of the 2nd Philippine frigate after the steel cutting of the first frigate.[22]

Acquisition process for 76-mm and 30-mm ammunition

On 5 February 2019, an invitation to bid bulletin was posted on the DND website indicating that PHP77,536,964 was the approved budget for the so-called Frigate Acquisition Project Lot 2C Sublot-1 or the acquisition for the 76-mm ammunition. Also posted was the budget for the Frigate Acquisition Project Lot 2C Sublot-2 or the acquisition for the 30-mm ammunition at PHP100 million. Both will be sourced from the AFP Modernization Trust Fund.[23]

Sensors and weapon systems

Based on HHI's offer on the Bill of Quantities (BOQ) Materials List on the Submission of Bids and Envelopes (SOBE) during the 2nd Stage Bidding, there were two options provided for most sensors and weapon systems. Out of the options, the Philippine Navy's Technical Working Group for the project chose the following:[24]

But due to some undisclosed matters, the sensors and weapon systems later then changed to a different configuration, using the following:[2]

  • Hanwha Systems Naval Shield Baseline 2 Integrated CMS
  • Hensoldt TRS-3D Baseline D multi-mode phased array C-band Radar
  • Hensoldt MSSR 2000I Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) System
  • Leonardo Selex ES NA-25X Fire Control Radar
  • Harris Corporation Model 997 medium frequency active/passive ASW hull mounted sonar
  • Hanwha Systems Link P Tactical Data Link (derived from Link K)[26]
  • Elbit Systems Elisra NS9300A Electronic Support Measure (ESM)
  • Terma C-Guard countermeasure system (retained)
  • Safran PASEO NS Electro-Optical Tracking System (EOTS)(retained)
  • Aselsan SMASH 30mm RCWS as secondary weapon
  • Servowatch Integrated Platform Management System

Aside from the options, Hyundai and the Philippine Navy agreed to use the following weapon systems Based on the specifications provided by the DND,[16] the frigate will be armed with the following weapons:[18][27]

  • a primary 76mm gun with 120 rounds/minute capability; Oto Melara Super Rapid 76mm main gun.
  • a secondary gun between 30-40mm caliber, on a remote stabilized mount; Aselsan SMASH 30mm RCWS as secondary weapon
  • at least four anti-ship missile systems with a minimum range of 150 kilometers and a minimum speed of Mach 0.8; LIGNex1 SSM-700K C-Star anti-ship surface-to-surface missiles.
  • two twin launchers for anti-aircraft missiles, with a minimum range of 6 kilometers, with IR or semi-active homing seeker; MBDA Mistral missiles on MBDA Simbad-RC VSHORAD launchers
  • two triple trainable lightweight torpedo launchers with torpedoes, with a minimum range of 2,000 meters, with active, passive, or mixed homing guidance and an operating depth between 10 and 600 meters deep; J+S/SEA Ltd. TLS-TT Shipboard Torpedo Launching System; LIGNex1 K745 Blue Shark torpedoes
  • four heavy machine guns; S&T Motiv 12.7mm K6 Heavy Machine Guns
  • for a close-in weapons system(FFBNW)
  • for an 8-cell vertical launch system(VLS)(FFBNW)
  • for a Thales CAPTAS-2 Towed Array Sonar System (FFBNW)

Construction

The lead ship, temporarily identified as Hull P159, had its First Steel Cutting Ceremony on 1 May 2018, marking the start of construction work. The keel was laid down on 16 October 2018 at HHI's Ulsan shipyard. The ship is expected to be delivered to the Philippine Navy by March 2020.

The second ship, temporarily identified as Hull P160, had its First Steel Cutting Ceremony on 17 September 2018. According to Vice Adm. Empedrad, the second ship would be delivered to the Philippine Navy by September 2020.

Controversy

Issues arose over the decision made by HHI without approval by the Philippine Navy to use the Alternative Configuration in the selection of systems to be installed. Of particular concern were the radar and combat management system which were downgraded versions of the systems originally proposed. It was later revealed that the Contract was later changed to allow HHI final say over what equipment was installed on the vessels. No information is available on who authorized the change.

In January 2017, Special Assistant to the President Sec. Bong Go gave Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana a white paper endorsing Hanwha Systems which favours their Naval Shield Combat Management System (CMS) to be installed in the warships. Sec. Go's office also asked then Frigate Project Technical Working Group chairman Commodore Robert Empedrad, to attend a meeting in Malacañang to discuss the selection of the CMS. Empedrad would later submit a written report addressed to Pres. Duterte and Sec. Go.

Sec. Go issued a blanket denial when reached for comment, saying he never intervened in the project. He said he did not give Sec. Lorenzana any white paper related to the project nor asked Commodore Empedrad to brief him on the CMS selection.[28]

The DND announced that it is welcoming any investigation on the project, noting that it has nothing to hide regarding the matter. DND public affairs office chief Arsenio Andolong made the statement in response to plans of the Senate minority bloc to conduct an investigation on the FAP.[29]

Another issue was on the question of HHI's qualification to build the frigates, as HHI was banned from participating in any South Korean tenders for two years after its top executive was found guilty of offering bribes in order to win the bid to supply parts for four nuclear reactors to be constructed at the United Arab Emirates. The case stemmed in 2013 and in 2015, HHI was convicted and was penalized by a two-year ban. It sought to have the ban nullified in 2015 and the South Korean Supreme Court on Dec. 22, 2017 ruled with finality against the shipbuilder.[30]

The commander of the Philippine Navy, Vice Adm. Ronald Mercado was removed from his position for "insubordination" after Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana declared that he jeopardized the acquisition project.[31]

Mercado was unceremoniously replaced by Rear Adm. Robert Empedrad over the controversial P18-billion frigate acquisition project with South Korea’s shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries.[32][33]

Because of this, many netizens called it a Bong Go-class frigate, as a mockery against SAP Bong Go.[34]

Ships in class

Ship Pennant number Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
BRP Jose Rizal FF-150[35] Hyundai Heavy Industries 16 October 2018 23 May 2019 Sea Trials[36]
BRP Antonio Luna FF-151[35] 23 May 2019 8 November 2019 Launched[37]

Comparable ships

References

  1. "MADEX 2017 South Korea Maritime Defense Exhibition Day 3". Nov 2, 2017.
  2. "Alternative Configuration". Nov 17, 2017.
  3. "SHARPEYE™ RADAR SYSTEM FOR PHILIPPINE NAVY FAP". 23 October 2017.
  4. "Safran wins first contract for PASEO NS". Safran Electronics & Defense. 12 September 2017.
  5. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1123230/look-inside-the-cms-test-site-for-philippine-navy-frigates
  6. "Alternative Configuration". Nov 17, 2017.
  7. Maundrill, Beth (1 November 2017). "D&S 2017: C-Guard to protect Philippine frigates". Sherpard Media.
  8. Rahmat, Ridzwan (21 November 2017). "Hyundai selects Turkish 30 mm naval gun system for Philippine Navy frigates". IHS Janes.
  9. Rahmat, Ridzwan (24 October 2016). "Hyundai discloses further details of Philippine Navy's new frigates". IHS Jane's.
  10. Montero, Max (2 May 2013). "An In-Depth Look at the Philippine Navy Frigate Program of 2013 (1st of several parts)". MaxDefense Philippines.
  11. Fish, Tim (2 April 2014). "Philippines advances frigate project". Shephard Group.
  12. "Philippines allows Indian Govt. Ship-builder to bid for frigate programme". DefenceNews.in. 6 May 2014.
  13. Romero, Alexis (10 August 2014). "DND to spend P15 B for two ships, P2.5 B for ammunition". Philstar.net / The Philippine Star.
  14. "Aquino authorizes P44-B multiyear defense contract". GMA News. 28 November 2015.
  15. Romero, Alexis (14 September 2015). "Noy approves AFP modernization shopping list". Philstar.net / The Philippine Star.
  16. "Supplemental Bid Bulletin Nr. DND/PN-FAP-16-01 (Frigate Acquisition Project)" (PDF). Department of National Defense. 2 February 2016.
  17. Romero, Alexis (1 April 2016). "Indian firm offers lowest bid for P16-B Navy frigates project". Philstar.net / The Philippine Star.
  18. Montero, Max (3 September 2016). "The Philippine Navy's Future Frigate from Hyundai: Discussing the Ship's Design and Some of its Expected Subsystems". MaxDefense Philippines.
  19. Rahmat, Ridzwan (2 September 2016). "Hyundai wins USD337 million frigate contract from Philippine Navy". IHS Jane's.
  20. "Hyundai Heavy Industries Wins an Order to Build Two 2,600 ton Frigates for the Philippine Navy". Hyundai Heavy Industries (Press Release). 24 October 2016.
  21. Nurw (9 April 2018). "DEFENSE STUDIES: Steel Cutting for 2 Frigates Starts April 30".
  22. "Philippine Navy's 2nd New Frigate to Conduct its First Steel Cutting Ceremonies". 16 September 2018.
  23. Share; Twitter. "DND opens bids for ammo of 2 PH Navy frigates". www.pna.gov.ph.
  24. "FINALLY, THE CONTRACT SIGNING FOR 2 NEW LIGHT FRIGATES BETWEEN PHILIPPINE NAVY AND HYUNDAI HEAVY INDUSTRIES". 24 October 2016.
  25. "Letters show Bong Go role in Navy's frigate purchase —Alejano". GMA News. 18 January 2018.
  26. "Hanwha Systems White Paper on Naval Shield Integrated CMS". 16 January 2018.
  27. Arthur, Gordon (24 October 2016). "Philippines seals deal for frigates". Shephard Media Group.
  28. Fonbuena, Carmela. "Bong Go intervenes in P15.5-B project to acquire PH warships". Rappler.
  29. Nurw. "DEFENSE STUDIES: Lorenzana: Frigate Project Cancellation Unlikely".
  30. Nurw. "DEFENSE STUDIES: Frigate Project Still on Despite HHI 'Troubles'".
  31. "Philippine navy chief sacked for 'jeopardising' frigate deal". Mail Online. 20 December 2017.
  32. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/954435/ronald-joseph-mercado-sacked-navy-chief-retirement-lorenzana
  33. "Navy chief relieved". philstar.com.
  34. https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2018/10/19/Duterte-Bong-Go-Navy-frigate-deal.html
  35. "MaxDefense Philippines". www.facebook.com.
  36. https://www.mintfo.com/news-sourced/future-brp-jose-rizal-first-sea-trials-successful/15363/
  37. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10156917224462956&id=190479452955


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