Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad and Department of National Defense (DND) chief for acquisition Director Leodegario Decena Dela Paz led the Philippine delegation that witnessed the keel laying ceremony for Frigate 1 at Ulsan, South Korea on Tuesday.
Part of the delegation were the commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, commander of Offshore Combat Force Commodore Caesar Bernard Valencia, and Navy Foreign Frigate Owners representative Capt. Sergio Bartolome.
They were joined by Yun Kong Yong, senior vice president of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).
“The keel laying ceremony is a significant activity and a major step towards the completion of the country’s first ever frigate project which is scheduled to be delivered to the Philippine Navy by 2020,” said Bartolome, the Navy officer overseeing the project at HHI.
Bartolome said three blocks of the first Philippine Navy frigate (with HHI Project Nr 159) were installed on the dock, during the ceremony held at building dock number 6 of the Special and Naval Shipbuilding Division of HHI.
The contract agreement for the Frigate Acquisition Project (FAP) was signed by DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana as head of the procuring entity and Kisun Chung, vice president/owner of HHI, on October 24, 2016.
The contract covers the construction of two new 2,600-ton frigates that are missile-capable and equipped with sensors and systems for modern naval warfare.
“Indeed, the completion of the CDR phase and the start of the steel cutting show that FAP is now moving forward without delays in accordance with the stipulations of the contract,” said Lorenzana.
He said the two missile frigates are set to be delivered in 2020, cementing the Philippine Navy’s vision of becoming a strong and credible Navy that the maritime nation will be proud of.
Lorenzana added that the two warships will enhance the capability of the Philippine Navy to guard the Philippines’ maritime territory and its exclusive economic zone.#