Hyundai Heavy Industries to start construction of PH Navy’s frigate
South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries will finally start the construction of the Philippine Navy’s first missile-capable frigate, one of the country’s biggest military modernization projects worth P18 billion.
The steel-cutting ceremony was held on Tuesday at the company’s headquarters in Ulsan, South Korea’s state media Yonhap News reported.
The ceremony was attended by Hyundai Heavy Industries President Hwan-Goo Kang, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Navy Flag Officer in Command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad, and Defense Undersecretary Raymundo Elefane.
The Yonhap report said the shipbuilder will launch the fleet in May next year and deliver it to the Philippines in the second half of 2020.
The construction of the second frigate, meanwhile, will start in September. It will be delivered to the Philippines in the first half of 2021.
The critical design review, or the detailed drawings which serves as the guide for building the 107-meter-long frigates, was approved on March 23.
The purchase for the controversial frigates was put on the spotlight after sacked Navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Mercado (now retired) was accused of delaying the project.
Mercado reportedly insisted on the use of a specific brand of combat management systems, the Tacticos Thales, after it passed the Navy’s technical specifications for the frigates.
Lorenzana dismissed Mercado for his supposed “insubordination.” The chosen supplier for CMS for the frigate was Hanwha Systems, which Mercado earlier opposed.
The contract for the two frigates was awarded to Hyundai Heavy Industries in October 2016.
The Philippines also bought a dozen of FA-50 lead-in fighter trainers from South Korea worth P18 billion during the previous administration, the other big-ticket military upgrade for the Armed Forces.
In a separate news report, Yonhap News Agency said that Lorenzana also met with his counterpart, Defense Minister Song Young-moo on Monday.
“The defense chief of South Korea and the Philippines agreed to move forward security and defense industry cooperation between the two countries,” the report said.
The South Korean defense minister requested for the Philippines’ support to their efforts to achieve denuclearization of the peninsula and the call for lasting peace of both Koreas.
The two countries also pledged continued efforts to promote partnerships in arms development, the report said. /ee /atm
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.