The Philippine Navy's new frigate was formally launched at the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipbuilding facility in Ulsan, South Korea Thursday.
Missile-armed frigate BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) is the first combat vessel designed and purposely acquired for the Philippine Navy, according to state-run Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Once commissioned, the new warship will be the navy's most modern and powerful ship in service, along with its sister ship, the BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151).
"All of us are equally thrilled that we will soon be deploying a brand-new frigate, with anti-submarine, anti-surface, anti-air and electronic warfare capability to patrol and protect our vast territorial waters," Navy spokesperson Capt. Jonathan Zata told PNA.
Measuring 351-feet long and 46-feet wide, the ship has a maximum speed of 25 knots and can travel up to 4,500 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 15 knots.
The keel laying ceremony for BRP Antonio Luna also commenced on Thursday, marking the start of its construction. It will be the Navy's second missile-capable frigate.
The BRP Jose Rizal is scheduled to be delivered to the Philippines by September 2020 while its sister ship BRP Antonio Luna is slated for delivery in March 2021.
The two new frigates are expected to escort the Navy's landing dock platforms BRP Tarlac and BRP Davao del Sur while on missions, PNA reported.
The combat ships being constructed in South Korea are capable of anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and electronic warfare operations.
The warships would also take over exclusive economic zone protection roles and extended maritime patrol operations.
According to Zata, the ships are also equipped with surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles, as well as torpedoes, launchers and weapon systems for four-dimensional warfare.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier announced that the Navy's two new ships will be named after Philippine heroes Jose Rizal and Antonio Luna.
In October 2016, the Philippines and South Korean shipbuilder HHI signed a P16-billion contract for two missile-armed frigates. Another P2 bilion has bee set aside for weapons and munitions.