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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

FF-150 it is! Future BRP Jose Rizal shows its hull number...and TASS concerns

Note: this is a MaxDefense shortblog. thus the length of the entry. 

A lot of things have happened since MaxDefense made an exclusive post in our Facebook community page last 25 January 2019 on what the ship's name (which automatically names the class name) and pennant number of the first new frigate being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in their yard in Ulsan, South Korea.

This was based on a photo of the frigate Jose Rizal as of April 2019. In this photo, the pennant number pained in the hull is not yet there. Photo exclusively shared to MaxDefense by source.

Many did not believe what we reported and confirmed,until the Secretary of National Defense (SND) himself announcement later on that the first ship HHI is constructing (internally labelled as "P159" by HHI and PN in their project name), is to be named "Jose Rizal" (the "BRP" will be added once the ship is commissioned officially to the Philippine Navy). 

But so far, none even from the DND and the PN have confirmed our previous announcement that the ship's hull/pennant number will be "FF-150" for the first ship, and "FF-151" for the second frigate which will be named "Antonio Luna". 

Now that HHI has finally painted the ship's hull as the ship's launching comes near, it is very clear now if what we previously announced was right or wrong.

See for yourself.

As the launching date for the HHI-built frigate Jose Rizal is nearing, the ship is finally getting clearer, including its hull/pennant number. 

It should be noted that based on the latest Philippine Navy ship classification standard which was revised on April 2016, frigates in the Philippine Navy will have the prefix "FF". So in this case, the future BRP Jose Rizal will have the pennant number FF-150.

The Main Concern:

With the stern of the ship now visible, MaxDefense raises this question to the Philippine Navy: if the Towed Array Sonar System (TASS) is a Fitted for But Not With (FFBNW) subsystem for the Jose Rizal-class frigates, then why is the stern of the ship so clean, without even an opening provided for the use of a TASS in the future? Based on previous documents from the Philippine Navy, the original Technical Working Group (TWG) selected the Thales CAPTAS-2 towed array sonar system, and is actually looking at the newer and smaller CAPTAS-4 as an alternative.

Edit: we'll replace the photo of the Incheon-class frigate's stern since there are some quarters making noise that the ship doesn't have TASS. Anyway...

Warships with openings for Towed Array Sonar, in this case, specifically using the Thales CAPTAS family which have large tow bodies that require large holes in the stern. Top photo shows the smaller CAPTAS-4 in the Bergamini-class, and bottom photo shows the larger and older CAPTAS-2 system in a Royal Navy warship.
Credits to owners/sources of the photos.

In fact, the Philippine Navy even included in its Technical Specs that the frigate shall have space and power provision for a Towed Array Sonar, even indicating the size of the projector towed body for the shipbuilder to consider. The size provided actually was based on the Thales CAPTAS-2's towed body.

Photo taken from Supplementary Bid Bulletin DND/PN-FAP-16-01 dated 02 February 2016, months before the bidding date. Document from DND website.

Here's more evidence: this came from a section plan of the frigate. It shows that there is no room for a TASS below the helicopter deck, and instead the space is for Steering Gear Emeregency Steering Room. 

No TASS space below the helicopter deck just behind the stern. This came from HHI's own drawing of the frigate.
Photo exclusively shared by a MaxDefense contributor who saw our discussions.

The ship's launching is approaching fast, which is expected to be sometime between 17-19 May 2019. MaxDefense will make the final confirmation soon, as everything can still change depending on the availability of DND officials to grace the event in South Korea, or depending on circumstances in HHI's yard.


  1. Openings at the stern are not needed as everyone knows it will be decades before a TASS might be installed, if ever. Please remember this is the Philippines we are talking about. We will only buy TASS after submarines have already sunk our merchant fleet as well as our token frigates.

    1. It's not a concern of when we will buy a TASS. The concern is for HHI to follow requirements

  2. ^LOL and I thought I was pessimistic. I think the reality is that the PN is already overwhelmed with just two new frigates, and needs time to figure out how to use all of them. As I mentioned before, the focus needs to be on Presence and transforming the Anti-Surface Warfare (AsuW) capability - in other words, the gunboat Navy that constitutes the bulk of the Offshore Combat Fleet needs to learn what others already have regarding fighting other ships. FOIC's "Selective" comments aside, the real value of the Wildcats is that they finally provide a helicopter that has a surface search radar and can fire precision anti-ship weapons. In it's current form, it cannot by itself reliably find and target submarines. It needs to work in conjunction with Towed Array ships and/or Maritime Patrol aircraft equipped with sonobuoys.

  3. It's cheaper and easier to build a flat stern if you can't have the TASS right away. Smart move by HHI.

  4. From the start , since tender churn out the price do no tally with spec...of course the builder will cut whatever they can ..

  5. There's no guarantees there's a space/void for a TASS reel that's the size of an SUV back there. Anyone who's seen an Aft MR/Steering Room knows space is at a damn premium, especially on a warship. TASS isn't in the cards for this ship class. Try again with the Corvettes, this time don't roll snake-eyes. So much mental gymnastics by other pages on this situation.


    The first ever missile-capable warship to be built for the Philippine Navy was transferred to the water for the first time, seven months after her keel was laid.

    The future BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) was launched on Thursday during a ceremony at the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard here.

    The 107-meter-long vessel represents the first brand new Philippine Navy ship capable of anti-warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and electronic warfare operations.


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