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The Hyundai HDF-2600 Jose Rizal-class Frigate of the Philippine Navy

To build up its naval capabilities, replace ageing assets, and modernize its forces, the Philippine Navy embarked on the acquisition of new frigates under the Frigate Acquisition Project (FAP). This project is part of the Horizon 1 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP) that was approved for implementation in 2012.

This specific resource entry discusses the post-bidding phase of the project, wherein South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) was declared the lowest responsive bidder, offering a design based on their existing FFX-1 Incheon-class frigate used by the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN). This was later on confirmed to be HHI's HDF-2600 frigate design.



The future BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) during launching on 23 May 2019. Photo taken from MaxDefense source.


The first of the HDF-2600 frigate for the Philippine Navy, which will be named BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150).


Summary:


Frigate Acquisition Project - Lot 1 Frigate Platform with Launchers


* End User: Philippine Navy (Offshore Combat Force)

Quantity: 2 units

* Modernization Phase:
 Horizon 1 Phase of RAFPMP


* Project ABC:
 Php16,000,000,000.00


Acquisition Mode: 2-Stage Public Bidding


* SARO Release: TBA


* Winning Proponent: Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) of South Korea

Product for Delivery: HDF-2600 frigate (Jose Rizal-class)


* Contract Price: Php15,744,571,584.00


* First post by MaxDefense: 02 May 2013



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U P D A T E S:
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16 October 2018:

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), together with officials from the Department of National Defense (DND) and Philippine Navy (PN) held the Keel Laying Ceremonies for Frigate 1 (internally known as P159) in HHI's yard in Ulsan, South Korea.

The Keel Laying Ceremonies marks the start of actual assembly of all the ship modules constructed outside the drydock.


Photos during the keel laying ceremony of Frigate 1 P159 in Ulsan, South Korea. Photos taken from the Philippine Navy's FB page.

Edit as of 22 May 2019:

Separately, MaxDefense sources provided us an exclusive photo of the ship during its keel laying.

This photo has been with MaxDefense since November 2018, but was requested to be kept confidential. With the ship now almost complete, MaxDefense believes this is good for public consumption.


Frigate 1 P159 as of October 2018, as the entire keel of the ship takes shape. Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense. 

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11 March 2019:

MaxDefense posted in its Facebook page that mainstream media has finally caught up with the announcement by PN FOIC VAdm. Empedrad that the first Jose Rizal-class frifate being built in South Korea by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) is on its way to launching between 17 to 19 May 2019.

MaxDefense also noted that as per our last check, 8 module blocks are still for installation to complete the frigate's structure.

The article from Inquirer.net can be found HERE.


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17 April 2019:

MaxDefense mentioned in its Facebook page that the frigate P159 future BRP Jose Rizal's mast module was already installed by HHI, as the construction of the ship continues.

The mast module was said to be the last module installed to complete the frigate's structural form.

The mast will be where the sensors antennas are installed, including the 3D Air/Surface Search radar and navigation/secondary radars, the fire control radar, the R-ESM, among others.


The P159's mast module installed as of April 2019.
Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense by source.

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14 May 2019:

MaxDefense released a blog entry, reiterating our previous post that the future BRP Jose Rizal will have a hull number of FF-150.

The blog can be found on the link below:

"FF-150 it is! Future BRP Jose Rizal shows its hull number...and TASS concerns" - first posted 14 May 2019

This time, we supported our previous information with evidence, taken from the constructed frigate's own hull.



First photo shows "150" painted on the hull of the ship, confirming our report last January 2019. Second photo shows stern with "Jose Rizal" painted. But there seems to be no indication of a stern opening for TASS despite being required in the contract. Photo shared to MaxDefense exclusively by sources.


We also showed what appears to be the lack of access or openings for a future Towed Array Sonar System (TASS), which is usually present when such system is in place, or planned to be placed in the future.

In the case of the Philippine Navy, it was indicated in the Technical Specifications used during the project's 2nd Bidding phase, that allocation for a future Towed Array Sonar System shall be provided. 


This is part of the contract between DND and HHI. So where is it now? Photo taken from FAP Bid Documents posted on DND website.


The Philippine Navy even provided dimensions on the projector towed body as 2.0m x 1.0m x 1.2m weighing 1,250 kilograms. This dimension of the project towed body is very much similar to the Thales CAPTAS 2 towed array sonar designed for ships less than 3,000 tonnage like the Jose Rizal-class.

Since there seems to be no opening on the stern, it was initially speculated that there is also no space provided for TASS to be sitting once installed.

Based on Thales CAPTAS 2's requirement, it requires a space of around 39 square meters, or if used as a palletized mission module, at least one 20-foot container + one pallet.

But based on ship layout drawings of the frigates, behind the stern is an occupied room for Steering Gear Emergency Steering Room, a room that is normally fully packed with equipment that its impossible for a TASS to be there too.


While blurry, its indicated that the space behind the stern is for "Steering Gear Emergency Steering Room" which is where override manual controls are in case the electro-mechanical steering system of the ship fails. Photo provided exclusively by MaxDefense source.


So where is the TASS space allocation required in the Tech Specs and Contract?

Even if there are changes made during the CDR meetings, and even if the DND and PN approve of changes, it becomes a violation since such changes cannot be made as it is unfair to all other bidders. Only improvements in ship design are allowed after review by the Project Management Team (PMT).

Obviously the removal of TASS space is not an improvement.


Example of a TASS opening as shown on this CGI for a future warship from a European country. Photo c/o Thales.

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17 May 2019:

In anticipation of the scheduled launching of the first frigate, MaxDefense posts a photo said to be taken only lately of the ship in the drydock.


Based on the photos MaxDefense received, the exterior finishing of the hull and superstructure are almost done, although works still continue on the bridge area, the location where the future VLS will be located, the mast area, and near the hangar and helicopter deck.



The frigate P159 aka the future BRP Jose Rizal, as it is being prepared for launching soon. Photo shared to MaxDefense exclusively by our sources.


Based on info we received, interior works are also in full blast as HHI wanted as much accomplishment to be made before launching, despite works can be made even if the ship is already at dockside after launching.


The main gun and all other guns and missile/torpedo launchers, as well as major sensors are not yet installed. This would be HHI's responsibility though so the Philippine Navy team embedded to HHI will only need to monitor the ordering/delivery schedule and make sure it arrives on time.



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19 May 2019:


The anticipated launching of the future BRP Jose Rizal did not push through on the dates mentioned by Philippine Navy FOIC Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad during his interview with DWDD last March 2019.


In the interview, he mentioned that the launching could happen between 17 and 19 May 2019 in HHI's yard in Ulsan, South Korea, and that he and Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana will be attending in.


Aside from the launching, the keel laying ceremonies for the 2nd Jose Rizal-class frigate, the future BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) will also be held after the launching of the first frigate.


MaxDefense advices its readers to keep track of our FB page for any info on the launching date.


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23 May 2019:

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has finally launched the first ship of the Jose Rizal-class frigates being built for the Philippine Navy, the future BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150).

Officials from the Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Navy were present during the ceremonies.

Philippine media was also present, as they were able to cover the major milestone in the project.








Photos from the launching of the future BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150). Photos taken from different sources including Inquirer's Frances Mangosing, GMA News' Chino Gaston, South Korea Defense Times, and our sources from the Philippine Navy.


It was noted that the ship already has the following weapon and sensor subsystems installed during the launching:

▪︎ 1 x Oto Melara 76mm/62cal. Super Rapid main naval gun;
▪︎ 1 x Aselsan SMASH 30mm secondary naval gun system;
▪︎ 2 x SEA (J+S) TLS triple torpedo launching system;
▪︎ 2 x MBDA Simbad-RC twin VSHORAD launchers;
▪︎ Hensoldt TRS-3D Baseline D 3D air/surface surveillance radar system;
▪︎ Kelvin Hughes Sharpeye X&S-band navigation/surface search radar;
▪︎ Leonardo NA-25X fire control radar;
▪︎ Elisra NS9003A Aquamarine R-ESM system;
▪︎ 2 x Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs)

It was also confirmed separately to MaxDefense that the Hanwha Defense Systems Naval Shield Baseline 2 Combat Management System is already installed on the ship, but is still undergoing development works. The ship's Platform Management System from Servowatch is also said to be installed as well.

It was not confirmed by sources or through photos if the Safran PASEO NS electro-optical tracking system (EOTS) is already installed. The same is true for the Harris 997 hull-mounted sonar.

It was also noted that the tube missile launchers for the LIGNex1 SSM-700K C-Star anti-ship cruise missiles are not yet installed too, although the launching rack is already there. 



Infographics posted by HHI during the ship launching ceremony.

HHI also posted some infographics on the ship during the launching ceremonies.

It confirmed that provisions for an 8-cell Vertical Launching System (VLS), a Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), and a Towed Array Sonar System (TASS) were provided, since these items are considered as Fitted For But Not With (FFBNW) items.

MaxDefense will discuss about the TASS in a separate post.


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23 May 2019:

The Philippine Navy, Department of National Defense, and Hyundai Heavy Industries conducted the keel laying ceremonies for the future BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) in HHI's shipbuilding yard in Ulsan, South Korea.

The keel laying ceremony officially starts the assembly of the different modules of the ship that were built individually outside the drydock.



Keel laying ceremony of the future BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151). Photos taken from and credited to Inquirer.net's Frances Mangosing.


No deadline was provided on the ship's launching, but based on the timeline of the future BRP Jose Rizal's construction, it is possible that the launching of the 2nd frigate would be either December 2019 or January 2020.

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27 May 2019:

MaxDefense finally got two reliable sources from the Philippine Navy and from an industry source to reaffirm the information we received about the issue on Towed Array Sonar System space and power allocations.

To answer our observations:

1. Stern has no copening for TASS - confirmed, the stern has no opening.


It was confirmed that HHI won't provide stern opening for the future TASS, and it would be provided later on by others once TASS installation starts. Photo taken from South Korea's Defense Times page.


2. Ship has no room specifically for TASS - confirmed, TASS has no speciialized room of its own.

For the main issue: The Jose Rizal-class was confirmed to have space and power allocation for TASS. 

So if the ship doesnt have stern opening and a room specifically for TASS, how did it happen?

Based on the information provided by our source, which was reaffirmed by an industry source :

- the opening will only be made once the Philippine Navy acquires the TASS. It means the ship will be requiring stern alterations which would be done by others and not by HHI.

- the TASS space provision will be inside the Steering Gear Room, and will not have its own specialized room.

- the TASS that the PN should acquire will really needed to be a compact model, most likely Thales' CAPTAS-2 which was used by the PN as template for their TASS requirement.

Even publicly available sources on CAPTAS-2 TASS matches with the PN's requirements, this one taken from Deagel.


Instead of being mounted on the deck flooring or on a pedestal, the TASS would be on a frame that is ceiling-mounted, with HHI providing extra support on the stern and on the Steering Gear Room's ceiling to carry the TASS while also allowing for fixing it even when the ship rolls.

Also, power requirements of TASS was already considered in the power and electrical system design.

HHI is confident that this set-up will still be robust and tough despite not being deck mounted. 


Our sources confirmed that there will be space and power allocation for TASS, but the arrangement and layout will be extraordinary. It would be hanging from a reinforced deck frame. Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense by our PN sources


We thank our sources for providing these information and finally clarify the issue. This is exactly the reason why its best to raise questions and ask, because we can get answers and get clarifications.

In the end, the one who disproved me is still me. Just goes to show who is trying his best to search for the right answer more than anyone else.

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01 June 2019:

MaxDefense was able to get feedback from some of our industry sources from companies who supply Towed  Array Sonar System (TASS). We discussed about HHI's design on the TASS handling system fixing, which is hanging from a reinforced frame mounted on the stern and upper deck.

According to at least 2 industry sources, they have serious doubts on the ruggedness, effectiveness, efficiency, and ability to withstand stress by hanging the TASS main handling system which weighs 15,000 kilograms (15 tons) as per spec, while also supporting the towed body and cable which  also weigh around 1.25 tons and 2.5 tons, respectively.


Re-posting the description of CAPTAS-2, as well as the reinforced mount design for the TASS taken from HHI's own drawing, for reference. Top photo taken from Deagel, bottom photo exclusively shared to MaxDefense.


When not deployed, that's a total of almost 19 tons - several tons heavier than the weight of an M113 armored personnel carrier.

Based on the specs provided by the Philippine Navy on TASS requirements, it was confirmed by a TWG member that they indeed used Thales Underwater Systems CAPTAS-2 as basis for the PN's requirement.

MaxDefense was able to contact Thales Australia's representsative familiar with their sonar products and confirmed to me that they do not recommend installing any of their TASS products (including the CAPTAS-2) in the manner HHI proposed.

The photo above shows how the main handling system of the Thales CAPTAS-2, including its other family models look like. Continuous use including deploying the cable and towed body will produce resistance forces from the water that would create stress on the mounting. A ceiling-mounted handling system may not be as robust as a deck mounted one. Photo taken from Thales' website.


The weight of the system, plus the added stress during real-time sea and naval conditions will definitely affect the integrity of the installation. 

This set-up is also impossible for any containerized mission modules, so these type of TASS are definitely out of the picture.

Lets see if the PN and HHI will have something lighter, more compact TASS model as an alternative, which can perform at a similar capability as CAPTAS-2 while also being compatible and interoperable with the existing Harris 997 hull-mounted sonar, the Thales Compact FLASH dipping sonar aboard the complementing AW159 Wildcat ASW helicopter, and with the Hanwha Naval Shield Combat Management System of the frigates.

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6 comments:

  1. Nice the water down frigates of PH Navy

    ReplyDelete
  2. baka ganito rin mangyari sa Antonio luna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. pareho lang sila ng class so pareho din ang kapalpakan sa design

      Delete
  3. HHI is definitely messing up the capabilities of the Rizal class..maybe under pressure from Chinese govt agents. They don't want RP to have a capable navy specially when it comes to anti sub capabilities..

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really don't see any way on how HHI came up on such plans for TASS installation... And if they are to reach in such plan, they must have considered the specs of the TASS to be installed and hear out every recommendation they can get from the supplier/manufacturer of the specific TASS... And if those are bypassed, who the hell did approve such plans to be conducted... I seriously doubt that only the Navy and DND dipped their hands on it... I really cannot see why DND and the Navy approve such obvious mess up... Any thoughts on this, Sir Max?...

    ReplyDelete