MANILA - The Philippines' second missile-capable warship was welcomed Tuesday by the country's Navy, days after its maiden journey from South Korea where it was built.
In a statement, the Philippine Navy said its second missile-capable frigate was received by its sister ship, the BRP Jose Rizal (FF150), as it traversed the waters off Capones Island in Zambales.
"The BRP Jose Rizal rendered the customary meeting procedure and passing exercise (PASSEX), followed by both ships' first maneuvering exercises (MANNEX), a momentous feat in the (Philippine Navy) and (Armed Forces of the Philippines') history captured by an AW109 naval helicopter in a photo exercise (PHOTOEX)," the Navy said.
"This procedure was complemented by a fly-by of three FA-50 jets from the Philippine Air Force," it added.
The vessel, which entered Philippine waters last Sunday after leaving Ulsan, South Korea, will be named BRP Antonio Luna (FF151), according to the Navy.
The two frigates were constructed by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in Ulsan City under a 2016 contract with the Philippines' defense department worth nearly P16 billion. Construction began in 2017.
BRP Jose Rizal was delivered and commissioned middle of last year.
The Philippine Navy said the sister vessels will sail in formation through Manila Bay before proceeding to Subic, Zambales, where the crew and HHI personnel aboard the Antonio Luna will observe mandatory quarantine.
"A simple arrival ceremony will be conducted later this month upon completion of the quarantine period and satisfactory result of their COVID-19 swab test," it said.
The Navy's frigate acquisition project fulfills its "thrust of having modern platforms and systems... that propel the whole organization into becoming a multi-capable naval force responsive to our maritime nation's defense and development," it said.
The Philippines has maritime disputes with China, which aggressively asserts its claims over almost the entire South China Sea. An international arbitration court has invalidated the basis of China's claims in the said waters.
Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam also have competing claims in the South China Sea.