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Building of 1st PH missile-armed frigate now a done deal

MANILA — The Philippine Navy (PN) announced that the keel-laying ceremony for one of two missile-armed frigates, contracted to Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), formally took place in Ulsan, South Korea Tuesday.

Commander Jonathan Zata, Navy spokesperson, on Wednesday said the ceremony, which took place at 10 a.m. (Korea time), was attended by PN flag-officer-in-command, Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad; Defense Acquisition Office director Leodegario Decena Dela Paza; Naval Sea Systems chief, Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo J. Bacordo; Offshore Combat Force head; Commodore Caesar Bernard Valencia; and PN project supervisor, Capt. Sergio Bartolome.

Also present was HHI senior vice president Yun Kong Yong.

The Philippines and HHI signed a PHP16-billion contract for two missile-armed frigates with another PHP2 billion set aside for its weapon systems and munition.

Projected delivery date of the first frigate is by 2020 while the second one is in 2021.

“The ceremony was conducted at the building dock number 6 of the Special and Naval Shipbuilding Division of HHI. Three blocks of the first PN frigate (with HHI Project Number 159) was installed on the dock,” Bartolome added.

Keel-laying formally marks the start of the ship’s construction and is among the four highlights of a vessel life with the other three being launching, commissioning and decommissioning.

The keel is also considered the backbone of any ship and breaking it will result in the destruction and sinking of any water craft.

Steel-cutting for the first frigate took place last April. (Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)

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