By Priam Nepomuceno

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS. Philippine Navy (PN) chief Vice Adm. Toribio Adaci Jr. (center) graces the keel laying rites and steel cutting rites for the PN’s two missile corvettes at the HD Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea on Nov. 22, 2023. The PN said these rites mark the start of the construction process of the two corvettes. (Photo courtesy of HD HHI)

MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) announced that South Korean shipbuilder HD Hyundai Heavy Industries (HD HHI) officially started the construction of its two missile corvettes.

In a statement Wednesday night, PN spokesperson Capt. Benjo Negranza said Navy flag officer-in-command (FOIC) Vice Adm. Toribio Adaci Jr. and other ranking officials witnessed the rites for the keel laying for its first missile corvette and the steel cutting for its second missile corvette at the firm’s shipyard in South Korea’s southeastern city of Ulsan on Nov. 22.

“The steel cutting ceremony and the keel laying ceremony of the corvettes signify the start of the production process of the two corvettes. These ships will definitely boost the naval defense capabilities of the PN, adding value to its thrust of becoming a modern and multi-capable Navy,” he added.

Steel cutting signifies the start of the construction of the ship while keel laying refers to the building of the ship’s backbone.

These ships will be equipped with state-of-the-art weapons, sensors and systems that can address various maritime security situations. Corvettes can perform anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine warfare operations.

These can operate independently or work together with other modern warships within a so-called surface action group.

The first corvette is scheduled to be delivered by 2025 while the second in 2026.

The Department of National Defense signed a PHP28-billion contract with HHI for the acquisition of two brand-new corvettes for the PN on December 27, 2021. These ships will backstop Navy’s two Jose Rizal-class frigates, which was also built by HD HHI.

“The FOIC PN’s attendance to this ceremony signifies the value of these capabilities in improving the defense posture of the PN that ultimately contributes to the protection of the country’s sovereign rights and national maritime interests,” Negranza said. (PNA)