BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39), the Pohang-class warship donated by South Korea to the Philippines, has docked at the Puerto Princesa City port for a five-day “Show the Flag” patriotic pride mission.
Commodore Renato David, commander of the Naval Forces West (NFW), welcomed the ship and its crew, which is expected to conduct patrol missions in the maritime jurisdiction of the country, including the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
David said that the port visit of PS 39 is a part of its nationwide mission to display the Philippine flag to show devotion to the country.
On August 5, Conrado Yap was formally commissioned under the Philippine Navy (PN).
“As a part of its mission, it has already visited some parts of Davao, Surigao, Zamboanga and now, Puerto Princesa City. The mission is to give residents the chance to visit the ship personally,” David said.
Western Command (WESCOM) commander Vice Adm. Rene Medina said that the new ship proves that the Philippines is on its way to “modernization“.
“Your mission symbolizes an undertaking to show our flag with pride. It is our honor to present this sophisticated ship from our good neighbor South Korea. We are expecting more from you along with the modernization of the Philippine Navy,” Medina said.
Philippine Navy (PN) flag-officer-in-command Vice Adm. Roberto Empedrad previously said the “most powerful warship” will boost the country’s naval anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
He said the ship will be deployed to patrol in the West Philippine Sea and Benham Rise.
Commissioned as Chungju into the Republic of Korea Navy (RKN), the warship left Jinhae Naval Base in Changwon City to sail to the Philippines and arrived in the country on August 20.
The ship will serve as a platform to train the Navy ahead of the arrival of the country’s first frigate warship in 2020, which includes the new Agusta 159 helicopters equipped with anti-submarine detection capabilities.
Empedrad said it is manned by 100 sailors of the PN who also underwent a 13-week operational and warfare training in South Korea under the command of Capt. Marco Buena.
It measures 89.01 meters long with a 10-meter beam, a draft of 2.9 meters with displacement at 1,216 tons full load, rated for a crew of 118 personnel, and can sustain operational presence for 20 days.
The ship is named after Captain Conrado Dumlao Yap, a son of Candelaria, Zambales.
The ship is armed with two Oto Melara 76mm main guns, two Oto Breda 40mm guns, two triple tube Mk 32 torpedoes launchers, Mk 9 depth charge racks, a variety of sensors, including sonars, and radars.
Aside from this, two more newly-acquired missile-armed frigates, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) and sister ship BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) will arrive in April and September 2020, respectively.
These two ships, he said, are equipped with a variety of weapons, sensors, capable of detecting water and air surface, multi-dimensional ships and surface missiles.
“Ang tatlong barko natin na ito will be deployed to secure our maritime waters, whether West Philippine Sea or Philippine Rise. Mahalaga ang mga areas na ‘yan kaya kailangan na bantayan at isa pa this three big ships ay hindi basta-bastang malulubog kahit seven meters ang taas ng alon, they can stand in a very rough sea. This is very significant, papalakasin natin ang ating marine force,” Empedrad said.
He said the P16 billion contract for the frigates was awarded to Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) with another P2 billion set aside for their weapon systems and ammunition.
He added that the acquisition of new equipment and assets are part of the modernization program of the national government.
“Bago lang tayo magkakaroon ng ganitong barko although may missiles na tayo pero itong dalawang barko natin na ito ay kaya niyang tirahin ang target kahit around 300 kilometers away,” he said.
Meanwhile, there will be an “open ship” or shipboard tour from November 13 to 14 at around 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for selected schools.