Philippines Navy's Jose Rizal-class frigate test fires Bullfighter anti missile decoys

According to information published by the Philippine DnD on March 28, 2023, the Philippine Navy (PN) announced that it had test-fired its newly acquired "Bullfighter" chaff anti-missile decoys in Zambales waters.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Jose Rizal class frigate test firing Bullfighter. (Picture source: Philippine Navy)

The chaff was fitted aboard the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) and BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), which are modern warships capable of surface, sub-surface, air, and electronic warfare using state-of-the-art electronic sensors, long-range missiles, acoustic guided torpedoes, and embarked anti-submarine helicopters.

The chaff countermeasure capability is part of the Philippine Navy's 2nd Horizon modernization program aimed at defending the country's warships against modern naval warfare threats.

The test was conducted by the Offshore Patrol Force aboard the two missile frigates. Chaff works by distracting radar-guided missiles from their targets by spreading or dispensing a small cloud of aluminum, metalized glass fiber, or plastic, which appears as a cluster of targets in radar screens. The successful firing of chaff by BRP Antonio Luna marks the first time in Philippine Navy history that a ship has fired chaff successfully.

The acquisition of the chaff countermeasure capability and other modernization programs are part of the Philippine Navy's efforts to upgrade its capabilities and capacity to effectively protect the country's territorial waters and support the nation's maritime security objectives.

About the Jose Rizal class

The frigates typically have a displacement of 2,600 tons, a length of 107.5 meters, a beam of 13.8 meters, and a draft of 3.65 meters. The vessels are powered by a combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) arrangement that consists of four MTU-STX 12V1163-TB93 12-cylinder diesel engines, which can produce speeds of up to 25 knots.

The frigates have a range of 4,500 nautical miles and an endurance of 30 days. They carry two RHIBs and have accommodation for 110 persons, including crew, non-organic, and additional personnel.

The vessels are equipped with advanced combat management systems such as the Naval Shield Baseline 2 Integrated CMS, Search & Track Radar, and Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) System.