By Priam Nepomuceno

(Photo courtesy of Philippine Navy)

MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) on Tuesday announced that it had test-fired its newly acquired “Bullfighter” chaff anti-missile decoys in Zambales waters last March 24.

These defensive weaponry were fitted aboard the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) and BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151).

“The ‘Bullfighter’ is a new generation of 130mm decoys for super rapid blooming offboard chaff (SRBOC) and other 130mm launcher systems to protect naval vessels up to the size of frigates against anti-ship missiles,” PN spokesperson Captain Benjo Negranza said in a statement.

He said the chaff were tested and fired by the Offshore Patrol Force aboard the two missile frigates.

“The payload of the chaff is effective against missiles with modern and sophisticated seekers and electronic protection measure(s),” Negranza added.

Observers said 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 acquisition of the chaff countermeasure capability is part of the PN’ 2nd Horizon modernization program to capacitate the country’s warships to defend against modern naval warfare threats.

The BRP Jose Rizal and its sister ship BRP Antonio Luna 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 BRP Jose Rizal was delivered to the Philippines in May 2020 and commissioned in July of the same year while the BRP Antonio Luna was commissioned on March 19, 2021.

The contract for the two ships was placed at PHP16 billion with another PHP2 billion for weapon systems and munitions.

BRP Antonio Luna first PN ship to fire chaff 

Meanwhile, BRP Antonio Luna in a Facebook Tuesday afternoon, announced that she was the first ship in PN history to fire chaff successfully.

“As insights, one of the unique identities of chaff and decoys as countermeasures against modern naval warfare threats is to confuse radar guided or infrared guided missiles fired so that they could be diverted. BRP Antonio Luna, as a guided missile frigate has launchers with each tube set at a slightly different angles so at least one is covering every position of the ship. Once fired, they create a new fake ‘ship’ for the incoming missile, confusing it, and improving the defender’s odds of survival,” it added.

The recently conducted chaff firing is jibed during the conduct of joint gunnery exercise of ships under Offshore Combat Force namely BRP Jose Rizal and BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17). (PNA)