The Philippine Navy has acquired a large Hamilton Class patrol craft from the US to help guard its waters, new Philippine military chief of staff Air Force Lieutenant-General Eduardo Oban has said.

“As I speak, Philippine Navy officers are now in the US preparing to sail our first Hamilton Class vessel to the Philippines. We shall sustain efforts to modernise our armed forces,” he added.

The refurbished, 380ft-long vessel aims to boost its border patrol capability amidst tensions over territorial claims with China, according to Agence France Presse.

The new ship, described as a high endurance cutter with close-in weapons systems, will replace the Philippine Navy flagship, Raja Humabon, a Cannon Class destroyer escort.

The Hamilton Class ships are equipped with a retractable hangar, a helicopter flight deck and powered by a dual engine or gas turbines.

The Philippines is a major non-Nato military ally of US and the two countries are bound by a mutual defence treaty, signed in 1951.