The Philippines Navy is planning to equip its second Gregorio del Pilar-class ship, BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities, navy spokesman lieutenant commander Gregory Fabic has announced.
Philstar quoted Fabic as saying that the ASW capability will enable the ship to detect and destroy enemy submarines and a helicopter will also be assigned to the vessel to further enhance its surveillance and detection capability.
All the anti-submarine technology equipment, including range of sensors, depth charges, mines, torpedoes and missiles, will be linked in a shore-based facility to enable better command and control for the crew for effective decision-making, Fabic added.
"As an additional asset, the warship will greatly improve our maritime domain or situational awareness because it is capable of long-range deployment," Fabic said.
The 378ft-long BRP Ramon Alcaraz is the second Hamilton-class vessel from the US Coast Guard, named USCGC Dallas, which was decommissioned and delivered to the Philippines.
Following the delivery to the Philippines Navy in March, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz has undergone a $15.15m refurbishment programme and started sea trials off North Charleston, South Carolina, US.
Dallas, powered by diesel engines and gas turbines, is an all-weather high-endurance cutter and has features similar to that of the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF15), the Hamilton-class cutter acquired by the Philippines under the Excess Defense Article and Military Assistance Program in May 2011.
Armed with a rapid-firing 3in/76mm gun, a 20mm Phalanx, and two 25mm mk38 Bushmaster auto-cannons, the 378ft-long, 3,250t Hamilton-class ships have dual diesel and gas turbine engines and can cruise speeds of 29k.
Both Del Pilar and Alcaraz will help safeguard the Philippines Navy waters, improve the military's maritime defence capabilities and boost border patrol amid tensions over territorial claims with China.
Image: Ex-USCG cutter stationed at a port. Photo: courtesy of US Coast Guard, by Cmdr Lawrence Ellis.