The Philippines Navy will soon receive a second coastguard patrol craft, the Dallas, from the US to help safeguard its waters, improve the military’s maritime defence capability and boost border patrol amid tensions over territorial claims with China.
Republican Representative Ed Royce said that the delivery formalities will be completed this week, after which the ship would soon set sail to Manila.
Last year, the US delivered its first Hamilton cutter to the Philippines, which made it the flagship of the country’s Navy. It was recently deployed to boost patrols around the Philippine-claimed area of the Spratly Archipelago.
Dallas is an all-weather high-endurance cutter, powered by diesel engines and gas turbines and has features similar to that of the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, the Hamilton-class cutter acquired by the Philippines.
The 378ft-long, 3,250t Hamilton-class ships have dual diesel and gas turbine engines and can cruise at a speed of 29kt.
The ships are armed with a rapid-firing 3in/76mm gun, a 20mm Phalanx, and two 25mm mk38 Bushmaster auto-cannons.
The cutter can carry a crew of 180 and supports a range of missions, including drug and migrant interdiction, law enforcement, search and rescue, living marine resources protection, and helicopter operations.
Defense News quoted the East Asia top US diplomat Kurt Campbell as saying: "Our goal, which we share with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), is to support a collaborative diplomatic process by all claimants to resolve their disputes without coercion."
The Philippine Navy fleet consists of re-commissioned former US Navy vessels that include Rajah Humabon, Hamilton, and a Cannon-class destroyer escort that was built during World War II.
The US and the Philippines, a major non-Nato military ally, are bound by a 1951 mutual defence pact.