The Philippine Navy has reportedly confirmed plans to install missile systems on two of its frigates.
The BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), which were acquired in the last 3 years from the US Coast Guard will be equipped with missile systems frameworks to extend their patrolling potential.
“It will act as force multiplier for us. It will help us extend our reach,” Navy spokesman Colonel Edgard Arevalo told reporters.
“We have limited number of vessels. Our patrolling reach is also limited. If we have a missile system, it will elevate our capability. It will increase our patrolling reach,” Arevalo added.
Naval force Vice Commander Rear Admiral Caesar Taccad prior affirmed that the arrangement is “in the pipeline” but provided no details.
Naval force Captain Vincent Sibala, commander of BRP Gregorio del Pilar said the primary capability of his warship is the 7mm Oto Melara gun and different weapons which are as yet living up to expectations with upgraded redesigned sensors.
“But we are looking forward that we will have missile capability soon,” Sibala said. “Because the trainings of our personnel and their performance we are already up to far. Kayang-kaya na po nila yong mag-acquire ng missile.”
An insider official who doesn’t want to identify said, “Mk 49 launcher for the RIM-116 Rolling airframe missile (RAM) and the RGM-84 harpoon is the ideal missile system for Del Pilar and Alcaraz, noting that a sister-ship of the vessels, the United States coast guard cutter, USCGC – Mellon (WHEC-717), has been fitted with the Harpoon missile system launchers.”
Sibala maintained that they strictly follow the trust of the Philippine government not to escalate the situation at the West Philippine Sea.
“We are here for peace and not essentially to battle for a war,” Sibala said. “We ought to be prepared however much as could be expected, we attempt to keep away from it.”
Sibala refered to that they take after the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), an agreement signed by 21 countries, including the Philippines and China, which aims to deescalate naval encounters.