The Philippine government is now eyeing to acquire another decommissioned United States Coast Guard Cutter (USGC) for Philippine Navy fleet in order to strengthen its naval capabilities in guarding the disputed West Philippine Sea.
This was revealed by the Department of National Defense (DND) In a text message from Under Secretary for Finance, Modernization and Materiel Fernando Manalo confirming the plan to the Philippine News Agency.
When asked if the Philippines is interested in acquiring the decommissioned United States coast guard USGC Boutwell, one of the 12 Coast Guard cutters is phasing out in favor of the heavier and more modern US coast guard fleet wherein five of which are now in service.
Manalo said. “I don’t know whether the cutter Boutwell is the one DND is proposing to obtain. What I know is the PN is planning to procure another cutter from US.”
Presently the Philippine navy operates two US ex-Hamilton class cutters, the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar PF-15 formerly USCGC Hamilton and BRP Ramon Alcaraz PF-16 also a former USCGC Dallas.
Regardless of being equipped with just a 76mm Oto Melara auto-gun, a Close In Weapon System (CIWS) on both sides and little caliber weaponry, the Hamilton-class cutters are perfect for the PN since these are designed for cruising even in antagonistic climate condition and fit for lodging maritime helicopters beside serving as a preparation stage for Filipino naval maritime officers and crew members anticipated that would man the forthcoming new Strategic Sealift Vessels (SSV) and missile armed frigates.
Source info PNA
BY: Robert Beerlak