Arrived the Philippines : PF-15 BRP Gregorio del Pilar (Hamilton Class Cutter Frigate) Transferred to the Philippines Navy – May 13, 2011. Sendoff to the Philippines July 17, 2011. | Arrived the Philippines August 17, 2011 | Displacement: 3,250 metric tons | Length: 378 ft (115 m) | Beam: 43 ft (13 m) | Draft: 15 ft (4.6 m) | Propulsion: CODOG system featuring 2 x Pratt & Whittney FT4A-6 gas turbines producing 36,000 horsepower (27,000 kW) or 2 x Fairbanks-Morse 38TD8-1/8-12 12-cylinder diesel engines generating 7,000 hp (5,200 kW) | Speed: 29 knots | Range: 14,000 nautical miles | Endurance: 45 days | Complement: 167 | Armament: 76 mm cannon, 2x 25 mm Mk38, 20 mm Phalanx CIWS (Close In Weapons System)
BRP Gregorio del Pilar WHEC 715 Arrived the Philippines
A Hamilton-class warship that the country will use to protect its borders had finally arrived in the country’s waters late August 17, 2011 which docked at the Manila bay early morning of in the 21st August.
The new Philippines’ Flagship will undergone upgrade and repainting before it would send to the West Philippines Sea.
Navy Spokesman Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay said the ship, which was named BRP Gregorio del Pilar, was 273 nautical miles east of Samar as of 2:30 p.m. of August 17, 2011 when last interviewed.
The ship, which was purchased early this year, will dock at the Manila Bay on Sunday at 8:00 a.m.
The vessel, which was first commissioned by the US in 1967, departed San Francisco last July 18. It is manned by 13 officers and 82 enlisted personnel under Captain Alberto Cruz.
Tonsay said: “As a multi-mission vessel, (BRP) del Pilar will be primarily for Philippine Navy maritime security and sovereign patrols especially upon its deployment at the Malampaya project, west of Palawan. Due to its classification as a weather high endurance cutter, its secondary roles will be in support for search and rescue.”
The ship will be repainted with gray color. It is currently colored white.
The ship will also be fitted with additional capabilities. “There are armaments on board right now but I understand that we also have plans to include [more] armaments…[We will install] additional facilities and capabilities but there are existing [ones] already there,” Navy Philippine Fleet deputy spokesman Lt. Rommel Rodriguez said.
“We are excited about her arrival. [The] deployment is flexible depending on the operational plan but she will help a lot in protecting our off shore resources by increased maritime domain awareness and added response capability,” said AFP spokesman Commodore Miguel Jose Rodriguez.
Some military officials said the cutter is needed to help protect the country’s interest in the dispute at the West Philippine Sea, or the South China Sea.
The Hamilton replaces the Raja Humabon, a Cannon-class destroyer escort, which is probably one of the world’s oldest warships.
Several US experts have already commented for in the news article posted at the Rebuilding for the Better Philippines site recommending upgrades for the ship to make here powerful.
According to an Ex- US Navy expert, this class cutter ship is the first ship of its class (that has the name of this group USCG Hamilton) is a high weather endurance ship that can SAR in the sea state 6 environment. The USCG Mellon its sister ship once mounted Harpoon, CIWS, 28mm and antisubmarine gear and believed to be but not 100% on this last part torpedo tubes.
This ship according to a US experts has been completely overhauled including its systems and electronic and propulsion system in the 90’s. This ship can carry advance weapon system which nothing more in its class in the United States that has the powerful capability of this ship which could withstand any kind of weather in the Philippines.