MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Navy will have its first missile-firing capable warship with the scheduled arrival of BRP Ramon Alcaraz, a decommissioned United States Coast Guard cutter the government has bought.
Defense and military sources said yesterday the Alcaraz (PF-16) is due to arrive in the country either by July or August. It has been fitted with anti-ship harpoon missiles.
“Her weapon system is heavier and more sophisticated compared to her sister ship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar,” sources said.
Aside from harpoon surface-to-surface missiles, Alcaraz is armed with 76mm Oto Melara automatic cannon, two 25-bushmaster guns and heavy machineguns.
The BRP Gregorio del Pilar is only armed with 76mm Oto Melara gun when it was acquired in 2011, with the defense and military leadership spending more to enhance its capabilities.
Alcaraz has already completed its three-day sea trial off South Carolina where it underwent major engine repairs and refurbishment for several months before it was turned over to the Philippines last year.
“With the arrival of our second Hamilton-class cutter, converted into a frigate, the Navy will have its first missile-firing warship,” a military official said.
Alcaraz weighs 3,250 tons, has a length of 378 feet, beam of 43 feet, and draft of 15 feet.
Its propulsion systems consist of two diesel engines and two gas turbine engines, giving it a top speed of 29 knots.
When deployed, Alcaraz, with a total of 167 officers and men complement, will have a cruising range of 14,000 miles and can stay in the high seas for 45 days.