Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Philippine Navy's second frigate in 2013


The Philippine Navy's (PN) second frigate, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), is slated to arrive in August, not April as earlier stated. The extra five months can be attributed to the commissioning requirement of more intensive training for its crew before the vessel can be taken out of its North Charleston, South Carolina naval facility.

The BRP Ramon Alcaraz has more sophisticated weapons and sensors that its sister ship, the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15). She was also fitted with Mark 38 Model 2 "Bushmaster" auto-cannon and a new main engine, making her more capable than her sister ship. Around USD5 million was spent by the PN for the upgrade. The former USS Dallas (BRP Ramon Alcaraz) was a high endurance cutter commissioned in 1967 at the Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans. She was the sixth ship or boat to bear the name of Alexander J. Dallas, the Secretary of the Treasury under President James Madison (1814–1816).

The ship is one of twelve Hamilton-class cutters built for the US Coast Guard. It 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. The ship has cruising range of 14,000 miles and has a sea and loiter time of 45 days. It has a complement of 167 officers and men.

The ship was originally equipped with an AN/SPS-40 air-search radar Mark 92 Fire Control System and armed with one Oto Melara Mark-75 76-mm gun, Two Mark K-38 25-mm machine gun system, two Mark 36 SRBOC systems, one Phalanx CIWS missile defense gun, along with multiple mounted M2HB .50-caliber machine guns and M240 7.62-mm machine guns. Under Philippine service, all of the above-mentioned weapons and sensor systems were removed with the exception of the Oto Melara Mark-75 76-mm main gun. 
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