Hamilton Class warship acquired from the U.S. now in the PHL

August 17, 2011 10:31 pm 

By Joel C. Atencio

MANILA, Aug. 17 — The Philippine Navy announced the arrival of Hamilton Class Ship, the largest warship bought second hand from the United States, sailing into the West Philippine Sea on Wednesday and will be fitted for securing the country’s territorial waters.

PN spokesman Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay said the ship crossed over from the Pacific in three weeks.

Tonsay said the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) was formerly known as the US Coast Guard Hamilton [High Endurance Cutter (WHEC)-715 and was transferred to the Philippine Navy on May 13, 2011.

BRP Del Pilar was bought by the Philippine government for P450 million (around US$ 13.18 million) under the US Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program, paying with money from the Philippine Malampaya project over which the ship will ensure maritime security.

The 378-foot (115-meter) BRP Del Pilar is on the last leg of its three-week sea voyage to the Philippines, and is the second Philippine Navy ship to have borne the same name, the first being another ex-US Coast Guard Cutter.

BRP Del Pilar is supposedly the first of several ex-US Coast Guard Hamilton-class cutters that will serve the Philippine Navy. It was the largest ship in the US Coast Guard.

BRP Del Pilar is the first gas-turbine jet engine-powered vessel in the Philippine Navy fleet, making it the fastest, biggest, most powerful, and the flagship vessel of the Philippine Navy.

It was originally designed to carry a 20 mm Phalanx CIWS (Close In Weapons System) designed to shoot down anti-ship missiles and fixed-wing aircraft, but the weapons system was removed by the US and transferred to another US Coast Guard ship.

Instead, the US installed additional radar and other electronic equipment as part of the transfer agreement with the Philippines. (PNA) DCT/JCA

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