05 Januari 2015
PF-15 Gregorio del Pilar (photo : Timawa)
MANILA (PNA) -- Installing a missile system aboard the two Gregorio Del Pilar class frigates in service will greatly boost the Philippine Navy's (PN) deterrence capability aside from boosting the country's credible defense posture.
Col. Edgard Arevalo, PN spokesperson, said that having these long range and potent weapons installed aboard BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) will act as force multipliers for the two ships.
"It will act as force multiplier for us, it will extend our patrolling reach, (the two ships) will no longer have to go there (threatened area) to thwart an aggressor, our missile systems, once in place on our capital ships, (will make intruders think twice about violating Philippine maritime territory), will aid (our) deterrence (capability) and protecting our vast and porous borders," he added.
At present, the two naval vessels are armed with a 76mm Oto Melara main gun, 25mm "Bushmaster" auto cannon at the stern, and a variety of heavy and light machine guns.
Arevalo also said that having missile armament will also provide the PN with the capability to engage aggressors at longer range compared to the reach of naval artillery, which is definitely much shorter.
Earlier, PN vice commander Rear Admiral Caesar Taccad said that upgrades for the two Gregorio Del Pilar class frigates includes the installation of modern anti-ship and anti-air missiles.
"Missile armaments (for the Gregorio Del Pilar class frigates) are in the pipeline," he added.
However, Taccad did not elaborate on this plan but said that this is part of the improvements to make the two ships more capable.
The two BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) was acquired last May 2011 while its sister ship, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), was bought from the Americans in May 2012.
These weapons will fully transform these vessels into more capable Navy units, Taccad added.
He declined to comment on when these upgrades will take place for security reasons.
"Both vessels are programmed for upgrades in terms of sensors and firepower to revive their original capabilities," the PN earlier said.
Both ships are members of the 11-ship Hamilton class cutters designed and built for the US Coast Guard for heavy weather patrolling during the 1960s.
These ships are the largest in the US Coast Guard service and armed with the 76mm Oto Melara automatic cannon and closed-in-weapon systems.
One sister ship, the USCGC Mellon was even fitted with a Harpoon anti-ship missile system during the 1990s.