Del Pilar-class frigates redesignated as patrol ships

By Priam Nepomuceno

April 2, 2019, 12:17 pm

MANILA -- The Philippine Navy (PN) downgraded the designation of BRP Gregorio Del Pilar, BRP Ramon Alcaraz, and BRP Andres Bonifacio, all ex-United States Coast Guard cutters, from frigates into patrol ships.

"The PN deemed it relevant to redesignate our Del Pilar-class vessels as patrol ships since frigates are supposed to be a naval combatant that has more than one capability to address the multi-dimensional nature of naval warfare. This platform should have the capability for anti-surface, anti-air, anti-submarine and even electronic warfare suites," Navy spokesperson, Captain Jonathan Zata said in a message to the Philippine News Agency Tuesday.

Formerly, the three ships were designated as FF-15 (BRP Gregorio Del Pilar), FF-16 (BRP Ramon Alcaraz) and FF-17 (BRP Andres Bonifacio) to denote their role as frigates.

With the redesignation, these vessels will be using the patrol ship designation or "PS".

"As these capabilities are added into a platform they now take on a different role and even purpose as part of a fleet’s battle formation. So the need to correctly term a naval vessel based on its capabilities and specific role/s vis-a-vis being part of a naval force," Zata said.

The Del Pilar-class patrol ships are three former US Coast Guard Hamilton-class cutters acquired by the PN in 2011, 2013, and 2016.

These ships have a gross tonnage of 3,250 tons, a length of 378 feet, beam of 43 feet, and draft of 15 feet while its propulsion systems consist of two diesel engines and two gas turbine engines, giving it a top speed of 29 knots.

These vessels have cruising range of 14,000 miles and have a sea and loiter time of 45 days and armed with a 76mm Oto Melara automatic cannon, 25mm and 20mm light cannons and .50-caliber machine guns. (PNA)