BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF-16)

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BRP RAMON ALCARAZ.jpg
BRP Ramon Alcaraz before the installation of the Mk. 38 Mod. 2 25 mm autocannons.
History
United States
Name: USCGC Dallas
Builder: Avondale Shipyards
Commissioned: March 11, 1968
Decommissioned: March 30, 2012
Identification: WHEC-716
Fate: transferred to Philippine Navy.
Philippines
Name: BRP Ramon Alcaraz
Namesake: Commodore Ramon Alcaraz (1915–2009), former Philippine Navy fleet commander and World War II hero
Acquired: May 22, 2012
Commissioned: November 22, 2013
Maiden voyage: June 10, 2013
Identification: PF-16 (2012-2016), FF-16 (2016-present)
Nickname(s): BRP Monching
Status: in active service
General characteristics
Class and type: Gregorio del Pilar-class frigate
Displacement: 3,250 tons, probably less due to removal of several weapons & sensors system
Length: 378 ft (115 m)
Beam: 43 ft (13 m)
Draft: 8.75 ft (2.67 m)
Propulsion:
Speed: 29 knots (54 km/h)
Range: 14,000 nautical miles (25,900 km)
Endurance: 45 Days
Boats & landing
craft carried:
2 × RHIB
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Kelvin Hughes MantaDigital 25KW X-band magnetron navigational radar
  • Kelvin Hughes MantaDigital 200KW SharpEye S-band solid state navigation/surface search radar
  • Furuno FAR-28X7 series navigation radar
  • Sperry Mk 92 mod. 1 Fire Control System[1]
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
2 × Mk.36 Super Rapid Blooming Offboard Countermeasures (SRBOC) Chaff and Decoy Launching System
Armament:
Aircraft carried: 1 × AgustaWestland AW109 Power naval helicopter[4]
Aviation facilities: retractable hangar and flight deck

BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF-16) is a frigate in the Philippine Navy and the second ship of the Gregorio del Pilar class. From 1968 to 2012, it was known as USCGC Dallas and served the United States Coast Guard as a high endurance cutter. It was decommissioned on 30 March 2012 and was acquired by the Philippines under the Excess Defense Articles and the Foreign Assistance Act.[5]

Ramon Alcaraz is the second of several ex-US Coast Guard Hamilton-class cutters that will serve the Philippine Navy.[6] She was originally designated as "PF-16" from 2012 to mid-2016 when the PN adapted a new code designation, which re-designated her to "FF-16".

Design[edit]

The ship was designed with a high level of habitability and provides fairly comfortable accommodations, including air conditioning.[7]

Propulsion[edit]

Ramon Alcaraz employs the shipboard application of aircraft gas turbine jet engines with the use of controllable pitch propellers. She is equipped with two 18,000 horsepower (13,000 kW) Pratt & Whitney[8][8] gas turbines and can propel the ship at speeds up to 28 knots (52 km/h). Ramon Alcaraz also has two 3,500 horsepower (2,600 kW) Fairbanks-Morse[8] diesel engines, capable of driving the ship economically at 17 knots (31 km/h) for up to 14,400 nautical miles (26,700 km) without refueling.[8] A retractable/rotatable bow propulsion unit provides manoeuvrability in tight situations.

Armament[edit]

Prior to turn-over to the Philippine Navy, the ship was armed with a Mk.75 Oto Melara 76 mm Compact main gun, two Mk.38 25 mm Bushmaster chain guns at midships, and a Phalanx CIWS system aft.[9] The CIWS and chain guns were removed prior to its turn-over, with the Mk.75 gun remaining.[10]

The Philippine Navy then purchased two new Mk.38 Mod.2 25 mm Bushmaster Autocannons to replace the mounts removed by the US Coast Guard.[10] These were already installed as of January 25, 2015.[3]

Flight support[edit]

Ramon Alcaraz has a flight deck and hangar capable of handling helicopters.

A newly acquired naval helicopter (an AgustaWestland AW109 Power) made its shipboard deployment on May 21, 2014.[4]

History[edit]

The ship was first launched in 1968 and served for decades as the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Dallas (WHEC-716) before being given to the Philippines.

The ship was scheduled to be transferred to the Philippines as an excess defense article through the Foreign Assistance Act via a "hot transfer" on May 2012.[11] The Dallas was formally decommissioned on 30 March 2012, and the US Coast Guard removed the ship’s guns and other equipment.[12]

On 6 May 2012 during the 70th commemoration of the Fall of Bataan, President Benigno Aquino III announced the naming of the ex-USCGC Dallas to BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) in honor of the World War II hero and officer of the Philippine Navy. Commodore Ramon "Monching" Alcaraz commanded one of the Philippine Offshore Patrol's Q-boat Q-112 Abra during World War II which shot down 3 Japanese aircraft.[13]

The ex-Dallas was formally transferred to the Philippine government on 22 May 2012 during a ceremony at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center Pier Papa in North Charleston, South Carolina. The ship was turned over to its Filipino crew, with Capt. Ernesto Baldovino as its first commanding officer.[12][14][15] The ship's crew had been in the US for several weeks prior to the transfer for training aboard other Hamilton-class ships operated by the US Coast Guard.[16] Ramon Alcaraz was scheduled to be refitted at the expense of the Philippine Navy prior to sailing to the Philippines. The ship's transfer cost was pegged at Php 450 million (around US$10 million as of 2012), while operation costs will be similar to its sister ship, BRP Gregorio del Pilar.[17] An additional US$5 million was allocated for installation of additional equipment, different from her sister ship Gregorio del Pilar.[18] The ship will have better fire control and weapons systems than Gregorio del Pilar.[19]

The ship was originally expected to leave Charleston, South Carolina for the Philippines on January 2013 but it was delayed.[18][19][20] The ship finally departed Charleston harbor at 10:00 AM on 10 June 2013. She reached the Atlantic-side entrance of the Panama Canal and crossed its entire stretch on 17 June. Ramon Alcaraz continued her journey across the Pacific Ocean and was scheduled for port visits at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, and at Guam.[21] before reaching Manila by 3 August 2013.[22]

On August 1, 2013, Ramon Alcaraz entered Philippine waters.[23] Her official arrival ceremony was held Subic Bay on August 6.[24][25] On November 22, 2013, she was commissioned as BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) at Pier 15 in Manila’s South Harbor.[26][27]

After commissioning, she sailed to Tacloban City to transport about 200 tons of relief goods, water purification systems, and navy personnel who helped with relief efforts following Typhoon Haiyan.[26][27]

Around mid-2016, the Philippine Navy started calling the ship in its new code designation FF-16, together with its sistership BRP Gregorio del Pilar which was re-designated as FF-15, and the upcoming BRP Andres Bonifacio designated as FF-17.[28]

On March 2017, The Philippine Navy sends the Ramon Alcaraz to patrol Benham Rise after a Chinese survey ship sighted in the region days ago.

Notable operational deployments[edit]

BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) with BRP Gregorio del Pilar and US Navy USS John S. McCain during CARAT Philippines 2014.

Exercises[edit]

The ship, together with its sister ship BRP Gregorio del Pilar participated in joint naval maneuvers as part of CARAT 2014 Philippines from June 26 to July 1, 2014. It was scheduled to conduct exercises on gunnery, combined air, surface, anti-submarine operations at sea.[29]

The ship, together with a naval AW109E helicopter (serial PNH-431), traveled to Northern Australia as a major participant in the KAKADU 2014 Multi-lateral Naval Exercises hosted by the Australian Defence Force from August 25 to September 12, 2014.[30] The ship's crew also participated in boarding training with the Australian Navy before the actual sea-phase of the exercises.[31]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Saunders, Stephen: Jane's Fighting Ships 107th Edition 2004–2005. Jane's Information Group Ltd, 2004.
  2. ^ a b "Navy ship to get new weapons systems". philstar.com. 2012-10-29. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  3. ^ a b "Finally, the Philippine Navy's BRP Ramon Alcaraz got its Mk.38 Mod.2 Guns". 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  4. ^ a b PNA with Camille Diola (June 25, 2014). "New Navy attack helicopters to join first naval maneuvers". Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  5. ^ "US government to hand over second ship to Philippines". Philstar.com. 2012-02-09. Retrieved 2012-05-22. 
  6. ^ "AFP eyeing 2 more second-hand US ships". ABS-CBN News. 2011-04-26. Retrieved 2011-05-15. 
  7. ^ "History of USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715)". USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715) official web site. United States Coast Guard. 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  8. ^ a b c d "WHEC 378' Hamilton class". GlobalSecurity.org. 2005-04-27. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  9. ^ "WHEC 378' Hamilton class". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2011-12-15. 
  10. ^ a b "BRP Ramon Alcaraz to get fitted with new guns". gmanetwork.com. 2014-01-06. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  11. ^ "Navy Capability Upgrade Team Inspects New Ship". Philippine Navy – Naval Public Affairs Office. 2011-11-08. Retrieved 2011-11-10. 
  12. ^ a b "2nd US warship sold to Philippines also stripped of guns". Inquirer.net. 2012-05-22. Retrieved 2012-05-22. 
  13. ^ "Philippines' second warship to be named Ramon Alcaraz, World War II hero". Interaksyon.com. 2012-05-06. Retrieved 2012-05-22. 
  14. ^ "Decommissioned Coast Guard Cutter Dallas being transfered [sic] to Philippine navy". The Digitel Charleston. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2012-05-22. 
  15. ^ "Cutter Dallas officially turned over to Philippines". ABC News 4 Charleston. 2012-05-23. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  16. ^ "AFP CHIEF TO RECEIVE 2ND US PATROL SHIP". Balitang America – ABS-CBN International. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  17. ^ "Gazmin assures Navy of brand-new gear, assets showcased on Navy Day". Interaksyon.com. 2012-05-22. Retrieved 2012-05-22. 
  18. ^ a b "Phl spends $15M on 2nd US Hamilton-class cutter". Philstar.com. 2012-10-08. Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  19. ^ a b "Arrival of new PH navy ship pushed back". ABS-CBN News. 2012-12-03. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  20. ^ Romero, Alexis (2013-05-04). "Arrival of new Phl warship delayed". PhilStar.com. The Philippine Star. Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  21. ^ "PHL Navy's new ship, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, reaches San Diego | News | GMA News Online". Gmanetwork.com. Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  22. ^ "BRP Alcaraz to arrive in PHL on Aug. 3 — DFA". GMA News. 2013-07-04. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  23. ^ Frances Mangosing (August 1, 2013). "BRP Ramon Alcaraz enters PH – Navy". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved September 24, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-12. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  25. ^ "PHL attempts to 'modernize' Navy with 46-year-old warship BRP Ramon Alcaraz | News | GMA News Online". Gmanetwork.com. Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  26. ^ a b "Maiden voyage of PH's most capable warship". 2013-11-22. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  27. ^ a b "BRP Ramon Alcaraz conducts maiden relief mission for ‘Yolanda’ victims in Tacloban". Philippines Today. Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  28. ^ USCG Boutwell to be formally transferred to PN, to be renamed BRP Andres Bonifacio
  29. ^ Philippines and US to conduct CARAT 2014 near South China Sea
  30. ^ Philippine Navy Sends Alcaraz for Biggest Aussie War Games
  31. ^ Australian and Philippine navies conduct boarding training together in Darwin

External links[edit]