Del Pilar-class offshore patrol vessel
|Name:||Del Pilar class offshore patrol vessel|
|Builders:||Avondale Shipyards, USA|
|In service:||2011 to present|
|Class and type:||Del Pilar class|
|Type:||Offshore Patrol Vessel|
|Length:||378 ft (115 m)|
|Beam:||43 ft (13 m)|
|Draft:||8.75 ft (2.67 m)|
|Speed:||29 knots (54 km/h)|
|Range:||14,000 nautical miles (25,900 km)|
|Boats & landing |
|2 × RHIB|
|Sensors and |
|Electronic warfare |
|2 × Mk.36 Super Rapid Blooming Offboard Countermeasures (SRBOC) Chaff and Decoy Launching System|
|Aircraft carried:||1 × AgustaWestland AW109E Power naval helicopter|
|Aviation facilities:||retractable hangar and flight deck|
The Del Pilar class is a class of three offshore patrol vessels currently in service of the Philippine Navy, and are currently the foremost surface combatant of the fleet. These ships were formerly used by the US Coast Guard as Hamilton class high endurance cutters.
Early in 2011, the Philippine Navy announced the acquisition of an ex-US Coast Guard Hamilton-class high-endurance cutter under the "Ocean-going Escort Vessel" project through the US Excess Defense Article programme. The ship acquired was the former USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715), renamed BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) which was officially turned over to the Philippine Navy on 13 May 2011 at Alameda Point in California. It was retrofitted and modified in the US, replacing systems removed by the USCG. The ship's arrival ceremonies were on 23 August 2011 in Manila, and it was commissioned on 14 December 2011.
A second Hamilton-class cutter, the USCGC Dallas (WHEC-716), was turned over to the Philippine Navy on 22 May 2012 with ceremonies held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center Pier Papa in North Charleston, South Carolina. The ship was named BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) in Philippine Navy service. Like its sister ship, it was retrofitted and modified in the US, replacing systems removed by the USCG. It was expected to arrive in the Philippines by February 2013. However, further training and unspecified upgrades on the ship pushed the arrival of the BRP Ramon Alcaraz to August 2013. The ship's arrival ceremony was held at Subic Harbor on August 6, 2013, led by President Aquino. It was commissioned on Nov. 22, 2013.
A third Hamilton-class cutter was turned over to the Philippine Navy after US President Barack Obama announced that another high endurance cutter will be transferred to the Philippines during his visit to the BRP Gregorio del Pilar on November 17, 2015. The White House subsequently confirmed that the USCGC Boutwell (WHEC-719) will be the ship that will be transferred to the Philippines. The ship was commissioned into service on July 21, 2016 and was renamed BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF-17) unlike her sister ships which was given PF (Patrol Frigate) designation upon commissioning. This was because BRP Andrés Bonifacio entered service after the Philippine Navy made changes to their Ship Classification.
The ship was designed with a high level of habitability and provides fairly comfortable accommodations, including air conditioning.
The Del Pilar class are the first Philippine military vessels to employ the now common shipboard application of aircraft gas turbine jet engines with the use of controllable pitch propellers. The class are equipped with two 18,000 horsepower (13,000 kW) Pratt & Whitney gas turbines and can propel the ship at speeds up to 28 knots (52 km/h). The class also has two 3,500 horsepower (2,600 kW) Fairbanks-Morse 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. A retractable/rotatable bow propulsion unit provides manoeuvrability in tight situations.
Prior to turn-over to the Philippine Navy, the Hamilton-class cutters were armed with a Mk.75 Oto Melara 76 mm Compact main gun, two Mk.38 M242 Bushmaster 25 mm chain gun at midships, and a Phalanx CIWS system aft. The CIWS and chain guns were removed by the United States Coast Guard prior to turn-over, with the Mk.75 gun remaining.
The Philippines ordered two new Mk. 38 Mod. 2 25mm naval gun systems in 2012, and these are expected to be installed to the ships of the class. On Feb. 17, 2014, it was reported that said chain guns were in the Philippines, waiting for the U.S. Coast Guard armament team for installation. As of January 25, 2015, 2 Mk. 38 Mod. 2 25mm guns had been installed on PF-16.
Another set of Mk. 38 naval guns, this time in Mod.3 variant were ordered in October 2015, and another contract for 2 units of Mk.38 Mod.3 25mm naval guns were ordered in September 2016. The first set of 2 units was installed on BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PS-15) on early June 2019.
The Del Pilar class has a flight deck and hangar capable of handling helicopters. A BO-105 light surveillance helicopter was initially assigned to BRP Gregorio del Pilar, and was replaced by the newer AgustaWestland AW109 Power helicopter. The helicopters first made their shipboard deployment on May 21, 2014.
It was also reported that the Philippine Navy is planning further upgrades for the entire ship class. The upgrades will feature upgrades for navigation, propulsion, communication, surveillance, and weapons systems.
Several systems were acquired through US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and Foreign Military Financing (FMF), which includes the BAE Systems Mk. 38 Mod. 2 machine gun system, the SAAB AN/SPS-77 Sea Giraffe AMB 3D air/surface search radar, and the FLIR Systems SeaFLIR 230 Electro-Optical/Infra-Red Camera.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Navy will launch a program to acquire, install and integrate several other sensors into the ship, as part of the Horizon 2 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program. Among those to be acquired are new Combat Management System (CMS), Hull Mounted Sonar (HMS), and a Radar Electronic Support Measures (R-ESM). In 2019, the DND, together with the Hanwha Group signed a contract for the Del Pilar-class Frigate Upgrade Project, which will install the Hanwha Systems Naval Shield Baseline 2 ICMS, the same CMS of the Jose Rizal-class frigates, along with the integration of a Hull Mounted Sonar, the Radar Electronic Support Measures, and the navigation and existing weapon systems (Oto Melara 76 mm, and Mk. 38 guns).
Ships in Class
|Pennant number||Ship name||Launched||Commissioned||Service||Status|
|PS-15||BRP Gregorio del Pilar||18 December 1965||14 December 2011||Offshore Combat Force||Out of service until the end of 2019|
|PS-16||BRP Ramon Alcaraz||1 October 1966||22 November 2013||Offshore Combat Force||Active|
|PS-17||BRP Andres Bonifacio ||17 June 1967||21 July 2016||Offshore Combat Force||Active|
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- Media related to Del Pilar class frigate at Wikimedia Commons
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gregorio del Pilar class frigate.|