* August 15, 2013: Originally posted
* September 15, 2013: Added more information on “Gas Guzzler” section, including direct quote from Coast Guard article and Fuel consumption for OHP and Hamilton ships. Post also re-published
A what seemed to be badly translated to English article and a Youtube video of a China Central Television (CCTV, the propaganda mouthpiece of the Chinese government) news item recently featured that the Philippine Navy (PhN) was going to buy 7 used Oliver Hazard Perry (OHP) Class Frigates from the United States. Despite the fact that the sources are dubious since they are from China, there are other indications that this could be possible, due to a number of other reasons:
First is that the US Navy (USN) are slowly retiring these ships in favor of their new, more advanced and much more terrifyingly-capable Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), and have been providing these to various allies like Pakistan, Egypt and Turkey. The US has even offered 2 of these to Thailand
Second is that due to China’s belligerent attittude in the South China Sea, it is possible that the US wants to help bolster our defense capability even more. They have already provided the PhN with 2 Hamilton-class Cutters so far, it is possible that the next step will involve providing these ships.
Third is that the USN has a LOT of these ships that they could allocate for distribution to US allies. There are 9 decommissioned ships already set for allocation, and all 18 ships currently in active service are all set to be retired by 2019, 6 years from now, so that’s a total of 27 ships in total for allocation. I don’t think that all of the US allies will be able to absorb or accept all of them, hence it is possible some could be offered to us.
‘OHP Class Frigates’
The OHP first served in the USN in the 1970s as specialized Anti-Air Warfare (AAW) or Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) ships in support of the USN’s Carrier fleets. It is one of the most popular and most successful modern ships as eventually 71 were produced and went into active service all over the world in the navies of 10 different countries. At 4,000 tons, it is 33% heavier than our 3,000 ton Gregorio Del Pilar-class (formerly Hamilton-class) Frigates, and heavier than any naval combatant in any South East Asian Navy.
It has a top speed of 29 knots, and a range of over 9,000 km, but for me the best feature about these ships are its so-called “Combat Persistence” for its weight class. In layman’s terms, that means the ability to carry a LOT of missiles for its size. While majority of modern Frigates carry around 8, maybe 12 missiles at most, these OHPs carry a total of FORTY (40). And we’re not talking here about small, lightweight missiles, we’re talking about medium-sized, 500-700 kg missiles like the SM-2 Surface to Air Missile (SAM) and Harpoon Anti-Ship Missile (ASM). These ships truly deserve the term “Guided Missile Frigates”, and belongs to that list of elite class of Frigates in service around the world that can carry dozens upon dozens of mid-sized missiles.
On top of that, these OHPs also have a 76mm Gun, 6 Torpedo tubes, a Phalanx Close In Weapons System (CIWS) and up to 2 rotary-winged aircrafts. As you can see, these are bad-ass, heavily armed ships, IF properly armed. I say this because the CURRENT state of these ships in the USN as of 2013 is that ALL of its missiles have been REMOVED due to obsolescence. The USN didn’t bother upgrading them as they are set for retirement anyway. All that are left on each ship are the Guns, Torpedoes, CIWS and Helicopters, so any country getting these ships will have to invest heavily in up-arming them again.
These ships are fitted exclusively with Gas Turbine (GT) engines, unlike most ships like our Del Pilar Class which use a Combined Diesel Or Gas (CODOG) engines. A CODOG engined ship has the advantage of using the more economical Diesel engine for cruising, and the GT engine to boost its performance in the short term if needed. GT engines are smaller, lighter and provide more power than Diesel engines, and using only high performance GT engines on these OHPs is one reason why it can carry so many missiles. However, at the same time these engines also has one major drawback, and that it has a HIGHER FUEL CONSUMPTION overall compared to Diesel engines.
For example, in the 1990s, these OHP ships were considered as replacements for the Hamilton/Del Pilar ships we are using now for use with the United States Coast Guard (USCG), and one aspect discussed against it was how the OHP’s lack of a Diesel Engine for cruising results in far greater fuel consumption than the Hamilton/Del Pilar ships. Former US Coast Guardsman and historian William R. Wells II wrote,:
“Although FFG turbine can run at trolling speeds, it is still running a gas turbine engine consuming greater amounts of fuel far greater than diesel engines. Greater consumption is not a large concern for the Navy that has a huge Naval Fuels support system– something the Coast Guard does not.” 
Another example is where one theoretical study comparing SIMILAR GT and Diesel engines on ships showed that on average, the total annual fuel cost for GT engines is over 106% more than that of Diesel-electric engines. This is confirmed when you compute for the maximum range of each ship versus its maximum fuel capacity, you will end up with figures that show that the Hamilton ships have 99% better fuel consumption in terms kilometer per metric tonne than the OHP (data for each ship taken at ):
The high fuel consumption is a big disadvantage for a budget-conscious navy such as ours as it means the operating costs will have to be closely scrutinized and considered during the entire operating life of the ship. Having these formidable advanced naval combatants in inventory is not enough, they also will have to be frequently used in order for the crew to GAIN and MAINTAIN combat proficiency with the ship, and this means going on Patrols, Trainings and Naval Exercises. If fuel cost will be a constant concern and hindering these activities, then that could impact the preparedness of this ship for battle.
I don’t think these ships will be a good fit for the PhN due to its high fuel consumption costs, we just can’t afford it, it is just too high. Even if the US decides to subsidize operation of these ships in our navy, that still will NOT be a satisfactory answer, IN THE LONG RUN. Nobody can predict the future, and with the problems with the US economy right now, who knows if it could worsen, and force cutbacks? If so, then the first casualty will be foreign aid to allies, and then what, are we going to retire these ships early? Also there is the question of Presidential succession: One US President MIGHT have different priorities than the next, hence again things like foreign aid policy could change.
It might be possible to have these ships modified so additional Diesel engines can work in tandem with the GT engines, but the modifications will cost more money, plus the fact that NONE of the 10 countries operating these ships have done it so far, so it would be an experiment and a big risk if it doesn’t perform as expected and/or problems are seen.
Tempting as these ships maybe, but I feel that as they are, I think the Philippines should pass on them if these are offered to us. I think the US should allocate to us more Hamiltons instead, they are better due to their lower operating costs.
 U.S. Navy Retired 7 Perry class frigates Philippines For the full purchase, http://www.best-news.us/news-4982308-US-Navy-Retired-7-Perry-class-frigates-Philippines-For-the-full-purchase.html
 U.S. Navy Retired Perry class frigates Philippines want to buy 7, http://youtu.be/SUWKrKjFikk
 Littoral combat ship, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Littoral_combat_ship
 Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Hazard_Perry-class_frigate
 RE-Figuring the Figs (FFGs) for the Coast Guard, 1998_RE-Figuring_the_Figs_FFGs_for_the_Coast_Guard
 Diesel Engines and Gas Turbines in Cruise Vessel Propulsion, 2000-02-17_Diesel_Engines_and_Gas_Turbines_in_Cruise_Vessel_Propulsion
 WHEC 378′ Hamilton class, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/whec-378-specs.htm
 The FFG 7 OLIVER HAZARD PERRY – class, http://navysite.de/ffg/ffg7class.htm